|The Men's 2016 Australian University Games basketball posing for a team photo.|
Current Monash University mechanical engineering and biomedical student Stefan Uzelac is seen as one of the best university basketball players in Australia. He currently plies his trade with the Sandringham Sabres who play in the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL). Only Australia’s premier basketball league, the National Basketball League, is considered better than the SEABL.
Stefan’s commitments with the Sabres and finishing his degree means that the semesters can become busy.
“It gets pretty full on, especially during semester one when the bulk of the season is played. So basically the two are my life for the best part of the year.”
|Stefan dribbling the ball for the Sandrimgham Sabre's.|
Stefan was part of the Monash Men’s Basketball team which competed at the 2016 Australian University Games (AUG) in Perth. He was integral to Monash’s medal push at the Games.
Stefan’s talents were on display as the Monash team took the group stage by storm finishing on top of the ladder. Stefan asserted that they played really well throughout the tournament.
However, a tough semi-final against the University of Western Australia saw the team fall short by a few points. The team looked to bounce back after an agonising loss, however, the loss to UWA was still being felt by Monash.
“I think we played our worst game fighting for bronze, felt a little disheartened from the loss in the semi’s earlier that day.”
Unfortunately, Monash narrowly missed out on the bronze medal.
Stefan’s experience playing in the SEABL proved invaluable for the Monash basketball team. He was rewarded for his excellent tournament with a Green & Gold medal, which is awarded to the best Basketball players at the Games.
Whilst the tournament did not end with the planned outcome, the week was still one to remember.
|Stefan is appearing to fly towards the basket, |
playing for the Sabre's.
“I really enjoyed it! The standard of play was quite good this year and venues were awesome.”
“Being able to meet all of the other student-athletes was definitely a great experience too.”
Stefan will be one of several basketball players who will have graduated before AUG17. Despite the loss of players, Stefan is confident that the younger guys will step up and take responsibility for the team.
With the 2017 Australian University Games drawing ever closer, Stefan peered into the future to give his prediction.
“I honestly don’t have a clue,” he joked, “but you never know what can happen. A big part of why we were relatively good as a team last year was because we worked out how to play together and win games.”
Whilst it will naturally be difficult to replace a talent like Stefan, having a team which knows how to win will hold them in good stead for AUG17.
As for Stefan’s Sabres, they have an exciting team this season. His plan is to stay focused, push for a play-offs spot and go from there.
We wish Stefan all the best with the remainder of his studies this semester, and the season ahead with the Sabres.
Written by: James Oana