Saw this interesting article in the Herald Sun today. Kevin Sheedy has always been known to have a keen eye in scouting non-conventional AFL talent. It seems he has recently turned his eye to basketball players, specifically the Sudanese Australian Basketball Championships (don’t worry I’d never heard of it either). I particularly liked his reasoning:
A lot of the boys have crossed over from basketball to AFL because they’re both 360-degree games. That’s a difference to league or union, where you’ve got someone always coming at you on an angle. It’s important AFL and basketball players have that sort of peripheral vision”
While I haven’t always been the biggest Sheedy fan (I’m a Carlton supporter so I detest the clubs he played for/coached), I have to agree with that observation. Basketball players have a high degree of awareness, because the sport is played in such a confined area and can change directions very quickly. Not to mention the other obvious advantage most basketball players will have – height. You forget how big basketball players are when you translate it to Australian Rules Football. Rip Hamilton is the same height as Darren Jolly. Think about that. Rip is a quick, agile guard in the NBA – Jolly is a slow, plodding ruck man in the AFL.
For more NBA/AFL food for thought, check out our All-NBA AFL team from a few years back.