Courtney Keech is a guard from Sacred Heart Girls' high school, New Plymouth, New Zealand. She was a member of the New Zealand Basketball Academy's 16U girls team that won the Adidas Super 64 title in Las Vegas, July 2013, and Courtney was awarded the MVP of the tournament.
How did you get started with the New Zealand Basketball Academy?
My younger sister was actually invited to the January 2013 Camp, and so my parents suggested that I go as well to try out for the Las Vegas Tour.
The coaches are amazing; they are so knowledgeable and supportive. Going to camp really helps you take your game to the next level.
First of all, I absolutely loved the way that basketball is played in America. It is so much faster and more physical than in NZ, and each individual player is that much more skilled. I love how defenses over there are physical, fast and aggressive, I just loved the style of play.The other thing that was a huge highlight for me was the friendships and connections I made with my teammates - I didn't know many of the girls before we went, but we all keep in touch on Facebook all the time now.
You mentioned that you were surprised to be named the MVP of the Adidas Super 64 tournament - what do you think your strengths and weaknesses are as a player?
I think that the biggest role I can play on a team is to fit in with the team culture and be the best teammate that I can be. I love playing defense, and I work hard every day on my physical conditioning and speed. I'm still working on my offensive game overall, but my shooting is coming along as well.
How is your school work going at Sacred Heart?
Its great! I have completed the year by already gaining a Merit endorsement in NCEA, and I haven't received the results of my end of year exams yet. Hopefully when they come through I will be upgraded to Excellence.
Being part of the New Zealand Basketball Academy has really motivated and helped me with my school work, as I know have a goal to aim for. I know that if I want to go to the USA on scholarship that I need to study as hard as I can.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting started with the Academy?
Do it! Everyone at camp is so welcoming and encouraging, and the opportunity to travel to the USA to play basketball is a once in a lifetime experience.