Hoop City Geelong United NBL1 Awards

The Hoop City Geelong United NBL1 program officially wound up for the 2023 season at Thursday night’s GUB Presentation Night.

Congratulations to the following winners.



Sarah Elsworthy


In a season that fell one short of a grand final appearance, co-captain Sarah Elsworthy was the ultimate leader. One of only two players to start in all 24 games Geelong United played, Elsworthy averaged 39 minutes per game, playing the entirety of 15 contests, including the crucial overtime win over Waverley on the final day of the regular season. The former Adelaide Lightning WNBL roster member averaged 16.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, a team-high 4.1 assists, and 2.9 steals. “Whilst not huge in stature, Sarah took on a mammoth workload this season and took it all in her stride,” coach Matthew Paton said. “She was one of the premier players in the league in her position at both ends of the floor, consistently threatening the rim while also wreaking defensive havoc on the opposition’s best playmakers. “Carrying out individual training sessions every week without fail, she is a true professional and continually showed her leadership by setting high standards for herself and her teammates. There is no doubt that the team would not have enjoyed the success it had this season without Sarah’s contribution.”


2023 - Gub - Nbl1 - Women - Eve Braslis (3) (marcel Berens)


It was a breakout season for Eve Braslis that earned her a contract in Iceland for the Australian summer. Like Sarah Elsworthy, Braslis started all of Geelong United’s 24 outings and played just shy of 36 minutes per game. She averaged 16 points on 49.7 per cent shooting, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. “Eve showed consistent commitment to improvement throughout the season – both of themselves and their teammates,” coach Matthew Paton said. “Consistently finding time to do extra work, whether solo, with a teammate or at an individual session with a coach, she showed an insatiable desire to get better and take her game to the next level, especially while making a transition between positions. Her hard work showed in the consistency of her performances throughout the season, and exhibiting an ability to play a number of positions.”


2023 - Gub - Nbl1 - Women - Jess Scannell (marcel Berens Sports Photography)

The ultimate energy provider- whether on the floor, on the bench, or at training. The Irish international, who connected on an equal team-high 31 three-point shots, averaged 6.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. “Jess epitomised value through versatility, providing everything her teammates needed at any given time throughout the season,” coach Matthew Paton said. “Whether it was her senior leadership, bringing energy off the bench in limited minutes, or playing 40 minutes when the roster was depleted – all while playing through significant physical adversity for the entire season – Jess continued to give of themselves in the best interests of the team.”



2023 - Gub - Nbl1 - Men - Demarcus Gatlin.jpeg

Another consistent year from the captain has been honoured with the Geelong United NBL1 Men’s Most Valuable Player award. Gatlin averaged 16.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He led the team in assists (4.9), steals (2.6) and blocks (0.9) and was nominated for NBL1 South’s Defensive Player of the Year. Gatlin produced a stunning triple-double of 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists in the final home game of the season. Coach Grant Wallace described Gatlin as “one of the greatest humans you would ever meet”. “Unselfish, caring and of high integrity in all that he does! He’s an absolute pro! He is as an intense competitor as you would find anywhere – he enjoyed every defensive challenge thrown his way! He has adapted his game to be a great threat attacking the rim or stretching the floor with the long-range three. When he is up and about, we are up and about!  His intensity is contagious. A very complete year and deserved of recognition for his importance to the team.”


2023 - Gub - Nbl1 - Men - Liam Herbert (marcel Berens)

A former Australian underage representative, tenacious guard Liam Herbert only joined the roster late in the pre-season after excelling at Australian Rules Football in recent years. By season’s end, the Warrnambool product had made the starting point guard spot his own. He averaged 7.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals, with an 18-point performance against Nunawading his best return of the season. Returning to basketball after a period off to follow his football opportunities, he improved in each session and each game,” coach Grant Wallace said. It is a joy to coach and have around the team. A player who is always seeking feedback on how he can be better for the team.”


2023 - Gub - Nbl1 - Men - Maalo Hicks (3) (marcel Berens)

The veteran big man played all bar one game in 2023, making 11 starts before the arrival of Matt McCarthy. Hicks averaged 4.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists. His best performance of the season was an 18-point, 13-rebound effort in a road win over Diamond Valley. “His presence provides great stability and a calming voice – he cares about each and every member of the team,” coach Grant Wallace said. “He is a great leader and wears his heart on his sleeve – keeping everyone accountable and on task.”