La Trobe UBL teams prepare for Sports Stadium debut

The stage is set for La Trobe University's Men's and Women's University Basketball League (UBL) teams to make their first appearance at the La Trobe Sports Stadium this week.

After splitting the points with the University of the Sunshine Coast in the first round of UBL matches last week, La Trobe's Men's and Women's teams have now turned their attention to their first matches at home against University of Technology Sydney on Wednesday April 21 and University of Sydney on Thursday April 22.

The UBL is a new national basketball league endorsed by Basketball Australia for university students, designed to strengthen the pathway to professional basketball in Australia.

In 2021, seven universities will battle it out over six weeks across men's and women's competitions around Australia to determine the strongest university basketball team in the country. Each participating university will have the chance to host and livestream matches throughout the competition.

Check out the season previews for both the Men's and Women's teams below:

La Trobe Women’s team gear up for University Basketball League

Altona Gators Big V Women’s coach Cameron Wilkosz will be taking the reigns as the coach of La Trobe’s women’s team and Jayde Kirk has been announced as the captain for the inaugural campaign.

Ahead of the start of the season, Wilkosz says the team is raring to go.

“It’s really exciting to be back on court,” he said.

“Last year we practiced on a Thursday and then we got told the world had shut down on the Friday, and here we are 12 months later back on court.”

After a 12-month shutdown, this is the team’s first opportunity to utilise the brand new La Trobe Sports Park stadium, which Wilkosz describes as some of the best facilities in Australia.

With plenty of basketball experience, including a stint in the Canadian college basketball system, Wilkosz is extremely excited about the team he will be leading into the UBL.

“Our captain Jayde Kirk is one of those players you want to run through a brick wall for - she’s the captain, the players’ captain and just a fantastic leader,” Wilkosz said.

“There’s so much skill out there; Hayley Harrington two years ago was a Big V All-Star. There’s some really exciting young guards coming through as well, so I think this will be a fantastic program for many years to come.”

Like the rest of the team, captain Jayde Kirk is juggling study commitments while also playing basketball for her Big V side, Hume City Broncos.

Now with the added responsibility as captain of the women’s UBL team, the point guard says she is looking forward to the challenge of leading Team La Trobe in its inaugural UBL campaign.

“I think everyone is really pumped to get back into it because we missed all of last year,” Kirk said.

“We’ve got so much depth – from the bench to our starters, we’ve got everything. I’m really excited to see everyone get going. We want to win and we’re hungry to win.”

2021 La Trobe University UBL Women’s Squad

Name

Big V Team

Poppy Blanch

Bendigo Braves

Anna Burrows

Eltham Wildcats

Emily Davies

Eltham Wildcats

Eilish Feehan

Warrandyte

Jacqueline Gehrig

Altona Gators

Hayley Harrington

Bendigo Braves

Jayde Kirk (Captain)

Hume City Broncos

Tashia Overby

Hume City Broncos

Sophie Perkins

Bendigo Braves

Kiara Mountford

Eltham Wildcats

Meg Stagoll

Eltham Wildcats

Jamieson Weddle

Eltham Wildcats

Grace Whiteley

N/A

Ellen Wright

Hume City Broncos

La Trobe Men’s UBL team prepare to hit the court for debut home  appearance

Braden Cotter has been announced as the head coach for the upcoming UBL season, while Eltham Wildcats forward Ovie Magbegor will be the captain for the inaugural campaign.

Cotter says that the team are excited at the prospect of representing La Trobe University on the national stage.

“It’s an amazing feeling, it’s a good buzz,” he said.

“I think everyone has enjoyed the release and being able to get out and play again.”

Cotter praised the state-of-the-art facilities at the La Trobe Sport Stadium, saying the players were looking forward to playing on their home court.

“I think for the players it’s such a huge step up from what they would have had in the past, especially at university level,” Cotter said.

“I think what the university has done has really set us apart.”

On the eve of the season, Cotter is extremely excited about the players he has at his disposal.

“Our captain Ovie Magbegor, he’s looking to push in NBL1 – he’ll be great this year,” Cotter said.

“I also think Christian Yammouni is really going to set the standard for us.

“We’ll have a really aggressive style of play and we’ll be really pushing to win.”

The same level of excitement is seen through the team, with inaugural captain Magbegor thrilled to be able to play with his La Trobe counterparts again after representing the University at previous Uni Nationals campaigns.

“It’s really exciting, I’ve played with a few of the guys over the years, so it’s great to be able to get another opportunity to be on the same team again,” Magbegor said.

“We also have some really good new players coming into the team that play at a high level outside of UBL. We’re all excited to be able to get onto the court together.”

Stay tuned to the La Trobe Sport Facebook and Instagram channels for more details on how you can follow Team La Trobe’s UBL campaign, including information on our home matches at the La Trobe Sports Stadium and livestream links.

To view the full fixture for the 2021 UBL season, click here.

2021 La Trobe University UBL Men’s Squad

NameBig V Team
Sean ClarkeCamberwell
Fernando Rios-RodriguezKeilor Thunder
Datjin HarrisonBulleen
Christian YammouniEltham Wildcats
George ToaisharaWerribee
Ovie Magbegor (captain)Eltham Wildcats
Ade AkintolaNil
Daniel BarkerKeillor
Marcus FedericoBlackburn Vikings
Troy SchaecheNil
Andrew BurgessNil
Emmanuel KapposNil 
Jed ShennanBroadmeadows Youth League
Nicholas SpencerKnox
Jack RobertsKnox
Ben Ursich Nil