Eltham reminisces on 2018 Association of the Year Award

THE Basketball Victoria Awards celebrate the great achievements of our players, coaches, officials and volunteers as well as the highly coveted Association awards.

Last year’s Association of the Year winner, Eltham Basketball Association, was thrilled to win this award as recognition of a 2018 filled with incredible moments and phenomenal achievements on and off the court.

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For Eltham Basketball Association CEO, Greg Jeffers, the award was one the association coveted as in the past they didn’t believe their application was strong enough to be considered for the accolade.

“Eltham has viewed Basketball Victoria’s Association of the Year award as the pinnacle in recognition,” Jeffers said. “Where many awards highlight specific programs this one, celebrates the achievements of all sections of our club and it’s something we could all celebrate.

“We rarely nominate for the top award because of the high standard we consider it to be, however. We thought in early January 2019 that our year was one of a new level for our club and it deserved a nomination at the very least.

“Winning the award demonstrated to our sponsors and community that Eltham was highly respected within the basketball community, but more importantly to our volunteers and staff it showed that their work was noticed and appreciated by Basketball Victoria that pulling together in the one direction can achieve amazing things.”

From facilities development, the association advocated intently to give its community better access to new stadia throughout the local area.

“Through 2018 we achieved future facility development, with $37.5m for local school stadium developments – including $16.5m for the stadium expansion of Montmorency SC, $13m for upgrade of St Helena SC to competition standard – both of which were 2018 Victorian election promises – whilst a further $8m in the 2018 Victorian Budget for the expansion of the St Helena SC stadium.

“Eltham Wildcats played a key role in each project and this came on the back of $1.2m spend of our own into the upgrade of the Eltham HS stadium.”

Their on court performances were just as impressive with a number of titles taken by the Wildcats including an Australian Under-14 Club Championship with its boys.

On court we had one of the club’s most successful calendar years. We had two teams win Victorian Championship titles, the same two teams win National Junior Classic titles and the U14 Boys win the National Club Championship,” Jeffers said. “Our 2017 U14 national champions, travelled to the USA for the inaugural Jr NBA World Championship representing the Asia Pacific region where they placed 6th in the world.

“Our Senior Men and Youth Men were both runners-up; which also helped in us being selected for the 2019 NBL1 competition. Our introductory programs and domestic club both saw tremendous growth, with both, the largest in the country. But it was also our coaches, referees, statisticians and scoretable who represented our club at national and international levels, demonstrating the pathway across a variety of streams.”

It’s always busy at Eltham to start every year and 2020 is no different with a number of incredible events and opportunities on offer including the Eltham-Dandenong Junior Basketball Tournament, which continues to grow in size and scope every year.

“As with every year, it is always a big start and we’re very thankful to the associations from around Victoria for supporting our tournament with Dandenong Basketball Association,” Jeffers said. “Their participation makes the Eltham-Dandenong Junior Basketball Tournament an incredibly special event to be involved in each year.

“However, the St Helena SC stadium expansion is underway and our major development at Montmorency SC is ahead of schedule with three new courts including a 1200-seat show-court all on track to go to build by July 2020.

“We have a new strategic plans that keeps the focus on children’s participation as players, but also provides streams for them through coaching, refereeing, administration, scoretable and statistician officials… this is an important philosophy of the club to keep people engaged in the sport.”

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