Maitland Mustangs Youth League player Keegan Harvey has flown out to the United States to take another step towards building his future in basketball.
While most year 12 students deal with the typical heavy workload that their final year of school brings, Harvey has found a commendable balance between academics and pursuing basketball.
Standing at 210cm (6 foot 11 inches) and only 17 years of age, Harvey is already standing out among his teammates who are several years his senior.
This April he will spend two weeks playing in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) tournaments followed by the entire month of July.
"The change of scenery is really refreshing and allows me to purely focus on the sport," Harvey said.
The opportunity to play in the AAU gets him on the hardwood in front of college scouts and exposes him to some unique on-court experience that will raise his game.
"The company [AUSA Hoops] that puts the tour over there together helps Australian kids develop their college pathways," Harvey said.
This September, Harvey will attend a preparatory school in the United States. Harvey will still complete his Higher School Certificate exams later this year while attending prep school under the observation of a supervisor.
A similar opportunity provided a large stepping-stone for fellow Hunter Valley basketball player Myles Cherry to then attend Lafayette, a Division 1 College on a basketball scholarship and Harvey is hopeful this plan could lead him down a similar path. He is hoping his time in the United States will generate some interest from good academic colleges such as Princeton, Lafayette, and Stanford.
With a 216cm (7'1) wingspan it's safe to say that these upcoming goals are well within his reach.
While the Centre of Excellence in Canberra (Australian Institute of Sport) offers an elite program for young Australian players, the opportunity is only given to a select few.
"Growing up I was really underdeveloped and they [COE] didn't look at me much but AUSA always had faith in me. For what my goals are, this path is technically better," Harvey said.
Over the years Harvey developed under the watchful eye of coach Rohan Stevenson who saw his journey begin from Hunter Academy of Sports at a young age right through till now still offering guidance. He has been instrumental in helping Havey field offers from Prep schools all over the United States.
Stevenson describes Harvey as a smart basketball player and displays superior shooting skills all while being the size of a power forward.
"A big man that can really shoot," Stevenson said.
While playing in the NBA is his ultimate goal, the possibilities of playing in Europe or the Australian NBL are also opportunities he would be extremely grateful to have post-college.
During this current Division 1 Youth League season in Maitland, Harvey has put up an average of 15.83 points per game.
In addition to his Youth league team at Maitland Mustangs, he has also taken on a development player role this season with the Championship Men's league team.
"This is my best access to professional sport and being able to train twice a week with them and play on weekends, being around that culture and in the locker-room, it's a really good set up for what I'm trying to do in the future," Harvey said.
"I'm making the most out of being trained here, playing against older guys, getting better myself is good."
With scholarship offers rolling in already, Harvey is set to become another athlete from the Hunter Valley that will in time provide bragging rights for his clubs in both Newcastle and Maitland.