OUR final four state representative teams of 2019 have received their singlets ahead of a bumper campaign in Darwin.
Basketball Victoria’s next under-16 group of state representatives received their singlets on Sunday at a presentation held at the State Basketball Centre, Wantirna South, as all eyes turn towards the upcoming national championships.
Presenting their stars with the singlets with which they’ll reach even greater heights, here is what our four 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.
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN U16 WOMEN – HEAD COACH KENNEDY KEREAMA
Preparation has obviously been extensive and long but at the same time we’re very happy with where we are at. I think the level of our offensive and defensive concepts are at a really good place. For us I guess we’re just ready to go out and play against opposition states now.
Having some absence from high performance sport for a few years now you miss it pretty quickly and for myself I really wanted to give back to Victoria – I’ve been living in Australia for 10 years and my wife’s played for Victoria and represented the state.
The focus for now is giving the group of 10 that I currently have the best experience we possibly can and obviously working towards the best result we can possibly get playing our best basketball.
They’re an incredibly hard working group of players and they’re really easy to work with – they pick things up incredibly quickly, they work hard – all the trademarks you’d expect a Victorian team to have but at the same time they have fun they gel as a group and I think they have enough trademarks of being a team that will have a great result.
VICTORIA COUNTY U16 WOMEN – HEAD COACH MAT HOLMES
The tyranny of distance for country kids is always tough, but they’ve been a good group to work with. They have really engaged in what we’ve been telling them to do and really supportive of
It’s been a long build up – originally we’re up in Albury in that 45 degree heat and that’s where it was all starting up… really happy with their progress.
We’ve got the extra emergencies this year and had 16 kids and I can honestly say they were 16 deep – we had our first camp in Korumburra, had an overnighter, and they really bonded over that first camp and have been tight ever since – they’re a really good group of girls.
It’s terrifying and exciting at the same time – I’ve been so lucky to be part of a number of successful campaigns with a number of coaches – hopefully I can bring a bit of that experience and channel a bit of that and bring it into this one as we’re going to need everything we can.
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN U16 MEN – HEAD COACH DOM LINOSSIER
We’ve had a pretty seamless preparation it’s been great, fairly uninterrupted and the boys have done a really good job coming together and it’s great to have eight MUVJBL clubs involved in our preparation.
It’s been really impressive to see how they’ve come together as a group and execute what the coaching staff is after.
All of a sudden we’re two weeks out and ready to rock and roll – nationals are definitely the best 10 days of my year to get away and be a high performance coach. Really looking forward to that experience and to experience it with nine boys for the first time and big Jerome (Pierre) for his second crack playing for his state.
VICTORIA COUNTRY U16 MEN – HEAD COACH JOEL ANDERSON
This is week nine of our 10 and everything has gone really quickly and according to plan. We’re really looking forward to getting through week 10 next week and then getting on that plane the following Thursday.
We’ve got eight different country associations represented so it’s a lot more than we probably had last year where it was dominated by a couple of clubs. We’ve got a great mix of different abilities – we’re lightning quick and really ready to outrun any team that comes up against us so we’re really excited.
It’s an entirely new group this year so it’ll be interesting to see how they adapt to the Darwin heat for one and then the pressure of a national championship too.
They’re all getting around each other, there’s a lot of banter going on between them so I think they’re all really excited and just really, really keen to get on that plane.
Earning your state singlet is a thrill few get to experience and Basketball Victoria 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 extremely rare.
“There are few achievements in basketball as special as representing your state and being part of the respective 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.”
2018 proved extremely successful for our under-16 teams with all four sides making their way into grand finals – with Victoria Metropolitan winning two incredible grand finals over Victoria Country in both the boys and girls competitions.
Victoria Country and Victoria Metropolitan teams will build on the fantastic platform set by our state teams so far this year, with championships won by Under-20 Men, Under-20 Women, Vic Metro U18 Men and Vic Metro U18 Women.
The Australian Under-16 Junior Championships run from 6-13 July in Darwin. Basketball Victoria will be court-side throughout the championships, sharing all the videos, pictures and stories from the tournament.
Make sure to like our Facebook page (search for BasketballVictoria) and follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@Basketball_Vic) to stay up to date with our teams at the championships.