June's Featured Player: Callista Koh
Possibly one of the biggest LeBron / Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans you could ever know, Callista’s support for the NBA superstar and his team is pretty hard to match. Often decked in Cavs gear and LeBron shoes during training, Callista is as intense and focused as her idol, working hard on both ends of the court with a playing style that is both dominant and unselfish.
12-year old Callista started off her basketball journey 4 years back in Primary 2 at Yangzheng Primary, where she joined the basketball CCA and went straight into the school team. Her basketball teacher-in-charge, Mr Jason Goh was one of her first mentors in the game, who inspired her with his passion for the game, spending long hours training her team in school.
Callista joined SG Basketball in 2014 and returned to the academy after a break to hone her overall skills, in order to become a better player in her school team.
At 1.57m and 42kg, Callista has improved herself over the past year to become an elite ball controller, with slick ball-handling skills, good court vision coupled with an uncanny passing ability, and a mature offensive game.
Callista’s school team achieved Nationals 2nd place in 2017 and 4th in 2018, where she was recognized with a National level Certificate of Excellence, the Outstanding Player award, being only one of 4 recipients in the division she played in.
Her family shares her passion for basketball, as her siblings Carnegie and Calvin are also training in SG Basketball Academy. Callista’s parents are very supportive and her mum can often be seen helping her to take a couple more extra shots after training. They also bring them to watch live NBA games whenever possible. Callista’s last trip to the US saw her family watch a live Cavs game during Christmas in 2017.
We interviewed Callista to understand more about this big Cavs fan and rising basketball star.
Editor: What is your goal in basketball?
Callista: My current goal is to achieve the MVP award in secondary school. I hope to do my school proud by possibly winning a championship in secondary school.
E: Is that one of the reasons you joined SG Basketball?
C: Yes, I believe I can improve my overall game in SG Basketball and play well for the school team.
E: What was your most memorable moment in basketball?
C: Watching the 2016 NBA Finals and LeBron win the championship title with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was certainly the best comeback in basketball history and kept lots of Cleveland fans, like me, in much suspense.
E: Describe your idol LeBron James and tell us why you like him so much.
C: To me, LeBron is not only the best NBA player ever but also a motivator and inspiration to many. He plays fantastic and efficient basketball. His Basketball IQ is no doubt the best in the NBA. He does so many great things on court and often carries the team. He also makes sure that his teammates become greater and greater each day. LeBron cares for his teammates and sometimes even pays for their fines! He is never ignorant and always respects his fans. I've come to respect LeBron's ability to make smart plays, leadership, court vision and unselfishness. He is definitely my role model! #LeGoat #TheKing
E: What do you usually like to do, apart from playing basketball?
C: Using my phone to chat and check NBA updates. #ballislife
E: Do you have anything to express about your family support for you?
C: I want to thank them for their support. Without them, I would not be here today. My mum and dad have been rushing and accommodating to my time just so I can go to SG Basketball and train and become better. The amount of support they show is almost impossible for anyone to match. Thank you.
E: Alright, here’s a fun question for you. If you are on a team with Steph & LeBron and your team is down 2 points with 4 seconds to play and they are both open, whom would you pass to and why? Or, would you rather take the open shot yourself?
C: I'll pass to Lebron. Cuz LeBron is capable of anything in court. He can set up a shot for a teammate, shoot a 3 or drive for the dunk or for the layup!
With her talent, Tanya soon became an integral part of her school team. She continued to mature in her team game, learning the hard way when her Coach once benched her to help her understand certain team concepts. She grew from the experience and eventually helped to lead her team to win the National title in the same year.
Currently at 13 years old and 165cm, Tanya has a physical advantage that gives her plenty of flexibility as a player, able to play any position from guard to centre. As she continues to hone her skills, Tanya made the decision to enter SG Basketball Academy where she is striving to achieve her goals of becoming a National Player and in the long run, a basketball coach.
As we welcome Tanya into the SG Basketball family, we conducted a short interview with her to understand more about her.
Editor: What is your most memorable moment in basketball?
Tanya: I was elated when my team clinched the national championship title not only because it shows our skills as basketball players, it was a clear recognition of the hard work and dedication each member of the team put in and the strong bonds we forged in the process of our training.
E: You mentioned the huge respect you have for your Coach. Can you share more about what you think about him?
T: He is very strict during training and pushes us to our limits so that we can perform our best during matches. At the same time, he is very approachable outside training. He is a dedicated coach who strives to build camaraderie within the team. Without his efforts, our team would not be where it is today.
E: What were your thoughts when your Coach invited you to consider joining an established basketball academy like SG Basketball?
T: Initially I was apprehensive as to whether I would be able to cope with the extra work load but I decided to try it out an take it as a personal challenge to improve my playing skills, and I also felt very honoured that my coach wanted to groom me into becoming a better basketball player.
E: How do you feel SG Basketball can help you to reach your personal goals?
T: Through SG Basketball, I will be able to improve my skills to be able to qualify for the national team. I will also get the opportunity to interact with other players of different backgrounds so that I can continually improve my interpersonal skills that would pave the way to becoming a Basketball Coach in the future.