The Men’s University Basketball team will head to the University Nationals on the Gold Coast next month as one of Melbourne University’s best prepared groups.
The team had a tough tournament last year, with one loss in the group stage to the eventual champions, the University of New South Wales, consigning them to a ninth place finish. Having last won the basketball in 2010, the men will enter the Nationals as one of a multitude of contenders, along with traditional rivals, Monash University, RMIT, La Trobe and the University of Sydney.
The team is well placed in the lead up to the games, with coach, and head of the Elite Athlete Program, Brendan Parnell pleased to see the team taking a systematic approach to their preparation.
“The team is particularly driven to do well,” he said. “I am notionally the head coach, but the team has adopted a very self-motivated approach and is essentially looking after themselves on and off the court.”
Parnell, with over fifteen years’ experience as a coach at a professional level, has been impressed with the team’s attitude in the lead up to the games, crediting long standing coach, and former Club's Coordinator at MU Sport, Andrew Walker, with fostering a powerful team culture.
“It has really filtered through the whole team. A number of players are reaching the end of their studies and desperately want to finish with a great showing It’s fantastic.”
Along with Brendan, co-captains of the side, Dominic Kumosz and Joel Rimes have been putting in a power of work to ensure the team gives itself the best opportunity to perform well. Both with representative experience, Parnell is confident they have managed the logistical side of the tour, and taken on responsibility for the team’s offensive sets. Though neither of them play for the University club, it speak volumes for the culture of Intervarsity sport at Melbourne that they are so keen to succeed as leaders.
MU Sport Performance Coordinator, Tom Lutwyche, is also excited to see how the team perform on the Gold Coast.
“They are always one of the teams we think will do well and are traditionally very competitive at the University Nationals,” he said. “Obviously they suffered an ill-timed loss last year, so there is a real desire to succeed this time around.”
The team played a practice match on Monday against the National Taiwan Normal University, which was a fantastic opportunity to gauge their progress before Nationals gets underway. The side performed consistently well across all four quarters to win 72 – 64, which was livestreamed
from the East Stadium.
The University Nationals will be held on the Gold Coast from the 22nd - 27th September, where the University will be sending 350 Student-Athletes across 32 teams in both Men’s and Women’s competitions.