New Hume City Broncos import Kelly Hardeman has wanted to play basketball in Australia for a number of years.
Having visited Australia while her sister was studying here, Hardeman, who grew up in the Philippines, decided if she ever player basketball professionally, that Australia would be a destination high on her list.
“I love everything about it,” she said. “It’s such a beautiful country and such a fun atmosphere. It’s all very friendly and a chilled place to live.”
Having arrived in Australia three weeks ago, Hardeman has one person to thank for her arrival at the Big V state championship club.
It was on the suggestion of three-time state championship most valuable player and former Broncos superstar Colleen Planeta that Hume got in touch with Hardemen.
“My school played against her [Planeta’s] school and our schools were rivals,” Hardeman said.
“We didn’t go at the same time, but we knew of each other. She connected the coaches here with me and it fell into place.
“I owe a lot to her. She spoke very highly of it and she loved where she lived and the team and it’s really well set up.”
Planeta is now playing in the WNBL.
During her time at Azusa Pacific University, Hardeman was named PacWest division player of the year and in the All PacWest first team of the year for three years running.
She has also had a stint playing in Denmark, after which she returned home to the Philippines for 10 months, before making the move to Australia.
While back in the Philippines there were attempts to get her to play for the national team.
It wasn’t to be this time, but Hardeman said she would love to represent her country in the future.
“I played a couple of scrimmages, but the paperwork didn’t end up working out,” she said.
“Even though I was born there and lived there for 18 years it didn’t work out. It would be awesome to play for them.”
For now, Hardeman’s focus is on the Broncos and the Big V season, which starts on this weekend.
The Broncos start their 2018 journey on Saturday night against the reigning premiers, the Sunbury Jets.
“Once we get all the pieces together I’m excited to see how far we can go,” Hardeman said.
“I’m expecting to go well and perform and the team to continue to have the success that I know Hume has had.
“I want to be able to continue their legacy and winning.”