International call-up

YALLOURN basketballer Alex Sheedy’s shining form for Fresno State last season caught the eye of national selectors fossicking for Opals, culminating in her first Australian cap.

The United States college player made her debut for the Emerging Australian Opals team, which is playing a series of international matches in China.

The former Moe, Morwell and Latrobe City Energy junior said the unexpected call-up was a huge thrill so early in her career.

“I was really shocked; it came totally out of the blue and I’m really honoured at the same time as being totally blown away,” Sheedy said.

“I’ve been hoping that it would happen, but I didn’t have any idea it would be happening now, maybe in a couple of years when I graduated college, so… I had no idea.”

The 20 year-old forward made her name with BigV side Dandenong Rangers before taking up a basketball scholarship with Fresno State University in California.

In two seasons at Fresno, Sheedy has played in all 67 rostered games, averaging 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and helped the side win the 2013 Reese’s Mountain West Basketball Championships.

She was subsequently named in the All-Tournament team and scored a career-high 21 points in the conference championship game to lead the league to automatic NCAA tournament qualification.

Sheedy said her time with Fresno had equipped her with a range of new abilities which had escalated her game to a new level.

“It’s given me a new skillset because I’ve had to adapt, learn new things and play in different positions so it’s really just helped develop my game,” she said.

The Emerging Opals, which is touring alongside the senior Australian team, is competing in the four-nation tournament against China, Hungary and the USA’s World University Games teams.

Having played against several of the US team’s key players with Fresno, Sheedy said she was keen to test herself against a smattering of the best young international talent.

“I just want to go out and do the best that I can and learn as much as I can from the senior players who have been doing this for so long and they’re so good,” Sheedy said prior to the tournament.

“I want to be able to bring that back to my team in Fresno and have another good season.”

The team departed on Saturday and the series concludes on 27 June..