NCAA Aussie Player Focus – Tre Armstrong

WITH the year progressing, the National Collegiate Athlete Association (NCAA) basketball tournaments for men and women are just under a month away.

Plenty of players will be looking to make their mark, with the league well-known as one of the biggest platforms for showcasing talent in the world. Typically, the league is made up of players who have been born and bred in the system and in the United States, but there are some international imports who have impressed scouts enough to make the move overseas.

With the Australian basketball system as strong as ever, the number of Aussies in the NCAA system is growing on a yearly basis. This has allowed Australia’s finest basketball players such as Tre Armstrong to take their talents to the one of the biggest stages in the world and thrive in the new environment.

Armstrong was born in the coastal town of Burnie in Tasmania, where he spent his junior years developing a passion for the sport of basketball. Tasmania’s basketball opportunities were limited at this time, but he excelled throughout his time at the junior level of the sport.

He gained some recognition when he made the jump to gain a spot on the North West Thunder in the National Basketball League (NBL)1’s South league. He quickly rose to prominence with a number of outstanding shooting performances, with opposition teams unable to contain his lights-out shots from all over the court. Growing to 6ft 5in, he became one of the deadliest shooting guards in the nation.

From his 12 games with the Thunder, he finished with averages of 16.3 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game and 2.8 assists per game. His shooting percentages were also something to be marvelled, concluding the season shooting 43% from the field, 40% from behind the three-point line and nearly 70 per cent from the charity stripe. This was enough to get the attention of international scouts, and it wasn’t long before Armstrong found himself with offers to some of the finest schools in the United States.

However, he had already committed to a college team prior to his breakout year, and following the conclusion of the 2019 NBL1 South season, he packed his bags and headed over to California Baptist University to play for their basketball affiliate in the Lancers.

Following a quiet debut season where he was starved of minutes, his sophomore year delivered an impressive level of growth, improving his points by over seven points per game. He developed his game beyond just shooting, to develop basketball IQ and physicality that allow his game to be more balanced. His averages at the end of the year ended at 11.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

He found himself a crucial part of the team’s lineup, and will be looking to build on an impressive second season with the Lancers. He has also expressed interest in potentially becoming a part of Tasmania’s newest NBL team in the JackJumpers, given his connection to the Apple Isle.

In just the span of three years, Armstrong has proven himself a valuable contributor on one of the biggest stages in the world. If his development continues from his sophomore year, his name will continue to spread to teams across the globe.

Photo: Brodie Weeding

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