Following Taylor Bell’s 300th game a fortnight ago, Chris Hogan will celebrate his 350th and Ben Harvey will commemorate his 500th SEABL game as player and coach when the Bendigo Braves host N-W Tasmania Thunder in the South Conference Preliminary Final on Saturday night.
Starting his career 19 years ago, Harvey won his first national Championship in 1996 and proceeded to win two more while collecting five Conference Championships along the way.
Although his first game was memorable for obvious reasons, Harvey’s second game as a 21-year old also stands out. “I actually broke my jaw from a big screen,” he said.
“[Coach] Phil Thomas didn’t think I was going to come back but I was glad I did because we won the Championship the following year.
“It’s been an awesome ride. You have a lot of highs and lows but there’s been a lot of highs which is great.”
Both Bell and Hogan played alongside Harvey before he moved into the coaching role in 2010.
“He was a fantastic team mate,” said Bell. “Always willing to have a joke and was probably the team prankster. As a coach, he’s a bit more serious but still a great mate.”
Speaking on their milestones, both current players feel privileged to be one-club players.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play 300 games, especially in Bendigo which has such a proud history,” said Bell.
“Bendigo has been home for well over ten years and it’s a place where when you walk in, it feels like walking into a lounge room,” said Hogan. “It’s a hell of a place to play basketball with the facilities and the people around there.”
A Championship as coach has eluded Harvey, despite making the Conference Final in three of the past five seasons and falling in the 2010 and 2011 Grand Finals. It is that fact which continues to bring him back.
“We’ve slipped twice but we definitely have the team to do it this year,” he said.
See the full interview with all three Bendigo Braves representatives below: