Mitch Philp returns to the Rockets for their crucial clash against the Townsville Heat tomorrow
Mitch Philp returns to the Rockets for their crucial clash against the Townsville Heat tomorrow Allan Reinikka

Crack shot lines up

NO ONE had beaten assistant coach Wade Anderson in a shoot-out in his four years at the University of Western Florida.

That was until he met Rockhampton's Mitch Philp.

After leading Monterey Peninsula College to the Coast conference play-offs for the first time in four years, the talented basketballer has his sights on moving up into one of a handful of NCAA division one schools.

One of the leading contenders for Philp's services for the 2011/12 season, the University of West Florida flew Philp out for a three-day visit to inspect the college's basketball program, and to run the 21-year-old through his paces.

As part of the program, Philp took part in a head-to-head free throw shoot-out with Anderson, who said he had never been beaten in his time at the university.

Anderson managed 25 from his 30 attempts while Philp nailed all 30 shots from the line to stun the assistant coach.

“He reckons he was having an off day,” Philp said with a smirk.

Philp returns to the Republik Nightclub Rockhampton Rockets for their crucial clash against Townsville Heat at Hegvold Stadium tomorrow night and it's that type of accurate shooting that Rockets head coach Neal Tweedy is looking for to turn around the side's three-game losing streak.

Having top-scored in the Rockets' semi-final win last season before playing a leading role in the championship match, the two-time All Conference player also finished the season as Monterey's leading scorer, and believes he not only possesses the accurate shooting to help the Rockets scoring, but can raise the tempo of the Rockets' offence.

“I bring a lot of enthusiasm to the court. I'm a lot fitter than I used to be,” he said.

“I can push the tempo and help move the ball up the court and hopefully get guys some easy shots.”

Townsville is currently undefeated to start its 2011 QBL season having beaten Cairns, Northside and Mackay in the opening three rounds of competition and will be a tough ask even in front of a vocal Hegvold Stadium crowd.

Philp though is looking forward to the challenge.

“I'm really looking forward to getting back playing in front of the (Rockhampton) crowd,” he said.

“(Townsville) will be tough. On paper they've probably got the best roster in the QBL, but being back at home will surely help.”

While his first priority at the moment is to return the Rockets to the winners' circle, Philp has the enviable task of deciding between two US colleges, West Florida and Hawaii Pacific University, or a contract in the NBL.

“I'm halfway though my business management degree and I'd like to get that finished,'' he said. “But, then to get a shot in the NBL would be awesome too.”

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