SIGNING off on his Kevin Coombs Cup career in style, Victorian captain Jontee Brown achieved something no Victorian had ever done before.
His was the honour to hoist the Kevin Coombs Cup for the first time in our state’s history as our Victorian side knocked over Western Australia 68-60 last Saturday night in Geelong.
It only got better for our Victorian under-23 wheelchair basketball team when the tournament’s namesake – Victorian basketball legend Kevin Coombs – came to the grand final to present Victoria with the cup named in his honour.
Bendigo champion Brown finished off with a remarkable double-double, notching 18 points, 17 rebounds and rattling off seven assists to bow out of the Kevin Coombs Cup on an exceptionally high note.
Brown was thrilled to see the side overcome a difficult competition to bring home the gold for the first time.
“It’s pretty good – we came into the tournament pretty confident, we constructed a pretty good side but we knew there would be a few other good teams here,” Brown said. “WA knocked us off on Thursday night and we regrouped, got through a tough battle against Queensland last night to be here and we knew it would be a real struggle for the next 40 minutes.
“To finish off my Kevin Coombs with a win was remarkable and I’m very happy.”
Second time was the charm for Brown who ended the tournament with some incredible statistics – averaging per game 24.17 points, 14.33 rebounds and 6.17 assists.
“I’ve been part of two Kevin Coombs Cup teams and I could still play next year as well if I wanted but I might wrap it up with a bit of gold and hang up the boots,” Brown said. “It’s such an awesome group of guys and girls – last year we finished with bronze and we kept most of our group for this year.
“I knew we could come back bigger and better and we were lucky enough to knock these guys off today.”
For now he’s got his sights set on the NWBL season with Kilsyth before embarking on the next great adventure of his wheelchair basketball career. With future Australian representation on the horizon for the under-23 Australian representative, there’s plenty to look ahead to for Brown.
He’s signed up with Cologne for a tilt at European basketball with RBC Koln 99ers, but with the European season overlapping Kevin Coombs Cup in 2019, Brown thinks the time is just right to leave the future of Victorian wheelchair basketball to his team mates and the next generation.
“I’m off to Germany in August so that will overlap the next Kevin Coombs Cup so this would be my last, especially with Brian (Carminati) and Jez (Tyndall) that I’ve had a lot to do with those guys over the last two years.
“To get a gold with these guys is great – last year I had three bronzes so to finally get a gold is great.
“Off to Germany to play in Cologne and I look forward to that and what that has to bring and can hopefully help those guys out over there and they can help me improve my game as well.
“Victoria has got a particularly young group coming through the ranks and for those guys to step up and make big baskets and score big shots in the final was great.
For Basketball Victoria, it’s great to see these guys and girls coming through and hopefully this isn’t the last gold for us and that Victoria can come back and win gold again.”
Kevin Coombs Cup head coach Matt Dunstan said Jontee’s leadership, passion and desire to bring his team mates into the game made him an incredible contributor to the campaign.
“Jontee has been a great leader for this group,” Dunstan said. “His ability to make the strong, tough plays when we needed them and his ability to mentor and teach the next generation of players off the court has been fantastic.
“He has is a natural born leader and we are proud to have been able to share this great experience with him.”
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