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From ‘green shadow’ to Golden Whistle

From ‘green shadow’ to Golden Whistle

Adelaide whistle-blower wins gong for efforts

James Griguol 

Up-and-coming basketball referee James Griguol is continuing his rapid rise in the sport - this time winning a ‘Golden Whistle’ the highest award for an official in the Senior District and Premier League competitions.

Griguol won the award earlier this month [October], capping another very successful 12 months on the court.

Within the next 12 months the 23-year-old hopes to move up another competitive notch or two, entering the refereeing ranks of the SEABL (South East Australian Basketball League) or even the WNBL (Women’s National Basketball League).

Already Griguol has had a taste of the big time, officiating in three Adelaide 36ers pre-season trial matches.

He says the difference in intensity and skill level in those games was huge – as was the pressure.

“They are always mentally and physically tiring. There’s no point where you can switch off.”

And that’s what Griguol loves about elite-level competition.

“The pressure situations are the best situations. The closer the games, the more the crowds get involved – they are the best.”

Griguol began his refereeing career as a 15-year-old in basketball’s ‘Green Shirt’ program (known as the ‘Coloured Shirt’ program in other sports).

During his six months in the ORS-backed program he wore a green shirt to signal his ‘learner’ status to players, officials and spectators, and was mentored by senior referees.

He also observed his mentors as they did their jobs, literally ‘shadowing’ them on court – running with them, sticking as close to them as possible, as they officiated.

Griguol says the experience - and protection – was invaluable.

As for the future – and in keeping with the colour ‘theme’ of his career - Griguol’s dream is to move from Golden Whistle to the ultimate gold: officiating at an Olympic Games.

Good luck James – and go hard!