LANGWARRIN’S MITCH GAZE MAKES VICTORIAN U16 METRO MEN’S TEAM TO PLAY IN THE AUSTRALIAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

LANGWARRIN’S MITCH GAZE MAKES VICTORIAN U16 METRO MEN’S TEAM TO PLAY IN THE AUSTRALIAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

WHEN your surname is Gaze and you play basketball, people expect a bit of magic when you step on to the court.

Fortunately for Mitch Gaze, he has the ability to match the famous name.

The Langwarrin 15-year-old is a second cousin of five-time Olympian Andrew Gaze and, just like his famous relative, Mitch is a shooting guard who likes nothing more than nailing a three-pointer.

He has developed into a fine young player in the junior ranks with the Frankston Blues.

And now Mitch is set to carry on the Gaze basketball dynasty after being selected in the Victorian U16 Metro Men’s team to play in the Australian junior championships in Geelong from July 5-12.

He says it’s a thrill and an honour to make the state side.

He is the first Frankston player in eight years to make the team; Ryan Broekhoff being the last.

Mitch credits his basketball ability to his dad, Rob, who was on the NBL lists of the Melbourne Tigers and North Melbourne Giants, and his Mum, Naomi, who also played.

He remembers “passing the ball around” with his dad at the age of five and jokes he has been “brainwashed” by watching footage of basketball great Michael Jordan.

Mitch has three younger brothers who also play and says their two-on-two games in the backyard are intense and have helped in his development.

“A couple of punches are thrown every now and then,” he laughed.

For the Blues, Mitch wears 10, the number made famous by Andrew Gaze.

He says both Lindsay and Andrew Gaze have had an influence on his career.

“Talking to them and getting tips and things like that … and watching Andrew play (has helped),” he said.

Long-term, Mitch hopes to go to college in America on a basketball scholarship.

But he says he needs to improve his marks at school and is working hard at it.

Mitch and his parents have been grateful to Elisabeth Murdoch College and its teachers for their help.

Frankston’s Emma Nankervis has been named as an emergency for the Victorian U16 Metro Women’s team.

Mitch is this week’s Frankston Leader Sports Star nominee.