It will be a different looking Melton Thoroughbreds side this year in Big V men’s division 2, with a massive focus on youth.
There’s been a number of changes on and off the court after a disappointing 2017, when the side finished last in division 1 and was relegated to division 2.
Joe Hooks has been appointed coach and most of the playing group has not returned for a number of different reasons.
Hooks played basketball professionally in Europe and Asia before a car accident ended his playing career. He has turned his focus to coaching and hasn’t looked back.
“I’ve been in and out of the country for the last 10 years,” he said.
“I’ve coached in Africa, local high school kids, coached in Fiji and coached quite a few places around the world.
“I also ran a club for 10 years which gave kids the chance to play basketball and get school work done.”
Hooks said the challenge of helping to build a side from the bottom up was part of the attraction of coming to Melton.
Most of the Thoroughbreds squad from last season hasn’t returned, with youth to be a big focus this year.
“There’s the challenge of trying to help change the culture and bring a new look to the side,” he said. “It’s not necessarily about wins and losses, it’s the challenges of helping the kids get better. There’s some talent on this side of town, but it seems to keep leaving to
other places and hopefully we can turn that around and make kids want to stay here a little longer.”
Hooks said most of the playing group are in their late teens and early 20s, while they also have a couple of veterans. Jordan Kirk is one player who has returned and he should provide some vital leadership for the squad.
Dexter Graham joins the side as an import. Graham played with Craigieburn Eagles last season, averaging more than 17 points a game.
Hooks said he believed his side could surprise a lot of people, but knows they are a work in process.
He said they are still looking for more players.
“It’s going to take a while, building something from the ground up always takes a while,” he said.
“I have the support of the Melton club and staff and members and I think we can be something pretty special.
“We’ll try our best night in and night out and get some people out here to watch us … it’s going to be a team that plays hard every night and they will play together.”
The Thoroughbreds kick off their season on March 17 in a triple header with their women’s and youth league men’s side.