Ahead of the 2016 Oceania qualifiers in Suva, Fiji from December 5-10, the team for the Australian Jayco Under-19 Gems has been announced.

The winner of the qualifying tournament will book their place at the Under-19 World Championships next year which will be held in Italy from July 22-30.

This Jayco Gems team contains eight of the twelve members from the recent FIBA Under-17 World Championship gold medal winning side including tournament MVP Ezi Magbegor and All-Star selections Jasmine Simmons and Monique Conti.

Joining them will be Abby Cubillo, Lara McSpadden, Kiera Rowe, Jazmin Shelley and Samantha Simons.

Small forward Chantel Horvat has also tasted international success, having helped Australia to a bronze medal at the 2015 Under-19 World Championships.

Ten members of the team are products of the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence including Maddison Rocci and Zitina Aokuso while there is also a bevy of WNBL talent with Chloe Bibby (Dandenong Rangers), Conti (Melbourne Boomers) and McSpadden (Sydney Uni Flames) all featuring in the upcoming 2016/17 WNBL season.

A camp earlier this month helped head coach Paul Goriss finalise the side but narrowing the squad from 18 down to 12 made for several difficult choices.

“We have a great depth of talent across all positions,” said Goriss.

“We have selected a team with versatility, length, athleticism and speed with a defensive mindset. We know the Oceania championships will be challenging on and off the court but we have an adaptable and resilient team with a huge amount of national and international experience.”

At the Oceania qualifiers, eight teams will fight for just one position in the World Championships with the Jayco Gems drawn into Group A alongside host nation Fiji, Samoa and Tahiti while Group B consists of Guam, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Australia have qualified for every Under-19 World Champs since the induction of the tournament in 1985, winning a gold medal in 1993 while they have won bronze medals at the past two events.

“It is a privilege and honour to represent Australia and all the staff and players are grateful for the opportunity to put on the green and gold,” said Goriss.

“The work that the coaches put in at school, local, association, representative and national league level has assisted the girls in coming into camp in great shape and we would like to acknowledge the work the coaches in our states and territories are doing to help our athletes achieve their goals.”

The Australian Jayco Under-19 Gems for the 2016 Oceania Qualifiers:

Playing # Name State Club School
11 Chloe Bibby VIC Dandenong Rangers Rowville Secondary College
15 Monique Conti VIC Melbourne Boomers Maribyrnong Secondary College
6 Abby Cubillo NT Tracy Village T Birds / CoE Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen
7 Chantel Horvat VIC Geelong Supercats / CoE Radford College, Bruce
13 Ezi Magbegor VIC Coburg Giants / CoE Lake Ginnindera, Belconnen
8 Maddison Rocci VIC Geelong Supercats / CoE Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen
12 Lara McSpadden NSW Sydney Uni Flames / CoE Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen
14 Zitina Aokuso QLD South West Metro Pirates / CoE Runcorn State HS (Graduated)
9 Kiera Rowe VIC Bulleen Boomers / CoE Radford College, Bruce
4 Jazmin Shelley VIC Southern Peninsula / CoE Canberra High, Canberra
5 Jasmine Simmons NSW Mildura Heat / CoE Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen
10 Samantha Simons SA Forestville Eagles / CoE Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen

Head Coach – Paul Goriss

Assistant Coaches – Alan McAughtry/Dee Butler

Physiotherapist – Jessica Thornton

Doctor – Dr Maja Markovic

Manager – Michele Menso


Media contact:

Lisa Hasker
Basketball Australia
0418 194 933