Basketball

HISTORY

Mr Norman McFarland introduced Basketball into King Edward VII School in 1968. The start of Basketball took place without a proper court and with no competition. Games were held in the gymnasium. Basketball was not recognized as a full sport and was called the “Basketball Club” where boys were merely introduced into the game. According to records there was a captain, J da Silva as well as a secretary, J Smaller. As1969 approached the club grew despite the lack of opposition. Some boys gave up to go and participate in other sporting codes. Basketball was looking doomed and there was a small article in the school magazine of only three paragraphs and no mention of any results. Difficult times lay ahead for this new “club”. By 1970 not much more seemed to be happening with this ‘club’ and the magazine article made little reference to the “club’s” activities. However the basketball club did have “club day” where boys could came down to meet every Wednesday to play a game. By 1971 the School was still struggling to find fixtures, however Mr McFarland proposed the idea of having an inter-house tournament in the fourth term in order for the boys to get games.

By 1972 it looked as if the sport was about to take off. Unfortunately a vast amount of boys in Form 1 (Grade 8) were turned away due to the restrictions imposed by the lack of opposition. There were two senior teams who played against the Chinese School as well as King David. The highlight of that year was the inter-house tournament, which had a junior as well as a senior section that was won by Anderson and Crofts respectively. During the second and third term the boys carried on as a club under the guidance of Eddie Nobre. Here the school picked up fixtures against a Pretoria side, Corinthians and the Chinese school. The juniors seemed to benefit from this and went on a tour to Port Elizabeth where the A team won all their matches and the B lost two. The senior team also prepared for a planned trip to Lourenco Marques.

By 1973 basketball had made great strides as the school not only built a court but there were many more fixtures. The Lourenco Marques tour in the December vacation of 1972 proved to be a great success and the ‘team’ as they were called won both their games. Inter-house proved to be a great draw card and the boarders in this particular year proved to be the most enthusiastic. The captain that year was Da Costa, and the junior team was made up of the U15 age group. The season was officially to be competed in the first and fourth terms, however a senior team was entered into the Senior Second Division. During the July holidays there was another U17 tournament where the School entered two teams. The First Team becoming the eventual winners.

Again the school made a trip to Lourenco Marques where they were comprehensively beaten in all three games, however despite this setback basketball was still growing. The first mention was made of provincial status and the following boys made the then Transvaal Teams: U18A R Hochreiter, G Williams, G Da Costa, I Hossak, D Sandker and R Cohen and for the U18B, G Peters. What was nice to see was the first team photograph making its debut in the School magazine.

From 1975 to 1977 progress was made in basketball. The school enlisted the expertise of the SA schools coach, Mr J Michaels and also had regular fixtures. By this time there were in excess of 70 boys playing and four teams playing fixtures. In 1975 King Edward VII obtained our first recorded SA Schools players in G Julyan and I Hossak. The SA Schools team went on to play the then Rhodesia. A fact made very clear in the 70’s was that a great deal of the first team players coached the juniors, and not just as a once off. By 1977 King Edward VII was becoming a real force in Basketball and managed to win all of their 6 games. King Edward was now going to enter the Transvaal Schools League. 

Although no mention was made of how the school performed in the Transvaal League, it did make reference to the ‘friendly’ matches where they remained unbeaten despite losing all their stars from the previous year. Unfortunately by 1980, there was no magazine article or a picture and therefore no official record of the year. This was not a promising start to the new decade. By 1981 basketball was still a ‘minor’ sport and the magazine makes reference to ‘spic-ballers’ a new name bestowed upon the basketball players. Obviously the 80’s were not as politically sensitive as we are today. By 1982 J Cabananelas wrote “we must have all the Greeks in the school playing basketball!” Clearly it was popular with the Greek learners. By this time there were 2 open teams, 2 U15 teams and 2 U13 teams.

By the mid eighties basketball at the school was extremely strong as well as popular. Games were always going on at break as well as on non-official practice times or days. The First Team were getting more games and managed to win 8 out of 11 games in 1985. The highlight being the game against the American International School, which the school narrowly lost. Despite this there was a huge crowd but one did not know if it was to watch basketball or the cheerleaders from the visiting school. Basketball was getting bigger and better and more games were being played. In 1985 the juniors managed to go unbeaten and two tours were arranged to Natal which were unsuccessful. By the end of 1986 Mr McFarland had left the school. His departure from the school was a great loss, however he had laid a solid platform for basketball for the future. When Marco Pardini coached, the school had yet another unbeaten side. The highlight was beating our then rivals at basketball Sir John Adamson 102-45. The School won 7 out of 7 games that year. By 1988 the school finished its third season unbeaten against Transvaal Schools. However they did lose to club sides as well as a team known as the Soweto Steelers and two Natal sides. 1989 was another good year however they did not go unbeaten. The team played 15 games and lost only 4 games, however all by quite close margins. G Theck was the captain of that side and eventually became master in charge of basketball and coached the 1st team successfully. G Theck also in his matric year Made Transvaal Schools as well as Transvaal U21 A team. H Seach also made Transvaal Schools and G Alexander, M Enell, N Kalogeropolos as well as M Mlodzinski represented the Transvaal Colts side.

Roll on the 1990’s and success continued with the 1990 team winning 11 of their 12 games. D Holland made SA Schools, N Kalogeropoulos, J Morales, M Enell and M Mlodzinski made Transvaal U21. All the aforementioned made Transvaal Schools. S Machala, M Krzychlkiewicz made Transvaal Colts. The 1991 side lost only one game from eight. D Holland and J Morales made SA Schools. M Krzychlkiewicz, S Machala and M Mlodzinski all made Transvaal U21 and D Holland, J Morales, N Kalegeropoulos, S Machala, M Krzychlkiewz, W McAlpine, M Mlodzinski, R Grimmer, G Tyson, B Jansen and D Morales all made the various Transvaal sides. In 1992 the wheels came off a bit and the side lost five of its ten games. No mention of provincial representation took place.
The year 1993 started to show real political changes in South Africa and this also had its effects on the state schooling system, where transformation was apparent as well as necessary. A total of 17 boys represented their province at various age group levels and B Jansen was selected to S A schools. In 1994 a further 10 boys were selected to represent various Transvaal teams. The records don’t show it but by 1995 there was already a United Schools Basketball League that looked good on paper but was horribly doomed to failure. A Reilly in that year was selected to attend a Basketball Clinic in America, a noteworthy achievement. A very brief basketball report was placed in the school magazine in 1996 and a special note regarding Reilly and Wykurz was made regarding SA U18 representation. As mentioned, Mr Theck a past pupil and accomplished player, arrived in 1997 to teach and coach basketball which had an immediate effect. The School won 8 of its 9 games The School entered a large United Schools Basketball League Championship where they were placed top of the South African schools and remained unbeaten against local opposition for three years. In 1998 the School had another successful season where they won 12 of their 14 games. Well done for a side that was relatively inexperienced. By 1999 the United Schools Basketball League fell apart as well as the PBL (Professional Basketball League). Basketball was going backwards thanks to poor administration at a national level. However King Edward VII and like-minded schools started its own league which is now called the RBL (Rainbow Basketball League) which is run by the schools and for the schools.

The start of the 21st century did not get off to a good start as the first team lost 8 of their 16 games. 2001 was no better when they only managed 7 wins out of 17 starts. By 2002 Mr Moffat, a well known teacher at the school who had great success as an athletics coach, took over Basketball in the School’s centenary year. Of the 11 games played that year 8 games were won. Unfortunately no results were recorded for 2003, however the magazine did state that 12 of the 16 games were won. By 2004 another old boy, also a teaching member of staff, Mr S Thorne, took over. With the foundations laid by Mr Moffat and the employment of the South African Basketball Captain, Mr Q Denyssen a great platform had been laid. The team played 20 and won 11 of those. By 2005 the School was back to a good winning ratio. In this year 19 games were played and only 3 were lost.

In the 2006 and 2007 season the School basketball programme continued with great success. The First team had a 92% win ratio and the Second team an impressive 100% win ratio. The club as a whole managed to win 86 of 100 games which is an amazing achievement. In the 2007 and 2008 season the basketball club continued to succeed and build on their success and managed to achieve an even more impressive 88% win ratio. Unfortunately the First team’s results dipped a bit.

Although the clubs results dipped a bit in the 2009 and 2010 season the First team managed to get back up to a 74% win ratio. The 2010 and 2011 season proved to be a watershed in basketball as the School took the decision to build new courts. During the winter months of 2010 the school took on an ambitious project of converting the old tennis courts in the North-east corner of the school in a state of the art basketball courts. The school took a stance and not only built new courts but rejuvenated the entire area from paving, gardens, courts, hoops and even added floodlights and a technical area to the courts. Suddenly not only did the courts look brilliant but the entire surrounding area which further enhanced the Schools reputation as one with first class facilities. Unfortunately our first team coach and National players Mr Q Denyssen’s work commitments became too time consuming and we had to appoint a new coach. Luckily Wayne Brown a former learner and basketball coloursman at King Edward VII was able to take over the reins.

Added to all the changes was that Mr W Brown an old boy, coach and newly appointed first team coach was selected for the national basketball team. Furthermore one of the first team players that he was coaching J Paton as a 17 year old was also selected to represent the national side. So here is to the next decade of basketball and maybe only one more challenge faces us and that is to cover the courts so we can play whether there is rain or shine.



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