Tuesday, May 9, 2017

In the Round 6 report for the men’s competition, Roy Ward chats to Peter Hooley of the Ballarat Miners who has returned to Australia for the SEABL 2017 season after spending almost seven years away from home.

               Maybe all Peter Hooley needed was a deep breath and a look around.

The Ballarat Miners point guard has been away from Australia for near enough to seven years and in that time moved from a college-bound teenager into a 25-year old man.

He’s also matured into an elite basketballer, one with a talent for scoring and a desire to test himself in the NBL and beyond.

But amid all the culture shock of plugging back into Australian life and trying to make his mark on the SEABL competition, the South Australian native was putting too much pressure on himself.

So last week he reached out to a “big brother figure” back home in SA, that person remains anonymous but the advice he passed to Hooley was simple; “smile, play loose and enjoy the game”.

Those words had a massive effect on Hooley’s weekend and may have turned the tide of the whole Miners season as the play-maker turned up his scoring with 44 points in a 102-92 win over Albury-Wodonga at the Minerdome on Saturday night.

He then had 25 points and eight assists in the Miners’ follow up 95-79 win over Dandenong Rangers at Dandenong on Sunday.

So what were the magic words for Hooley?

“I talked to a person back home who is a big brother figure in my life, just spoke to him about everything that’s going on with my future and going on in the back of my mind,” Hooley said.

“He said I needed to have fun with it and I realised the more I have had fun with my basketball in the past, the more I have done well so I decided to relax and let the game come to me.

“Once I started to see some shots get in and I got a smile going then things got so much better.”

Part of Hooley’s big night against the Bandits was that the Miners lost NBL forward Craig Moller before half time when he was ejected for two technical fouls.

In his absence, Hooley knew he had to step up and he did.

“Craig got ejected and he is one of, if not the best big man in the league right now, so I knew I had to step up,” Hooley said.

“I didn’t think it would happen this early but I know I can have big scoring games so I’m glad it could help us get the win.”

Hooley is best known for his heroics in college while leading tiny Albany to the NCAA Tournament in 2015.

He hit a game-winning three to put his Albany side into the NCAA Tournament but that shot came just weeks after he had been forced home to be with his dying mother Sue.

Since college finished last year, Hooley played with Plymouth Raiders in England but left in February after being unhappy with the way he was being treated.

Then the Miners put an offer forward and he took it with both hands noting the club’s record of helping emerging Australian players progress to the next level.

“I”m so happy to be back playing at home,” Hooley said.

“Even thought I’m in a different state I’m still only a six-hour drive or one-hour flight from home – a lot has happened with my family, there is a lot we have been through but things are pretty good right now.

“My twin sister Emma has a baby daughter Zalia who just turned one and my girlfriend just moved over here from America so I don’t plan on leaving this country anytime soon.”

The Miners’ two wins this round moved them up to 5-2 on the season and equal top with Hobart in the South Conference.

“It was a huge weekend for us as it could have put us below the top sides or on the top end of things and we have another big test this round against Nunawading,” Hooley said.

“Our defensive pressure is something we pride ourselves on and we know that when we bring that defensive energy then our offence will take care of itself.”

 Hooley has two big plans for the coming months as he wants to keep the Miners in contention for a championship run and move up himself into position to earn an NBL contract.

 “I want to get that opportunity in the NBL,” Hooley said.

“The rules changed a bit last year when I was coming out of college and that didn’t help me but I’ve had successful experiences in college, some time in Europe and now I want to help us win a championship here and then take that and run with it.”

SEABL in the media

*Border Mail’s Chris Young reports on the Bandits clash with the Miners.

*Young also reports on the Bandits women and their meeting with the COE.

*Young also wrote about import JT Terrell.

*Geelong Advertiser’s Wes Cusworth reports on the Supercats women.

*Cusworth also wrote about the Supercats men.

*Geelong’s Damien Radcliffe reports on the Supercats returning guns.

*Hobart Mercury’s Adam Smith reports the Chargers men are chasing big wins.

*Mercury’s James Bresnehan reports on the Chargers’ win over Bendigo.

*Leader’s Megan Hustwaite reports on Kilsyth star Chantella Perera combining her sporting loves.

*Ballarat Courier’s Siobhan Calafiore reports on the one that got away for the Rush.

*Calafiore also reports on the Miners’ weekend.

*Bendigo Advertiser reported on the Braves women and their strong start.

*Bendigo also reported on the tough Tasmanian trip for the Braves men.

*Kieran Iles wrote about Chris Adkins’ 150th game for Bendigo.

*Iles also wrote about Chante Black’s return.

*The Advocate’s Brad Cole reports on the Thunder’s win over the Braves.

*The Advocate’s Camron Slessor also previewed the game.

*The Examiner’s Phil Edwards reports on the Tornadoes home loss.

*The Examiner’s Corey Martin also wrote about Ellie Collins’ time with the Tornadoes so far.