BASKETBALL Victoria is proud to announce its first 2017 state representative rosters ahead of next year’s Helloworld Under-20 and Ivor Burge Championships.
Basketball Victoria’s four teams were announced Friday one-by-one as Victorian basketball fans set their sights on Bendigo in February.
After rigorous screening and try-out events across the state, the four Victorian teams – under-20 men and women and Ivor Burge men and women – were announced this week ahead of February’s national championships, held in Bendigo.
Victoria will head into these tournaments with high expectations after its clean sweep of national junior championship gold medals throughout 2016.
LOADING up on the premier young men across the state, the Victorian under-20 men have found perfect balance.
Height, speed, skill and drive – all attributes found in spades in the next batch of top-age talent for Victoria… but they’re not the only things in sync.
As a happy coincidence, Basketball Victoria under-20 men’s coach Daniel Smith said the final composition features five each from the city and country ranks and will be well placed to charge towards another Victorian championship.
“I’m excited – we’ve got a mix of five Country and five Metro didn’t plan it that way whatsoever but did it with the vision of getting the best ten kids and that’s the way it played out,” Smith said. “Phillip Island, Maffra, Ballarat, Geelong and throughout metropolitan Melbourne – they come from all over and it’s a great endorsement of the combined Metro and Country effort.”
Another success story from the selections was first-time Victorian representative Jamie A’Hale (Kilsyth), who continued to improve and eventually work his way off the emergency list and into a Victorian team as a bottom ager no less.
“One of our Metro kids who made his first state team was Jamie A’Hale,” Smith said. “It’s a great effort especially as a bottom ager and it’s showed the hard work he’s put in over the last 12-18 months and a persistence from his end.
“Being in that emergency role twice recently, pushing himself to eventually make the team as a bottom age kid and definitely deserved his spot.”
There are Magbegors aplenty in the Victorian ranks, with world champion Ezi joined by her brother Ovie in the navy blue. Ovie is turning his back on a promising football career to pursue basketball opportunities at home and abroad in the college system.
“He’s just a workhorse, good athlete and can play the four or five,” Smith said. “He went last year with the White team and did a really good job with them.
“I expect him to play a really key role with them as well – he’s turned his back on footy and will complete the campaign with us, finish his VCE and then his plan is to go to college.”
There are plenty of familiar faces in the mix as well – with Jack Perry, Tristan Lloyd, Gabe Hadley and Mate Colina amongst others re-joining the Victorian ranks for another national tournament.
UNDER-20 VICTORIA MEN
Tom Pupavac – Geelong
Mate Colina – Melbourne / COE
Matt Johns – Geelong / COE
Ovie Magbegor – Coburg
Tristan Lloyd – Frankston
Jamie A’Hale – Kilsyth
Gabe Hadley – Dandenong
Sam Short – Ballarat
Jack Perry – Dandenong
Sam Whelan – Eltham
Tristan De Zwart Forsyth – Frankston
Hunter Marks – Casey
Hugh Baxter – Melbourne
Harry Cheverley – Frankston
Mitch Barry – Dandenong
Head Coach – Daniel Smith
Assistant Coach – Michael Czepil
Assistant Coach – Steve Blackley
Team Manager – Shelley Reynolds
Set to shine at the upcoming Ivor Burge national championships, the Victorian teams – combined from Victoria Metropolitan and Country for the first time in 2017 – the men’s and women’s sides feature Australian representatives, well-travelled campaigners and up-and-coming talent to boot.
Four Australian Pearls representatives – Jessica McCulloch (Dandenong), Kate Leckenby (DAAB/Knox), Kate Zonneveld (DAAB) and Evie Patterson (Power Assist) – will form the core of a young, fast and fit Victorian Ivor Burge women’s team.
Ivor Burge women’s coach Simon Robinson believes the strength of the squad comes from its fitness base and explosive young talent.
“We’re a lot younger than we have been in the past –so that’s quite encouraging. There are four national team players in the squad… so with four Pearls we’re obviously expecting to do well,” Robinson said.
“I like the fact that we’re fairly well conditioned – we’re fit and strong.
“We’re still trying to get fitter and stronger but I think we’ll be able to play at a good pace and think we’ll be able to have some consistent intensity at both ends over 40 minutes.
“We’ve been practicing for the last six weeks and attendance has been great. 16-18 players in the squad, so the depth is also very encouraging.”
“I think there’s also a mix of players who some played Metro and Country – good to see an even representation.”
Robinson wanted to form a strong, young group and make sure they can develop together and continue to reap the rewards of a strong Victoria pedigree at the event.
“With this group sometimes it takes a little longer for them to develop their skills, so having younger players makes a big difference as they you can work with them and they stay in the program longer,” Robinson said. “I think they’re pretty tight as a squad – I’ve observed in the try-outs and the squad practices that all the players get along well with each other and they talk, laugh and then when it comes to working out they go at it pretty hard.”
Robinson said to keep an eye out for McCulloch and his Kate combination – Zonneveld and Leckenby – to impress on the national stage.
“I think Jess McCulloch is set to stand out performance and think she’ll surprise people,” Robinson said. “In the absence of Molly Urquhart-Moran, one of our mainstays for the last few years, we’d be looking for the two Kates – Zonneveld and Leckenby – to step up and fill that void as well.”
IVOR BURGE VICTORIA WOMEN
Annalise Hodge (RMIT Redbacks)
Kate Leckenby (DAAB/Knox)
Jessica McCulloch (Dandenong)
Evie Patterson (Power Assist)
Monica Ward (Power Assist/McKinnon)
Sam Williver (Eltham)
Kate Zonneveld (DAAB)
Lee-Anne Berg (DAAB)
Zoe Ford (DAAB)
Head Coach Simon Robinson
Assistant Coach Tony Corr
Assistant Coach Amy Moore
Team Manager Kerryn O’Donnell
Full to the brim with talent on the international and Australian peak level, the under-20 women have loaded up heading into February’s tournament.
With a cavalcade of premium talent, it’s hard to pinpoint any one player for coach Zoe Carr, but was excited to see the high-speed Victorians take the court.
“This is an exciting team of athletes,” Carr said. “They are long and athletic and all work incredibly hard – our strength is definitely the ability to lock down defensively and transition that into fast break points.
“I don’t think there is any one athlete that is one to watch – they are all great to watch!
“Any one of these athletes has the potential to have a standout game or tournament.”
Fresh off their Sapphires’ FIBA under-17 world championship triumph, Kiera Rowe, Rebecca Pizzey, and tournament MVP Ezi Magbegor have earned their place in the Victorian under-20 women’s ranks as under-age prospects.
“Having Ezi, Kiera and Rebecca commit to the program, given what they have achieved and their workload, is a thrill,” Carr said. “It’s a testament to the Victorian state program and what it means to its athletes.
“But the entire team is incredibly talented and experienced… it’s an amazing honor to be able to coach them.”
The green and gold connection continues with Maddison Rocci, who has recently returned from the FIBA 3×3 World Championships, and School Sports Australia basketball All Australian Monique Andriuolo.
Chantel Horvat is another to keep an eye on as she’s in the midst of a hectic schedule – with her Victorian duties wedged in between stints with the Centre of Excellence and her new college team UCLA after signing on with the Bruins earlier this spring.
Smashing out results on the national level, Chloe Molloy and Genna Ogier are in the midst of WNBL 2016/17 campaigns for Melbourne Boomers.
All told it’s another almighty Victorian roster as Carr just wants to get her girls ready for the campaign ahead.
“I’m just looking forward to getting into camp and beginning preparation,” Carr said.
U20 VICTORIA WOMEN
Monique Andriuolo – Hume
Rebecca Pizzey – COE / Bulleen
Kara Tessari – Bulleen
Ezi Magbegor – CoE / Coburg
Kiera Rowe – CoE / Bulleen
Chloe Molloy – Nunawading
Genna Ogier – Kilsyth
Courtney Wragg – Diamond Valley
Chantel Horvat – CoE / Geelong
Maddison Rocci – CoE / Werribee
Brianna Babic – Melbourne
Ally Bates – Bulleen
Ella Batish – Sandringham
Georgia Dale – Eltham
Alysha Marcucci – Warragul
Jacqui Trotto – Nunawading
Head Coach – Zoe Carr
Assistant Coach – Ryan Morris
Assistant Coach – Andrew Potter
Team Manager – Emma Brancatisano
IT’S a new look for Victoria’s Ivor Burge teams in 2017, with one team per division set to unite the state.
Ivor Burge men’s manager Brad Molenkamp believes the united Victorian force will send fear through the rest of the competition. After all, separately they won gold and bronze medals at last year’s event.
“The Metro team have won the gold many years in a row and the Country was bronze – our first medal at the games – so when we combine the two teams together it will definitely put a bit of a shake through the other teams,” Molenkamp said. “Both already good teams and bringing the two together should be pretty scary to watch.
“I reckon they’ll go really well – we’re aiming at a gold medal and hopefully they’ll go very well.”
With a great mix of age and experience – ranging from 19 years old to 30 – the Ivor Burge side is set to impress on the national stage.
Victoria’s Ivor Burge men will be led by dominant playmakers James Myers – who recently went away with the Australian Boomerangs squad to Japan – Jake De La Motte and Cameron Slacik.
But across the board, the Victorians are quick and tough, making life hard for the rest of the nation to match pace with our elite Ivor Burge stars.
“James Myers played for Vic Country for about the last four years and was picked for the Australian squad to go over to Japan recently,” Molenkamp said. “Very on the ball, fast paced player and always playing hard – if I had one player to pick on our team as our MVP it would be him.
“James, Jake and Cameron are the three big standout players for us – they’re the playmakers, on the ball, chasing the ball and not scared to go to the basket.
“Across the board we’re definitely a fast team and they won’t be scared – will definitely be going in hard.”
2017 IVOR BURGE VICTORIA MEN’S TEAM
Jake De La Motte
Head Coach – Glen Jordan
Assistant Coach – Ryan Holloway
Team Manager – Brad Molenkamp
The Helloworld U20 and Ivor Burge tournaments will be held in Bendigo from 12-18 February.