Fuller fuelling fire with high hopes

CONTINUING to make her opportunities count whether she’s represented Australia, Queensland or competing in the NBL1, Hilary Fuller is grateful for the people she’s played alongside with.

Growing up in NSW in a small town called Woolgoolga, where Fuller’s mum was the coaching the mixed boys and girls social school team, it was Fuller’s siblings and mum that kick started her basketball journey.

“Both my sisters played for fun in primary school with my mum as the coach. I was always dragged along to training and one day I picked up the ball and followed in my sisters footsteps when I was 5 years old,” Fuller told Rookie Me Central.

“Basketball was just a fun game to me. When I moved to Brisbane in 2014, a coach picked me out for being tall and signed me up for club (Lang Park Lions) straight away.

“But I always followed in my sister’s footsteps which is really how basketball came about. They are both accomplished and successful athletes and for me it was always a sibling rivalry and competition to be better than them.”

Fuller says she enjoyed her time in junior basketball, citing the experience as crucial in her journey.

“I’ve played at Brisbane Capitals since my family moved to Brisbane in 2014,” she said. “I was double bottom age in under 12s.

“Playing for the Brisbane Capitals has become a home to me, I’ve grown up with these amazing people and I couldn’t imagine playing somewhere else.”

Fuller says while injuries have set her back but she turned the heartache into positives during her rehab.

“For me and most athletes there are a lot of things to overcome such as physical and mental stresses throughout basketball careers,” she said.

“My most recent barrier I had to overcome was a serious ankle injury in August last year. Two weeks into the injury when I still on crutches and unable to bear weight, I found out I made the Australian U17 Oceania squad which went away in October.

“I was so upset as I couldn’t make the camp and thought I had missed the opportunity to represent my country.

“Fortunately enough I was still selected in the team based on my U18 nationals performance and I had to speed up rehab so I was able to play in October.

“This was really hard on me and my body as I was so unfit and hadn’t played in months but I was cleared to play and it was one of the best experiences of my career so far which I’m really grateful for.”

Fuller’s injuries were not for the feint of heart, affecting several parts of her foot.

“I completely ruptured my Anterior Talo-Fibular Ligament (ATFL) and Calcaneofibular Ligament (CFL).

“I also ruptured the deep deltoid ligament and had a small fracture inside my foot. I sprained my deltoid ligament and spring ligament with an Intra substance split tear, which basically messed up my entire foot.”

“It was never easy and there is no set or simple way of coming over obstacles like this,” Fuller shared.

“This was really hard on me mentally and physically but I just had to surround myself with good and strong people and lots of hard work. It definitely helped having a massive goal to work towards and opportunity I have been waiting for my entire life that depended on me overcoming this obstacle.

“With any barriers you really just have to focus on yourself and what you can control rather than what others around you are doing and saying.

“In basketball I’ve dealt with a lot of different people and experiences but you just have to trust yourself and what you can control.

“I just go out there and be myself and do what I do best and all you can really do and that’s what has helped throughout so many experiences.”

Currently playing NBL1 in Fuller’s third year with the Brisbane Capitals in the NBL1 North Competition, Fuller says her excitement for the upcoming season is at an all-time high.

“This year we have a new coach and completely different looking team which I’m really excited about,” she said.

“It’s still only preseason but I think our team is looking really good and I’m enjoying getting to know all of girls and I think it’s going to be a great season.”

Fuller explains that it means a great deal to represent Queensland, and praised the experience as a whole.

“Representing my state is always an honour and a privilege for me and all the girls,” she said. “To get the call up is always exciting because I get to play for my state and especially for my family.

“I always wanna make them proud (and rub it in my sisters face).

“It means everything to play for my parents and have my sisters watching because I have always looked up to them and I really want to make them proud.”

“I absolutely loved my time at nationals, especially this year as i I got to play with new and different people due to the north and south teams being combined.

“It was really fun to play with girls I’ve been playing against my entire career because I believe north brought what the south team lacked.

“North girls have always been hungry in the sense they fight for the ball, give everything and are super aggressive with everything they do.

“This brought a sense of urgency and excitement to the team which I really loved. Everyone got on so well and I made some friends for life and I couldn’t have been prouder of them even though we didn’t get the result we wanted.”

Fuller admits she thrives with the competitive nature of representative basketball.

“I’ve been participating in nationals since U16s and I always love it because I can just go out there, be confident and do my thing against some of the best players in Australia,” she said.

“It is super competitive and I think that really drives me to play my best. Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales are always tough teams to come up against and that really motivates us to be aggressive and play with heart against them no matter the outcome but they are always the most fun games.

“It was tough losing by two in overtime in the semi finals against SA because while we gave it our all, I don’t believe that we were demonstrating Queensland’s style of play and it’s always hard coming off a tough loss and playing for third. No matter the outcome I’m so proud of how our team competed throughout the week.”

Whilst having a decorated journey to date, Fuller still has high expectations of her future, highlighted by a new chapter in the coming months.

“It’s always a dream of mine to be able to represent Australia again so that is always the goal,” she said.

“I am heading off the Belmont University in June for college and I can’t wait to see where that takes me in my basketball career.”

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