Victorian singlets presented to star juniors

SUBURBAN or regional, able-bodied or a wheelchair athlete… all are united by a shared goal.

Basketball Victoria’s next group state representatives were given their singlets on Sunday night at a presentation held at the State Basketball Centre, Wantirna South, as all eyes turn towards the upcoming national championships.

The next 60 players to earn a place in Basketball Victoria history will represent Victoria in the Kevin Coombs Cup for wheelchair basketball athletes as well as our four under-18 teams for Victoria Country and Victoria Metropolitan.

Presenting their stars with the singlets with which they’ll reach even greater heights, here is what our five head coaches had to say about the playing groups, their staff, their emergencies and especially the friends and families that are the glue that hold together our basketball community.

GERARD HILLIER – VIC COUNTRY U18 WOMEN

“It’s fantastic to see the two sides brought together for this event and it shows the great depth in Victorian basketball,” Hillier said. “We’re fortunate to have great players and staff and this year is no different.

“I just want to wish the best of luck to all the players and the coaching staff and I would like to thank both high performance coaches – there are a number of times where I’ve been fortunate to bounce ideas off Justin and Michael and I appreciate that.”

REECE POTTER – VIC METRO U18 WOMEN

“We look forward to the opportunity – it’s been great getting everyone back on court and we’re really looking forward to what will happen in 10 days down in Geelong,” Potter said. “I’d also like to thank the parents of our group who drive our kids around to every practice – they’ve been there and it’s a massive commitment for them and the players so I’d like to thank the families.

“Overall we’re really looking forward to next week and that hopefully we can come home with the gold and we think we can give it a real crack.”

MATT DUNSTAN – KEVIN COOMBS CUP 

Kevin Combs would have to be one of the best Paralympians ever produced and he’s Victorian,” Dunstan said. “To represent Victoria in a tournament named in his honour is fantastic. 10 years ago we advocated for the creation of this tournament and now a decade on we’re back playing in Victoria.

“We’ve got high standards and want to set big expectations going forward to the championships.

“We’re looking forward to the event – there will be some tough games in there for us but we’re ready and willing to go.”

LUCAS ALLEN – VIC COUNTRY U18 MEN

“Expectations were mentioned a number of time but that’s the ability of prior performance – we won’t shy away from those,” Allen said. “We know what our strengths are and we worked on those for the duration of our preparation and we’re all excited to see that put on show.

“I really want to thank the emergencies for their contributions and thank the parents for raising such great young men and thank the staff for contributing to the campaign.”

DARREN PERRY – VIC METRO U18 MEN

“I’d like to thank Grant and Michael and Justin and Basketball Victoria for having the opportunity to coach again,” Perry said. “Every coach and player in Victoria loves the chance to play and coach and represent our state.

“I want to thank the emergency crew – we have six emergencies this year and it would be difficult to run practice the way we want without the efforts of those guys and I want to thank them for their efforts.

“The players – they’ve committed it into their schedules as they play for clubs and even some national commitments. This championship allows the players to put their best foot forward towards their next opportunity on even bigger stages.

I want to thank my own staff, and thank the parents and families that support the players.”

Earning your state singlet is a thrill few get to experience and Basketball Victoria basketball operations manager Grant Wallace said it’s well worth celebrating.

“It’s a special moment to be presented with your state singlet in front of friends and family,” Wallace said. “We think it’s important to celebrate this moment, as an achievement of this level – making a state representative team – is rare.

“There are few achievements in basketball as special as representing Victoria and being part of the Victoria Metropolitan and Victoria Country squads, so I encourage the players and staff to enjoy every moment of the upcoming tournament.

“We wish all our players, coaches and support staff the best of luck for the national championships.”

2017 proved extremely successful for our under-18 and Kevin Coombs Cup teams with the Victoria Metropolitan Boys and Victoria Country Girls claiming championships while Victoria Metropolitan Girls and the Kevin Coombs Cup teams won bronze medals.

Our Victorian, Victoria Country and Victoria Metropolitan teams will build on the fantastic platform set by our Victoria Under-20 and Ivor Burge sides, which won all four championships in Gosford earlier this year.

The Australian Under-18 Championships and Kevin Coombs Cup runs from 21-28 April in Geelong.

Basketball Victoria will be court-side throughout the week, sharing all the videos, pictures and stories from the tournament. Make sure to like our Facebook page “Basketball Victoria” and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat “@Basketball_Vic” to stay up to date with our teams at the championships.

 

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