The 23-year-old 'veteran' leading Canada's women's basketball debut
In less than a year, 23-year-old Ruth Hamblin has gone from being one of Canada's youngest basketball players to one of its oldest.
She broke into the national squad for the World Cup qualifying AmeriCup tournament in Argentina last August as the fifth youngest player on the team and third youngest among those who played major minutes.
At GC2018, however, the 201cm centre suddenly finds herself the third oldest player on a youthful Canadian team that has no players over 24.
"It’s a bit of a switch of roles," Hamblin said. "It changes how you handle yourself, knowing you’re expected to be a leader. But it’s a fun opportunity to be that veteran when you’re 23."
Hamblin, who led Canada in rebounding and was third in scoring at the 2017 AmeriCup, joins her AmeriCup teammate Shay Colley, 22, as the most experienced international players on the team at GC2018.
Coach Stephen Baur hopes they will mentor their younger teammates, including 16-year-old Merissah Russell and 17-year-old Niyah Becker, as Canada looks to the future.
"We want those two (Hamblin and Colley) to take on more of a leadership role," Baur said.
"They broke through last summer, made the senior roster, and now we can put them in that leadership spot and provide some direction to the younger girls."
Although the team is inexperienced at senior international level, Canada ranks fourth in the world in the International Basketball Federation's (FIBA) Youth Women category and is one of the medal favourites at GC2018.
"We have high expectations," Hamblin said. "We have a very new group, a lot of us haven’t played together before, but the talent level certainly hasn’t dropped off.
“I think it’s going to be a matter of how we come together as a team in the next few days training."
Hamblin is no stranger to playing in Townsville. She played with the Perth Lynx and then the Adelaide Lightning in the Australian Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) for the last two seasons, alongside one of the Opals, Nicole Seekamp. Canada is expected to be one of Australia's toughest opponents for the gold medal.
This article was produced by Games News Service.