Local stars US-bound

Makur Jongkuch. (Supplied/Wyndham Basketball Association) 244277_01

By Alesha Capone

Four young Wyndham athletes are set to take their talents overseas after being selected to play college basketball in the United States.

Aaron Dolny, Kane Hynes, Makur Jongkuch and Kobe Pearson have all been part of Wyndham’s Big V Senior Championship collective this year.

Hynes and Dolny have both signed to Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Jongkuch to Navarro College in Texas and Pearson to Cuesta College in California.

Dolny, 18, and Hayes, 19, are set to fly out in September.

Hynes, a Hoppers Crossing resident, said he was “ecstatic” and ““very grateful” to be heading to the US.

“It’s one step closer to my ultimate goal of playing professionally, I definitely want to play in the NBL,” he said.

“It truly feels like a blessing and something I can do to make my club, family and friends proud.”

“I would like to thank all my coaches and everyone who gave me the opportunity to play at a national tournament in Queensland.”

Hynes said playing basketball was “almost like therapy” and allowed him to focus his mind on just one thing while on the court.

“It’s great to be in competition with friends, it’s a great environment to be around, especially at Wyndham,” he said.

His fellow future Umpqua student, Dolny said it was “a really good surprise” to find out that he had been accepted to the college.

“It’s definitely super exciting to have an opportunity to learn at a college level and be around guys who want to improve every day, it will definitely be a challenge and I’m looking forward to it,” Dolny said.

“I’m definitely trying to reach as high as I possibly can, I don’t want to settle for anything less than the NBA.

“I’ve been working towards it for a long time and I’m willing to do anything to reach my goal, I’ve put in a lot of hard work.”

Dolny played his junior career with Wyndham and transitioned from the Youth League into the Champion division this season.

His advice for other aspiring young basketball players was to focus on their own skills.

“I would say to them to not get too worked up for the teams you’re playing for or what level you’re playing at, if you’re willing to put in the work you will get there, he said.

Just like Hynes, Jongkuch – a Tarneit resident – began his junior basketball career at Wyndham.

Jongkuch, 19, said that he took up the sport about the age of 13, playing with his cousins and other family members.

“My goal is to play professionally at the highest level,” he said.

Jongkuch said he did not have a particular “dream team” in mind to play with as a professional the future.

“I love basketball and I’m happy to play anywhere,” he said.

Jongkuch said he was keen to start training and studying at Navarro College.

“I’m looking forward to just developing my body, preparing myself for the next step and getting closer to the next step,” he said.

His advice for young people hoping to college basketball in the US is simple.

“Stick to the plan and keep working hard,” he said.