From Tassie to Melbourne and Beyond – Hadley on the road to being one of the top ranked players in the Class of 2017.
I caught up with Gabe Hadley (Shooting Guard, Class of 2017) at the U18 Australian Junior Championship in Ballarat, 11-18 April, 2015. This was not my first time chatting with Gabe, in fact Gabe and I have a history. I was Head Coach of the Tasmanian U18 Team where Gabe played bottom aged in Canberra in April 2014.
I also coached Gabe last August at the prestigious adidas Nations Global 2014 tournament in Long Beach, California. Gabe was one of two Tasmanian players, along with Callum Barker, who I invited to join the Asia Pacific team that I recruited, coached and managed. Needless to say, I am a fan of Gabe, in particular his exceptional work ethic and strong commitment to continue improving his game.
Gabe ruffled a few feathers last year when he moved from Tasmania to live in Melbourne and play for the VIC Metro team. I wondered whether it was Tasmania’s coolish climate he was trying to escape? Gabe explained that travel was actually a major factor. “I was travelling 2-3 hours each day to go to school and play basketball. I just couldn’t do that anymore going into year 11 and 12.”
Assisted by his very supportive parents, who moved the whole family to Melbourne to help Gabe realise his dreams, and under the watchful eye of Coach Ian Stacker, Gabe’s game has undoubtedly improved. Gabe was adamant when I spoke with him, “the move has been great for me. There is a lot more competition in Victoria. I’m improving a lot.”
The proof was in the pudding for Gabe at the U18 Australian Junior Championship earlier this month where he suited up for VIC Metro. Although Gabe suffered from a bit of inconsistency in the first half of the week, he played an authoritative first game, putting down eight 3 pt shots for an impressive 34 pt game. Gabe said “it was good to be in that zone. I had a rhythm. Wherever I shot it from, it felt like it was gong in.”
This improvement in Gabe’s game is something he intends to capitalise on if he attends adidas Nations Global again this coming August. “Nations last year was great. The level of play was really, really good. If I go back this year, I want to be a lot more prepared and really take the competition on.”
Gabe may very well be getting the opportunity to put his new found skills to good use in the U.S.A. this August, but where does he see himself a few years from now? “I want to go to a good Div I school where I can play minutes and learn good things.” So far Gabe has received interest from Nicholls State and the University of Denver, plus some well established Division II schools. This list of schools will most certainly increase in the years to come. When I quizzed Gabe further about where he’d like to play college basketball, he made me think climate really was on his mind, “I want to go somewhere sunny, where it doesn’t snow!”