Basketball New South Wales is delighted to announce the Class of 2021 inductees for the BNSW Hall of Fame, an illustrious list that includes two Olympians, a Paralympian and the elevation of an existing Hall of Famer to Legend status.
Prior to this year, there were just six BNSW Hall of Fame Legends – Alistair Ramsay MBE OAM, Dr. John Raschke OAM, Robert Staunton OAM, Dr. Adrian Hurley OAM, Bob Elphinston OAM and Lauren Jackson AO. These individuals have all been remarkable contributors to the sport of basketball in this state and deserving of the highest honour that can be bestowed by BNSW.
And now, a seventh Legend is added to that extraordinary group, Hall of Famer Lorraine Landon OAM.
One of the greatest administrators in the history of Australian sport, Lorraine’s impact on basketball in this state has been profound from the time she first played the sport in 1967.
Her achievements are unparalleled. From helping to build and run a powerhouse association in Bankstown, to her role in building the Sydney Kings into an iconic franchise in the National Basketball League, becoming the first female to ever concurrently manage teams in both the NBL and WNBL, her incredible work with FIBA and the Australian men’s and women’s Olympic teams and her magnificent advocacy of wheelchair athletes and athletes with an intellectual disability – Lorraine’s passion for the sport, remarkable accomplishments and care for all those around her has justly earned her the status of BNSW Hall of Fame Legend.
Basketball NSW, Chair, Jenny Dean said she was thrilled with the outstanding list of inductees to be added to the prestigious list of Hall of Fame Members & Legends.
“No more fitting a tribute to the champions of NSW Basketball is the awarding of Hall of Fame status. Our induction standards are high, as they should be, and we take great pride in the extraordinary achievements over many years of our newly chosen players, referees, coaches and administrators, Our new inductees have reached the peak,” said Dean.
“We warmly welcome an existing Hall of Famer, Lorraine Landon to the pinnacle, our most prestigious award, that of Legend. We also welcome Olympian players Suzy Batkovic and Belinda Snell, Paralympian player Kylie Gauci, player and administrator extraordinaire the Late Maureen Elphinson, highly respected international referee Brad Giersch, and an outstanding official of wheelchair basketball Matthew Wells. Warm congratulations to them all.”
Four players and two officials have also been added this year to the BNSW Hall of Fame.
The first member of the incoming class is Suzy Batkovic, one of the greatest frontcourt players Australia has ever produced.
The product of Lambton is a highly decorated Olympian who was a part of three medal-winning Australian Opals’ teams, securing silver in Athens 2004, silver in Beijing 2012 and bronze in London 2012. She also represented Australia in two FIBA World Championships, winning a bronze with the Opals in 2002. She was a two-time winner of the Maher Medal as the International Player of the Year, and professionally was a standout in Europe for several years. She also played for the Seattle Storm in the WNBA after selection in the first round of the 2003 WNBA draft.
Domestically, she left her mark as one of the best WNBL players ever. In 16 incredible seasons, Suzy won five WNBL titles, six WNBL MVPs, was named to the WNBL All Star Five seven times and made an astonishing 29 WNBL Finals appearances. She retired after the 2018/2019 WNBL campaign as the all-time leading scorer in league history with 5,839 points, adding 2,972 rebounds, 443 blocks and 423 steals.
Very few small forwards in the history of the game in this country can match the consistency and productivity of the next 2021 BNSW Hall of Fame inductee, Belinda Snell.
Over the course of 15 brilliant seasons in the WNBL, Belinda won three WNBL championships and was named as a WNBL All Star four times. Her 54-point explosion against Perth in 2005 is the all-time WNBL mark for most points scored in a game, and she retired post the 2018/2019 WNBL season as the all-time leader in three pointers made and finished top ten all time in points and assists.
Belinda represented Australia with great distinction as a three-time Olympian earning three medals for her country and was a three-time World Championships participant, playing a key role in the Opals’ historic gold medal at the 2006 World titles in Brazil; she also won two gold medals at the 2006 and 2018 Commonwealth Games. She was a standout in Europe and won several national championships plus the prestigious Euroleague title in 2011, and as a member of the Phoenix Mercury she combined with superstar Penny Taylor to win the 2007 WNBA Championship.
There aren’t many more inspirational stories than our next 2021 BNSW Hall of Famer, Kylie Gauci.
Born in 1985 with lumbar sacral agenesis, a condition where she is missing the lower part of her spine, Kylie refused to let her disability define her, and began playing wheelchair basketball as an 11-year-old in 1996.
After a stellar junior career that saw Kylie represent her state and become a part of the national junior team when she was just 14, she resolved herself to play for her country at senior level after seeing the Australian Gliders participate in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics. In 2002, she was selected to play for the Gliders while still a teenager, and she has since represented Australia in no fewer than three Paralympics, winning medals on each occasion. She has also competed in four World Championships and has played more than 200 games for Australia.
In addition, Kylie has been a standout at domestic level, being named as a member of the Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball League (WNWBL) on an astounding 12 consecutive occasions between 2001 and 2012, and such is her talent and determination, she has also competed in the men’s NWBL since 2008.
There’s little doubt that the history of Maureen Elphinston in New South Wales basketball has been significant.
Honoured posthumously, the Class of 2021 BNSW Hall of Famer had a tremendous representative career for her state, appearing in no fewer than nine national championship tournaments for New South Wales between 1959 and 1971, winning national crowns in 1966 and 1967, and in 1967 she achieved the ultimate, playing for Australia at the Women’s World Championships in Czechoslovakia.
Her playing career ended in 1971, but she was thankfully not lost to basketball, becoming involved in a wide variety of roles encompassing many different aspects of the sport she loved so much. Her work as a volunteer and with junior women over many years was particularly outstanding, and she was a committed, passionate coach of both girls and boys.
One of the best to ever come out of the legendary Bankstown association, Maureen was named a life member of Bankstown basketball in 1985 and became a life member of Basketball New South Wales in 1987.
No one would argue that being a basketball referee can sometimes be a thankless task, but very few did it better than 2021 BNSW Hall of Fame inductee Brad Giersch.
His outstanding National Basketball League career spanned no fewer than 433 games, including six NBL Grand Final series, and he also officiated 27 WNBL games. After obtaining FIBA Referee qualifications in 2002, he became a fixture at international level, officiating at the 2005 and 2011 World University Games, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the 2007 FIBA Under-19 Men’s World Championships, the 2008 and 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifiers, the 2015 FIBA Women’s Oceania Championships and the 2017 FIBA Asia Under-16 Men’s Championship.
The final entrant to the BNSW Hall of Fame in 2021 is one of the most revered officials in wheelchair basketball, Matthew Wells.
Becoming qualified as an International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) international referee in 2001, Matt has been involved in several Paralympic Games since his first appearance at the 2004 Athens Paralympics as a referee, crew chief and international instructor, and was an Instructor/Supervisor at the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
He’s also been a part of several World Championships for both men and women, and in 2014 he was named as Secretary of the IWBF Technical Commission, a position he still holds. In 2015 he was elected to the board of IWBF Asia Oceania as a Technical Officer, and in 2018 he was elected as Member at Large to the IWBF Executive Council.
The Basketball NSW Hall of Fame Dinner will be held Saturday 26th February 2022 at the Novotel in Sydney Olympic Park. Tickets will on sale in November, 2021.
Credit: Matt McQuade