Message from our Chairman Jamie Keck

Dear Magic Community

Welcome to the 2014/2015 Hawthorn Junior Magic representative basketball season - an especially warm welcome to parents & players who are new to Magic.  There are a number of matters I would like to bring to your attention.

1. Resignation of Kelly Breazeale as Director of Coaching.

It is with sadness that I report that I accepted the resignation this week of Kelly Breazeale as Director of Coaching at Hawthorn Magic.  Kelly has been our Director of Coaching at Magic for almost 5 years and has done a magnificent job building Magic to where it is at the present.  Our current coaching grid is the envy of every other club in the VJBL and is a testament to Kelly's vision for Hawthorn and her standing in the Victorian basketball community.  During Kelly's tenure as Director of Coaching we have won our first two VC championships, we have won an under 14 national Championship and been runner up in another.  Kelly has helped to foster a bridge between junior and senior Magic with a lot of younger athletes moving into our successful Youth League & Big V programmes.  While at Magic Kelly has coached the under 18 Girls Victorian State team and she was  named Female Coach of the Year in 2013 by Basketball Victoria.  This coming season Kelly will be coaching the Hawthorn Big V Women's team so she will stay an integral part of the Hawthorn Magic community.  Kelly leaves Magic in great shape, with best wishes for its future and with no bitterness.  Personally, I have loved working along side her and we have shared a vision of making Magic the best it can be -  we will all miss her at Junior Magic.

Before the start of the try out period we brought in a change in structure of the Director of Coaching roles at Magic with the appointment of Hannah Lowe and Michael Dimattina as Director of Coaching Development for the Boy's & Girl's programmes respectively.  Hannah & Michael will continue in their current roles and will pick up some of the work that Kelly was doing.  With Hannah & Michael we are now able to offer our coaches a much greater level of support and assistance.  I believe this will raise the standard of coaching & player development across each age group and at every level.

2. Grading

Grading started this week. I was at BSC and saw some great performances from Magic teams - Go Magic.

For those who are new to representative basketball the grading period goes on for quite a long time and is approached in very different ways by our coaches depending on the level of the team.  For all of our 1st teams and for a number of our 2nd teams our focus is on winning if at all possible with the aim of quick qualification for the elite 20 team Victorian Championship (VC) competition.  Of the 20 places in VC, 12 are decided before Christmas during the first phase of grading & we want as many of our top teams as possible to qualify for VC in this way.

On the other hand, at the lower levels the focus is all about finding a level where we can compete & win games during the regular season which doesn't start until April 2015.  This inevitably means losing games during grading if a team is ranked too highly and it is important for young athletes in particular, and also their parents, not to get despondent after losses during grading.  In fact the worst thing is for a team to over achieve during grading and then lose regularly during the regular season. We want teams playing in an even competition where court time can be shared and player skills can develop.

3. Melbourne United VJBL

The old Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) has accepted a lucrative sponsorship deal with Melbourne United, currently Victoria's only NBL team, and has undergone a name change to the Melbourne United VJBL.  Money given to the new MUVJBL will be used for support of the Associations (like Hawthorn Magic) that make up the competition as well as for things like referee development.  Expect to see new signage around the venues and on the VJBL website from now on.  There will also be deals to attract our young basketballers to attend Melbourne United games.

4. Girls Got Game

Girls Got Game is an initiative of Basketball Victoria designed to encourage female participation in junior basketball and is a response to the number of girls who drop out of basketball in the under 16s & under 18s.  Players from different Associations are nominated each round for Girl Got Game awards based on their performance in VJBL games (based more on effort, courage & sportsmanship rather than just skill) & then members of Associations are encouraged to vote on line for their own players.  In 2014 Hawthorn had one nomination & these nominations tend to be spread around the various associations.  There are also designated Girls Got Game rounds (last year all girl athletes were given special laces to wear) & the VJBL will support Club efforts to promote basketball to girls as players, coaches or referees.  I think this is a very worthy initiative and deserves our support - I am certainly passionate about keeping girls in basketball. Whether it will succeed in keeping girls playing is something that can only be assessed in a season or two.  Anyone feeling passionate about this issue, or with ideas about how to make this programme work better should contact Kim at
There is also a Girls Got Game survey parents may want to complete at

5. AGM

The Hawthorn Junior Magic Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday 24th November at 7PM at MCC Kew Sports Club. Details are on our website.  All Magic parents, coaches and players are welcome to attend this meeting and anyone is able to nominate for one of the Committee positions including Treasurer, Secretary, Boys coordinator, Girls Coordinator & Chairman.  I hope to see some of you at this meeting.

Jamie Keck
Chairman Hawthorn Junior Magic


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