Sam Thornton to lead Montmorency HP Hub

Montmorency will be home to our 11th High Performance Hub with Victorian Wall of Fame member Sam Thornton appointed as its inaugural Hub Lead Coach.

Servicing the local need for elite coaching and development within Melbourne’s North-East corridor, the Montmorency Hub will join our High Performance Hub pathway that spans both Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria.  

The new Hub, to be located at the newly redeveloped five-court Montmorency Stadium, will be led by former Australian Opal, WNBL superstar and multiple national championship winning state coach Sam Thornton.  

Awarded the Betty Watson Medal in 1993 as Victoria’s most outstanding female player and inducted into the Basketball Victoria Wall of Fame in 1996, Thornton has been an incredible contributor to both Victorian and Australian basketball across her playing and coaching career and is excited to return to coaching elite junior athletes.  

“I’ve loved being involved in junior development for many years, progressing through the elite junior pathway, culminating with successful campaigns coaching Vic Metro teams,” Thornton said. “I was delighted to learn that BV were extending the Hub program into my neighbourhood.

“Having the Montmorency Stadium as our base is a great coup as our area has significant links with large local clubs, including Eltham and Diamond Valley.

Vic metro girls

Sam Thornton, pictured back row second from left, with the national championship winning Victoria Metropolitan 2018 Under-16 Girls. Picture: BASKETBALL VICTORIA

“As a sport we always need to extend the net wide and opening a hub in our north-east corridor will enable more basketballers to access this elite pathway.”

Thornton said she’s keen to hit the court and help our athletes make their way back on court following this year’s lockdowns.  

“I’m looking forward to the early morning sessions!,” she said. “Most of our athletes have had an extended break from accessing coaching and training facilities – it will be special being back on the pine.

“The Hubs are a vital part of the elite pathway, and enables more athletes to experience a program where they will be challenged to be their best – I can’t wait to get started.”

Basketball Victoria CEO Nick Honey said having a coach of Thornton’s calibre want to join our High Performance Hubs is an amazing outcome and one that will benefit the community greatly.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have a Basketball Victoria Wall of Fame member in Sam Thornton willing to coach the new Montmorency High Performance Hub,” Thornton said. “She has been extraordinary in her time across Victorian and Australian basketball and her expertise will help push the next generation of North-East athletes to new heights.

“The Montmorency Hub will add further opportunities for players and coaches alike to develop in an especially with the challenges of the last two years, has been an enormous undertaking by our High Performance staff and I’d like to thank them for their hard work in this space.”

Montmorency will join Ballarat, Bendigo, Broadmeadows, Casey, Geelong, State Basketball Centre, MSAC, Shepparton, Traralgon and Wyndham as part of our High Performance Hub Program, which has been brought to life by a $5m contribution from the Victorian State Government.  

Athlete intake for the 2021/2022 State Development Program will be conducted once we can return to indoor competition and training following the lockdown. Once selected, Athletes are then allocated to the Hub closest to their residential address and to best meet their schooling requirements.

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