No experience necessary: Cats turn to star basketballer Michael Luxford with rookie pick

25 November 2013 4:10 AM

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No experience necessary: Cats turn to star basketballer Michael Luxford with rookie pick

FRESH from its success of converting former runner Mark Blicavs to the AFL, Geelong is now turning its attention to the basketball court.

And the Cats have taken their degree of difficulty to a whole new level, by adding a player with "no prior football experience" to their list as a Category B rookie.

Geelong announced on Monday that 18-year-old basketball talent Michael Luxford will join the club.

Luxford has represented Australia on the basketball court at under-17 and under-18 level but has no Australian Rules background.

Luxford is a 186cm, 92kg point guard and last year played in the FIBA junior world championships.

"It was an enormous decision for Michael and his family to go down a different path and choose footy," Cats recruiting manager Stephen Wells told the Cats' website.

"Michael is a very talented sportsman, a high achiever in basketball and school and after plenty of trials with him we can see genuine potential."

Last year Geelong made Blicavs, who at one point had his eyes on a possible Olympic berth, a Category B rookie. He proved an outstanding success in 2013, playing 22 matches in a ruck and roaming role.

The Cats will allow the Caulfield Grammar student to continue with his basketball commitments over summer - which includes next week's national schools championships and the Australian under-20 titles in February - while training with Geelong.

"The club has been very lenient and fantastic in allowing me to go back and fulfil my prior basketball commitments," Luxford said.

Among other criteria, a Category B rookie can be one whom has not registered in any football league in the previous three seasons - such as Luxford.

Other recent players to be selected as Category B rookies include international rookies such as Carlton's Irish teenager Ciaran Byrne, Sydney's Patrick Mitchell (also from a basketball background), Saint Jason Holmes (basketball), Port Adelaide Daniel Flynn (Ireland) and North Melbourne's Eric Wallace, who spent this year learning the game.


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