Queenstowner Luke Aston is going through hoops to flog his car so he can join the New Zealand Breakers basketball side in style.
The 198cm-tall teen is Auckland-bound after being just one of 14 youngsters from around the country picked for this year’s coveted Junior Breakers development programme.
But he’s desperately trying to sell his $3000 Subaru Legacy so he can afford a plane ticket – rather than face a two-day road journey.
Aston, 18, had no takers for his motor at the recent Queenstown Car Fair at the Events Centre and has been trying to punt it on TradeMe.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed I sell it soon because I’m due to join the Breakers on Monday,” he says.
“Getting the car away is the difference between me flying to Auckland with some spending money or driving all the way and trying to sell it up there.”
The six-month Junior Breakers programme is designed to give rookies the opportunity to train with NZ’s top professional side, which plays in the Australian National Basketball League.
Former Wakatipu High pupil Aston attended Otago Boys’ High in Dunedin for the past two years.And it was there, he says, that he started taking the sport seriously.
“I always enjoyed playing for Wakatipu but I didn’t realise I wanted to focus on basketball until I was in Dunedin,” he says. “While I was there I got to train with the Otago Nuggets and I got a real taste for it.
“It was my coach at Otago Boys’ who put me forward for the Junior Breakers programme and it’s an honour to be chosen for it.
“I’ll now get to play against some of the top Division One teams in warm-up matches, then the Junior Breakers get to play in Division Two.”
He adds: “It’s going to be a bit daunting mixing with guys that I’m more used to seeing on TV.”
Aston hopes the experience will be a stepping stone to turning pro.
“I’d love to play for the main Breakers team one day and go on to have a long career in basketball.
“This is my chance to please the coaches enough that they ask me to stay on and I’ll be giving it my best shot.”
Aston comes from a sporting family. His 20-year-old sister Erin made the Southland netball team last year and was also chosen for the NZ under-21 tournament team.