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12-7-2006 - By BA Media

Mills caps off big week with BA junior award

17-year-old Patrick Mills could be excused for sleeping through his alarm on Wednesday morning, but with an award to collect over breakfast in Adelaide, he surely didn’t.  It’s been a big week for the Canberran who returned from training with the Australia Post Boomers in the NSW Central Coast village of Terrigal on Monday and then left for South Australia on Tuesday afternoon to accept Basketball Australia’s award for 2006 Junior Male Player of the Year at the annual Junior Basketball Awards.


The awards are announced and presented each year at a special breakfast ceremony held in conjunction with the U18 National Junior Championships.  The U18 Championships are currently being held at Wayville Sports Centre in Adelaide and this year the award breakfast was held at the Radisson Playford Hotel.


It’s the second award of the week for Mills, who took out the National Sportsperson of the Year Award at the NAIDOC award ceremony in Cairns on Saturday night.  Firmly ensconced in the Boomers camp back in NSW, Mills’ father Benny was there to accept the award on his behalf on Saturday, but the man himself made it to Adelaide on Wednesday morning to collect his latest prize.


An Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder, Mills was the youngest athlete selected in the Australia Post Boomers squad for the 2006 World Championship, which meant he missed attending the 2006 Albert Schweitzer Tournament for which he was selected in the Emus team for.  In April, NSW coach Rob Beveridge selected the international novice in the World Team at the Nike Hoop Summit in the USA where he turned plenty of heads.  He met his idol Andrew Bogut while attending a Milwaukee Bucks game in the States and could only have imagined in his wildest dreams that he would be passing the ball to Bogut at a training camp just a few short months later.  In January 2006, he was awarded the prestigious RE Staunton Medal at the U20 Nationals in Perth and also attended the Australian Junior Camp in his home town of Canberra at the beginning of 2006.


The Junior Female Player of the Year has had a similar rise to fame within Australian senior women’s basketball.  Renae Camino, 2004/05 WNBL Rookie of the Year, was named in the All-Star 5 of the World Championships for Junior Women in July 2005 before launching herself into the Opals team for the Oceania Qualifying tournament, only to injure her knee before playing a game.  She has now (finally) made her debut with the Opals, playing in their recent tour of China, and has been selected in the Sapphires squad for the 2007 World Championships.  She also helped her State team (NSW) to a silver medal at the 2005 U20 Nationals.


NSW South Coast coach, Scott Balsar, has taken out the award for Male Coach of the Year.  He coached the NSW U18 women to gold in 2005 and earned himself a place as a coach at the Australian Junior Camp.  He guides juniors in the NSW Shoalhaven region as Head of Coaching and is a NSW NITCP Senior Network Coach.  He was head coach of the NSW Country Team at the 2006 Australian Junior Basketball Cup.


Marissa Fillipou has been busy throughout 2005 and 2006.  She helped Dandenong to their third WNBL Grand Final in a row as well as working with the Australian Junior Women’s Team, the Gems.  After a winning a gold medal with the Victorian U16 women’s team in 2005, she was invited to be a coach at the Australian Junior Camp in January 2006.  Marissa is a former AIS scholarship coach and a current NITCP Network Coach who continues to develop junior female athletes in Victoria and is a worthy recipient of the award for Female Coach of the Year.


As referee of the Gold medal game at the U18 Nationals 2005, South Australia’s Nathan Durant began a successful 12 months of officiating basketball in Australia, which has led to him being named as Basketball Australia’s Male Referee of the Year.  He was the referee of the bronze medal match at the 2006 U20 Nationals in Perth and is a regular contributor to state junior and senior basketball.  As a SEABL and Bank SA ABA referee, Nathan is also a Senior Panel Referee and a referee’s coach and evaluator.


Also from South Australia, Vanessa Devlin has been awarded for Female Referee of the Year.  As one of the top ranked female officials in South Australia, Vanessa played an integral part in organising and managing the referees at the 2006 South Australian State Championships.  She controlled the U16 gold medal game at those Championships and also refereed at the U14 Club Championships for Boys in 2005.  She is a regular contributor to state junior and senior levels and is a State Panel Referee and well as officiating ABA matches in the Bank SA League.


Many remember Mark Dalton for his feats on the basketball court with the Australian Boomers in 80s, but these days it is his efforts behind the scenes that are making the headlines – winning him the award for Male Administrator of the Year.  As the General Manager of the one of the fastest growing associations in QLD, Mark has increased the number of junior players taking on the role of being an official and has increased the profile of Logan Basketball through media and corporate opportunities.  He has facilitate a 30 minute radio program on Radio FM 101 dedicated to basketball and has successfully gained a five year contract with the local council to undertake school based programs.  He hosted the first State U12 QLD Classic in 2006 as well as hosting and promoting numerous other basketball events including the Opals clinic attended by 130 children in 2005.


NSW administrator, Leonie Moore, is an avid supporter of all levels of basketball and is passionate about player development, skill development and retention of players.  As the Basketball Manager of Penrith Basketball Association (one of the biggest associations in NSW), Leonie has taken out the award for Female Administrator of the Year.  She has reviewed all policies and procedures pertaining to Sport Rage, Child Protection and inclusion and has been a leader in discipline issues and tribunal matters.  She also supports the sport as a coach and coaches three teams within NSW.


As Head Coach of the Victorian Country Men’s Persons With an Intellectual Disability team for the past four years, Sam Camilleri has made an outstanding contribution to basketball and has been awarded the Basketball Australia Award for Contribution to Basketball for People with an Intellectual Disability – Male.  He is an active member of the Victorian Country Basketball Committee for the PWID Program and is Head Coach of Skill and Drill come and try days for PWID.  On top of this, Sam is the President of Victoria’s Daylesford Basketball Association.


South Australia’s Emma Medhurst is the driving force behind an innovative and very successful program integrating sport development, high school education and lifestyle skill acquisition for students with an intellectual disability.  She was the coordinator of the Salisbury High School Basketball Carnival for students with a disability and also coordinates a Special Education Program at Salisbury High.  She was a presenter at Inclusive Basketball Forum in Adelaide, organised by Basketball Australia and Basketball SA and was winner of the SA National Excellence in Teaching Award 2005.  She is a worthy winner of the Award for Contribution to Basketball for People with an Intellectual Disability – Female.


After winning the WNBL award for best coverage from a daily newspaper in 2006, the Canberra Times are up for another Basketball Australia award for Best Media Coverage.  Their coverage of the Canberra Capitals throughout their Championship year was outstanding, as was their treatment of the 2005 U16 National Junior Championships.  Their ongoing coverage of local basketball, Aussie Hoops and the NITCP through their “Personal Best” section and their coverage of the 2006 Opals World Challenge make them worthy winners of the award.


As Statistician Coordinator at the U20 and U18 Nationals Championships in Perth, Marcus Langshaw is a worthy winner of the Male Volunteer of the Year Award.  He is the current Chairperson of the Basketball WA State Team Commission and is the referees coordinator and educator at the Willetton Basketball Association.  He is also a statistician for the State Basketball League in Western Australia.


Tasmania’s Trudy Pearce has had a busy 12 months… She was the manager of the Australian teams at the Australian Youth Olympics in 2005 and also a manager at the Australian Junior Camps.  She is team manager for the Australian Sapphires and also did a stint with the Opals through a women’s mentoring program for basketball administrators and officials.  She is a regular statistician and scoretable official for local juniors through to SEABL and is the Chair of the organising committee for the 2006 U14 Boys Club Championships to be held in Ulverstone.  She is an Acting Board member of Basketball Tasmania and has a large involvement with the Ulverstone Basketball Association making her a worthy recipient of the Female Volunteer of the Year award.


Judy Smith has been the secretary of the Scoretable Officials Program in South Australia since its inception.  She was the coordinator of Scoretable personnel at the 2005 U14 Boys Club Championships and assisted with the 2005 Australian Masters Games.  She is the Scoretable coordinator at the SA Junior State League Finals and a worthy winner of Basketball Australia’s Scoretable Official of the Year award for 2006.


When Canberra won the right to host the 2005 U16 Nationals, James Hanley trained additional volunteer statisticians for the event.  He was heavily involved in organising the statisticians for the event and undertook a minimum of three games per day throughout the tournament.  He is a statistician in SEABL and Waratah ABA matches and took on the world of international basketball statistics at the Opals World Challenge in April 2006 to win the award of Basketball Australia Statistician of the Year.


A new award was introduced to the annual Basketball Australia Junior Awards in 2006.  One male and one female were awarded the Vocation and Education Award to recognise those athletes who were well rounded in their basketball, study and career. 


First year student at Latrobe University (Bendigo), Kevin Probert (VIC), was a member of the Australian Emus program and competed in the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Germany in 2005.  He attended the Nike Camp in China and maintains a balance between basketball and university by communicating with Latrobe and ensuring he can fully meet both commitments.


Hannah Williams is an outstanding student at Darwin High School.  A NITCP athlete and Northern Territory representative, Hannah maintains a high level of excellence at school while completing her basketball commitments.  She represented Darwin at the ‘Tournament of the Minds’ in Sydney and is also a member of the NT U18 women’s team.


Basketball Australia congratulates all these worthy award winners for 2006.

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