Hills Hornets: Off the bench and into the spotlight

MATT Andronicus has returned from Australia's Stankovic Cup tour of China with a silver medal.

The former Hills District Hornets player was used sparingly in his first international tour alongside Australia's best emerging junior players.

Coming off the bench in four of the games at the invitational tournament, Andronicus impressed head coach Ian Stacker and scored two baskets against Russia in a charity match.

"It was a great learning experience to be playing international basketball," Andronicus said.

"You learn a lot with the different styles of play and how to mark taller, more physical opponents."

In the tournament's opening match, Australia beat 2007 European champions Russia 76-61, with Andronicus playing a 10-minute cameo role.

Australia lost 67-44 to China and 62-60 to Tunisia, but still managed to qualify for the final against China after Tunisia beat Russia.

A gold medal was always going to be a tall order for the youthful Australians and they went down 70-51 to a full-strength Chinese Olympic team.

Andronicus was again given little game time in the final but said he benefited from the experience.

"It's tough to play at this level of competition," Andronicus said.

"You're playing with the best juniors from around Australia and most of these guys will go on to play at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro."

The 20-year-old said he's now back in Sydney training during the South East Australian Basketball League's off-season.

He will play in the 2013 Waratah Championship League season for the Hornets.

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