For our second NBL takeover of the 2018/19 season, Oaklands Wolves will be taking over the NBL Instagram story on Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 October.
We caught up with the Wolves' Toby Gastaldi-Davies ahead of their takeover weekend, for our latest Player Spotlight feature.
Name: Toby Gastaldi-Davies
Team: Oaklands Wolves - Under 18 Men (Central Premier)
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am 16 years old and have played for Oaklands Wolves for the last two years: playing Under 18 Premier last year and Under 16 Premier the year before. I started my basketball journey at Hertfordshire Warriors. playing there from age 8-14. I haev represented England Under 15 in the Copenhagen Invitational tournament, as well as being in the Great Britain Under 16 squad this year. I have previously represented the East regional team four times across four years when I was younger.
What brought you to the NBL in the first place?
My brother used to play basketball (Aidan Gastaldi-Davies) and he represented England on many occasions so I decided basketball was something that I wanted to try out (at age 8).
What was your first impression of the NBL? How has that changed?
It was a very competitive league, I started in the NBL at Under 13, as an 11-year-old stepping into this environment it was a challenge but a challenge that I was ready for. Watching some Under 14 and Under 16 games in the NBL, now I can see that the level of skill from a young age has started to increase drastically from what it used to be like.
What was your first "bright spot" with your team?
When I made the playoffs for the first time at Under 14.
What was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was this summer when I was cut from the Under 16 Great Britain programme, it was an obstacle which I had to bounce back from and put in the back of my head. This challenge meant that I went out of my way to make the summer as productive as I could so I can make my mark this year.
What changes have you noticed in yourself since joining the NBL?
The ability to communicate with both adults and my fellow teammates; when I came to the NBL I was shy and reluctant to communicate both on and off the court, however this has changed over time. Also, my competitive drive has grown as the years have passed; I always want to be the best on the floor no matter what environment I am in.
What are you working on right now, what are your current goals?
I am constantly working on my skill-set and my ability to help my team even when I am not on the court. My goals are to play in the USA (college basketball) and to then proceed to play basketball in Europe at the highest level possible.
What is your favourite NBL memory?
Scoring 30 points in Under 18 Premier last year as a 15 year old and being promoted to Premier level at Under 14 after a season in Conference.
What advice would you give someone who is just getting started in basketball?
Make your behaviours within basketball a habit so when you are older you do not have to adjust. Always have a good attitude and think team first, because I only changed my attitude when I was in my last year of Under 16 under the coaching of Lee Ryan and it held me back at that point. What you put into the team is what you will get out.
Finally, who is your favourite British basketball player and why?
Teddy Okereafor because I saw him shooting after one of my sessions at UEL and he is a walking bucket.
You can follow Toby's progress this weekend as Oaklands Wolves takeover the NBL Instagram stories!