Students at USQ Ipswich were treated to a special visit from Australian Boomers and Brisbane Bullets basketball coach Andrej Lemanis recently.
Lemanis was joined by Bullets assistant coach Mick Downer and General Manager Richard Clarke in a Q&A panel discussion.
The trio shared their insights into the game and their views on what it takes to succeed in not only elite sport, but in life.
Lemanis, a two-time National Basketball League (NBL) coach of the year and three-time NBL championship-winning coach, highlighted the importance of always looking for ways to improve.
“To be better, you need to be who you are, but keep learning as well,” Lemanis said.
“Explore and be open to new ideas, but don’t be scared to scrap it if it doesn’t work.
“Sometimes I’ll try things I have no idea if it will make any sense or not, but by giving it a whirl that way I can get some feedback from the team on whether they think it’s valid or not.”
Lemanis, who holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, also offered tips to students on how they can respond to challenges during their academic and professional careers.
One story he shared was about Australian NBA player Matthew Dellavedova when he was left out of the Boomers’ 2010 FIBA World Championship squad.
“I remember sitting with him in that meeting when I told him he had missed selection and you could see he was disappointed,” Lemanis said.
“But his immediate response wasn’t to blame it on anything or argue with the coaches. Instead he got out a notepad and started writing down all the things I told him he needed to work on.
“He took that away, practised and worked hard on those areas of his game and two years later he was the starting point guard for the Australian Olympic basketball team.
“Nothing is handed to you on a plate. You have to be prepared to get in the trenches, do the work, and for me, it’s also important you stay humble.”
USQ Sport and Exercise student Matthew Cox also featured on the panel and shared his experience interning at the Bullets for the past two seasons.
Downer was quick to throw praise Mr Cox’s way for his attitude and professionalism.
“We have lots of people come through the door looking for experience and the thing that separates Matty from others is the way he was received by everyone in the locker room,” the Bullets assistant coach said.
“He was prepared to do whatever it takes to help the team, whether that was rebounding a basketball or learning how to use a shot clock.
“Matty knew what he wanted to achieve from an academic point of view, and the players respected him for what he was doing, but because he was always willing to help is why the guys loved having him around the place.
“The lesson here, for all of you, the best way to separate yourself from the pack is by embracing the environment and getting out of your comfort zone.”
USQ teamed up with the Bullets as the club’s Official Education Partner for the 2017/18 NBL season, a partnership which has opened up a number of opportunities for USQ students to work with the Bullets.
USQ offers a range of degrees suited to students who have an interest in sport, including Sport and Exercise, Psychology and Health and Physical Education.
For more information about studying at USQ, visit Study.
(L to R) Matthew Cox, Mick Downer, Andrej Lemanis and Richard Clarke.