Chadley Hargreaves, Northwood‘s basketball captain, wants nothing more than a move to the USA, where he dreams of earning an opportunity to compete with the best players in the world. It’s his dream and ultimate ambition to take his talent to the highest level of the game.
From as early as when he was in the eighth grade, he noticed that he was a step ahead of his peers. He credits his brother for teaching him and challenging him to strive to improve. It was also in the eighth grade that he realized he could go far in the sport.
Chadley enjoyed the game, and because of that enjoyment it came easily to him, and it enabled him to play with freedom and to express himself.
But, as with any other sport, there are setbacks, and he has had to deal with those, too. He recalled one such moment in the final of the u18 SA National Basketball Championships, held in Bloemfontein in July.
He fouled out of the game with only two points to his name, which was a huge disappointment because he is a shooter. Also, for someone who had been scoring 18-20 points per game, this stung. The KZN team had been dominant and was winning its games by 40 to 50 points.
He recounted, too, missing an open lay-up, which he felt would have changed the complexion of the contest.
However, moments like those are also moments in which lessons can be learned. One can’t afford to dwell on missed opportunities, Chadley said, when your team needs you to show up and show out. Disappointments like those have taught him how to handle pressure in big games.
His career has already included some impressive highs, which inspires him to keep pushing the boundaries, believing he has it in him to make it as a professional basketballer.
One of those highlights was playing for the University of the Witwatersrand. “I might be wrong,” he acknowledged, “but I don’t think any school kid has ever had the chance to play for the university basketball team. It was truly inspiring, and it showed me that I have something inside.”
It was during the prestigious St John’s Basketball Tournament that he was approached by the coach of the Wits’ team. He said the coach thought that he was in matric, and he wanted him to come to Wits the following year and play for them.
“After I got in touch with them a few months later through their Instagram page, they said they’d keep in touch with me, and they did. Later on, I found myself representing them at the Ashraf Basketball Tournament.”
Playing at that level was challenging, Hargreaves admitted, because the players were “very physical”. That prompted him to work on his physicality and to endeavour to understand other aspects of the game.
Another high point of his career was making the SA Schools team after the SA u18 National Basketball Champs. He had fouled out early in the final, so he was a little surprised that he had been named to the All-Star team.
He works tirelessly on his ball handling and shooting skills and, said Hargreaves, he has learned a lot from his coaches and his teammates about discipline and leadership. His team has helped him become a better captain day by day.
Hargreaves is a student of the game, always ready to learn from others, and he mentioned his Northwood Knights’ teammate, Lusanda Hlongwane, as someone who has helped him to develop his skills. Not many people know Lusanda, “but they will, believe me,” he said.
Another player that he has learned from is Ben Kabuya, an old boy, who was a standout performer for Northwood before Covid-19 struck down the 2020 season. “Defending Ben on the court has been one of my toughest challenges because he’s a fast player,” Hargreaves said.
Speed is one of the weaknesses that he has identified in his own game. But he is a physical player, so his lack of top-end speed does not bother him too much. It is something, though, that he admitted he needs to work on, which playing against players like Kabuya has taught him.
Basketball is growing in South Africa, Hargreaves said, and he urged schools to introduce it to their learners at an earlier age. An introduction in grade eight is a big disadvantage, he reckoned. If basketball was given the attention that some of the other sports enjoy, it would benefit immensely.
Finally, he offered some advice to those just starting out in the game. He said they should play with freedom and enjoy themselves on the court. Basketball is competitive, but it is supposed to be fun, and the moment people start having fun playing it, it will come easily to them.
A passionate reader and dedicated writer, Siya possesses three degrees from Rhodes University including a Postgraduate Diploma at Rhodes University. He also played amateur cricket and soccer, both during his university years. While honing his journalism skills at Grocott’s Mail in Makhanda, he developed a profound interest in the community’s response to crime. Additionally, he covered topics such as art/culture and student politics at Rhodes University in 2022. In his spare time, Siya can be found exploring galleries, dining at restaurants, indulging in literature, taking photographs or savouring his favourite dish, spaghetti.