Ben Harvey Returns to the Valley
Anyone who knows a little about the history of the Diamond Valley Basketball Association, knows that the name ‘Harvey’ is synonymous with the club. Many people would know of Brian – the first facility manager of Diamond Valley and DVBA Life Member, his wife Josie spent many years working in the canteen. Together, their contribution to the club was the foundation that led to where we are today. However, those who may be new to the club might not know of their son, Ben.
When we speak about our junior pathway, and the success stories of our Eagles, one of the first names that should be mentioned is Ben Harvey. A Greenhills Beaver from the age of 4, Ben spent his whole junior career at the Eagles. No stranger to success, he won many grand finals through his junior domestic career, being coached by Darren Plummer and Scott Ryan. Ben is about to start his 9th year as the Bendigo Braves SEABL coach, and what better way to kick it off than to return home to the Valley.
Excelling through the ranks of junior basketball in Victoria, Ben was unlucky to miss out on state representative selection in U16s. Using the disappointment as motivation, he was then able to represent Victoria at the U18 and U20 level. During this time, Ben was playing with current Eagles coaches Dean Plummer and Marcus Todd in the CVIBL which was coached by ‘Pistol Pete’ O’Connor and included a teammate by the name of Sam Mackinnon, “I have so many great memories of my time as an Eagle” Harvey said, “Diamond Valley was home for my family and I with Dad running the centre and coaching me some seasons, Mum in the canteen, my sister was cheerleader for the club and my brother, Jayden, who played for Diamond Valley and was a great player himself, led the Mongrel Squad, a sort of cheer squad for the Eagles who made visiting teams dread playing at DV.”
Ben’s success for Diamond Valley and on the National stage earned him a scholarship to play College basketball in America, spending time with Kirkwood College and Central College. He knocked back an opportunity to play at Texas A&M to return home and try his hand in the National Basketball League, trying out for the Brisbane Bullets, South East Melbourne Magic and the Illawarra Hawks.
After his time in the USA, Ben played 328 games in the SEABL across 14 seasons. As a player, he won three national championships, fiveconference championships and was selected in the All-Star 5 four times. Ben was also a member of the SEABL ‘Team of the Decade’ from 1990 – 1999 and is also proud of his record breaking assists which he had 25 assists in 1 game in 1997. Currently he is the 2nd all time assists leader in the SEABL. The Bendigo Braves also retired his playing singlet, number 4, when he retired from playing in 2007. Ben used that playing experience as a base for his coaching, being at the helm of the Braves since 2010 and has won 3 Coaches of the Year awards in 2011, 2013 and 2016. He was able to reach the ultimate glory as a coach in 2016, leading the Braves to the National Championship, which was the club’s first since 2005.
Being able to come home, and coach where it all began will be a surreal experience for Ben, he is still an Eagle at heart and believes the club is where it needs to be “I am excited for Diamond Valley and think they are ready to make the move to SEABL. It will provide a pathway for the juniors, allowing the club to keep its talent at home. Ross, Al and the team have done a excellent job and I wish them nothing but the best.” I still remember training in the CVIBL when I was only young and our motto was ‘NO PAIN NO GAIN’. I cherish those times as it helped me grow as player and a coach.”
What makes it even more special, is Ben will be coaching on a court named after club legend Antony ‘Toddy’ Tuikow, who was like a big brother to the Harvey family. This will be a moment to savour for the family who will be in attendance on Friday.
“I really appreciate the dedication that my Mum and Dad gave me as a kid. They supported me all my basketball career and still support me to this day. I love them very much and I treasure these fun times we had at Diamond Valley especially. Mum and Dad have always been there for me and the family”
Having been a part of the association when it was all beginning, Harvey is excited to see basketball in the region expand, “The growth of the association has been amazing, it is great to see the DVBA is receiving support from the local council to get more courts in the area.”
The Braves have one of the best home court advantages in the SEABL with a huge supporter base, but for Harvey, this could hardly be considered an away game with the support that will be there for him on game.
Ben will be coaching against your SEABL Men this Friday April 6, tip off at 8pm.
SEABL Women take on the Lady Braves, game starts at 6pm.