Written by Liam Ellison.
The likes of SEABL, NBL and WNBL stars including Warwick Giddey, Brad Dalton, Joe Hurst, Eric Hayes, Tom Garlepp, Richard Hill, Deanna Smith, Shane McDonald, Tom Daly and Chris Hogan all feature as well as two-time Olympian with the Opals, Jenni Screen.
She is helping to lead the Rowville Secondary College Under-17 Girls in Division 1, going up against McDonald and Daly in the group stage.
Screen is relatively new to the coaching caper but with over 16 years playing professional basketball, Rowville head coach Dean Kinsman knew Screen was a perfect fit.
“It’s been really good having a mentor like Dean Kinsman to learn from,” said Screen.
“For me, it’s about progressively getting better. Rowville has got a great history here at the School Championships.
The tournament has been going for 35 years and Rowville is second for overall championships with 11 in less than seven years of competing. That’s pretty special.”
Screen is not the only former national team representative at the Championships with Shannon Seebohm coaching Hunter Sports High School in Division 2 for the Under-17 Boys.
An Australian representative player at the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in 2007, Seebohm has proven his coaching credentials with a WNBL Coach of the Year award in his rookie year before leading the Sapphires to their first ever gold medal at the 2016 Under-17 World Cup.
While coaching Hunter Sports High School is a change of pace, Seebohm still enjoys the School Championships and knows the values of the tournament for the team.
“It’s great for them to play different people… different styles and against different coaching,” he said.
“Playing some really tough competition from all over Australia, it’s something I think that they’ve all really benefited from.”
He has also been able to hand worthy advice due to his previous national and international experiences.
“I guess that’s one of the advantages that I have. Just being able to pass some of those experiences on to the guys who have aspirations to represent Australia in the future.”
With so many familiar faces off the court and names that will soon become familiar on court, you could forgive spectators at the School Championships to be on celebrity-watch.
“Having a program like this, where you are running into people you’ve either played against or people who coached you when you were in high school is awesome,” said Screen.
“The head coach of John Paul College coached me when I was 16 so that was over 20 years ago!
“It’s so nice that a sport like basketball can keep great people around the game helping the future generations.”