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70 Years of Basketball

September 22nd, 2023 - submitted by Matt Roseby


The Melbourne University Basketball Club held its platinum jubilee celebrations earlier this month, with a host of Club alumni and current players coming together at the Ernie Cropley Pavilion. As part of their event, MUBC named a collection of Team of the Decade recipients, recognising some of the Club’s most talented players and impactful committee members of each decade from the 1950s through to the 2010s.

Founded in 1953, the Club was established as MUBkC, distinguishing itself from the long-standing and highly prestigious Melbourne University Boat Club. Whilst the University had held intervarsity basketball competitions since 1947, the Club stood to offer the sport to a much broader range of students and alumni, with an auxiliary mission of enhancing the University’s intervarsity performance.

Reflecting on the journey of the Club over the past 70 years, current Men’s Team Captain and committee member Joel Rimes explained;

“It was excellent to have the chance to celebrate the Club’s rich history whilst learning more about the people we have to thank for building MUBC into the club it is today”.

The Club faced adversity in its early years, struggling to find a home court as well as acceptance into local competitions. Founding member Keith Nicholls gave insight into the turbulent experience; “we started with nothing… We had to find a place to practice, find a competition that would accept us, and that was not easy”.

The Club has grown tremendously since its humble beginnings, currently boasting three premiership squads, an impressive collection of state championships, and well over 40 teams competing throughout the week in various local competitions.

The first MUBC jerseys, made from a blue work singlet and hand stitched numbersThe first MUBC jerseys, made from a blue work singlet and hand-stitched numbers

Most recently, MUBC saw its Men’s Premiership team awarded a place in Basketball Victoria’s flagship Big V Championship League, alongside the establishment of the Club’s first-ever Big V Youth League squad. The Youth League offering is targeted at the Club’s student base, consisting almost exclusively of current University of Melbourne students across the players’ and coaches’ rosters.

The University’s intervarsity competitions continue to feature a strong core of Club members, with 10 MUBC players earning a National Championship in the University Basketball League earlier this year.

Past committee member and player Euan Lockie, who was named in the Team of the Decade for 1970-1979, sounded off on the Club’s Anniversary Event, highlighting the rekindling of past friendships as the highlight of the celebrations;

“It gave some of us the first chance to catch up with teammates in almost 50 years! Having the chance to chat with players going back as far as the 1950s and also some of the recent and current crop was wonderful”.

The MUBC Premiership Women’s team earn the Club’s first women’s state championship in 2019The MUBC Premiership Women’s team earned the Club’s first women’s state championship in 2019