Big V stalwart Ivan Platenik will this weekend suit up in his 350th competitive game when the McKinnon Cougars travel to face the Casey Cavaliers.
Platenik started his Big V career at aged 17 and has only played SCM (no youth) and while the main bulk of these games were played with the Waverley Falcons, his debut came at Eltham where he played seven games.
The last two seasons Platenik has played with the McKinnon Cougars under Head Coach Justin Nelson and has totally encapsulated what McKinnon is about, coaching in The All Abilities program, heading up a domestic skills program, rep coaching as well as having a full-time role in the McKinnon administration as competitions administrator. He has played in many All-Star teams and has two SCM championships to his name and is looking for another before he hangs up his shoes.
Ivan had this to say about his upcoming milestone
“When I started out in Big V I never thought how long I would play, so to get to 350 games is unbelievable, unlike many players I never played in the youth competition. Along the journey I have been coached by some great people, played with and against many guys I now call mates. I am fortunate to be playing at McKinnon and I thank Alison Cody for her faith and support in me and for the opportunities presented to me. I plan to see my career out at The Den, the fit on and off the court has worked well for me. Thank you also to my parents for all their unwavering support over the many, many years and most recently my partner Mel and our daughter Isabella”
Current Cougars head coach Justin Nelson has been in charge of Platenik for the past two years and knows a lot about Platenik’s stellar career.
“Only Matt Snowball and Ivan Platenik come to mind when you think about the most well-known, consistent performing and most feared players in the Big V over the last 15 years. Ivan has been an incredibly consistent player at the very highest level, his ability to score is applauded by every player who has played with him or against him. I was fortunate enough to give him the nickname ‘The Destroyer’ several years ago and it has stuck. Over the last two seasons I’ve enjoyed every minute of coaching Ivan, he has tested me and I’ve tested him, but I think today we see an even more-rounded player, especially at the defensive end where he has stepped up to a whole new level. I have no doubt Ivan will go on and break the 400-game mark. Ivan is a great teammate, enjoys a laugh and is a real character. The league has been very lucky to have players like Ivan over such a long period of time. Congratulations Ivan, a fantastic milestone and plenty more to come. Well done Destroyer!”
Cougars teammate Dillon Stith had this to say about Platenik,
“My first season in Australia, I distinctively remember the matchup/game against Ivan. He casually stepped on the court and casually dominated the game. I did my research afterwards. What I found is an embodiment of consistency. Having a great game at this level is noteworthy and having a great season is awesome. Having great seasons after seasons expanding over 350 games is extraordinary. For guys like myself playing a similar position and building a career, I marvel at a style of play he has built. Completely distinctive, built off of early mornings and long nights in the gym as a junior. Truly enjoyable that I get to be your teammate and see your polished skills week in week out. Congratulations!”
A testament to an outstanding 350 games, you can watch Ivan on Saturday night at Casey Stadium (tip-off 8pm) before his home celebration at GESAC on Sunday afternoon when the Cougars host Keilor (tip-off 1pm).