The ABHF Class Of 2013

The ABHF Class Of 2013

Profiles from the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Mark Bradtke - Inducted as a Player

A key figure in the rise of Australian basketball to unprecedented levels of success on the international stage following a stellar career, there is little doubt that Mark Bradtke is one of the best big men that Australia has produced. In a career that saw Bradtke burst on to the international stage as an 18-year-old at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the 208cm star became a household name for the Boomers and in the NBL.

Bradtke was a member of the legendary 1987 Junior Men’s World Championship team that defeated the Soviet Union. He went on to represent Australia at four Olympic Games and two FIBA World Championships, claiming two Gaze Medals (International Player of the Year) in a national team career that spanned 205 occasions over 14 years.

Emerging on the NBL stage with his hometown Adelaide 36ers it was evident that Bradtke had star potential early on, winning the 1989 NBL Most-Improved player. Making the move to the Melbourne Tigers in 1992 proved a major turning point for Bradtke, winning 10 All-NBL First Team honours and the 2002 NBL Most Valuable Player award.

At the Tigers, Bradtke would team up with Andrew Gaze and Lenard Copeland to help the club win their first NBL Championship in 1993, repeating the dose in 1997 after a one-season stint with the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA.

After a 20 year playing career, Bradtke went out on top, helping the Brisbane Bullets win the 2007 NBL Championship. In total, ‘Hogey’ played 554 games for Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane – scoring 9621 points (6th all-time), grabbing 6283 rebounds (1st all-time) and three NBL titles (1993, ’97 and 2007). He was selected as a member of the League’s 25th Anniversary Team in 2003.

James Crawford – Inducted as a Player

Few players in the history of the NBL have made as immediate an impact as James Crawford. From the moment he stepped on to an NBL court back in 1982 for the Geelong Supercats – posting 27 points and 17 rebounds on debut – Crawford would wow crowds with his amazing athleticism and spectacular dunking.

The man known as “The Alabama Slammer”, Crawford forged an outstanding career in the NBL over 18 years, with his aerial prowess, shot-blocking ability and patented base line jump shot leading many to regard him as one of the greatest big men to play in this country.

After successful stints with the Geelong Supercats (three All-NBL First Team honours) and the Canberra Cannons, it was in Perth where the legend of Crawford would make him arguably the biggest star in West Australian basketball.

Crawford won three NBL Championships with the Perth Wildcats – a team with which his name would become synonymous – earning All-NBL First Team honours four times on his way to being recognised in the NBL 20th and 25th Anniversary Teams and the Perth Wildcats 30th Anniversary Team.

Crawford has remarked that the Wildcats nation welcomed him with open arms and he was grateful for the support he received even now, 15 years since he last played for the team. Among the passionate West Australian basketball community, there is no doubt the memory of Crawford’s gifted athleticism and stunning entertainment factor continue to live on.

In a career compiled of 504 games, Crawford retired in 1999 as one of the most accomplished players in NBL history, sitting in the top five all-time for points (2nd), rebounds (3rd) and blocks (2nd). Following his retirement, Crawford spent a season on the sidelines as coach of the WNBL’s Perth Lynx.

Kathy Foster – Inducted as a Player

If the WNBL had set itself the task of selecting a ‘Team of the 80’s’, few would have disagreed with the selection of Kathy Foster as its starting centre. The pride of the Tasmanian town of New Norfolk, Kathy Foster this year makes history as the first female Tasmanian player to be inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.

In a WNBL career spanning 135 games, the three time MVP (1985, 1986, 1989) also won a Halls Medal in 1985 as the fairest and best player in South Australia (sharing the honour with fellow Hall of Famer Julie Nykiel) and was a member of the 1989 and 1990 WNBL All Star Five.

At the international level, Foster was part of the first Australian Opals team to represent Australia at an Olympic Games, travelling to Los Angeles in 1984 alongside fellow greats of women’s basketball such as Robyn Maher, Pat Mickan, Karen Dalton and Jenny Cheesman.

Foster was part of the team to qualify for those Olympics at the 1984 World Olympic Qualification Tournament for Women in Cuba, and also represented Australia at two World Championships – 1983 in Brazil and 1986 in the Soviet Union.

After hanging up her sneakers at the end of 1992, Foster has remained involved in basketball through coaching positions at all levels, with a particular focus on her students at The Fahan School in Sandy Bay (where she is Deputy Principal).

Brian Goorjian – Inducted as a Coach

In the history of the National Basketball League, no one has coached more games for more wins than Brian Goorjian. Born with basketball coursing through his blood, Goorjian came to Australia in 1977 to play for the Melbourne Tigers and future Legend Lindsay Gaze.

A member of the Tigers’ inaugural NBL campaign in 1984, Goorjian soon followed his destiny and hung up his sneakers while grabbing a clipboard. Replacing Barry Barnes at Eastside Melbourne in 1988, Goorjian hit his stride after the first two seasons – seemingly having calculated the magic formula for success – and what followed was truly historic.

Arguably the most successful coach to have served in the National Basketball League, Goorjian coached 735 games between 1988 and 2009 for 514 wins, at a winning percentage of 70% – the most in NBL history, and one which in fact exceeds that of many Australian coaches across a number of other professional leagues.

In an amazing NBL coaching career spanning two decades, Goorjian also amassed six NBL championships, six Lindsay Gaze NBL Coach of the Year awards, 19 consecutive NBL play-off appearances and 13 NBL Grand Final series appearances.

Goorjian was also the first coach in the history of the NBL to deliver three consecutive Championship titles, leading the Sydney Kings to victory in 2002/03, 2003/04 and 2004/05. He remains one of just two NBL coaches to do so, preceding Andrej Lemanis who just this year achieved the same feat for the New Zealand Breakers.

Goorjian served as Head Coach of the Australian Boomers in 115 games between 2002 and 2008, including the 2004 and 2008 Olympics Games, the 2006 Commonwealth Games – where the Boomers won gold – and 2006 FIBA World Championships.

A great student of the game, Goorjian remains committed to the development of young coaches and providing opportunities to share his coaching knowledge. Sure to be remembered for his unprecedented eye for talent, vast skill in developing players, strong leadership abilities and steely determination to succeed, Goorjian is this year enshrined as a Coach in the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.

Neil Hamilton-Smith – Inducted as a Contributor

Neil Hamilton-Smith struck up his association with basketball in the early 1970s when he met, and then married, state player Pam Schiller, who convinced Hamilton-Smith to coach her club side and then the Brisbane women’s team that competed in the Australian Women’s Club Championships – the forerunner to the WNBL.

Hamilton-Smith served in several roles for Brisbane Basketball through the 1970s – including Vice President, and Secretary at the time of the January 1974 floods. With Auchenflower Stadium under several feet of water, he could not have imagined the explosive growth that was around the corner and the pivotal role he would play in the management of that growth.

When the Brisbane Bullets became a dominant force in the NBL in the mid-1980’s, Hamilton-Smith had a ringside seat as both a member of the club’s board and the courtside announcer, inspiring higher levels of effort from players and spectators alike.

Hamilton-Smith established himself as one of the best announcers in the NBL, serving in the role with the Bullets’ from their first home game against the Canberra Cannons in 1979 – where he welcomed the NBL and the legendary Cal Bruton to Brisbane – right through to their last game in 2008.

Today, Hamilton-Smith continues to serve basketball as the Chairman of Basketball Queensland, having been on the BQ Board for a number of years. He continues to play an active role in endeavouring to bring an NBL team back to Brisbane, working tirelessly to garner Government, corporate and community support.

Neil’s induction into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame as a Contributor is testament to his long-standing and unwavering commitment, dedication and passion for basketball, as well as the success of the sport in Queensland.

John Heard – Inducted as a Player

John Heard is widely considered a pioneer of the Australian game on the world stage. Heard was a proud product of the United Church Basketball Club in Adelaide – which later went on to change its name, adopting the Sturt region in Adelaide – that also nurtured his brother Mal, Albert Leslie and the Smyth brothers.

Heard takes his place in Australian Boomers history as the Captain of the first Boomers team to contest an Olympic Games abroad, travelling to the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics after having qualified at FIBA’s rigorous 1964 Pre-Olympic Tournament in Yokohama, Japan. Alongside five fellow South Australians on the team and State Coach Keith Miller on the bench, Heard and the Boomers finished in ninth place with nine wins.

Upon his return from the Tokyo Olympics, Heard’s employer IBM transferred him to Canberra in 1966. Keen to maintain a thorough involvement with the game, Heard captained the Bouncers Basketball Club, who were the ACT Champions in that year and went on to represent the territory in the NSW State Championships.

Heard was again at the helm of history in 1967 when the Australian Capital Territory became a State Association in its own right. That year, he captained the Bouncers to another ACT Championship, and was selected as State Captain of the ACT team for the Australian Championships, where the team finished 5th.

Heard retired from top-level playing in 1973, but continued his involvement with basketball through referee training and education. He was President of the South Australian Olympians Club, served as a basketball volunteer at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, and was in 2000 awarded the Australian Sports Medal for services to basketball.

Today, John continues to inspire the Boomers and Opals of the future with his presence at Australian Championship events, proudly presenting medals while looking resplendent in his 1964 Olympic blazer.

Sue Hobbs – Inducted as a Player

Sue Hobbs was just 19 years of age in 1976 when she was hit by a car and rendered a paraplegic. Already a promising athlete before the accident, Hobbs set her sights on becoming a champion player in wheelchair basketball, at a time when there were no other women playing the sport – pioneering in the true sense of the word.

For over a decade Sue worked without recompense or reward, travelling across the country to encourage women to take up the sport. Eventually her hard work and determination paid the ultimate dividend when in 1989 founded and captained the first women’s national wheelchair basketball team – the original Australian Gliders, who contested their first international tournament at the FESPIC Games in Japan in 1989.

In 1992, Hobbs again captained the Australian Gliders as they brought home their first ever gold medal at the World Games in Stoke Mandeville, England. As a further bonus, the team qualified for the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona, where they finished an outstanding fourth.

Hobbs was the first female athlete to be inducted into the Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Fame, winning many MVP honours in national and international competition and consistently being named a member of All-Star Five awards in women’s state competitions. In 2012, Basketball Australia established the Sue Hobbs Medal for Women’s Wheelchair International Player of the Year.

John Martin – Inducted as a Technical Official

Few people have done more to professionalise the officiating of basketball in Australia than John Martin, with his career stretching from the mid-1960’s to the present day and encompassing a wide variety of both on and off-court roles.

Controlling his first Australian Championship fixture in 1967, Martin soon progressed through the ranks and within a decade was the bearer of a FIBA referee’s pass, officiating in the NBL for six seasons before moving into referee training.

Making history as the first Australian to be accredited as an International Referee Instructor and Examiner, Martin travelled across the Oceania region to develop both referees and score-bench personnel.

A long-term chairman of BA’s Technical Commission, Martin was a key figure in the operation of the 1997 World Championships for Men Under 22, 1998 World Women’s Basketball Championships and 1998 World Wheelchair Championships, serving as a Technical Commissioner across those three tournaments.

Martin also served on the Member Advisory Committee and Technical Commission for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, as well as taking up a post as Technical Director at the World Masters Games in Sydney in 2009.

In 2010, Martin was awarded the Radomir Shaper Award by FIBA for his contribution to the rules of basketball – the first Australian to receive the prestigious honour. Martin was also inducted into the inaugural Basketball NSW Hall of Fame in 2011, and continues to serve the game as a Senior Consultant to BNSW to this day.

Pat Mickan – Inducted as a Player

In a basketball career that has spanned more than 30 years, Pat Mickan has made an enormous contribution in all areas and at all levels of the game. Regarded as one of the premier players of her generation, Mickan was a staple in the Australian Opals team for more than a decade, representing her country at no fewer than five major international tournaments.

At 22 years of age, Mickan competed at the first of her three FIBA World Championships in South Korea in 1979 – establishing herself as a regular in the national team program. From here Mickan would play 158 times in the green and gold, including as part of the first Opals team to compete at the Olympic Games in 1984 in Los Angeles, where the team placed 5th – a ranking which would set the foundation for the future success of the Opals.

A hard-working forward, Mickan represented Australia on the biggest basketball stages at 1983 and 1986 FIBA World Championships, as well as the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. At those 1988 Olympics, Mickan was part of the Opals team who historically beat the Soviet Union – a team who had never lost a game in Olympic basketball – and qualified for the semi-finals against Yugoslavia, aiming for a shot at the gold medal game.

The Opals lost that match by just one point, with Yugoslavia scoring a basket in the last 1.4 seconds of the game. While the gallant Aussies went down to the Soviet Union in the battle for bronze, Australia’s position as a future power in women’s basketball had been set.

Throughout this period Mickan became a pioneer in the WNBL, playing 158 games between 1981 and 1989 with the West Adelaide Bearcats and North Adelaide Rockets. For much of the 1980s and into the 1990s, Mickan was a regular columnist for The Adelaide Advertiser and her work captured some of the history that would otherwise have been lost.

Only a handful of players have represented the Australian Opals at two Olympic Games and three World Championships, placing her in an elite group. The contribution Mickan made to the identity of the Australian Opals was pivotal in building the culture of success the team enjoys today.

Charles Ryan (deceased) – Inducted as a Contributor

Although his first involvement in the game was as a player in Sydney’s western suburbs both as a junior and as a Division 1 player at the NSW championships, Charles Ryan would go on to play a pivotal role in the establishment and ongoing development of some of Australian basketball’s most significant professional leagues and associations.

Boasting many contributions to the game, Ryan is perhaps best remembered for his role as a founding father of the National Wheelchair Basketball League. In the 1980s, Ryan became heavily involved in wheelchair basketball as both a coach and an administrator.

In a role similar to that of Hall of Fame Legend Dr. John Raschke, it was Ryan who proved to be the inspiration for the NWBL. Such was his influence in the development of the NWBL that the perpetual trophy for the league is named in his honour – with the Charles Ryan Memorial Trophy acknowledging his work and preserving his legacy.

Not content with this, Ryan turned his attention to the women’s game and in particular his beloved Dandenong Rangers. As President of the DBA he oversaw the expansion of Dandenong Stadium into one of the premier indoor sport facilities in Australia while the Rangers won back to back WNBL titles in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.

In 2009, Ryan became a member of BA’s High Performance Commission, a position he held until his death. Ryan’s involvement in high performance pathways spanned grass-roots programs, the National Intensive Training Program and the Australian Junior Championships.

Ryan was acknowledged by Basketball Victoria for his 11 years as a Board Member and 7 years as Vice President with Life Membership in 2011. He was also awarded Life Membership at Dandenong Basketball Association for decades of support as a coach, administrator and DBA President.

Charles Ryan died on the 3rd of September 2011 after a two year battle with lymphoma. It is with a heavy heart that Basketball Australia posthumously inducts him into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame as a Contributor – honouring his ground-breaking contribution to our sport.

Jan Stirling – Inducted as a Coach

Jan Stirling’s place in Australian basketball history will forever be remembered because of what her Australian Opals team achieved at the 2006 FIBA World Championships in Brazil. This memorable gold medal win – accompanied by a host of international and domestic accolades – has ensured Stirling will forever be regarded as a coaching great of not only Australian basketball, but Australian sport.

A hard-nosed and determined point guard, Stirling played 163 WNBL games between 1982 and 1991 after representing the Opals at the 1975 FIBA World Championships. The move from playing to coaching came naturally to Stirling, taking over the reins of the Adelaide Lightning in 1993, where she would create one of the great dynasties of Australian basketball.

After leading the Lightning to the preliminary final in her first season in charge, Stirling guided her team to five consecutive WNBL Grand Finals, winning a hat-trick of titles from 1994-1996 and again in 1998. It was part of a run that saw the Lightning reach the WNBL post-season in each of Stirling’s 12 seasons at the helm.

Prolonged success in the WNBL saw Stirling awarded the Australian Opals coaching role following the 2000 Sydney Olympics. It was here where Stirling would become a national coaching icon, guiding Opals to gold at the 2006 World Championships.

This amazing achievement – Australia’s first in senior competition – would surrounded by silver medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, bronze at the 2002 FIBA World Championships and gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

In 2008 Stirling was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her contribution to sport – as an elite coach, player and as a contributor to professional development and the community.

Such is her standing in the sporting community, Stirling has served as a coaching and leadership consultant to the Russian Basketball Federation, AFL club Port Adelaide Power and most recently on selection committee for the Australian Boomers and Jayco Australian Opals head coaching positions.

Tom York – Inducted as a Contributor

Historians of the future will have Tom York to thank for the ability to tell the tales of our great game. An unsung hero of the establishment and early growth of the NBL, one of York’s many self-appointed tasks was to preserve score sheets so historical statistics could be kept – an invaluable move which cannot be underestimated.

In the early days of the NBL, York and fellow Hall of Famers Dr. John Raschke and Bob Staunton formed a ‘kitchen cabinet’ that worked tirelessly to run the League’s affairs around the clock. Over the years, York served in a number of positions, including NBL Management Committee Member, Official Statistician, Salary Cap Commissioner and NBL Treasurer.

In half a century of involvement with the game, York has contributed at every level in every way – mostly in a voluntary capacity. York started off playing basketball with the Maccabi Club in 1962, and was awarded with Life Membership as early as 1972. In 1969 York represented Australia as a plauer at the World Jewish Olympics in Israel, and in 1977 he coached the Australian team at the Jewish Olympic Games.

York has also served as Selector, Assistant Coach and Manager of junior teams representing NSW at Australian Championships through the 1970’s; Team Manager for the Australian Boomers between 1993 and 1996; Treasurer of the Organising Committee for the 1994 Women’s World Championships in Australia; Basketball NSW Treasurer and Publicity Director; and Member of Organising Committee for first Australian Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony in 2004.

In 2000, York was honoured with the Prime Minister’s Australian Sports Medal, and in 2005 received the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in recognition of his contribution to sports administration and the Maccabi movement. York takes his place as one of a distinguished group of basketball administrators whose selfless dedication and ongoing passion have made an immeasurable impact on the sport.