By Angus Glover's parents Mandy and Allan | Raising an elite athlete, whilst raising a great per
Preface by Janx....
I've been a big fan of Angus Glover for some time.
First seeing him emerge as a future Australian junior at U16 National Champs in Adelaide in 2013 and then again emerge as a future Boomer at U18 National Champs in Ballarat in 2015 was awesome to watch. He played on the court with a great work ethic, team spirit, efficiency and very skilled for his size and level of athleticism.
Last July I was asked to Assistant Coach at the Centre of Excellence Elite Prospects Combine, and Angus was on our team (team Gold). He was just coming back from a knee injury which would have been tough for him but exciting at the same time. He was under specialist orders to phase into the games and not play all the games so he played a couple of games and worked with the coaches in the others. He is a phenomenal guy. You could see how much he had missed playing and was just so excited to play again, he loves the game. His insights and scouts during the combine for our team showed basketball knowledge, leadership and IQ developed well beyond his years. Even though I was coming in as an outsider he was so respectful and would at times just keep talking and talking hoops, he was so excited to be back playing, which was a lot of fun to see. He is one of those kids that you work with for a brief time that you remember afterwards as much for how good a player they are, as well as being a great bloke.
Pictured: Team Gold at the Basketball Australia prospects combine, with Angus 2nd in from the left.
I have spoken to some of Angus’ South Aussie born team mates (in the CoE and/or National sides) about him and here is one of them had to say:
“Angus is a great competitor. Playing at the point, he gets his teammate involved really well. He's really good off the dribble can get really hot from outside. Great athlete, can dunk on your much bigger guys!.... He is also a great kid off the court.”
Another team mate of Angus’ comments:
“Angus is one of those kids in which you know every time he steps onto the court, he's ready to compete. And he wants to win, no matter what he does, whether it's basketball or anything in life, he is a natural winner - a characteristic that is sometimes hard to find but very valuable. He will do anything he can to win and he makes his teammates better in the process by keeping them accountable at all times. There's never a dry moment with Angus, he'll always be doing something to make the time off the court enjoyable. He always has a joke to provide a laugh, and you can count on him to take that joke way too far. Awesome guy”
Obviously he is highly respected and liked by his team mates too.
I've asked Angus' parents to blog on "Raising an elite athlete, whilst raising a great person", primarily Mandy (his Mum) has written the answers below, with input from Allan (his Dad). In talking to them it strikes how proud they are of their son for his personal values and qualities, even more so than they are for his significant basketball achievements so far. The more I spoke with them the more I realised that they were keen to be self -deprecating in Angus’ achievements, preferring to acknowledge and credit HIS sacrifice for where he is today. However, reading between the lines, of their honest account of his journey, and knowing the sacrifices parents of elite kids make for their kids they certainly did make a lot sacrifices. National Championships, which they refer as opportunities for them to holiday and catch some hoops too, drives from Illawarra to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, early morning practices, coaching his teams and much more. Clearly they would not have had it any other way. They are loving parents but you can see they don’t overly invest emotionally into his oncourt success or failures, not riding that roller coaster too much. With maybe the exception, understandably, at his first World Championships, if you read what they say about the emotions of that. They DO prefer to place much greater value on the positive values and character traits that their son developed through the sport than any oncourt basketball success or failure. In Angus’ case I’d say more success than failure but there were clearly bumps on the road.
As parents if our sport helps to develop young men like Angus, and many others, such as all of our featured athletes, then surely the investment and sacrifice made is a worthwhile one.
It is a challenge blogging at times because you really do put yourself out there a bit. Especially in the context of blogging about one’s family. The Glovers do understand the positive purpose of this blog and want to offer their great insights and experience to other parents, through this platform, going through similar adventures. This is also first time I have directly asked for a blog from virtual strangers and I really appreciate the willingness to help us all by providing these insights, showing their community spirit and values in the process.
Over to the Glovers.....
Allan and I have never “blogged” before so here goes:
Your own sporting background?
Allan and I both played basketball as juniors. Allan played junior rep for Illawarra up until under 16s when he then decided to concentrate on his other love, golf. Allan is now a very good junior basketball coach. I played basketball at a junior and senior rep level and also represented NSW at Nationals all the way from under 16 to under 20s – making several Australia train-on camps along the way. I also played in the SEABL back in the 80s.
Coming from a sporting background yourselves how do you see the role of parents of an elite athlete?
I guess as parents your role is really to constantly support your child and to guide them through whatever pathway they have chosen and to then believe in that pathway. I really believe that there are different pathways for everyone and success can be achieved by those who work the hardest and thrive on being challenged every day. There will of course be knockers along the way and believe me Angus has had a few but I think our role is just to listen, support and provide what guidance we can. I think it’s also important to keep them “real” – we have always said to be successful at anything, one needs a certain level of cockiness but never ever arrogance! Stay humble, be modest, and work harder.
Pictured: Angus clearly stared working on his dunks at a young age.
Pictured: Clearly the dunk practice he got above has paid off in later years!!
What kind of sacrifices did you guys make as a family for Angus along the way?
As I have already told Andrew, Allan and I don’t really believe we made sacrifices in our support to Angus. Sure we very rarely sat down to dinner together as Angus’ schedule was so full on and we had to plan any family holidays around Angus’ basketball but we wouldn’t have had it any other way. Of course being an elite athlete can become very costly with camps here, trips and weekends away there, state camps and Nationals. As parents we actually saw Nationals as a chance to holiday and see other parts of the Country and have made some great long lasting friends along the way. Without a doubt, Angus is the one who has made the real sacrifices – but I guess if you want to become the best, elite athletes have to make sacrifices. So no pre- teen or teenage parties, no sleepovers, missing out on extra school activities because his basketball always came first, away at camp for birthdays – his week nights and weekends were devoted almost solely to his training. As well as the many 6am shooting sessions he would have at the Snakepit before school – Friday nights at 9pm when he could get a court to get more shots up. We are often told that “gee Angus is lucky”. To which we reply “well actually luck has nothing to do with it”. Angus has worked damn hard for everything he is now reaping the rewards of.
What has been the high point for you guys in Angus' playing career so far in your eyes?
We have many many high points thus far, including watching him play for the first time after his time off as well as watching him play his first game for our beloved Illawarra Hawks in the NBL. But without a doubt the high point for us was when he was selected to the Emus, the under 19 Australian men’s team back in 2015 as a 16 year old! What a whirlwind year 2015 proved to be. Allan and I were able to head over to Greece to watch him play for Australia for the first time (and hopefully not the last) and I can tell you, when you see your child in the green and gold for the first time and they play the national anthem to say you are bursting with pride is an understatement. There were tears galore and proudly so, even from Al (Angus' father).
Pictured: Angus made the U19 National side as a bottomaged player and had a particularly big game in the final one vs Spain. This would have solidified him on the radar of St Marys College. Parents clearly very proud indeed and value Australian representation very, very highly.
How would you describe the personal values Angus carries as an athlete?
Angus is a very unselfish person and player. He is always thinking of others and is always up for a chat with anyone with his usual smile. He is very competitive by nature and of course this shows on the court. Angus is also a bit of a perfectionist and likes to do things “the right way”. He filled in as a floor wiper at a Hawks game at the ripe old age of 7 and because he took his job so seriously and did it so well, they asked him to continue. He is fiercely loyal and I think this is what makes him a great team mate. He is all about the team and always has been. Of course he is feisty and passionate – yes on and off the court.
Did he play other sports?
He did play AFL and cricket. He loved AFL but was a little impatient with the modified cricket game. He also played soccer when he was 5 but soon gave that away because he got bored and was way too competitive for the other littlies.
Pictured: The calm before the storm. A young athletes junior career is often over so fast that parents are shocked with how quickly it is over once they are adults. Just a few years after this picture is taken Angus is playing for Australia at the World Championships.
What age did he specialise in basketball?
By aged 10 he decided to give that awful cricket game away and give his all to basketball. I was so disappointed – not. He had after all wanted to be a pro basketballer since he was about 2 and would tell anyone who would listen to him.
How did you encourage him into basketball and/or sport in general?
I guess because of our love for the game it just seemed like a natural progression. He was always outside (or even inside) with a ball of some description in his hand. When I was still playing in our domestic comp he would often come along as a 4 year old and pretend to be our coach – pacing up and down the sideline barking instructions. He would watch Hawks training sessions and mimic them on the next court – very cute.
I assume he had coaches you did not agree with how did you manage that process?
Angus has been very fortunate to have had some great coaches. Some he now sees as much more than just coaches – they know who they are. He, of course like most kids, has had a coach or 2 that he didn’t particularly agree with nor like. What we have always said to him is that in the real world he will always come across people that he might not like nor agree with like teachers, bosses and / or even coaches – it’s an unfortunate part of life - it’s how you cope as a person and player with this that will make you who you are and who you will become. I think he listened!
Pictured: Angus rising for the NSW Country team. A program respected in recent years for batting well above its weight. It is the values that kids like Angus brings to a program that reverberates amongst other athletes coming through and success breeds success. Hopefully South Australia is heading this way with our recent successes and great athletes coming through
Describe the conversations in the car ride home after he played?
Depends on who was coaching – no only joking. His dad did coach his Under 18 Illawarra side just before Angus left for the CoE and actually the ride home was pretty good. Being a little on the fiery side (blame the red hair) Angus at times would let us know what he was feeling but most of the time he would hop in the car, pop his seat belt on and before we left the car park he was sound asleep. He can sleep anywhere – amazing.
What was his time like at the COE?
Another of his goals from a very early age was to go to the AIS on a basketball scholarship. When he missed selection as a bottom ager on the silver medal winning Australian under 17s team in 2014 he was asked to spend some time at the CoE and play a few SEABL games. This fueled his passion to get there full time even more. He then trained every weekend for the next few months with the team. I would pick him up from school at lunchtime on Friday, drive straight down to Canberra, drop him off, drive home to only drive back again on Saturday and bring him back home. Yes you guessed it – he slept. He filled in again in 2015 and by July 2015 he was there full time. He is still there and he absolutely loves it. We consider him, for want of a better word, very lucky to have been given this opportunity. I say for want of a better word because we believe you make your own luck by hard work, dedication, commitment and perseverance – not just in the sporting arena but in life in general. His time at the CoE has been extremely valuable for his development – both as a player and as a person.
Pictured: Angus is a recognised leader and very respected by peers at the CoE.
How did you help him through his difficult injury?
So whilst 2015 had some amazing highs for us as a family it also brought with it a very deep low for us all. Angus tore his ACL in August, just a little over a month after returning from the World Championships and after only being at the CoE for a few weeks. Angus had never in all his time playing missed a game through injury so this was all very new to us. He did his pre-hab at the CoE with some amazing people supporting him before surgery in Canberra. He then came home for a couple of weeks. Back to Canberra to start on the long rehab ahead. We were so grateful he was able to do this at the AIS given the awesome facilities and great staff there. It was obviously the best place for him to rehab but for us I think it was harder because we were not able to see his progress first hand. Luckily for him, Marianna Tolo was also re-habing from the same injury at the AIS at the same time so they hit some milestones together, which was nice. He was amazing through the whole thing although he did, as you would expect, have some low times. He was raring to get back into full training long before he was allowed to and had to be held back many times. As parents of any child not just an elite athlete it is probably one of the most difficult things to go through as you feel so helpless. He of course worked his butt off, never complained or whinged, hitting milestone after milestone and back at it at for his first game at the Elite Prospects Combine that Andrew mentions in his preface. He has an amazing work ethic.
How did you balance the needs of a relatively (compared to other kids) high profile athlete and the need to develop other areas (eg. Household chores, being considerate of all others etc.)?
Angus has always been a considerate kid – very polite and well mannered. He always has time for those who want a chat and more recently his autograph which he of course finds amusing – that was him only a few years ago. I think if you lay the ground work when they are youngsters they will come out the other end as polite, considerate young adults. I will say this though - he definitely has the gift of the gab. I think we and his many coaches and team mates have always kept him pretty grounded.
How did you support him whilst being out of home at such a young age at COE?
We didn’t really have to do too much. Because he had been going down there on and off for a while already it was a fairly easy transition for him, and us. They do have to grow up very quickly though – managing their schedules, school and homework / study – we know he is very well looked after and well supported, on and off the basketball court but its lovely when he comes home to visit.
What next for Angus?
Firstly he will commence the SEABL season this weekend with a double Melbourne road trip – he has been hanging for these games and is excited about playing with his CoE brothers. He will then head off shortly to Portland after being selected to the World Team at the Nike Hoop Summit. This is an amazing achievement and an awesome opportunity for him. Following a week of training he will then suit up for the World Team in a one off game vs the USA team on the 7th April. I know he is really excited and looking forward to meeting his team mates and coaches. Once back from that he will concentrate on his CoE commitments before hopefully back into the NBL.
Why bypass college?
So this is the tough one – it was absolutely his decision – one that he didn’t take lightly and agonised over. We are 200% right behind him and will continue to support him and his choices. He has trained with the Illawarra Hawks during this past NBL season and I think he got a real feel for what it takes to be a professional. His decision was made a few months ago now – he has decided to stay and try to carve a career out for himself here – that is, after all, what he’s wanted to do most of his life. He knows how hard he will have to work but hey, he’s never been afraid of hard work or a challenge before. Of course he will need and does have a plan B but for now he will continue to work his butt off, accept any challenges that come his way and hopefully get some W’s with his CoE brothers all while making his parents extremely proud!
Pictured: Angus playing for the Illawarra Hawks locking down on SA born and bred (former Sturt Sabre Junior) Adam Doyle, 36ers player. I am sure you we will all be supporting Angus through the next phase of his journey.