Karratha basketballer picked for State development squad

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Karratha basketballer Mali Hodzic, 11.
Camera IconKarratha basketballer Mali Hodzic, 11. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Karratha youngster Mali Hodzic didn’t know how to play basketball three years ago, but he is now on track for State team selection after being chosen for a WA youth development squad.

Mali, 11, has been selected for the Basketball WA under-13s future development program, a pathway for basketball players too young to play at State level for likely future entry onto a State team once they are old enough.

He is one of just 26 boys selected in his age division.

It comes after he was talent-scouted at a Karratha basketball event last year and travelled to Perth twice to trial for the team earlier this year.

Mali said he was excited to be part of the program and hoped it would lead to some big opportunities in the sport.

“I feel really happy because all the hard work paid off, coming in to train every single day,” he said.

“In the future, I’d like to maybe play in the NBA or NBL or something professional, if I work really hard and keep up what I’m doing.”

Mali started playing basketball just three years ago, having previously played rugby, and quickly developed a love for the sport.

He trains every day, sometimes twice a day, including with a local Karratha development squad made up of players two years older than he is.

Karratha basketballer Mali Hodzic, 11, with his father and coach Mahir Hodzic and coach Clayton McIntosh.
Camera IconKarratha basketballer Mali Hodzic, 11, with his father and coach Mahir Hodzic and coach Clayton McIntosh. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Mali’s father and coach Mahir Hodzic said he was proud of his son’s commitment to being the best basketball player he could be.

“He is very dedicated, he loves it and he can naturally play the sport,” he said.

“He didn’t know how to play about 21/2, three years ago, he didn’t even know how to bounce the ball.

“But he decided he just wanted to play so we just started coming every day and worked from there.”

KBA vice-president Clayton McIntosh, who coaches Mali on the Karratha development squad, said it was good to see a young local player succeed on a State level.

“It’s good for a kid like him in the Pilbara to be able to go down and compete and be part of the future development program in Perth, and for (Basketball WA) to recognise that we do have kids up here like that, and we hope that continues in the future,” he said.

Mali is only the second Karratha basketballer to be selected for a State basketball pathway, after local player Jordi Perry was selected for the Basketball WA Country under-14 women’s team last year.

He is the first to be chosen for the future development program.

He will travel to Perth to take part in his first training camp for the program this weekend.

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