Dandenong Basketball is thrilled to announce that homegrown star Dallas Loughridge and WNBL Canberra Capitals’ Gemma Potter have both signed on for NBL1 South 2021, joining us as the first official signings for our upcoming Senior Rangers season.
The DBA Family would no doubt have seen each star’s face coming into the stadium on our NBL1 fixture and they will both feature as leaders on the court as well, with Dallas leading us from the point and Gemma providing the presence of a WNBL veteran at just 19 years old.
Gemma had previously committed to join the UCLA Bruins on a scholarship but made the difficult decision to forgo that offer after COVID-19 restrictions interrupted her travel plans. Dallas will likely have similar college offers after impressing many during her time with the Rangers program, leading multiple Rangers squads to tournament titles and featuring in Victorian representative squads.
Coach Lloyd Klaman stated that he can’t wait to see these two young guns on the NBL1 stage with the Rangers this season, knowing both are ready to help lead a young and exciting Ranger Women’s squad.
“Gemma and Dallas are two of the top young players in the country and I’m looking forward to watch them stamp their mark on our program”, said Coach Klaman.
“I was very excited to find out that Gemma was available to play the entire seasons for us in 2021. It was very frustrating for her to have to deal with USA College/Covid drama with UCLA that dragged on for the entire year. Gemma is an incredible athlete who has a knack for winning championships, I believe she has won two club championships, five national junior championships and a WNBL championship. Although only 19 Gemma will be a leader within our group and has an ability to affect the game on both ends of the court.
“I think Dallas was surprised when I sat down with her to discuss my thoughts for her role in this year’s team. I believe she thought we wanted her to just come up and experience senior basketball, but I have no hesitation in turning over the team for her to run this season. Dallas is the ultimate competitor and has a basketball IQ well beyond her years.”
Both players recently came back from an U19 Australian Gems camp at BA’s Centre of Excellence ahead of the FIBA U19 World Cup, tentatively scheduled to be playing in Hungary this August. This camp and the upcoming NBL1 Rangers season will make the return to elite basketball for Gemma, having sat out last year’s WNBL season due to her commitment to UCLA.
Having now decommitted from UCLA due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions, Gemma’s attention is now fully focused on elite Australian basketball, stating that she’s thrilled to be back training and preparing to play in 2021.
“I am really excited too finally being back playing after the year that everyone had last year”, said Potter “I think having some certainty back in our lives has made the return to basketball even better.
“I had signed with Dandenong for NBL1 2020 before I was supposed to go to college so when Lloyd asked if I was wanting to come back this season the answer was given. There are great coaches involved both off & on-the-court and the group of players that we have are awesome.”
While NBL1 2021 will mark the return to elite senior basketball for Gemma it will be completely different for Dallas, making her debut in our NBL1 team in a starting role as our point guard.
Coach Klaman’s commitment to her in this important role may have come as a bit of shock but Dallas is ready to jump at the opportunity as she works to take her game to the next level.
“I’m really excited to be playing NBL1 this season and grateful to Lloyd and Dandenong for giving me the opportunity to play with and against some great players where I can learn and develop my game further,” said Loughridge.
“The preseason is coming together really well, we’re coming close to the finalisation of the squad and we’re learning how everyone plays and how to bring out the best in each other. I’m personally loving the transition between U18 to Seniors with the physicality and the competitiveness.”
The 2021 NBL1 South season tips off in less than a month’s time with the first NBL1 Rangers home event on May 8th. Stay tuned to dandenongbasketball.com.au for more information on ticketing, signings and this weekend’s NBL1 Blitz preseason competition.