At the conclusion of the 2015 season, we look back on how the teams from the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence fared.
BASKETBALL AUSTRALIA CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE WOMEN
Wins – 10
Losses – 4
Standing – N/A
2014 result – 9 wins, 5 losses
For the second straight year, the CoE women would have made the playoffs, finishing second after improving on last season’s record. They handed Dandenong their biggest loss of the season while also slipping up just once at home. Coming over from the Rangers, Lauren Scherf continued her consistent career with 8.4 points and 8.1 rebounds while Alanna Smith was highly efficient offensively with 9.9 points a game at 57% shooting.
Far better at home than away, the CoE finished with a 4-3 road record while recording the third most amount of turnovers at 18 a game. Two one-point losses to Geelong and Brisbane in the space of just over a month were heart-breakers.
In a year in which she joined the Opals squad, Katie-Rae Ebzery made herself known in SEABL with 11.6 points per game and 4.6 assists (both team-highs) while also adding 3.7 rebounds. She finished fourth in the league for assists and had the best assist-turnover ratio of any player in the top ten while shooting 37% from the three-point line.
A massive influx of players did not seem to concern the CoE as they started their season with four straight wins but retaining a couple of the more experienced players like Ebzery or Scherf will help in acclimatising the new members of the team that are sure to arrive in 2016.
Ezi Magbegor was one of the stars for Vic Metro when they dominated the Under-18 national Championship earlier this year and having just turned 16, the future is bright for the forward. SEABL did not get a real good look at her this season but 10 points and 13 rebounds (seven offensive) against Canberra was a sign of how she could dominate if she returns next year.
GRADE – 7.5/10
BASKETBALL AUSTRALIA CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE MEN
Wins – 6
Losses – 8
Standing – N/A
2014 result – 2 wins 14 losses
A major improvement on last season, the CoE would have made the final had they been eligible. They had a 6-3 record prior to Round 9 and recorded victories over Nunawading and Albury-Wodonga at home while also taking care of Kilsyth and Sandringham on the road. Jayden Hodgson (six points, 2.6 assists) played all 14 games while Jack McVeigh (12.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and three assists) was a star.
Coming back from their mid-season break in which a majority of the team competed at the Under-19 World Championships, the CoE could not record another win and finished the year with a five game losing streak. They gave up eight three-pointers per game and also had the worst defence in the league, allowing 88 points.
Their leading scorer, Dejan Vasiljevic, averaged almost five more points than any other player in the team with 17 a game while he hit close to a third of the team’s three-pointers. He improved on last year’s point production by 2.4 a game as well as increasing his rebound numbers from 3.8 to 4.5.
Returning in 2016, the CoE will again be ineligible for finals but their seasons are focused on the development of their players. After a turnaround of only four in 2015, a similar interchange of players will help the team chemistry and also increase their level of experience which is the area most obviously lacking for the team.
The youngest member of the 2015 squad, Tom Fullarton proved he can hold his own in the back court at just 16 years of age. He averaged six points per game but recorded three-double figure performances with his best match coming against Geelong in Round 16 when he collected 18 points, four rebounds and two blocks.