By JARROD POTTER
SWAPPING her notebook for the Australian playbook, Dandenong rising star guard Aimie Clydesdale is flying abroad to take on her next basketball assignment.
Clydesdale, 21, from Endeavour Hills, is one of a quartet of Dandenong Rangers set to represent Australia at this year’s World University Games, starting this week in South Korea.
Splitting her time between training and playing in SEABL and WNBL as well as studying a double-degree at Monash University is a hectic schedule, but Clydesdale wouldn’t trade it as her basketball opportunities have flourished including another chance to play for Australia.
“I finished exams on Friday, so this week has been a bit better as I prepare to leave,” Clydesdale said.
“I’m really excited about it – from what I’ve heard it’s a massive event and I’m really happy to put on the green and gold again, so it should be good.”
In her latest international basketball experience – after playing for the Gems at the world under-19s championships in Chile – Clydesdale is ready to put some of her world-game knowledge to the test and believes the side has what it takes to ace its way to the top of the world class.
“I think we’ll be really competitive – we haven’t trained as a team yet, but we’re going to South Korea a few days early to get into training and a lot of us have been involved with the Opals camps and we’ll gel pretty quick and do really well – or at least we hope to as that’s the goal,” Clydesdale said.
“Just bringing home a medal would be the major ambition.”
This year’s SEABL season is well under way – with Dandenong sitting first in the East Conference with an 11-3 record – and Clydesdale thinks all aspects of 2015 have been brilliant for her confidence on and off the court.
“SEABL has been a really good opportunity to improve my game – we’re doing really well and I’ve been invited to a few Opals camps during SEABL as well and that’s really helped my confidence and given me some experience,” Clydesdale said.
“Everything I’ve done this year has been a really good stepping stone towards a good WNBL season coming up, especially with Larissa (Anderson) being named coach – she’s my SEABL coach as well so I’m really able to start working with her now in preparation which is a real advantage to me.”
With Kathleen Macleod heading to Canberra, it leaves Clydesdale as the prime candidate to become the Rangers’ starting point guard in the 2015/16 WNBL season.
It’s a challenge Clydesdale is ready to take on as the next phase of her WNBL “apprenticeship” starts this October.
“I’ve done my apprenticeship – you could call it – in the last four or five seasons at Dandenong and I’ve managed to learn a lot from the people I’ve played with like Kath (Macleod), Cappie (Pondexter) and Leilani (Mitchell) – so I think I’m ready,” Clydesdale said.
“We’ve got a really young team so it’s going to be really exciting.”
The 2015 World University Games start later this week – running from 3-14 July in South Korea and information about the event can be found at www.gwangju2015.com