The JCU Townsville Fire have signed one of the nation’s most exciting prospects, Zitina Aokuso, for the 2017/18 WNBL season.
In a homecoming of sorts, the 18-year-old, who created a social media storm last year when a video of her slam dunking at training went viral, will link up with the Fire after completing her commitments at the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence.
Widely regarded as one of Queensland’s most promising players, Aokuso will join a formidable Fire front court that includes five-time WNBL MVP Suzy Batkovic, Rio Olympian Cayla George and championship winner Darcee Garbin.
“Zitina is an exciting recruit for our club,” Fire coach Claudia Brassard said.
“She is one of Queensland’s most promising young athletes and I’m really looking forward to working with her.
“She is athletically gifted, an excellent rebounder and more importantly very eager to work on her game.
“She is a late comer to basketball and I see her as having a world of potential and I believe her competing against some of the best forwards in the nation everyday will help her improve her game.”
During the current South East Australian Basketball League season, Aokuso is averaging 8.3 points and 6.3 rebounds for the COE team.
Having represented Australia at underage level, the 190cm forward said she was looking forward to joining the WNBL and pulling on a Fire singlet.
— JCU Townsville Fire (@TownsvilleFire) May 30, 2017
“One of my goals was being able to play in and experience the WNBL and I’ve been blessed to reach that goal,” Aokuso said.
“After a year and a bit at the AIS/COE, I’ve grown so much in the game due to my determination and support from coaching staff.
“I am determined to bring a positive mindset – and drive – to excel in all aspects of the game.
“I’m really looking forward to Townsville itself, training and playing alongside – and against – the best in Australia.”
With two import positions still available, the Fire are working behind the scenes to round out their roster ahead of 2017/18 memberships going on sale from June 1.
2017/18 JCU Townsville Fire squad: Zitina Aokuso, Suzy Batkovic, Micaela Cocks, Darcee Garbin, Cayla George, Mia Murray, Marena Whittle and Kelly Wilson.