BASKETBALL prodigy Brodie Riach is heading to America after securing a college scholarship just four years into playing the sport seriously.
The 19-year-old former Warwick Senior High School student, who originally played Australian Rules Football, has been accepted into the basketball program at Sheridan College in Wyoming.
Riach said after picking up a basket ball at 15 years old that he had to learn the sport quickly, although the transition wasn’t “too hard” because AFL and basketball had some similarities.
“My passion for basketball developed quite quickly because I had an overall passion for sport in general,” he said.
“As I got further involved in the game of basketball I realised the future I could potentially have, providing I was willing to put the work in.”
Riach played for the Perry Lakes Hawks before moving to Melbourne where he spent two years playing for the Altona Gators in the Big V competition.
While playing for the Gators, he graduated from the Australian College of Sport under coach Alan Westover who is a former championship coach of the Melbourne Tigers in the NBL.
Reflecting on his short career, Riach said he credited his coaches for their “tremendous job” in giving him the “attention” needed to propel him onto the interstate and now international court.
“The coaches down at Perry Lakes did a tremendous job in giving me the attention I needed in order to get where I wanted to go,” he said.
“Highlights during my short time playing basketball definitely include the destinations where basketball has taken me.
“It was a real eye-opener for me to recognise where I was at and where I need to be in order to accomplish my goals of receiving a full scholarship to play college basketball,” he said.
“Twelve months later I was fortunate enough to receive another opportunity to travel across to the US and once again compete for one of those precious scholarships.
“That’s where my recruitment started to pick up and I was now on the radar of a few programs.”
Having played in Australia and the US, Riach said the “culture” around the game was very different.
“From the little things to how the game is coached and especially to how it’s played are different,” he said.
“Both Australia and America just have their own styles that they play to.
“The US is a fast-paced game where as in Australia it’s very physical.”
Now living between houses in Alkimos, Greenwood and Churchlands, Riach will begin his two-year US scholarship in August after leaving Perth in July.
He then hopes to be recruited for an institution where he can complete his four-year college career and teaching degree.
“I’m excited for the opportunity but I know that the work only gets harder from here on out,” Riach said.
“I’m just grateful for the opportunity to play basketball.
“I’d like to keep playing but I know the ball will stop bouncing one day, as cheesy as it sounds.
“A professional career overseas would be cool but I plan on studying a teaching degree to use that after I finish playing.”
“I have travelled to the United States twice to compete in college showcases in front of about 250 scouts and coaches across multiple levels, and competed against the best the US has to offer.”
Riach said his overseas experience in 2016 showed him what was required of him to compete internationally and fulfil his dream of playing for a college team.