The 2023-24 VJBL season will mark the introduction of legacy names for our first teams in each age group.Those honoured have been significant contributors to Pathway basketball in Geelong as individuals or as families.
Across Korr Korr Ngitji, we got some of those great names to meet their teams.
All families and individuals have spoken of how honoured they are by the recognition, which will see their name attached to the team for as long as Geelong United Basketball exists.
Unfortunately, some were unavailable, but we will ensure they can chat with their team and have a photo in the coming weeks.
Further greats of Geelong basketball will be honoured in coming years as we extend the Legacy team concept.
NB: The under-20 names will be revealed at a later date.
UNDER-12 BOYS HUTCHISON
Not many can surpass the minutes played by Paul Hutchison when it comes to longevity on the court. Whether it be Geelong in the CVIBL/VBL/Big V, the Geelong Supercats in the VBA/SEABL or Corio Bay in Big V, the sharpshooting guard was one of the most durable players to take the floor in the modern era. His combined games tally comes in at more than 500 matches. It includes being part of Geelong’s ABA National Championship-winning team in 2006, a Big V State Championship with Corio Bay in 2013, and Big V/VBL titles with Geelong in 2001 and 2011. Hutchison has also been a coach at VJBL and Big V levels, with fellow star guard Nick Owusu among the players under his tutelage. Hutchison was honoured with life membership of Geelong United Basketball in 2021.
UNDER-12 GIRLS CHANDLER
The tentacles of the Chandler family spread far and wide through the history of basketball in Geelong. It started with the late Harvey Chandler, who, along with his wife Gwen, is a life member of Geelong United Basketball after being honoured by the Geelong Amateur Basketball Association. The Chandler family’s basketball roots lie in the Pivot City Basketball Club. Harvey represented Geelong at both junior and senior level, and his and Gwen’s love for the game was passed down to Leanne, Darren, Michelle and Matthew. Leanne, Darren and Michelle all represented Geelong at underage level. Michelle’s undoubted talent was on display early, representing Geelong senior teams in her teens, before being further recognised with a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport, leading her to represent Australia at both junior and senior levels. Michelle was part of the first Australian team to win a gold medal at any FIBA event – the 1993 Women’s Under-19 World Championships in South Korea. Australia went through the tournament undefeated, capped off with a 72-54 win over Russia in the Gold Medal Game. Chandler was also part of the first Australian basketball team to medal at an Olympic Games. At Atlanta in 1996, the Opals – featuring fellow Geelong product Trish Fallon – claimed the bronze medal after beating Ukraine in the playoff for third. “Geelong basketball was the start of my basketball journey, and I have a lot to thank the club for supporting me during my junior career and providing opportunities that allowed me to pursue a career in basketball from state teams, junior Australian teams through to representing Australia at the Olympics. (I was) very proud to represent Geelong as part of those teams,” Chandler said.
UNDER-14 BOYS RICHES
The son of Geelong’s first Australian representative, Dan Riches has made his own mark on the sport in our region. Dan represented Geelong at under-16 and under-18 level in the Victorian Junior Basketball League before joining the Supercats’ SEABL roster in 1998. Unfortunately, a severe knee injury prevented Dan from reaching his full potential with Geelong. However, following his recovery, he played with Mildura in the SEABL and South Adelaide in the Central ABL. Dan was forced into retirement after suffering another severe knee injury during a pre-season with Ballarat. However, he quickly found his niche as an administrator and in coaching. In 2004, he accepted the role of Director of Basketball with Life. Be in it Geelong, formalising the Corio Bay Basketball Association, which led to the entry of the Corio Bay Stingrays into the VJBL. After coaching several junior teams, including the Stingrays’ inaugural Victorian Championship team, Dan was appointed the inaugural coach of Corio Bay’s senior men’s program, leading the team to CBL success before entry into Big V State Championship in 2012. Corio Bay finished grand finalists, champions, and regular-season champions in his three seasons in charge. As general manager of the Stingrays program, he appointed the late Mark Leader as coach for the 2015 season as Corio Bay claimed its second championship in three years. Dan was inducted as a life member of Corio Bay Basketball Association in 2013.
NB: Dan’s late father, Russell, represented Australia at the 1970 World Championships in Sarajevo. He was part of the inaugural team representing Geelong in Victorian competition and later served as an assistant coach of VBA and NBL teams. He was instrumental in developing the Corio Bay junior program. He later served as an assistant to Dan when the Stingrays entered the Big V. Russ Riches died in October 2016 at 70.
UNDER-14 GIRLS DANDY
To get a full appreciation for the impact the Dandy family has had on basketball in Geelong, you need to find the time to stand on the southwest corner of Bellerine and Myers Street. It’s there, tucked behind the hall on the corner of the former St Mary’s Primary School site, that once stood a basketball stadium. That long-gone, one-court facility with its concrete floor was where a 13-year-old Howard Dandy first took the floor in the Geelong Amateur Basketball Association men’s competition. Howard was good enough to represent Geelong at several Victorian Country Championships on the hallowed floors of the old Albert Park Stadium. However, Howard’s made the most significant impact on the sport with whistle in mouth. He refereed his first game as a 15-year-old and quickly rose through the ranks, acquiring his Australian Badge. Howard officiated four Australian underage championships and was part of the inaugural NBL referees panel when the competition started in 1979. Alongside the great Jack Terrill, Howard played a role in establishing the Basketball Victoria Country Council. He was appointed regional director for coaching, grading and education of referees in an area covering Geelong to Warrnambool. As well as being honoured with life membership of the Geelong Amateur Basketball Association in 1977, Howard has also received the Jack Terrill Award for services to Basketball Victoria Country, a Diamond Service Award for 50 years of service to Basketball Victoria, and a Service Award from the Victorian Basketball Referees Association. A life member of the Geelong and Victorian Basketball Referees Association, Howard remains a familiar presence at Geelong United Basketball as a referee evaluator and coach. Like Howard, wife Lesley’s story also starts at St Mary’s Stadium, playing in the region’s inaugural women’s competition. She also represented Geelong at Country Championships and in the Country Victorian Invitational Basketball League (CVIBL). Lesley was also an astute coach, leading the CVIBL team for several years and leading Vic Country at the 1994 under-14 National Championships to a silver medal. She also made her mark off the court. From 1970-2002, she served on the executive/board of management of GABA, helping oversee the move from St Mary’s to a facility on Anakie Road that would become the Corio Leisuretime Centre (now Leisuretime Sports Precinct). Lesley was elected president of GABA in 1992. During her ten-year tenure, GABA, having outgrown the Anakie Road facility, moved its headquarters to Geelong Arena following the opening of the three-court annexe in 1995. The first female referee to receive her ‘A’ grade in Geelong, Lesley was inducted as a GABA life member in 1976. She is also a life member and a Hall of Fame inductee at Pivot City. Howard and Lesley’s daughter Sarah (Jeffreys) was a member of Geelong junior pathway teams from under-12 to under-16. The highlight was being a member of the under-14 team representing Vic Country at the Australian Club Championships in 1989, finishing runner-up to Melbourne powerhouse Kilsyth. As a teenager, Sarah also represented Vic Country at National Championships and Country Cups while taking to the floor in Geelong’s CVIBL and Country Championships team. She also played at Big V level and was part of the Geelong that reached the playoffs before bowing out to Ballarat in the semi-finals. Sarah remains involved in basketball as a coach of a Leopold Lakers junior team playing in the GUB competition. Son Simon represented Geelong from under-16 level onwards and was good enough to feature in the Vic Country under-16 team that went to Hobart for the National Championships in 1990. He also represented Vic Country at three Country Cups.
UNDER-16 BOYS GREEN
For over 50 years, the Green name has been synonymous with basketball across the region. It started with Lynne, whose basketball roots were planted as a player at the Chilwell Dodgers (part of the Chilwell Athletic Club) before a merger with her now beloved Try Boys, and carried through to children Aaron and Lauren. Lynne’s first involvement with the Geelong Amateur Basketball Association was as a representative on the club competition committee before eventually becoming chairperson. She also served as president of the GABA Victorian Junior Basketball League committee, was GABA’s VJBL boys representative, a member of senior and junior tournament committees, GABA’s Victorian Basketball League committee and team manager at various stages of the senior women’s VBL/Big V team. Lynne also dabbled in coaching and was assistant coach of the Geelong under-14 girls team that competed at the Australian Club Championships in the early 1990s. She also served as regional tribunal secretary. Lynne was inducted as a life member of GABA in 1996 and has been honoured with a Basketball Victoria 25-year service award. Son Aaron represented Geelong as a player from under-12s to seniors and coached both male and female Geelong teams at junior and senior level, including four years as Lady Cats coach in the CVIBL/VBL. He was also an assistant coach of men’s VBL teams. Aaron served on the GABA/Basketball Geelong board as vice president and was part of the working group that merged Basketball Geelong with the Geelong Community Basketball Association (Supercats) in 2013. He also spent time on the Supercats board to help with the transition. Aaron also proudly represented Geelong as a coach in the Country Victoria pathway program, including at National Championship level, for over a decade. Lauren was a precociously talented junior basketball who featured at every underage level for Geelong, including helping the under-14 team to the Australian National Championships. She represented Country Victoria at under-16 and under-18 levels, was named in the under-16 All-Australian team, and toured the USA with Country Victoria squad. Lauren debuted at senior level as a teenager, playing CVIBL/VBL/Big on V either side of a playing stint in South Australia. On her return to the Geelong program in 2010, she was playing assistant coach as the Lady Cats claimed their maiden Big V State Championship. Lauren also served as a coach of Geelong’s under-14 and assistant coach of under-16 girls teams.
UNDER-16 GIRLS MORRISSY
Like the Dandys and the Greens, basketball was and – for some family members – still is a way of life for the Morrrissys. The family involvement commenced in 1996 when Kylie joined the VJBL program and father Frank jumped on the junior committee. Kylie played all her underage pathway basketball for Geelong, which included representing Vic Country at the under-16 and under-18 levels before taking her talents to the US college system. On her return, Kylie joined Geelong’s Big V women’s team and was instrumental in helping the Cats to the 2010 State Championship. That title opened the door for Geelong to enter a team in the SEABL, with Kylie appointed the inaugural captain. With a knee injury limiting her ability to play at her best, Kylie returned to Geelong’s Big V Division One team, with her outstanding shooting key to winning the 2014 championship. Kylie also contributed to developing the next generation of basketball stars by coordinating Basketball Geelong’s Aussie Hoops program for three years. After Frank joined the VJBL committee in 1996, he was elevated to president in 1997 before joining the Geelong Amateur Basketball Association board. He became president in 2003, with one of his first jobs to incorporate the VJBL program into GABA. During Frank’s presidency, GABA, which had transitioned to the Basketball Geelong name, successfully tendered for several international matches and national championships and coordinating the Geelong-hosted matches at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. He also served as Basketball Geelong’s delegate to Basketball Victoria Country Council and Basketball Victoria. A two-time Basketball Geelong Volunteer of the Year award winner, Frank also has a Big V Volunteer of the Year recognition to his name. He has continued contributing as a community competition and VJBL coach and Big V and SEABL/NBL1 game day commissioner. Wife Karen was happy to come along for the ride as team manager of VJBL and Big V teams, with son Brandon a referee talented enough to reach CBL and VJBL panel level. He was also an Aussie Hoops and SEABL volunteer.
UNDER-18 BOYS HERBERT
Regarding father-son combinations in Geelong basketball, it’s hard to argue that Craig and Nathan Herbert aren’t the most iconic. A product of the YMCA basketball factory, Craig played more than 400 games with Geelong at SEABL, NBL and VBA level between 1978 and 1987, during an era when the then Cats would play in the SEABL/NBL competitions on the weekend and in the VBA mid-week. He was captain of Geelong’s SEABL-championship-winning team in 1981, paving the way for NBL entry in 1982. That debut season was memorable for Geelong, as it reached the grand final before falling to West Adelaide in a one-game decider. Craig captained the team until 1984. Following retirement, he served on the Supercats board from 1996-2016. He served as assistant coach of the Supercats under Terry Kealey from 1998-2001, with the team winning the 1999 ABA National Championship. A recipient of an Order of Australia Medal for services to basketball in 2015, Craig has been a life member since receiving the honour from Basketball Geelong in 1996. Nathan made a Supercats record 399 appearances in the SEABL between 2002 and 2018 and is remembered as one of the finest shooters Geelong has seen. He scored a club record 6500 points at an average of 16.3 per game. Captain of the Supercats from 2014 until his retirement, Nathan was a member of the SEABL Conference Championship-winning teams of 2005, 2006 and 2007, and the successful 2006 ABA National Championship and 2010 All-SEABL rosters. He also found time to win an NBL championship with the South Dragons in 2009. Nathan was inducted as a life member of Geelong United Basketball in 2020.
UNDER-18 GIRLS DE GRANDI
For anyone with even the slightest understanding of sport in Geelong, the name De Grandi would be familiar. For those involved in basketball, the understanding is of a family who made a lasting impact, especially on women’s basketball. Sisters Sarah, Kate and Jess all represented Geelong at underage level, with Sarah and Jess graduating to the senior program. Sarah spent 10 seasons in Basketball Geelong’s women’s program from 2000-2004, 2007-10 and 2012. She was captain of the 2010 roster that claimed that year’s Big V State Championship under Grantley Bernard, knocking over Melbourne Tigers in the semi-finals before sweeping Hume City in the best-of-three grand final series. Parents Damian and Lee were also heavily involved in the administration of Basketball Geelong. Damian was a team manager, vice president of the BG board and chair of the senior representative committee, and played a crucial role in keeping the women’s program viable. Lee was always the first to put her hand up to volunteer, especially with after-match functions. The family business – De Grandi Cycle and Sport – was also a long-term sponsor of the pathway program.