NICK Meaney had an unusual grounding in basketball - but it certainly hasn't done him any harm.
The 16-year-old captured the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award as his St John's College Woodlawn side took the boys title at the Aussie Dent King Year 9-10 Lismore Basketball Challenge.
Point guard Meaney, whose side defeated Trinity Catholic College Lismore 41-11 in the grand final, became hooked on the sport via YouTube about three years ago, but did not own a basketball.
Instead, he developed his craft using a soccer ball and a netball hoop.
"It was harder to get it into the netball hoop," he said. "Maybe it helped me having the smaller hoop to aim at.
"It was a similar target, but a bit unusual.
"I really enjoy playing. I like dunking and shooting, as well as playing alongside my teammates and mates from school."
The Year 10 student, from Ballina, was selected in his town's under-18 representative side last season.
He counts NBA star Dwyane Wade, who rose from the South Side of Chicago to become one of the best players, as an idol.
"I've just thought of how he has been a strong man on and off the court," Meaney said. "He seems to have a really good personality.
"I just try and play like him when I'm on the court.
"We always have a little rivalry with Trinity, so we're pleased to beat them in the grand final.
"We played well as a team and really worked together well."
The Woodlawn girls side also put in an impressive showing, seeing off Trinity 52-24 in the grand final.
Caralie Wilson captured the MVP award after leading her side's solid all-round showing.
Teams from Woodenbong Central School, Xavier Catholic College and Kadina High School also took part in the competition.
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