Ararat basketballing wunderkind Wilbur Shea has been selected for the State Development Program (SDP) Stage 2 Trials in Country Victoria.
Wilbur said he was pleased to have been selected for the trials.
"It's exciting. It's been my goal since last year," he said.
Wilbur's mother Megan Shea, who coached Wilbur at the Ararat Redbacks, said before COVID 2020 had started very promisingly for Wilbur.
"He tried out for the Ballarat Miners (Under 14 side) this year, and he made their number one side, which competed every Friday in the Victorian Junior Basketball League," she said.
"So he had a busy year, at the start of (2020) he was playing domestic with Ararat, he was playing squad with Ararat, he was playing domestic with Ballarat, and then he made their number one squad with the Miners."
Wilbur said the step up at the Miners had been a great learning experience.
"It was challenging because we had to play higher teams in Melbourne," he said.
"It helped improve my game because it's faster basketball."
The COVID-19 pandemic saw competitive basketball cease, but through innovation, Wilbur was able to keep his skills sharp.
"My old Ballarat coaches put up an app to do during COVID, where we can compete on the app, then we also did Zoom meetings where I was doing ball-work and skills," Wilbur said.
"It kept my skills up to date."
Megan Shea said she had been impressed by the quality of these training exercises.
"I take my hat off to Ballarat Basketball Association and their JET (Junior Elite Teams) program," she said.
"The app had basketball drills that recorded him training by himself during lockdown and then put scores up against all the other teams that were in the Victorian Junior Basketball League.
"It's been a big credit to him that he's kept his hands on the ball this whole year despite not playing a lot of games."
Ararat Basketball Association vice president Amanda Sladdin has coached Wilbur for various teams and said she was not surprised by Wilbur's progress.
"He's a little gun," she said.
"He's always been in squads, he's always been in Bests and Fairests, but he's just a really committed kid."
Wilbur also recently found out he has been successful in trying out for the Ballarat Miners Under 16 team.
The State Development Program (SDP) Stage 2 Trials are set to begin in mid-January.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday morning from The Ararat Advertiser. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Ararat shire, sign up here.