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Player Spotlight – Vanessa Obanor

As the new season progresses, we’ll take the opportunity to catch up with a number of players across the league to examine what makes them tick, how they got into basketball, their goals for this season and beyond, and much more.

We get things underway with Derby’s talented centre Vanessa Obanor. Derby are still waiting to get their WEABL campaign underway for 2021/22, but Obanor made a huge impact in the recent Summer Showcase, averaging 10.5 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.75 blocks per game.

Name: Vanessa Obanor

Position: Centre

Team: Derby Trailblazers Academy

Tell us a little about yourself:

I’m originally from Farnborough in Hampshire and I only started getting into basketball properly last year.

I played one season of Jnr. NBL at U18s but my basketball experience is still very limited.

How and where did you first get into basketball?

I started playing for a local team called Farnborough Phantoms, and it all went from there.

Can you a remember a moment when you decided basketball was something you wanted to play more seriously? What happened?

Last year was the turning point for me when I begin realising basketball was something I wanted to take more seriously and invest time in.

I only fully decided that it was something I definitely wanted to pursue when I joined the Trailblazers last season.

What have been the biggest challenges of your basketball career so far?

Probably my lack of skill and knowledge in comparison to other players that have been playing basketball a lot longer than me.

I had to learn a lot in a short space of time when I started playing here at the academy.

Who is the toughest player you’ve faced?

Probably Shaniya Rose from Nottingham, who played WEABL and WBBL last season.

What are your current goals for the season?

To win as many games as possible and gain as much experience as I can.

Do you have any plans or goals for next season?

Hopefully to move on to play at the next level somewhere and continue my basketball journey.

I’m not sure where that is right now but we’ll see.

What are you currently working on to take your game to the next level?

Mainly my shooting and ball handling, they are the two things I’m working on right now.

What advice would you give someone who is just getting started in basketball?

It takes time to get better so consistency is very important. Stick at it, the results will come.

Who is your favourite basketball player and why?

Nikola Jokić, just because of how versatile he is and how talented he is. Not just in the post as a forward but his passing and all round game.

Main image credit – Lauren Newham