Basketball Australia is pleased to announce the winners of the 22nd National Junior Basketball Awards, presented today in Geelong as part of the Under 16 Australian Junior Championships.
• Female Player of the Year: Kristy Wallace
• Male Player of the Year: Dejan Vasiljevic
• Female Wheelchair Basketball Player of the Year – Amber Merritt
• Male Wheelchair Basketball Player of the Year – Tom O’Neill-Thorne
• Female Player of the Year with an Intellectual Disability: Eliza-Jane Mills
• Male Player of the Year with an Intellectual Disability: Cameron Slacik
• Patrick Hunt Female Coach of the Year: Corry-Lyn Wellsteed
• Patrick Hunt Male Coach of the Year: John Hargreaves
• Female Contribution to Wheelchair Basketball: Shelley Chaplin and Leanne Del Toso
• Male Contribution to Wheelchair Basketball: James Leonard
• Female Contribution to Basketball for Players with an Intellectual Disability: Odette Seabourne
• Male Contribution to Basketball for Players with an Intellectual Disability: Vern Tessier
• Female Referee of the Year: Jessica Byrnes
• Male Referee of the Year: Christopher Reid
• Female Administrator of the Year: Bridie Galea
• Male Administrator of the Year: Joshua Pascoe
• Junior Basketball Scoretable Official of the Year: Ian Collings
• Junior Basketball Statistician of the Year: Olivia Nicholls
• Junior Basketball Volunteer of the Year: Lindsay White
• Best Media Coverage: Southern Cross News
Scroll down to read more about each award recipient.
Female Player of the Year: Kristy Wallace
Kristy rounded out an outstanding year of basketball in 2013, selected to the Under 19s national team to compete at the Pacific Games where she was named tournament MVP. She was also a member of the Queensland South Girls team which won bronze at the Under 18 Australian Junior Championships. Kristy was named the Most Improved Player of SEABL, as well as Logan City Young Sportsperson of the Year. These achievements have resulted in her selection for Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence.
Male Player of the Year: Dejan Vasiljevic
In 2013, Dejan was captain of the Under 17 Australian Men’s national team that took gold at the Oceania Series, qualifying for the World Championships. He was also vice-captain of the Championship winning Under 18 Victoria Metro team. He was named Male Junior Basketball Player of the Year for 2013 by Basketball Victoria and was a scholarship recipient for Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence. Further, he was the Rookie of the Year in the Victorian Youth Championships Men awarded by Big V, and was an Under 18 State Champion with the Melbourne Tigers.
Female Wheelchair Basketball Player of the Year – Amber Merritt
Amber represented Australia playing in the starting five for the Gliders at the Osaka Cup in Japan, where the team were crowned undefeated gold medallists. She was also captained the Be Active Western Stars, who were the Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball League (WNWBL) Champions. Further, Amber was the top point scorer and MVP 4 Point Player for this league, resulting in her being selected in the WNWBL All-Star Five.
Male Wheelchair Basketball Player of the Year – Tom O’Neill-Thorne
Tom has had a remarkable year, fitting a significant amount of achievements into a short space of time. Tom’s biggest achievement was inclusion into the Rollers squad, where he represented Australia at the World Championship qualifier. Tom was part of the Under 23 Australian Squad World Championships, where he helped the team take bronze. Tom also achieved bronze in in the National Wheelchair Basketball League (NWBL), and was named the 2013 Northern Territory Junior Sportsperson of the Year.
Female Player of the Year with an Intellectual Disability: Eliza-Jane Mills
Eliza is an established member of the Australia Pearls, having competed internationally with the team a number of times. In 2013, she was selected in the team to represent Australia at the World Championships, however unfortunately the event was cancelled. She was top point scorer at the Ivor Burge Championship in Launceston.
Male Player of the Year with an Intellectual Disability: Cameron Slacik
Cameron had many significant achievements during 2013, including being selected to represent the Australian Boomerangs at the World Championships in Turkey in October – where his efforts helped the team take bronze. Cameron also represented Victoria at the Ivor Burge Nationals, where he was named tournament MVP after helping his team take gold.
Patrick Hunt Female Coach of the Year: Corry-Lyn Wellsteed
Corry-Lyn has achieved great success with junior basketball coaching throughout 2013, awarded the WABL Female Coach of the Year. Corry-Lyn was the Under 18 Australian 3×3 Coach at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, and was also Assistant Coach for both the West Coach Waves Academy and WNBL team.
Patrick Hunt Male Coach of the Year: John Hargreaves
John has played a major role in coaching junior basketball during 2013, achieving great success as Head Coach of the NSW Country Under 16 Boys team which took gold at the Australian Junior Championships. John also served as Head Coach of the winning Illawarra Under 16 Boys team at the New South Wales Country Championships and New South Wales State Championships.
Female Contribution to Wheelchair Basketball: Shelley Chaplin and Leanne Del Toso
Leanne and Shelley have both made great contributions to wheelchair basketball, both continually seeking out and recruiting new players for the sport. During 2013, they cycled to Fiji with the organisation Disability Sport and Recreation (DSR) in order to raise awareness of people with a disability. Both women were not present at the awards ceremony, as they are currently in Thailand cycling another 600km to raise awareness for players with a disability.
Male Contribution to Wheelchair Basketball: James Leonard
James’ passion for the sport of basketball and willingness to strive to help children play makes him a worthy winner of this award. After falling in love with the game through playing basketball, James had become a terrific advocate for the game, seeing him spend hours promoting, developing and helping young children with mobility restrictions to be involved. James also volunteers every Friday at Dandenong Stadium coaching children on how to play the game.
Female Contribution to Basketball for Players with an Intellectual Disability: Odette Seabourne
Odette has made a profound contribution to basketball for players with an intellectual disability. She has been involved with the Tasmanian Ivor Burge Men’s team for the past 13 years in coaching roles and is solely responsible for all promotion and fundraising for the team. She also organised and conducted a weekend camp for Players with an Intellectual Disability and has been invited to the 2013 Australian Camp as a coach.
Male Contribution to Basketball for Players with an Intellectual Disability: Vern Tessier
Vern is the founder of the Victorian Championship Basketball Competition for Players with an Intellectual Disability, which has been running for more than 20 years. He has dedicated an enormous amount during this time to ensure the competition runs smoothly and is welcoming and inclusive to all participants. He is a mentor for encouraging mainstream basketball players to go on to support the intellectually disabled community, and makes a difference to the lives of over 250 intellectually disabled people and their families every week. He is also responsible for providing pathways for athletes to both participate and represent at state and national levels.
Female Referee of the Year: Jessica Byrnes
Jessica takes out the award for her continual efforts refereeing major basketball tournaments. She was referee of the Under 20 Australian Junior Championships – including refereeing the gold medal women’s match. She has been a member of the state referee program for five years and is also a member of the National Referee Development Program. Jessica has refereed for four years at the SBL, and was awarded the National Officiating Scholarship for 2014.
Male Referee of the Year: Christopher Reid
Christopher has served as a dedicated and accomplished referee during 2013, officiating several important tournaments and matches. His greatest achievement was being selected to referee at the Under 19 Men’s World Championships in Prague, where he received the honour of referring the Gold Medal Game. He has also assisted with referee development and officiated as a mentor for the SEABL, Big V and National Junior Classic.
Female Administrator of the Year: Bridie Galea
Bridie has contributed immensely to the administration of junior basketball throughout 2013, completing all fixtures and results for an incredible 365 teams, as well as implementing the FOX SPORTS online program at the 2013 Southern Peninsula Junior Basketball Tournament. She was Competitions Manager for the Junior and Senior Domestic Competitions, administered all junior representative teams that participated in the VJBL, liaised with and rostered all referees for Domestic and VJBL games, administered all BIGV game days, and was winner of Basketball Victoria’s Jack Carter Memorial Award for Administrator of the Year.
Male Administrator of the Year: Joshua Pascoe
Joshua has been a major factor in the success of junior basketball over the course of 2013. Through sound financial management, exceptional communication and organisational skills, Joshua has been able to revolutionise the introduction to Basketball Program, Funtime, which has resulted in a membership increase of over 30%. Joshua also implemented financial and governance reporting for junior clubs, re-directing them to improved financial success. Further, he has facilitated the creation of a new junior club and welcomed a second new club, as well as implementing a three tiered player development program.
Junior Basketball Scoretable Official of the Year: Ian Collings
Ian has been involved with junior basketball for more than 25 years, officiating in several championships during 2013 including the Australian Schools Championships, National Junior Classic, VJBL Finals Metro and Regional and the Victorian Youth Championship. Ian is also an educator within the Victorian Basketball Scoretable Association.
Junior Basketball Statistician of the Year: Olivia Nicholls
Olivia made a great contribution to junior basketball in 2013, currently holding a Level 2 certification with Hills Basketball Association. Olivia attended two national tournaments in 2013 and gave freely of her time throughout the Under 18 Australian Junior Championships. She also runs statistics for her private junior school competition.
Junior Basketball Volunteer of the Year: Lindsay White
Lindsay has had a major contribution to junior basketball as a volunteer in 2013, playing an influential role in establishing and funding a team for Sudanese girls, as well as contributing to fundraising and grant applications. Lindsay was unable to attend this year’s awards presentation ceremony, but has generously requested that the travel allowance for this trip be put towards his program – a request Basketball Australia has gladly honoured.
Best Media Coverage: Southern Cross News
Southern Cross News continue to be a great supporter of junior basketball, covering a number basketball events throughout 2013 including Basketball Tasmania’s development programs, State Championships, state development camps and high performance camps. Southern Cross News covered weekly updates throughout the year on SEABL teams, and consistently reported on athletes representing the Centre of Excellence.