MY WYNDHAM: Natalie McCrae

Natalie McCrae, a 15-year-old basketballer from Hoppers Crossing. Photo by Mark Wilson.

My Wyndham: Natalie McCrae can be found either playing or coaching basketball on most nights of the week. The Hoppers Crossing teenager said her mother and father fostered her love of the game from an early age. Sadly, her father Clinton passed away after suffering from a heart attack in 2016, but Natalie said playing sport helps her feel close to her dad. She chats with Alesha Capone.


What do you enjoy most about basketball?


It has to be the friends you make – that’s the main thing. I train an under-12s girls team for the Iramoo Basketball Club, and also train and coach them during their games on Saturdays. I play with the under-16s for Werribee and the under-16s for Iramoo.

I also film the Big V games for Werribee. Being part of the Werribee Basketball Association, it’s very small and everyone’s connected, willing to work together and it’s more of a family. I’ve got lots of friends who play for different clubs, so we all have fun when we compete against each other.


When did you start coaching?


I started coaching last year. My mum coached me when I was really young, and she wanted to coach again … she thought I would be good too, so she got me to help her. Now, this year, I’m the coach and she supervises me.


Natalie at Eagle Stadium. Photo by Mark Wilson.


Is it hard to fit all of your basketball commitments in with school?


It can be pretty hard to fit everything in with school. I love all my subjects. I hope to study sports science at university.


Can you tell me a bit about your father?


Dad was a basketballer. Mum was a netballer … dad got us all involved in basketball. Since I was born, he was always coaching and helping kids, to make sure they had a coach. Sometimes he coached multiple teams, so no one would miss out. I used to train with the boys if he didn’t have enough players. I would also draw plays for his team, and sometimes he would use them.

We lived in Keilor and then moved to Hoppers Crossing. He was coaching the under-18 Werribee Devils side when he passed away. Playing basketball is how I feel close to him. He would always connect with his players and would be friends with them outside sport. They would come over to our house for dinner. Some of them are almost like brothers to me.