Rising Star – Anneli Maley continues her path to the top with guidance from her parents
An incredibly skilled rebounder for her position, standout Anneli Maley (6’1″, Class of 2017) hopes to take the lessons learned from her father (a former professional player), mother (a former collegiate player) and the influential coaches who she has been fortunate enough to play for, with her to the next stages of her career.
Maley speaks candidly about how influential her parents have been in her basketball career. “My Dad introduced me to the game, enough said – haha. He has always been there for me when it came to my basketball, both my parents have actually. My Mum has equally influenced me throughout my career, both my parents took me to trainings at ridiculous hours of the morning, and drove me to trainings that were hours away from home, given up countless weekends and holidays to come watch me play and for that I can’t thank them enough.”
Maley and her Dad certainly have a great bond, on and off the court. She continues light-heartedly, “well he always tells me that I have a long way to go before I am able to shoot like him and I always respond with, well you will never rebound like me.”
When asked what some of her favorite things are about the game, what she has come to excel at, Maley explains, “I love gaining possession of the ball, doing the 1% things that help out a team, I love the team environment, the idea that a team is your family. I love unity and the connection between me and my teammates, I also love all the work time on the court and off the court, I just love the game.”
Maley has also learned lessons from a range of coaches who have coached and mentored her throughout her basketball journey. Maley ran through some of the people that have helped her the most. “Some past coaches that have really influenced me include Jonothan Goodman, Ben Cukier, Paul Flynn and Zoe Carr. Jono and the last two both coached me at a state level. Their insight into the game really was next level and I really can say I learned so much from them and for that I can’t thank them enough. Kristen Veal is currently one of the most influential people in my basketball journey. Being an amazing player herself, I just learn so much from her every day. I absolutely idolise her and her knowledge of the game is literally out of this world.”
This year, Maley has been playing on a scholarship at the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (COE), which has clearly played a formative role in Maley’s basketball development. “Being at the COE means that we are exposed to a lot of education about being a professional athlete, on top of physical training, that is eating right, sleeping enough, and really looking after our bodies. My diet is really to refuel and replenish my body after training and really maintaining and gaining strength. I have 4-5 team trainings a week and three gym sessions that I also complete with my team. On top of that I try to get at least 200 shots up a day and at least 3 times a week I have a skills session that focuses on ball handling. We are also very privileged up here to have amazing staff that run these sessions. Brad Davidson runs an amazing shooting session which I try to get in 1-2 times a week. I pride myself on my work ethic, so whenever my school schedule allows me, I will always ask my coach for an extra individual workout when I can.”
With Maley’s stellar play comes decisions for the next steps in her career. Paul Maley (Anneli’s Dad) says, “Anneli isn’t entirely certain that she will go to US College; there is a strong possibility that she will, but she also wants to keep the option of staying home, playing in the WNBL and attending an Australian university open. That being said, I think the most important thing for Anneli will be to find the right fit, and I think a huge portion of this comes down to finding the right coach. She has serious drive and ambition and we want to find a program that is committed to her development. She has put herself in a position (through a combination of hard work and some good fortune), where it looks like she is going to have lots of options. The challenge will be finding a solid academic university in a nice place, with a highly competitive program that has a culture of development and treats players with respect and kindness. Hard work is a given with Anneli.”
Even though Maley’s parents are both used to travel from their respective careers, there was a little concern from the two when she ventured off to the COE. “Our concern for Anneli when she headed up to the COE as a 15 year old was the amount of pressure at such a young age; I worried about the possibility of burnout. At the end of the day, what will sustain any athlete through pressure is a deep love of the game (I think). Fortunately, it seems like Anneli’s time at the COE has only strengthened her drive and her love of the game. My advice to Anneli will be to always keep in mind what it is she loves about playing basketball and to believe in herself,” Paul said.
Without her immediate future decided quite yet, Maley did go on and tell us about her goals, “so in the near future I have the U19 World Championships in Russia, I am really looking forward to representing my country. Being double bottom age for that does not intimidate me, it only makes me want it more. It also means that I will have an opportunity to do U19s as a top age 2 years from now which really is something that I hope to do. I also would love to go to College in teh US. That has been a dream for me ever since I was little.”
Maley continued, “after I hopefully have the chance to play College ball, I can’t say I want anything more than to be an Opal. To represent my country at an Olympics would be an honour. I would also love to play professionally in Europe and the WNBA as well as the WNBL.”
Paul added, “that if she keeps a level head, follows her heart, believes in herself and always gives 100% – everything else will take care of itself. Fortunately she seems to be on the right track.”
A rising Australian talent indeed, Maley will continue to have her options open as long as she continues with her hard work and preparation, all of which seem to show no sign of stopping.