15 August 2022
Phoenix Suns forward Cam Johnson has commended the basketball development programs based at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) after spending the week in Canberra for NBA Basketball Without Borders.
Johnson was among a host of NBA stars and Australian basketball legends who were on hand to coach the 64 teenagers from 18 countries who took part in the development and community outreach program which was being held in Australia for the first time since 2016.
The future stars of the sport came together for four days at the AIS, culminating in awards ceremony attended by Australia’s Minister for Sport, The Hon. Anika Wells MP, and U.S Ambassador Caroline Kennedy.
Basketball was a foundation sport when the AIS was founded in 1981 and it continues to be home to Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence (COE) Program. The AIS is also home now to the NBA Global Academy, which has seen Australians Josh Giddey and Dyson Daniels drafted to the NBA in the past two years.
Johnson says the AIS-based programs are clearly giving rising Aussie talent an edge.
“[The AIS] is a beautiful place, it’s a great facility,” Johnson said.
“I’ve heard great things about it from people who’ve come through the system and it was a great host for this event. It’s been so much fun just to see kids from different parts of the world coming together. They displayed a really high level of skill so it was really fun to coach them.”
Joining Johnson at the AIS was Opals star and four-time Olympian Kristi Harrower, who was a COE athlete at the AIS in 1992-93.
“This is stuff I probably would have dreamt of when I was younger,” Harrower said.
“I feel like they are very advanced, they just do everything at tempo and they do it game like.”