The second season in the WNBL will be harder for Jade Melbourne than her debut year says the Canberra Capitals coach, as people will have expectations, but he believes last year's rising star is ready for the challenge.
The 19-year-old is staring down the barrel of her second WNBL season with the Capitals, fresh off a silver medal at the FIBA Asia Cup in Jordan with the Opals last month.
Capitals coach Paul Goriss said a player's second year was harder than their first but he believed Melbourne was up for the challenge.
"I think people talk about ... where the ceiling is for her and where she can go with the game. What we've spoken about, with like Maddie Rocci and those other players that have been through here, is the second year is always a little bit harder because you're not coming in as an unknown," he said.
"Jade plays with tremendous energy, we've seen that and she plays with tremendous poise at the same time and, I think, that her game will continue to grow.
"People around the league definitely know who she is now. She'll continue to grow and we've put some great pieces in around her in the team, especially like in the backcourt, we've got a lot of depth and she just brings that energy, the quickness, the ability to get to the rim and shoot the perimeter shots."
MORE IN CANBERRA SPORT:
- Full home and away needed for ALW's integrity: Linton
- Matildas still fighting for maternity policy two years after promise
- APL promises name partner for ALW following concerns
- 'I couldn't afford to go': Bol backs new foundation to help young athletes
- Indigenous cultures shine through as 2023 World Cup embraces dual naming
Melbourne had dreamed of playing for the Opals since she began playing some 14 years ago at age five.
As she looks towards her first season outside of the WNBL hub getting underway next month, the Traralgon basketballer is still looking to grow her game following all the different roles she has played over the last 12 months.
"With my 19s squad I played a whole different role to what I play with the Opals. And I played a different role again in the hub last year," she said.
"My games grown and I've learned how to play so many different roles that, I think, I'll be able to bring that versatility here now with the Caps to help out where I can and just play my role. And whatever Goz and the team needs me to do, I'm happy to do it.
"I'm just enjoying and staying in the moment for everything. It has been a crazy 12 months, like I loved every minute of it, but I'm super excited now for a home and away WNBL season."
Melbourne and the rest of the Capitals were joined by WNBA-import Brittney Sykes on the court this week as they prepare for their first game against Sydney Uni Flames on December 5.
Gorris acknowledged the various roles Melbourne had played over the past 12 months, which began when she was thrust into a starting role last season.
He was hopeful the star guard and his 2021-22 squad would build on last year's season.
"She took that with both hands, obviously being the centerpiece of the under 19 team at the FIBA World Cup and then going to Asia Cup, where she had to earn her time to come off the bench and play a couple of minutes, but she came on and contributed to every single possession," he said.
"That's a great thing for a young player to be able to get those different kinds of experiences, playing those different roles because it makes them appreciate ... every minute that they get to play and that's where she'll begin to flourish with us."