Introducing You

JOSH MORGAN is one of Newcastle Basketball’s favourite sons. One of only a handful of home-grown products to represent the Hunter Pirates in the NBL in the early 2000s, “Joey” has been the heart and soul of Newcastle representative teams ever since. In his final game before retiring, the inspirational playmaker led the Hunters to the 2018 Waratah League championship.

Nickname: Joey or Morgos

Position: Guard

Date of birth: July 5, 1982

Place of birth: Newcastle, NSW

Family: Wife Jill, children Isabel, Harry, Hudson, Indie

Junior Club: Port Hunter

Education: The Junction PS, Newcastle HS, Southern Cross University (Lismore)

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Newcastle Falcons/Townsville Fire

Favourite NBA/WNBA Team: San Antonio Spurs/Seattle Storm

Favourite Player (now): Patty Mills

Favourite Player (all-time): Sam Mackinnnon

Favourite basketball movie: White Men Can’t Jump

Favourite cartoon character: He-Man

How and why did you get into basketball: Our footy team played in a summer comp in under-sevens, and some of us stuck with it and ended up playing under 10s with Port Hunter. I kept playing both for a while but eventually stopped playing footy and kept playing basketball.

Pre-game routine: I didn’t do a lot, really. There were no superstitions or anything. In my later years, I was more focused on eating better from the night before onwards. I usually took it pretty easy before games and never got too excited or did anything too strenuous. I liked just getting into the dressing-room with my teammates and being with them to get ready for the game.

Career achievements/highlights: Making NSW teams and Country Tour as a junior, and winning the gold medal at Under 20s National Champs in 2000. I was fortunate that we had an NBL team here around that time, so I was pretty proud to be able to play in the NBL with and against players you’d only read about or seen on TV. Representing Australia in some select teams for things like Oceania Games, and a tour of China with Rob Beveridge during an NBL season when they couldn’t take NBL players, they were opportunities I never thought I would get. I was always proud to represent the Hunters, and winning the championship in my final year in 2018 was a pretty good way to go out.

Best basketball brush with fame: I went to an Andrew Gaze Adidas camp as a junior, and people like Barry Barnes, the former Australian Boomers coach, and RC Buford from the Spurs were there. Getting to play against some of the players I got to play against in the NBL too.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Not that I have a lot of spare time with four kids, but I’ve got a lot of time for the idea of improving someone’s skill level, so being involved with that one-on-one coaching as much as team coaching. Seeing my kids progress, I look forward to that, and continuing to help develop girls’ basketball and be a part of increasing those numbers and helping build that base and ensuring there’s no drop-off as they get older.

What do you love most about basketball: The cliché is the people, but that is why you keep playing, then when you’re playing it’s the competition and that drive to compete. But the appeal of any team sport is the friends you make by being part of that environment, so it wouldn’t be a bad thing if my kids decided to pursue basketball.

 

 

CHLOE MULLANEY was a late starter in basketball, discovering the game in her mid-teens after a background in surf lifesaving, but quickly made up for lost time by becoming a five-time NSW junior representative and WNBL player before she turned 20. A life playing member, Chloe (pictured with daughter Chyra) remains involved as a proud parent and coach who has helped guide several Newcastle teams to NSW titles.

Nickname: Clo

Position: Forward/centre, now coach

Date of birth: July 31, 1978

Place of birth: Newcastle, NSW

Family: Partner Ben, sons Trace and Tallis, daughter Chyra

Junior Club: Wests

Education: Lambton PS, Lambton HS

Favourite NBL/WNBL Teams: Newcastle Falcons & Hunter Pirates/Canberra Capitals & Sydney Uni Flames

Favourite NBA/WNBA Team: Chicago Bulls/Phoenix Mercury

Favourite Player (now): Abby Bishop

Favourite Players (all-time): Lauren Jackson & Suzy Batkovic

Favourite basketball movie: Michael Jordan’s Playground

Favourite cartoon character: Sylvester

How and why did you get into basketball: My cousin Kelly Deakin was playing for Wests when we were younger, and she got me into it at a club level when I was about 14 or 15. I was in Nobbys Surf Club before that.

Pre-game routine: I had to eat at least three hours before I played, then I usually just listened to some music and tried to relax. I liked to get to the game at least an hour before to strap my ankles and get ready. If I had a good game, I liked to do the same things or wear the same socks for the next game.

Career achievements/highlights: As a player, I didn’t start playing until quite late, then things happened pretty quickly. I moved to Adelaide as a 16-year-old to be part of the Adelaide Lightning development squad with Jan Stirling, the former Opals coach, then I was in the Sydney Flames development squad. As an 18-year-old, I was fortunate enough to go to Canberra to play WNBL for the Capitals. I was a reserve for the Australian under 17s, and represented NSW in juniors for five years as top age under 16s, bottom and top age under 18s, and bottom and top age under 20s.

As a coach, I was an assistant to Dan Palmer a few years ago when Newcastle’s under 12 Div 1 girls won NSW Championships, I was coach last year when our under 18 Div 1 girls won NSW Championships, and I was assistant to Mark Gledson when the Champ Women won the Waratah League championship in 2016.

Best basketball brush with fame: Through basketball, I’ve been fortunate enough to have made a lot of friends who have achieved at the highest level – people like Lauren Jackson, Suzy Batkovic, Abby Bishop – but I don’t really think of them in terms of being famous because they’re friends.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: To see my kids go as far as they want to go and achieve what they want to achieve while still enjoying the game, and to remain involved with coaching juniors to help them achieve their dreams.

What do you love most about basketball: It’s a great game and it attracts great people, so just being part of that community and being around those people.

 

 

JACOB FOY first started playing basketball in Port Macquarie, where his parents ran the basketball stadium, then moved to Newcastle late in his junior career to continue his development. The hard-working sharp-shooter was MVP of the Newcastle Hunters men’s team at the age of 17, was Waratah League youth player of the year when the Hunters won the championship the following season, and is now half-way through a four-year scholarship at Hawaii-Pacific University in Honolulu.

Nickname: Muss

Position: Point forward

Date of birth: November 13, 1999

Place of birth: Nowra, NSW

Family: Parents Anthony and Helen, brothers Jordan and Corey, sister Emily

Junior Club: City Limits

Education: St Agnes PS (Port Macquarie), St Paul’s HS (Port Macquarie), San Clemente (Mayfield), SFX (Hamilton), Hawaii-Pacific University (Honolulu).

Favourite NBL Team: Illawarra Hawks

Favourite NBA Team: Utah Jazz

Favourite Player (now): Joe Ingles

Favourite Player (all-time): Klay Thompson

Favourite basketball movie: He Got Game

Favourite cartoon character: Bugs Bunny

How and why did you get into basketball: We’re a basketball family. My parents ran the basketball stadium at Port Macquarie and I was born on Court 3, so I guess it was always meant to be.

Pre-game routine: Morning shoot-around, eat a chicken wrap before the game, roll, stretch, warm up, then do some breathing and mindfulness exercises to try to relax.

Career achievements/highlights: Winning the Waratah League championship in 2018 and being named Waratah League junior player of the year the same year. Getting a scholarship to HPU. Getting the silver medal with NSW at Australian Under-20s in Bendigo in 2017.

Best basketball brush with fame: I spent four days at a training camp with Melbourne United in 2017 and got to play one on one with Casper Ware and Chris Goulding.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Playing professionally somewhere in the world.

What do you love most about basketball: The team-oriented competition of the game.

 

CASSIDY McLEAN was destined to pursue a basketball career, considering her parents and older brother and sister all played during her formative years. A member of Australia’s gold medal-winning team at the Under-17 World Championships in 2016, and with four years of WNBL experience already under her belt, Cassidy aspires to represent Australia at senior level and play in the WNBA.

Nickname: Cass

Position: Guard

Date of birth: June 9, 1999

Place of birth: Newcastle, NSW

Family: Parents Martin and Fiona, brother Jackson, sisters Taylor and Keely

Junior Club: City Limits

Education: St Mary’s PS (Warners Bay), St Paul’s HS (Booragul), SFX (Hamilton)

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Cairns Taipans/Bendigo Spirit

Favourite NBA/WNBA Team: Any team with Australians playing for them.

Favourite Player (now): Patty Mills

Favourite Player (all-time): Kobe Bryant

Favourite basketball movie: Coach Carter

Favourite cartoon character: SpongeBob SquarePants

How and why did you get into basketball: My parents both played and my older siblings were playing when I was little, so I had to do what they did.

Pre-game routine: Game-day shoot-around in the morning, team breakfast, nap, get to the game at least two hours early to tape, stretch, roll and warm up, then listen to pump-up music.

Career achievements/highlights: Representing Australia and winning the gold medal at Under-17 World Championships in 2016. Playing WNBL and winning WNBL championship with Sydney Flames in 2016-17. Being named MVP at Australian Under-20 national championships and getting the silver medal playing for NSW at that tournament. Winning Waratah League championship in 2019.

Best basketball brush with fame: Meeting Pau Gasol while I was in Spain at Under-17 World Champs. Living in Bendigo with two Opals players (Tessa Lavey and Gabe Richards). Being Marty McLean’s daughter.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: I want to represent Australia at the Olympics and a World Cup, and I want to play in the WNBA.

What do you love most about basketball: The community and camaraderie, making friends not just where you live but all around the world, and getting to travel around the country and around the world playing the sport you love.

 

 

MYLES CHERRY is a home-grown Newcastle junior who is back in town after completing his US college career at Lafayette, where he averaged seven rebounds and almost 10 points a game in his senior year. A skilful low-post player with a high IQ on and off the court, Myles aspires to play in the National Basketball League.

Nickname: Chezz

Position: Forward

Date of birth: February 4, 1998

Place of birth: Newcastle, NSW

Family: Parents Michael and Margaret, brothers Morgan and Marcus

Junior Club: City Limits

Education: Holy Family Primary School (Merewether Beach), St Pius X (Adamstown), SFX (Hamilton), Choate Rosemary Hall (Connecticut), Lafayette College (Pennsylvania)

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Cairns Taipans/Sydney Uni Flames

Favourite NBA/WNBA Team: Philadelphia 76ers/LA Sparks

Favourite Player (now): Joe Ingles

Favourite Player (all-time): Kobe Bryant

Favourite basketball movie: Coach Carter

Favourite cartoon character: Spongebob Squarepants

How and why did you get into basketball: In primary school, through my mates, and I stuck with it because my coach at Rookies (Maddie Allen) used to buy me a bag of lollies for every basket I made. She eventually had to stop that because it started getting a bit out of hand.

Pre-game routine: I always eat a bacon and egg roll in the morning, then listen to music a few hours before the game.

Career achievements/highlights: Winning two national championships in juniors with NSW Country (Under 16s and Under 18s), getting a Division One basketball scholarship, making the Australian Under-17 squad, making All-New England First Team in my last year at high school, getting to play in the Newcastle Youth League team that won the Div Two championship in 2017.

Best basketball brush with fame: Getting to play one on one with DeMarcus Cousins at the Nike Asia Camp in China when I was 15 or 16. He dunked all over me.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: To play in the NBL is my ultimate goal.

What do you love most about basketball: It’s always challenging, and it’s never easy. There are always different facets of your game you can work on and develop.

 

 

FELICITY COOK played more than 10 years in Newcastle’s senior representative program after relocating from Coffs Harbour to attend university. A former NSW junior rep guard, Felicity fell in love with a fellow basketballer, got married, started a family and moved back to her home town, but retains close ties to Newcastle because of all the friends she made through basketball.

Nickname: Felis, or I sometimes get Cooky since I got married.

Position: Guard

Date of birth: March 14, 1985

Place of birth: Maitland, NSW

Family: Husband Mat, daughter Millie, son Darcy

Junior Club: Coffs Harbour Suns

Education: Tyalla PS (Coffs Harbour), Orara HS (Coffs Harbour), University of Newcastle

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Sydney Kings/Sydney Uni Flames, closely followed by Perth Lynx because Katie Ebzery plays for them.

Favourite NBA/WNBA Team: Golden State Warriors/Dallas Wings

Favourite Player (now): Klay Thompson

Favourite Player (all-time): Kobe Bryant

Favourite basketball movie: Coach Carter

Favourite cartoon character: Marvin the Martian

How and why did you get into basketball: I was originally playing netball but I got asked to come and play basketball in an under-sevens mixed comp and I’ve never left it. I’ve always loved sport and I kept playing both but I eventually had to choose one and I chose basketball. I just love the game.

Pre-game routine: It’s changed a lot since I had kids but generally I like to have an early breakfast and a light shoot-around, then get to the game at least an hour before and listen to some music, and just chat and hang out with the team. Now, having kids, I make sure they’re all organised before I worry about anything else so my pre-game routine doesn’t always run as smoothly as it used to!

Career achievements/highlights: Winning East Coast Masters with Wine and Cheeses in my first Masters tournament in 2018 – that was a lot of fun – and winning the Newcastle women’s comp with Cheezycakes. Winning the NSW CHS Under 15s knock-out with Orara High School, and winning junior country and state titles with Coffs Harbour. Representing NSW Country in Under 16s and Under 18s was always very special, and I always felt very privileged to represent Newcastle senior rep teams.

Best basketball brush with fame: Meeting Shane Heal, meeting Lauren Jackson was pretty cool, playing against Annie La Fleur, and having Suzy Batkovic come to some of our rep training sessions.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: I’ve probably still got a couple of years left as a player, and I’m on the board at Coffs Harbour because I like to try to give something back. I know what I’ve got out of basketball so I think it’s a good thing to pass on whatever experience or advice I can to help get kids into sport, and give them a platform to have fun and be healthy and try to achieve.

What do you love most about basketball: Your teammates. This whole COVID-19 thing makes you realise that you take a lot of things for granted, but basketball is where I’ve met most of my friends and they become part of your family, which is pretty special. You make friends from around the state and around the country that you’re friends with for life. It’s such a great game but it’s all the experiences you have with the people you meet along the way that mean the most.

 

 

HAYDEN HOWELL has called Newcastle home since relocating from Dubbo towards the end of his junior career. A former NSW junior representative guard, Hayden was a member of Newcastle’s championship-winning Waratah League men’s team in 2018 and wants to continue as a regular member of that team once he recovers from a serious ankle injury.

Nickname: Haydos or just Dos

Position: Guard

Date of birth: March 7, 1997

Place of birth: Dubbo, NSW

Family: Parents John and Meredith, sister Laura, brother Will

Junior Club: Dubbo

Education: South Dubbo PS, St John’s College (Dubbo), University of Newcastle

Favourite NBL Team: Sydney Kings

Favourite NBA Team: Miami Heat

Favourite Player (now): Shabazz Napier

Favourite Player (all-time): Dwyane Wade

Favourite basketball movie: He Got Game

Favourite cartoon character: Bugs Bunny

How and why did you get into basketball: When my brother Will was in kindergarten, his friend asked him to play at Dubbo Sportsworld. I tagged along with them, and I haven’t been away from basketball since then.

Pre-game routine: Nothing too special. I usually go get some shots up around 9 or 10 on the morning of the game, come back around 5pm and watch some of the women’s game, then go get more shots up before the team meeting and warm-up.

Career achievements/highlights: Winning the 2018 Waratah League championship in my first year back playing is the main one most recently. Also representing Newcastle in juniors and seniors, I’ve been very proud to do that, and I represented NSW in juniors and graduated from the NITP program.

Best basketball brush with fame: I played with Kouat Noi and against Isaac Humphries in juniors, and also getting to train and work out with Austin Thornton when he was here a couple of years ago. That was good for me to do that and see how to prepare professionally.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Play for as long as I can.

What do you love most about basketball: The competitiveness, being part of a team environment where you’re all passionate about the same thing, and the banter and camaraderie that come with it. All the repetitive stuff, all the training and work-outs, I never get sick of it.

 

 

MADDIE ALLEN seemed destined to be a basketballer from the day she was born into a basketball family as the daughter of a former Newcastle Falcon. After several years representing Newcastle junior rep teams, Maddie moved to Queensland with her family. Her career path has since taken her to a Division 1 college on the west coast of the USA and a WNBL club on the west coast of Australia.

Nickname: Maddie

Position: Centre/forward

Date of birth: July 3, 1993

Place of birth: Newcastle, NSW

Family: Parents Stuart and Lori, sister Bethany

Junior Club: Port Hunter

Education: Newcastle Grammar School, John Paul College (Queensland), Santa Clara University

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Brisbane Bullets/Perth Lynx

Favourite NBA Team: Golden State Warriors

Favourite Player (now): Liz Cambage

Favourite Player (all-time): Suzy Batkovic

Favourite basketball movie: Space Jam

Favourite cartoon character: Stitch

How and why did you get into basketball: I’m from a basketball family through Dad and my uncle (former Newcastle Falcon and Brisbane Bullet Frank Goldfinch) and I was always going to be tall, so it was in my blood.

Pre-game routine: I do my make-up and I have a coffee about two hours prior. I’m usually finishing my coffee in the team room before we go out for warm-up.

Career achievements/highlights: At Santa Clara, we beat Stanford at Stanford and that hadn’t happened for a long time, so that was definitely a highlight at college. Since then, winning two titles in SBL (Western Australia) and QBL (Queensland), and being named MVP of that SBL final last year.

Best basketball brush with fame: When I got to play against Suzy Batkovic and she destroyed me. That was a bit surreal for me because I’ve always looked up to her and admired her. Also, when Lauren Jackson friend-requested me on Facebook. That was the coolest thing.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: I’d like to be able to use basketball as a platform for change, and to use basketball to help people establish a better situation in their lives.

What do you love most about basketball: Being part of a team. You play team sport for a reason.

 

 

JARED GILLARD is a former Newcastle State League representative and long-serving player in our senior domestic competitions who has been a keen basketball student since the 1990s. He even survived an appearance on Tom Gleeson’s “Hard Quiz” in 2017, when the NBA was his special subject.

Nickname: Begsy

Playing Position: Forward

Date of birth: March 25, 1982

Place of birth: Newcastle, NSW

Family: Wife Jamie, son Jonathan, daughter Joni

Junior Club: University, Wests

Education: Gateshead West PS, Glendale HS, University of Newcastle

Favourite NBL Team: Newcastle Falcons

Favourite NBA Team: OKC Thunder (used to be Seattle SuperSonics)

Favourite Players (now): Russell Westbrook, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Favourite Players (all-time): Russell Westbrook, Shawn Kemp

Favourite basketball movie: Above The Rim

Favourite cartoon character: Rick Sanchez

How and why did you get into basketball: I grew up playing league but I really got into basketball in the mid-90s, when the only NBA on TV was “NBA Action” for 30 minutes on a Saturday. Everyone was collecting basketball cards and the Falcons were in town and I was hooked.

Pre-game routine: As I’ve gotten older, it’s involved much more stretching, and try not to eat too close to the start of games which was a wise lesson passed down from my good friend David Barker.

Career achievements/highlights: Of course the many wins in Thursday Div 1 with the Steerers (and hopefully another this year!) Travelling to play in six Uni Games. Getting the gold medal at 2007 Eastern Uni Games and Australian Uni Games in Adelaide (winners on and off the court) with a great bunch of guys and some of my best friends to this day.

Best basketball brush with fame: I was lucky enough to get up close and personal with former Hunter Pirates superstars Mat McGovern, Adam Melmeth, Josh Morgan and Mat Cook, who all took me under their wings at an impressionable age. They really were a poor influence on me!

I also started working in mentoring with “Great Mates” with Butch Hays and Dave Simmons and got to play in some games with them, so I have a lot to thank them for as that led to my career. Great to see Butch still running around in the Premier Men’s comp.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Keep playing until I can’t, and I would like to live to see the day the new stadium is built! Look forward to playing Masters in years to come, and hopefully reduce the amount of technical fouls per season by the Gorilla Gindles in Premier Men. Our son is playing under-12s and I look forward to seeing him play when COVID is finished, and our new-born daughter has no choice but to grow up around basketball. I would like to coach when I have more availability in coming years.

What do you love most about basketball: I love the competitiveness, being part of a team, and working hard for your team and your teammates. It’s a great outlet and like everyone else, I am missing it at the moment.

 

 

 

FREYA ROEBUCK captained Newcastle’s championship-winning Youth League side in 2015 and has twice been named in the national merit team after representing Newcastle at University Games. Though currently sidelined after two hip operations, the former Bathurst Goldminers junior is keen to make a comeback but until then is keeping busy completing her medical degree at Newcastle Uni.

Nickname: There’s a few but I get Frey mostly, or sometimes FreyDiz

Position: Guard

Date of birth: April 11, 1994

Place of birth: Wahroonga, NSW, and I grew up in Bathurst.

Family: Parents Marty and Sue, sisters Kiah and Neive, brother Brae

Junior Club: Bathurst Goldminers

Education: Assumption School Bathurst, All Saints College Bathurst, University of Newcastle

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Melbourne United/Sydney Uni Flames

Favourite NBA/WNBA Team: Don’t really have one for either.

Favourite Player (now): Lara McSpadden

Favourite Player (all-time): Lauren Jackson

Favourite basketball movie: Semi-Pro

Favourite cartoon character: Shrek

How and why did you get into basketball: Growing up in Bathurst, there were only a few sports to choose from and I got into basketball through family connections. The Lepaio sisters, Haylee and Hannah, got my older sister Kiah into it, and I remember watching them play under-12s when I was around nine. So Friday nights were basketball night and a social outing, which carried through most of the school years, and Saturday nights you’d watch the Goldminers play State League.

Pre-game routine: I’ve had two hip surgeries so it hasn’t happened for a while, but pre-game routine isn’t just the hour before the game. I’d make sure I got a good sleep the night before a game, then a good breakfast that morning and sometimes a light jog. When I got to the stadium, I liked being around the rest of the girls to get into the zone. I liked being around the team, passing a ball, having a chat, and getting pumped up together rather than being off on my own.

Career achievements/highlights: Winning Youth League with Newcastle in 2015, and I felt privileged to be captain of that team. Making the Aussie “Green and Gold” merit team at Uni Games in 2014 and 2017. Winning Eastern Uni Games in front of a home crowd in Newcastle in 2017. Winning State League with Bathurst in 2012 when I was still in Year 12.

Best basketball brush with fame: Playing the Country Cup tournament in Albury when I was younger and running into Lauren Jackson a few times. I was also fortunate enough to play with Tracey Beatty, who used to play for the Opals. She was always very generous with her time, which was appreciated.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: After two hip surgeries, and I might need some more yet, my main goal is just to play again.

What do you love most about basketball: The friendships I’ve made and the people I’ve met. Barring a couple, of all my best friends who I speak to daily or weekly, all have been through basketball.

 

 

 

 

JONATHON HOWE was the man in the middle for the Newcastle Hunters for the past decade, happy to bang the boards (and bodies) to rip down a rebound. A big-hearted centre with a blue-collar work ethic, “Howey” won a Youth League championship at the start of his career and a Waratah League title 15 years later, and despite battling injuries in recent years, has not ruled out a comeback.

Nickname: Howey or Jono

Position: Centre

Date of birth: June 26, 1983

Place of birth: Toronto, NSW

Family: Partner Charlotte

Junior Club: Wests

Education: Coal Point PS, Macquarie College

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Hunter Pirates/Canberra Capitals

Favourite NBA Team: Toronto Raptors

Favourite Player (now): Marcus Vanderheide

Favourite Player (all-time): Vince Carter

Favourite basketball movie: White Men Can’t Jump

Favourite cartoon character: Daffy Duck

How and why did you get into basketball: My older brother was playing mini-ball out at Toronto YMCA when he was six and I was four, so I started playing and sort of fell into it around then.

Pre-game routine: Two chicken salad sandwiches on wholemeal bread for lunch, get to the stadium early to get some shots up and stretch, and lately I’ve been doing some ZUU exercises as part of my warm-up. Adam Clarke from Up and Adam Gym got me into them.

Career achievements/highlights: Winning Waratah League 2018, and winning Youth League and under-18s state championships in 2003. They’re the stand-outs. I was fortunate enough to win a few individual awards along the way for different things but winning with the team was the main thing.

Best basketball brush with fame: I got to watch Vince Carter play against Michael Jordan in the 2001-02 NBA season when Jordan was playing for Washington. It was a Raptors-Wizards game in Toronto. That was pretty exciting, because not too many people from around here got to see Jordan play live.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: A late career comeback perhaps? You never know.

What do you love most about basketball: The camaraderie. I suppose everyone says that but it’s all about the guys you play with, the coaching staff, and being part of that team environment.

 

 

 

 

VIV NORTHEY is usually the first person anyone sees when they enter Newcastle Basketball Stadium. A familiar face in the front office, Viv is our most experienced venue supervisor who keeps our senior domestic competitions running smoothly, and is a proud and passionate supporter of all our Newcastle junior and senior representative teams.

Nickname: Everyone calls me Viv but my husband, Phil, calls me Rosebud.

Position: Venue Supervisor

Date of birth: November 26, 1944

Place of birth: Liverpool, UK

Family: Husband Phil, sons Scott and Craig, daughter Kristi, grand-sons Shawn, Hayden, Ben, Ky and Joshua, grand-daughter Maddy

Junior Club: City. I coached Trevor Gallacher and Scott Northey at City way back in under-12s.

Education: Cardiff South PS, Hunter Girls HS, Newcastle TAFE

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Newcastle Falcons/Sydney Uni Flames

Favourite NBA/WNBA Team: Whoever LeBron plays for, and whoever the Aussie girls are playing for.

Favourite Player (now): LeBron James

Favourite Player (all-time): Michael Jordan

Favourite basketball movie: Coach Carter

Favourite cartoon character: Road Runner

How and why did you get into basketball: A girlfriend of mine asked me to play for Scotts, the store that pre-dates David Jones in Newcastle. That was back when the stadium was at Wickham. I was a rep netballer at the time, playing centre, but I liked the idea of being able to play over the whole court and getting to shoot and do everything.

Pre-game routine: Take the money at the door as everyone comes in to watch our mighty Hunters play, and make sure it all adds up. When that’s all done, hopefully I get to see the second half of the men’s game.

Career achievements/highlights: I love watching all our Newcastle junior teams play, watching Ky’s team do well, and I’ve enjoyed seeing the men’s and women’s teams do so well in the past few years. I loved seeing Scott win the under-14 national championship, and he’s also played for Australian Defence Forces, so I’ve enjoyed seeing him do so well.

Best basketball brush with fame: Seeing Ben Simmons here as a little boy, then he came back here with his college team (Louisiana State University) a few years ago to play against Newcastle.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Just to try and keep everyone happy, and to see us all playing and working in a brand new stadium at Hillsborough.

What do you love most about basketball: All my friends and my family are there. They’ve all either been involved or are still involved with basketball.

 

 

 

TODD TURNER is one of Newcastle Basketball’s most respected coaches of the 21st century, guiding Newcastle and NSW junior teams to success at state and national championships. He has also been involved as a coach in Newcastle’s senior representative program and junior club competition, finding it hard to say no when someone asks him for help.

Nickname: Toddy, and the blokes I work with call me TT

Position: Coach

Date of birth: July 3, 1971

Place of birth: Waratah, NSW

Family: Wife Catherine, daughter Natalie, son Christopher

Junior Clubs: Port Hunter and Wests

Education: Kotara South PS, Kotara HS

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Cairns Taipans/Southside Flyers

Favourite NBA Team: Detroit Pistons

Favourite Player (now): Giannis Antetokounmpo (but not sure how to say it or spell it!)

Favourite Player (all-time): Dennis Rodman

Favourite basketball movie: Semi-Pro

Favourite cartoon character: Bugs Bunny

How and why did you get into basketball: My school friends were playing so I got involved through them, and I’ve been involved ever since then.

Pre-game routine: Nothing real special, but I’ll have a bottle of Coke Zero at some stage.

Career achievements/highlights: The best one I’ve been associated with was NSW Country under-16 boys winning national championships (2014), and head coaching other junior state teams.

Best basketball brush with fame: Meeting Luc Longley at a clinic in Canberra a few years ago.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Making kids better.

What do you love most about basketball: As above. Watching young boys become men.

 

 

KAREN LYTH first developed a love of basketball when she started playing in a team with her school friends in Wollongong, and watching Illawarra Hawks games at the original Beaton Park “Snakepit”. Karen took up refereeing in her late teens and has been patrolling the sidelines ever since.

Nickname: Lythy or Kaz

Position: Referee

Date of birth: March 10, 1962

Place of birth: Wollongong, NSW

Family: Husband Paul, daughters Emily and Gabby

Junior Club: Illawarra

Education: St Therese PS (West Wollongong), St Mary’s HS (Wollongong), Shellharbour School of Dental Therapy

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Illawarra Hawks/Sydney Uni Flames

Favourite NBA Team: Utah Jazz

Favourite Player (now): Rudy Gobert

Favourite Player (all-time): Michael Jordan

Favourite basketball movie: Coach Carter

Favourite cartoon character: Road Runner

How and why did you get into basketball: When I was at high school, my friends put a team in and that’s how I started playing, plus I used to go and watch the Hawks play back in the day when they played in the old Snakepit, when it was only two courts. I got into refereeing in my late teens after breaking up with my boyfriend at the time, and I had a lot more spare time on my hands.

Pre-game routine: Nothing special really. I just make sure I’m organised and on time getting to the game, then it’s just chatting and catching up with the other refs before the game.

Career achievements/highlights: Junior State Championship finals, Australian Schools Championships, Waratah League finals weekends.

Best basketball brush with fame: I refereed Nick Kay at NSW Catholic High Schools tournaments, and Dante Exum at Australian Schools Championships, and our youngest daughter Gabby danced with Ben Simmons at primary school. They went to St Columba’s at Adamstown – Gabby was in Kindergarten when Ben was in Year 1 – and Ben’s older sister Olivia was Gabby’s school “buddy”, so they knew each other through that and they danced together at a school dance.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: I still want to be the best referee I can be every time I step on the court, and do the best and fairest job that I can do.

What do you love most about basketball: All the friendships you make, and staying in touch with all the people you meet along the way.

 

 

DALE SKINNER is a product of the Warners Bay High School nursery overseen by Newcastle Basketball life member Bob McGugan. Dale is a regular in our senior domestic competitions and is also trying his hand at coaching, having teamed up with the man who introduced him to basketball.

Nickname: Skin Dog

Position: Guard

Date of birth: March 11, 1981

Place of birth: Newcastle, NSW

Family: Wife Tara, son Kai, daughter Lola

Junior Club: Lakers

Education: Valentine PS, Warners Bay HS, Newcastle TAFE

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Newcastle Falcons/Sydney Uni Flames

Favourite NBA Team: Boston Celtics

Favourite Player (now): Ja Morant

Favourite Player (all-time): Ray Allen

Favourite basketball movie: White Men Can’t Jump

Favourite cartoon character: Marvin the Martian

How and why did you get into basketball: I was playing soccer when I was younger but I was getting frustrated with it. So I threw that in and got into basketball through a friend, Adam Lareau, in my first year at high school. We were in the same year at primary school and high school and now I’ve started getting into coaching as his assistant this year with the Newcastle Hunters under-14 boys.

Pre-game routine: Listen to some music and try to relax, stretch and try to get some shots up.

Career achievements/highlights: Getting the bronze medal at National Schools Championships when I was in Year 12 at Warners Bay High, and finishing runners-up in State League Division Two with Port Macquarie around 2009.

Best basketball brush with fame: Warming up next to Lauren Jackson at National Schools Championships. Her school was playing on the court next to ours.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: I’d like to get into coaching a rep team when I’m ready and when I’ve learned more about it as an assistant, and to keep playing for as long as I can.

What do you love most about basketball: Playing is an escape and a bit of fun after the stresses of the week, so it’s a chance to relax and play with your friends.

 

 

CINDY MASCORD has called Newcastle home since arriving from the US in 1985 to play as an import in the Continental Basketball Association/SEABL. Cindy earned life playing membership after representing Newcastle for almost 30 years and remains involved as a coach, social player and supporter.

Nickname: D.Y. (Those who still call me that know what it stands for).

Position: Centre/forward

Date of birth: January 1, 1962

Place of birth: Klamath Falls, Oregon. USA

Family: Husband Geoff, daughter Brittany, son Mathew

Junior Club: City

Education: I went to primary school and junior high school in San Francisco then we moved to Washington State, and I went to Robert A. Long High School, Lower Columbia College (junior college) and Portland State University.

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Illawarra Hawks, and whichever WNBL team Katie Ebzery plays for.

Favourite NBA/WNBA Team: Boston Celtics/Seattle Storm

Favourite Player (now): Mitch McCarron and Katie Ebzery. I love their worth ethic.

Favourite Players (all-time): Larry Bird and Magic Johnson

Favourite basketball movie: Space Jam

Favourite cartoon character: Mickey Mouse

How and why did you get into basketball: I was the tallest girl at high school when I was 16 and the coach of the team approached me and asked me if I wanted to play. My friend’s sister convinced me to give it a go and I’ve been playing ever since then. I’ve been lucky enough to have had some good coaches along the way because they always gave me a lot of confidence.

Pre-game routine: Stretching. At high school and college we would stretch for an hour before we played. The one time I didn’t stretch before a game, and I don’t know if it was just a coincidence or not, I tore my ACL.

Career achievements/highlights: As a player, winning State League in 2001, and making the CBA finals and finishing third around 1990. Overall, it was the whole experience of playing in competitions against good quality teams and players. They didn’t have WNBA back then, so when you played at State Championships, you were playing against WNBL teams. Coaching, Trish Suckling and I coached junior teams together for about 10 years and we had a very strong team that won Under-18 State Championships. I coached our Waratah League team in 2014 and learned a lot that year, and I was assistant coach to Mark Gledson when we won Waratah League in 2016.

Best basketball brush with fame: Playing in a State League game in Albury against Lauren Jackson when she was 15, and she scored 35 points against us. It was just before she went to the AIS. I also got to play against her mother Maree at a Country Championships.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Anzac Day just gone was 35 years since the day I arrived in Newcastle, and I’ve been lucky to have been involved for so long. Last year was my first year not being involved with a rep team, either juniors or seniors, but I still coached with City and I’d like to be involved again with a rep team. I just want to stay involved with the game. I’ve also started playing on Monday nights again, just a few minutes here and there to help out, and I hope we can get back to playing again soon so I can keep playing until I’m 60, which isn’t far away.

What do you love most about basketball: The camaraderie that you establish and the friendships that you make, and all the highs and lows along the way and coming through it together the best way you can. My best friends are the people I met when I first came to Newcastle.

 

BEN KINGHAM was a late bloomer, not starting basketball until his late teens after watching his younger brother and sister play, but he has made up for lost time. The ultimate team man, Ben was voted Players’ Player in Newcastle’s championship-winning Division Two Youth League team in 2017.

Nickname: BK

Position: Guard/forward

Date of birth: April 22, 1996

Place of birth: Adelaide, SA

Family: Parents Brett and Denise, brother Nicholas, sister Kate

Junior Club: City Limits

Education: St Joseph’s PS (Merewether), St Pius X, SFX, Newcastle University

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Sydney Kings/Sydney Uni Flames

Favourite NBA Team: Boston Celtics

Favourite Player (now): Isaiah Thomas

Favourite Player (all-time): Michael Jordan

Favourite basketball movie: Space Jam

Favourite cartoon character: Bugs Bunny

How and why did you get into basketball: Dad played but I didn’t really start playing until after watching Nic and Kate playing. I got into it after that but until I was 17, I’d always played footy.

Pre-game routine: I always put my contacts on in the change room and when I do, I put my glasses over my right knee. I did that once and I’ve always done it ever since. Apart from stretching and the warm-up, I also like to make five shots from each spot doing form shooting.

Career achievements/highlights: Winning the Div Two Youth League championship in 2017, and coaching Newcastle Hunters Under-12 boys last year and hopefully this year.

Best basketball brush with fame: Staying with Newcastle legend Myles Cherry in his junior year at Lafayette.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Play ABA (Waratah League) for the Hunters, keep playing for as long as I can, and eventually coaching.

What do you love most about basketball: Being in a team environment, making new mates, and creating great memories with all my mates.

 

SHARNNAH SUMMERS has lived her life around basketball since her eldest son Zachary took his first steps. Sharnnah has poured her heart and soul into her roles as manager for many junior and senior teams, as a club registrar, volunteer official and, most importantly, as a proud Mum.

Nickname: Sharn or Browny

Position: Mum, manager, club registrar

Date of birth: January 9, 1979

Place of birth: Newcastle, NSW

Family: Husband Jamie, sons Zachary and Joey

Junior Club: Lakers

Education: Swansea PS, Swansea HS

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: It used to be Townsville Crocodiles but now it’s Perth Wildcats, and Townsville Fire in WNBL

Favourite NBA Team: LA Clippers

Favourite Player (now): Chris Paul

Favourite Player (all-time): LeBron James

Favourite basketball movie: Coach Carter

Favourite cartoon character: Miss Piggy

How and why did you get into basketball: Jamie played growing up in Tamworth but it was mostly through Zach. He learnt to walk with a basketball in his hands so we took him to the PCYC when he was about two, and all he’s ever wanted to do since then was play basketball so we’ve been involved since then. I also bought Jamie tickets to the first ever Hunter Pirates game. I was always a rugby league girl so that was my first time at an NBL game, so seeing something like that, I couldn’t believe how exciting the whole thing was, so I’ve loved it ever since.

Pre-game routine: As manager, I unpack the gear bag at home then repack it to make sure everything is there and where it should be. All the singlets have to be in the right order and the sweat towels have to be in their right place. When we get to the game, the towels have to be on the first five seats on the bench and they all have to be facing the right way. It’s a bit of a superstition.

Career achievements/highlights: Making semis and quarters with the State League Men, going to Under-14 National Club Championships with Zach, working on the bench at Under-14 Nationals in Newcastle, and doing my Level 1 bench accreditation, Level 1 sports trainers and first-aid courses. They’re all things I’m very proud of.

Best basketball brush with fame: Sitting on the baseline for a Clippers game on Christmas Day. Zach got a photo with Ryan Hollins, and Jerry West was sitting about 10 metres away. It was fantastic.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: I’d love to see one of the boys win a banner playing for the Hunters.

What do you love most about basketball: All the life lessons it teaches everyone. For the kids, they’ve learned about setting goals and working hard to achieve those goals, being part of a team, respecting authority, and all those lessons they learn along the way while playing a game they love.

JEREMY DORRICOTT discovered basketball a year after moving to Australia from New Zealand in the late 1970s and his life has revolved around it ever since. A successful former junior and senior Newcastle representative player, Jeremy was awarded life playing membership in 2019.

Nickname: JD

Position: Guard

Date of birth: April 21, 1969

Place of birth: Auckland, NZ

Family: Wife Dionne, sons Liam and Bailey

Junior Club: City, or Stewarts and Lloyds as it was known back then, then it became Tubemakers.

Education: Adamstown PS, Merewether HS

Favourite NBL Team: Newcastle Falcons

Favourite NBA Team: Philadelphia 76ers

Favourite Player (now): Patty Mills

Favourite Player (all-time): Dr J (Julius Erving)

Favourite basketball movie: Hoosiers

Favourite cartoon character: Fred Flintstone

How and why did you get into basketball: Family. Through my mum, Agnes. We moved to Australia in 1977 and I started playing in 1978 and it’s been a huge part of my life ever since.

Pre-game routine: Listen to music, stretch, shoot, and I always ate some sort of pasta before a game.

Career achievements/highlights: Playing CBA, or SEABL as it became known. I still remember getting called out of school when I was 16 to go to Canberra to play a SEABL game for Newcastle. Also, making State teams in under-16s, 18s and 20s, and playing in an under-20s national final.

Best basketball brush with fame: Going to Karl Malone’s house. Years ago, when I went to America to play over there on a tour, the family I was billeted with, her uncle owned the Utah Jazz. So we somehow ended up visiting Karl Malone’s house, which was pretty exciting for a young bloke.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: To keep going along to games, sitting in my usual chair in the bar, and seeing all Newcastle Hunters teams keep doing well.

What do you love most about basketball: Basketball has been my life. It introduced me to most of my best friends, and it kept me off the streets. I don’t know what would have become of me if not for basketball.

REBEKAH WALLACE helped Newcastle win a State League title while still at high school, unwittingly inspiring her siblings to play basketball too. Bek remains involved as a parent, coach and administrator to help promote the game for girls and women.

Nickname: Bek or Beks

Position: Guard

Date of birth: September 9, 1983

Place of birth: Newcastle, NSW

Family: Husband Cale, sons Logan and Xavier, daughter Emerson

Junior Club: City Limits when I played, but the kids play for Port Hunter

Education: St Kevin’s PS (Cardiff), St Pius X (Adamstown), SFX (Hamilton), Newcastle University

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Sydney Kings/Southside Flyers

Favourite NBA/WNBA Team: LA Lakers/Washington Mystics

Favourite Player (now): Leilani Mitchell (of course!)

Favourite Player (all-time): Penny Taylor

Favourite basketball movie: Love & Basketball

Favourite cartoon character: Mickey Mouse

How and why did you get into basketball: My parents started playing socially so I joined a team while I was at high school at St Pius and it went from there.

Pre-game routine: Never ever wear your game shoes to the game. I always packed them and put them on when I got to the stadium when I played, and I still do that now.

Career achievements/highlights: Playing ABA, and winning State League when I was in Year 12.

Best basketball brush with fame: Apart from the obvious one of having Leilani Mitchell as my sister-in-law, I used to send Andrew Bogut study notes to help him with his homework while he was at the AIS.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: To promote girls’ and women’s basketball as much as I can so they’ve got a good base to build on.

What do you love most about basketball: Off the court, the relationships and friendships you make. On the court, I like that everyone is a threat, and everyone has the same opportunities as the player next to them.

GREG FENWICK has not stopped playing basketball since he started as a school kid at Toronto in the 1960s. When he’s not running Raw Energy Café at Honeysuckle, Greg remains involved with the game as a Newcastle Basketball director and a regular player for Rusting Ragers.

Nickname: Muddy

Position: Guard/forward

Date of birth: July 19, 1958

Place of birth: Broken Hill, NSW

Family: Wife Jenny, son Matthew, daughter Alison

Junior Club: Central Charlestown

Education: St Joseph’s PS (Toronto), St Pius X HS (Adamstown), Newcastle Technical College

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Illawarra Hawks/Townsville Fire

Favourite NBA Team: Boston Celtics

Favourite Player (now): Joe Ingles

Favourite Player (all-time): Larry Bird

Favourite basketball movie: Space Jam

Favourite cartoon character: Bugs Bunny

How and why did you get into basketball: We had an American PE teacher back at St Pius and he started a team there, and I started playing at Toronto YMCA not long after that. I used to play there against Jim Gallacher, and he would still be the toughest opponent I’ve ever played against.

Pre-game routine: Ibuprofen an hour before the game, strap and stretch.

Career achievements/highlights: I coached a pretty handy Illawarra under-20s and Youth League team with Jimmy Williams a few years ago, and most of those boys went on to bigger and better things, as have some of their kids. Playing, it would have to be playing at the World Masters in Italy in 2013 and getting to play against some national team players from other countries.

Best basketball brush with fame: Refereeing Eddie Palubinskas, and meeting Luc Longley.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Another World Masters in Japan, hopefully next year, and to keep playing until I can’t.

What do you love most about basketball: It’s just a great sport and I’ve always loved it, but the best thing would be the camaraderie among the Rusting Ragers crew I train and play with each week.

KERRY MARTIN fell in love with basketball while attending Gloucester High School in the 1980s and has been playing for fun ever since, making friends that have lasted a lifetime.

Nickname: I don’t really have one but I suppose I sometimes get called Kez.

Position: Centre

Date of birth: May 21, 1974

Place of birth: Walcha, NSW

Family: Husband John, daughters Abbie and Marlie

Junior Club: Gloucester

Education: Barrington PS, Gloucester HS, Southern Cross University (Lismore)

Favourite NBL team: I don’t really have one but I’ll say Perth Wildcats for Damian Martin, being from Gloucester too.

Favourite NBA/WNBA team: I don’t really one but I prefer watching women’s basketball.

Favourite Player (now): Liz Cambage

Favourite Player (all-time): Lauren Jackson

Favourite basketball movie: White Men Can’t Jump

Favourite cartoon character: Mickey Mouse

How and why did you get into basketball: I started playing at high school and just really liked it. I’d always played netball until then, and I kept playing both, but I prefer basketball because it’s not as restrictive. Everyone on the court can do everything.

Pre-game routine: I’d say running into the stadium because I’m always running late!

Career achievements/highlights: Playing in the East Coast Masters tournament every year.

Best basketball brush with fame: Being friends with Chad and Tracy Kirkwood since we were kids.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: My goal is to play as long as Lesley Alley, my KMC teammate. I want to stay healthy and injury-free and keep playing as long as I can to keep fit and have fun.

What do you love most about basketball: All the friendships I’ve made by playing.

JOSH KNIGHT started refereeing to earn some pocket money while he was playing junior basketball a few years ago and now, as part of the WNBL panel, is one of the leading referees in the country.

Nickname: Knighty

Position: Guard when I played, but now I’m concentrating on refereeing.

Date of birth: February 22, 1992

Place of birth: Newcastle, Australia

Family: Wife Ashley, parents Chris and Michelle, sister Melissa.

Junior Club: Port Hunter

Education: Our Lady of Victories PS (Shortland), St Pius X (Adamstown), SFX (Hamilton)

Favourite NBL Team: Perth Wildcats I guess, having just moved to Perth.

Favourite NBA Team: Miami Heat

Favourite Player (now): LeBron James

Favourite Player (all-time): Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant

Favourite basketball movie: Coach Carter and He Got Game

Favourite cartoon character: Bugs Bunny

How and why did you get into basketball: I originally started playing through Aussie Hoops, or learn to play as it was probably called back then, and went from there to playing for Port Hunter under-8s. From there I played Newcastle Hunters juniors from under-12s to under-18s, and half-way through that I started refereeing social games for pocket money and kept playing and refereeing.

Pre-game routine: I don’t really have a set routine as such. I just like to keep busy through the day either doing stuff around the house or some exercise, just things I normally do, until I get to wherever I’m refereeing at least an hour before the game.

Career achievements/highlights: Making the WNBL panel two years in a row, refereeing the Waratah League women’s final in 2018, refereeing at NSW and Australian junior championships. As a player, representing Newcastle all through juniors.

Best basketball brush with fame: I got to referee Ben Simmons and Dante Exum at Australian junior championships a few years ago, and Luc Longley walked past me at a Sydney Kings game a few weeks ago.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Maintain my spot on the WNBL panel, referee more regularly in the WNBL, and hopefully referee in the NBL and internationally.

What do you love most about basketball: It’s hard to put into words but I just enjoy the game. I guess I’ve always had a natural passion for the game, and it’s been good to see it from different perspectives as a player and as a referee.

EMILY FOY is a sharp-shooting, high-scoring guard who has been a regular in NSW Country teams since moving to Newcastle from Port Macquarie with her family. Emily hopes to follow in her older brother Jacob’s footsteps and continue her career at a US college.

Nickname: Foy

Position: Guard

Date of birth: July 21, 2004

Place of birth: Port Macquarie, Australia

Family: Parents Anthony and Helen, brothers Jordan, Corey and Jacob

Junior Club: City Limits

Education: St Agnes PS Port Macquarie, St James PS Kotara South, St Pius X

Favourite NBL Team: Illawarra Hawks

Favourite NBA Team: Utah Jazz

Favourite Player (now): Patty Mills

Favourite Player (all-time): Klay Thompson

Favourite basketball movie: Coach Carter

Favourite cartoon character: Simba

How and why did you get into basketball: Mum and Dad ran the stadium at Port Macquarie so I grew up playing.

Pre-game routine: Listen to music in the car, shoot when I get to the stadium, put my mouthguard in my sock, play.

Career achievements/highlights: Making NSW Country teams in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Best basketball brush with fame: Having my photo taken with Lauren Jackson.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Try to get a college scholarship and see where that takes me.

What do you love most about basketball: The people I get to play with and the friendships I make.

DARREN NICHOLS graduated from the ranks of representative player to representative coach, guiding Newcastle to the Waratah League men’s championship in 2018 after several near misses during his career. Proud and passionate, “Nicko” was awarded life membership in 2019.

Nickname: Nicko

Position: Small forward

Date of birth: June 8, 1968

Place of birth: Newcastle, Australia

Family: Wife Donna, sons Daniel and Ryan

Junior Club: Newcastle Workers Club, then Lake Macquarie

Education: Windale PS, Gateshead HS

Favourite NBL Team: Newcastle Falcons

Favourite NBA Team: Chicago Bulls

Favourite Player (now): Josh Morgan

Favourite Player (all-time): Michael Jordan

Favourite basketball movie: Semi-Pro

Favourite cartoon character: Wile E. Coyote

How and why did you get into basketball: My maths teacher Les Rodgers asked me once if I played basketball. I’d never really heard of basketball; it was always cricket for me. That was in Year Seven at Gateshead High. So I dropped the cricket ball, started playing basketball and loved it ever since.

Pre-game routine: As a player, I always liked to have a shower in the change-room before a game.

Career achievements/highlights: As a coach, winning the Waratah Championship in 2018, but also my first year as Hunters coach when we went 2-16. Anyone involved with the team that year will understand why. As a player, being coached by Denis Kibble and Bob McGugan as a kid, then playing against some great players during my career. Marking Stormin’ Norman Taylor one game, he wanted to take me out to the carpark. There was another time when I was 16, playing in a weekend carnival in Tamworth, when I accidentally elbowed John Ironmonger in the face. He went on to be a ruckman for the Sydney Swans. He was trying to find out who whacked him in the face and all the boys in my team kept saying they were going to tell him it was me. I spent the whole weekend packing it.

Best basketball brush with fame: Playing in at the stadium with Owen Wells and against blokes like Michael Johnson and Ian Davies. As a young bloke I remember playing against Ian Davies and blocking his shot from behind. He had that shooting style where he brought the ball back behind his head and I blocked him from behind. He wasn’t real happy about it but I thought it was great.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Nothing really personal for me anymore, just to stay involved and be a good supporter. I’ve had my turn; now I like to watch others have their turn.

What do you love most about basketball: It’s the ultimate team sport. Everybody gets to do everything, and you can’t play the game by yourself. I just love the game.

LESA MASON was a junior representative hockey player growing up in Newcastle, and didn’t discover basketball until her son Lewis started playing. She is now one of our leading women’s coaches.

Nickname: Don’t really have one

Position: Guard when I played socially, but now I just coach.

Date of birth: January 17, 1974

Place of birth: Newcastle, Australia

Family: Husband Gerry, sons Lewis and Oscar

Junior Club: Didn’t have one but Oscar plays for Port Hunter

Education: Stockton PS, Newcastle HS

Favourite NBL/WNBL Team: Cairns Taipans/Townsville Fire

Favourite NBA/WNBA Team: Utah Jazz/Phoenix Mercury

Favourite Player (now): Jaimee Seebohm

Favourite Player (all-time): Brittney Griner

Favourite basketball movie: Semi-Pro

Favourite cartoon character: Wonder Woman

How and why did you get into basketball: Lewis was about five or six when he started playing and I noticed they were short of coaches, particularly female coaches, so I did the coaches’ course and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Pre-game routine: Always at junior rugby for the mighty Hamilton Hawks on Saturday mornings, then I go home for a shower, listen to some music, have lunch, then get to the stadium. I spend some time by myself in the dressing-room to write on the whiteboard and prepare my pre-game talk, then try to relax before the game.

Career achievements/highlights: Silver medal as NSW assistant coach at Australian under-20 championships in 2017, and winning Waratah League and Youth League championships on the same day last year.

Best basketball brush with fame: Having Leilani Mitchell at training last year, and being assistant coach for the Hunters when we had Suzy Batkovic back playing for us in 2017 and forming a friendship with her from that experience.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: To inspire and motivate girls and women to achieve anything they put their mind to.

What do you love most about basketball: The camaraderie and friendships you can make that continue despite absences from time to time. You can always just pick up where you left off.

ALEX CLINTON has been a stand-out player for Newcastle and NSW Country teams throughout his junior rep career, plays Waratah League and Youth League for the Newcastle Hunters, and has just returned home after his first US college season with Saint Martin’s University in Washington State.

Nickname: Al

Position: Shooting guard

Date of birth: April 2, 2000

Place of birth: Newcastle, Australia

Family: Parents Nerrida and David

Junior Club: Lakers

Education: Eleebana PS, Warners Bay HS, St Pius X, SFX, Saint Martin’s University (Washington)

Favourite NBL Team: Illawarra Hawks

Favourite NBA Team: Chicago Bulls

Favourite Player (now): Zach LaVine

Favourite Player (all-time): Derrick Rose

Favourite basketball movie: Coach Carter

Favourite cartoon character: Eric Cartman

How and why did you get into basketball: I reluctantly filled in for a friend’s team when I was seven. He was already playing and I was dragged along, kicking and screaming. I’ve loved it ever since.

Pre-game routine: Listen to music, hang out with my teammates, then switch on when I get to the court to warm up. And I always eat a banana before I play.

Career achievements/highlights:

  • Getting a scholarship to Saint Martin’s.
  • Winning gold medals at All Schools Nationals in primary school and high school.
  • Winning Waratah League championship 2018.
  • Representing Newcastle every year, making NSW Country teams, winning Country Tour (ACJBC) in 2014.

Best basketball brush with fame: Chatting with Thon Maker at Milwaukee when I was playing AAU a couple of years ago.

What do you want to achieve in basketball: Play in the NBL.

What do you love most about basketball: The relationships I make with my teammates.