“Little Mailey would be very proud.” Three Futures Players spend a week with the UC Capitals

February 5, 2024 | UC Capitals news

From watching the game up in the stands one week, to sitting down on the bench with the team the next. It sounds like a pretty surreal experience, but it’s one that three aspiring basketball players were afforded, through the UC Capitals Development Player and Futures Day.

17-year-old Ella Collins and 18-year-old’s Sophie Brennan and Mailey Cunningham were lucky enough to spend a week with the UC Capitals, to get a taste of what it’s like to be a professional player, by attending training, film and scout sessions, workouts, and behind the scenes of game day.

Identified as one of the players of the future, Mailey said it was an amazing experience, particularly having the chance to chat to players, who have achieved exactly what she aspires to do.

“It’s so crazy to be here when I have watched them at the AIS when they played at the big stadium, and I was getting them to sign my shirt,” she said.

“To be here now is pretty surreal to be around it all – little Mailey would be very proud.”

Both Mailey and Ella aspire to play in the USA, before making their return to the Australian league.

“Vealy and the girls have really embraced us and shown us life as a WNBL player and it’s quite inspiring,” Ella said.

“For me, college is something that I want to do, but to know that this is a pathway that I can take in my hometown is really motivating and reassuring.”

“The next four years I’m planning to go to college in America but I do want to come back to Australia after that with how I’ve developed in college to join the WNBL,” Mailey said.

“There are some Canberra girls here that have been where I am, so just seeing them there is inspiring for me to be there too.”

One of those players is Nicole Munger. Sophie Brennan adding that the one-on-one workout with the USA international was a highlight of her week.

“Seeing how a professional team runs, and seeing all the behind the scenes has been great,” she said.

“We got to be in the film session, observe practice and a shooting session, we’ve done gym, and a workout with Nicole Munger.

“Munger has played everywhere so just getting to learn from her and what she’s learnt from all over the world has been amazing.”

Munger said the girls took the opportunity with both hands.

“They’ve been sponges, asking a lot of great questions, doing a lot of hard work. It’s been a lot of fun and what a great opportunity for them,” she said.

“They’re getting a really good grasp of what it’s like in the heat of the season as we play at the highest level in the country and that’s what they aspire to do, so it’s such a great opportunity for them and to get hands on experience.”