Cromwell's young basketballers weren't questioning referee calls during their finals game with a former Tall Black and Breakers player on the end of the whistle.
Dillon Boucher was in Cromwell yesterday as a guest speaker to promote volunteering's One Community Project, which is based on the New Zealand Breakers' One Team philosophy.
"It's about having everyone as one. No-one is bigger than the team. We didn't have that philosophy in the early days. When they changed the values, that's when we started seeing success, and winning three championships was the fruits at the end of that," he said.
While in town, he refereed a basketball finals game between Cromwell Primary School and Goldfields, and played a game with the senior men's team.
Boucher, who is a commercial sales manager for the New Zealand Breakers, said he usually spoke at corporate functions, but "jumped" at the opportunity to speak for a good cause.
"This sport has been very good to me. It has taken me all around the world and given me a profession. I want to encourage kids to work hard at it so they can have the same enjoyment."
Boucher's career has included winning nine New Zealand titles, four Australian NBL championships and earlier this year he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Volunteers were critical to sport, and without them he may not have had a career in basketball, he said.
"I would not be here without volunteers. Without volunteers you don't have a sport, basically, because basketball is not rugby - that has a lot of money - it relies on volunteers and people's dedication makes it happen."
Organiser Sharon Smid said she hoped Boucher would inspire young people to connect to their community through volunteering and was thrilled her idea of bringing the basketball star to Cromwell had become a reality.
- The Southland Times
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