Basketball Crazy’s brief about Mark Worthington: You have to admire any player who has been able to achieve what Mark has achieved in his basketball career so far and he is still young. In Mark’s relatively short basketball career, he has won the MVP for the NCAA Division 2 college, NBL Rookie of the year, Gold Medal with the Boomers in Commonwealth Games, NBL Championship 2008-2009. This early success would lead many people to believe that he would be one of, if not the highest achieving athletes to come out of the South West of Western Australia and yet Mark’s age would suggest that there is much more to come.
Current Profession: Professional Basketballer
Family Members: Partner/Wife Fiancee Andrea
Children Taz - 6 months old
Career Qualifications & Memberships:
Degree in Speech Communications
Place of Birth: Bunbury, WA Year of Birth 1983
History of Involvement with basketball Highlights:
Junior Playing Career Highlights
· WA Country u/16, 18's
· Australian Junior Basketball Camps u/16, 18's
Playing Career Highlights
· Beijing Olympics 2008
· Japan World Champions 2006
· Melbourne Commonwealth Games Gold Medal
· NBL Championship South Dragons
· NCAA Div 2 POTY and NCAA Div 2 Championship
Most admired International or USA Coach: Mike Dunlap and Jerry Sloan
Most admired International of USA Player: Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant
Most admired Australian Coach: Brian Goorjian
Most admired Australian Player: Luc Longley
Most memorable basketball moment as a player: Olympics
Most memorable basketball moment as a junior player: Playing with mates
Mark’s most inspirational phrase: As one door closes another door opens
Basketball Crazy’s Interview With Mark Worthington
BBC Hi Mark, thank you for taking the time to talk with Basketball Crazy..
MW No Worries
BBC Congratulations on picking up a contract in Europe. How are things going for you over there?
MW Thanks, We are currently in the semi finals. Every round is best of 5 and we just swept Bonn. Actually the finals have been crazy so far as we are the 5th seed and beat the 4ths seed. 6th seed beat 3rd seed, 7th seed beat 2nd seed and 8th seed beat 1st seed. So we have home court advantage for the rest of the playoffs.
BBC How did the Europe offer come about? Can you advise us what a quality basketball player would have to do to pick up a contract in Europe?
MW I was actually having dinner at the VAT back in Bunbury about 5 days after the season had finished with the Tigers. The phone rang and it was the coach of Brose Baskets in Germany. He asked if I wanted to come to Germany and finish off the season with the team and I couldn't say no. I guess you have to have a) the skill set to play euro basketball, b) a good agent that has contacts overseas not just Australia and c) if your lucky (unlike myself) you would have a european passport i.e Joe Ingles, Dave Andersen.
BBC What would a typical week of training look like for a Professional player in Europe? Can you elaborate on what you would do each day?
MW I'm in a unique situation coming in late to a season and didn't have to do the grind of the early season but a typical week has been:
Mon: 10am weights - 4pm training
Tues: 10am Individual - 4pm training
Wed: 4pm training
Thu: 10am weights - 4pm training
Fri: 10am Individual - 4pm training
Sat: 10am Shoot around - 8pm game
BBC Mark, you come from a very Australian Football League orientated place in the South West of WA, can you tell readers why you ended up pursuing basketball?
MW In the end, basketball can take you all around the world and fortunately enough for me it has taken me around the world. I have seen a lot of memorable things through basketball which I know I would not have got from football.
BBC What is it like to be a full-on professional basketball player? Can you tell us about the good and the bad side of this type of career?
MW It's great. Getting paid for something that you love is fantastic. The good is, it isn't a 9-5 job, so I get to spend time with Andrea and Taz. Seeing and traveling to new places. Playing in front of thousands of people and being there entertainment for the weekend. The bad is the body takes it toll. My soreness when I wake up equals peoples boredem at work. It's part of the job.
BBC You seem to be a very determined aggressive player when you step over the line onto the court, do you believe your determination and aggressive nature gives you an advantage?
MW Coach Dunlap taught me how to compete day in and day out. I guess my aggressive side was always there but now I hate to lose, at anything. I think you have to be a little mean spirited to get the best out of yourself.
BBC Winning the NBL Championship must have been a dream come true for you and it must have been surreal to achieve this so early in your career. What was it like?
MW It was amazing especially being captain as well. At the Sydney King's we lost game 5 at home the previous year so it was a relief to have finally won one in my 4th yr as a professional.
BBC How did you feel when the team folded straight after winning a championship? Did this take some gloss off the achievement for you or was it business as usual but with a different team the next season?
MW I had mixed emotions. Really upset when it first happened with the owners Cowan and Geminder. I was then able to sit down with both of them and talk about why they did it. Both a very successful business men and Geminder especially is one of the wealthiest and smartest people in Australia. There reasons were very valid and I supported their decision. I would like to see them back sooner rather than later.
BBA As a professional athlete, how do you keep yourself mentally focused and how much of a role does Sports Psychology play with your training program both individually and team wise?
MW I'm young but I'm also old school. I don't believe Sports Psychology plays a lot into what happens today. Ask any old NBL or AFL player what sports psychology is and he'll tell you its a load of crap. Over thinking is probably the biggest killer in kids sport today. It was a term made up by someone who wanted to make money off sport. When your a kid you should play to have fun. If your lucky enough to have made it to the top then you should rely on the skills that got you there.
BBC Where do you see your basketball career going over the next five years? Would you consider other national and international offers?
MW At the moment my NBL career is over. I'm looking to play overseas for the next couple of year and enjoy the experience while my son is still young and I have the ability too.
BBC As an experienced international player, what do you find are some of the key skills that young players are deficient in when they step up to the court and what would you recommend players do to be more prepared for the challenges of playing at the highest level?
MW Even though the games are faster the real ability is making the game slower. Young people step into SBL, NBL and try to play too fast. Learning to take your time and not panic is the real skill. If I had to pick 1 offensive and defensive skill I would say, change of speed and 1 on 1 defense to be key.
BBC What do you like doing away from the court to wind down and take your mind off somewhere else to de-stress?
MW Now that I have a son, he is the ultimate way to unwind as he has no idea if I had 40 points or played my worst game. He only knows that I'm Dad and that's a cool thing. I have many interests off the court though. I'am a distrbutor of Gochi Juice. Starting a basketball tour company with Chris Anstey and love learning about real estate. So there is a lot of things to keep me occupied and sometimes there isn't enough hours in the day.
BBC Mark, you ended up participating in NCAA Division 2 College and achieving a great deal, is there any thoughts for you or regrets about not attending and participating in the higher profile NCAA Division 1?
MW Not at all. Sometimes the right Div 2 situation is better than 70% of the Div 1 situation. I had a great coach, I had a lot of success and at the end of the day nobody in Div 1 wanted to come play us for the simple reason that they knew we would beat them.
BBC As you are aware, more and more young Australian athletes are seeking scholarships in the USA College system. What do you see as so attractive for an Australian player to move to USA and attend college?
MW Let me start off by saying college isn't for everyone. It's hard work being away from family and friends at a young age. With that being said it can also be very rewarding. I can take you from being a boy into a man or a girl into a woman. You get the advantage of getting your college degree if you stick it out and if you have the right coach you'll be a lot better player coming out of it compared to when you walked into it.
BBC You ended up completing a qualification at college, can you tell us what that qualification was and do you believe that it will have any benefit or influence on what you do during or at the conclusion of your playing career?
MW I have a degree in speech communications with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism. I don't know if I'll use it when I'm done or not because I have met so many contacts through basketball. I also have the other things already in place for after basketball. At the end of the day it is important to have something behind you.
BBC If you had a say in developing the sport of basketball in Australia and received significant funding to establish something, what would you do?
MW Create a Junior NBL competition that would play before the main game. Bridge the gap between SBL/SEABL/QBL etc and NBL
BBC In your opinion what is the outlook for the Boomers over the next five years? Can you see a World Championship or an Olympic Medal being achievable?
MW Your always there to win a medal. Obviously dealt a big blow with Bogut for this World Championships but we have a lot of experienced players between the ages of 23 and 27 and with the continued development of some young player along with our experienced guys we have the recipe for success.
Basketball Crazy wishes to congratulate you on your successful playing career so far and we look forward to watching you continue to make great things happen on the court, particularly for the Boomers, good luck for the Boomer tryouts and the up and coming World Championships. Also thank you for participating in this interview. Readers will hopefully find your responses interesting and thought provoking to enable others to join you in the ongoing development of basketball in Australia.
MW Thank you
End of Interview