Monday, March 12, 2012

Player Scout: Natalie Porter

Nat Porter has had an illustrious career in basketball, representing Victoria at National Championships, playing for a number of teams in the WNBL, as well as Italian team Lavezzini Parma, and winning the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics with the Opals. She won the Robyn Maher Defensive Player award for 2002-03, she was named in the WNBL All-Star Five in 2003-04 and 2006-07, and she was named WNBL MVP for 2007-08, when she dominated the league in all statistical categories.

While I admire her achievements, Porter has long been one of my favourite players for more reason than where she’s played.

Porter in action is like poetry in motion. Or like going to a highly anticipated blockbuster, where you expect to be impressed, but are still left speechless so when you turn to your neighbours excitedly to ask whether they saw that too, all you can manage are gulping noises.

Her post moves leave her opponents for dead and her jumpers are silk. And as much as she makes it look effortless with the ball in her hands, away from the ball she is one of the hardest workers you’ll ever see. Flashing, cutting, sealing and resealing, setting screens; always working.

The way she conducts herself on the court is just as flawless. She never gives up on a play, much less a game. She bounces back from injury, because she’s tough as nails. You won’t see her arguing with the referees, and sure as heck not swearing at them. She will not be the player who throws an elbow in anger or frustration. She plays with the spirit of a champion, because that's exactly what she is.

Now she devotes her time off the court to building futures. She coaches young players, and she leads these kids by her example. Not only is she helping them to build their futures, she’s also building the future of Australian basketball. And I couldn’t think of anyone better to do it.

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