Kuhle Ntshele, 17, a Grade 12 pupil at the Kuils River-based Western Cape Sport School, showed who’s boss of the basketball court by winning player of the tournament and most valuable player (MVP), at the Royal Bafokeng junior NBA/ junior WNBA annual invitational tournament, in the North-West Province, a fortnight ago.
To top off his achievements, his side won the gold medal and were unbeaten throughout the competition. The school’s under-16 girls’ side finished second at the tournament, losing 36-26 to hosts Royal Bafokeng.
With five schools in the tournament, each school played one another in a round-robin format with the top two going through to the final. The Western Cape Sport School had no problems in the round-robin stages and beat Royal Bafokeng A 57-38 in the final, which was also their biggest win in the competition.
Kuhle said winning the awards meant a lot . “The competition was tough, but most importantly we played like a team,” he said.
Kuhle said he enjoyed engaging with his school teammates because they haven’t played in a major tournament in a while. “Being debutants in a school competition, in another province and going on to make a statement on the court is something special,” he said.
No stranger to major competitions, Kuhle was part of the SA under-16 side that finished in the top eight at the Afro-Basketball championships, in Mali, last year. He was also named the top point guard in the country and eighth in Africa. He has been a regular in the WP set-up since under-13. “This is just the start of things to come,” said Kuhle who hopes to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Stephen “Steph” Curry who plays in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for California-based Golden State Warriors.
Coach Lindile “Lala” Khetelo said he was impressed with his team’s performance. “I knew it was going be tough but we succeeded,” he said
The school’s under-18 side are also doing well in the Cape Town Basketball Association league, lying third behind second-placed Spartans and log leaders Heideveld who beat them at the weekend 88-55.