Headhunters first came after him at age 12. He had the physique for the game. He had the talent for the game. And he had the hunger for the game. Four years on, Broome’s rising basketball star Gerrard Ansey is proving he also has that special combination of discipline and drive that distinguishes a merely good athlete from an elite athlete.
Gerrard, who’s just about to tackle year 11, plays school basketball for Christ Church Grammar School, club basketball for Perry Lakes Hawks, and WA state basketball.
KRED Enterprises offered Gerrard a Nipper Tabagee Scholarship in 2014 so he could represent Western Australia at the U16 Metro Men’s Australian Junior Championships in Geelong.
We’re committed to helping young Indigenous people realise their aspirations and Gerrard has worked hard to get where he is.
He has a rigorous training regime; some mornings he’s out of bed at 5.30am to hit the courts ahead of a full day at school. In the first and fourth term he has Sundays free, but in the middle of the year, he plays or trains seven days a week. Gerrard says training for the state side was particularly challenging and rewarding.
“State training really helped me a lot with my fitness, my strength and my conditioning. I really enjoy the training,” he says.
Also the recipient of a six-year school scholarship, the pressure is on to show commitment to both his schoolwork and the school basketball team.
In 2013, with Gerrard one of the youngest players on the team, the school won the Blackwood Cup for the Public Schools Association for the first time in eleven years. The same year, Gerrard received the Pat Holmes Award, which is awarded to a year 9 student who has, ‘ . . . displayed selflessness and dedication to his team; a commitment to self-improvement; impeccable sporting manners; humility on the field and enthusiasm for his sport. Moreover, the recipient must be both a good winner and a good loser.’
These qualities have been recognised by other clubs in the Western Australian Basketball League (WABL) and there have even been several attempts to poach him. But Gerry’s remained loyal to Perry Lakes and stayed with his team.
The famous American coach Mike Krzyzewski is quoted as saying, “A basketball team is like the five fingers on your hand. If you can get them all together, you have a fist. That's how I want you to play.”
Gerrard understands that to make this fist, you need to have a good relationship with your teammates, both on and off the court.
“Once we were comfortable with each other off the court, it felt a lot easier playing with them, there was a much better feeling among the team,” Gerrard says.
You also need to have a good relationship with your coach and Gerrard has seen a whole range of coaching styles, from the ‘yellers’ to the ‘throwers’ to the ‘silent types’.
“I do get the most out of myself when there’s a loud coach, or an angry coach. At the same time, some of the assistant coaches I’ve had have been chilled and laid back, without yelling, so it’s good to have that balance,” Gerrard says.
This year, Gerrard Ansey is poised to meet his biggest challenge yet. Although he’s only fifteen, he’s been selected to play in the U20s side at the Eltham Dandenong Junior Basketball Tournament in January. The tournament is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Beyond this tournament, and with two years left of school, Gerrard’s aware of some of the limitations of playing sport professionally in Australia.
“After school, I’m aiming to get over to the US. The US has better basketball programs than Australia and it’s easier to make a living playing basketball.”
KRED Enterprises has been proud to assist Gerrard Ansey and we believe advancing the education of our people will prove to be one of our greatest investments. Our young people deserve the best support possible so they can live healthy, fulfilled lives, where they walk comfortably in both worlds.
Keen to know more about the scholarships?
As KRED receives no government funding, all the money we earn is used to pay staff wages. Any surplus income is put into our sharing bucket, which is owned by the members of Ambooriny Burru. These members are: Karajarri, Nyikina Mangala, Ngurrara, Bardi Jawi, Yi-Martuwarra Ngurrara, Jaru, Tjurabalan and Koongie Elvire. The sharing bucket is what we draw on to award scholarships.
In 2015, scholarship priority will be given to our members.