Brayden says there's no better feeling than playing basketball; especially when you shoot a goal.Photo Anastassia Perets / Central and North Burnett Times
Brayden says there's no better feeling than playing basketball; especially when you shoot a goal.Photo Anastassia Perets / Central and North Burnett Times Annie Perets

Brayden's head is in the game

STAR basketballer, animal whisperer and expert Minecraft player all describe Brayden Smith.

The nine-year-old takes to the court to play his favourite game for team the Vipers in Gladstone every week.

"Scoring in basketball is like winning the lottery. It feels like you have done something really amazing," he said.

"My team is unbeatable - we have won about 30 games so far.

"At the end of a game you're sweating out of your skull."

Brayden plays the point guard position, incorporating his strongest skills of defence and offence.

"I practice every free minute I get," Brayden said.

"I want to go on to be what my dad was and play basketball all over the world.

"And I want to grow to be seven foot one because the bigger you are, the easier it is to dunk."

Brayden started playing basketball from the age of five.

Now, he can do impressive tricks.

"Something I like to do is an alley-oop, that's where you jump up, catch the ball and slam it into the hoop without touching the floor," he said.

And no surprise, Brayden's favourite player is Michael Jordan.

"He's the best because he usually shoots from half way on the court, which gets you three points," he said.

Brayden said basketball is definitely not just about winning and there are a range of positive reasons to get involved.

"Basketball is educational and you learn things like cooperation," he said.

"It is so much fun seeing my team every Thursday."

Outside of sport, Brayden lives on a property in Builyan and has another love - his horse Rusty, who is also nine-years-old.

"We are really, really good friends," Brayden said.

"Everyday before school I say goodbye to him and say hello when I get back.

"I can stand and rub his cheek, and he will close his eyes and that tells you he's having fun.

"Whenever I get a chance on the weekends, I saddle him up and we just go riding to different places.

"We're planning to do barrel racing at a rodeo in the future and practice going around big trees in a diamond shape."

The constant travel to Monto where Brayden attends St Therese Catholic Primary School to sport commitments in Gladstone is not a worry, he knows how to keep himself entertained.

"I don't get bored because I have my iPad with me and play games like Minecraft on it," he said.

Brayden's dad Blair is the Vipers' coach. He is also a former National Basketball League player and Australian Junior representative.


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