‘Froggy’ Hops home to Eltham

After much speculation, the Eltham Wildcats are proud to announce a major signing in that of former WNBA player Katrina Hibbert for the 2011 State Championship Women’s team.

After much speculation, the Eltham Wildcats are proud to announce a major signing in that of former WNBA player Katrina Hibbert for the 2011 State Championship Women’s team.

 ‘Froggy’ as she is affectionately known returns to the club where it all began. While her senior achievements are well known, her glittering career began in the local gyms around the Eltham area. As a junior Wildcat, Hibbert became a multiple time state representative for Victoria. She was a major player in leading Eltham to their first girl’s Victorian Junior State Championship title and their first two ever National Junior Classic titles.

 Her place within the Eltham Basketball Club is special and ongoing. The club’s most outstanding female championship player each year is awarded the ‘Katrina Hibbert  Award’ in recognition of Hibbert’s involvement at the club.  Ironically the 2008 and 2010 ‘Katrina Hibbert Award’ winner Olivia Bontempelli will join Hibbert on the court for the 2011 season along with other past winners including Sam Creed from 2002.

 Hibbert’s return to the club isn’t limited to just being a player. In late 2010, Hibbert took on a Coaching Advisor role for the Championship Boy’s program, where she assists coaches in developing Eltham’s next generation of talented junior players. Her role here is invaluable to the junior members and sums up her love for the Wildcats.

 “I always talked about finishing my career back at Eltham. I am excited to be apart of the Eltham club again and look forward to helping develop our junior talent for the future” said Katrina when asked about the signing.

 Katrina’s achievements and experience are extraordinary; in that she has taken every step a female player can take in a basketball career, taking her all over the world. Graduating from the Eltham juniors she attended Louisiana State University; Hibbert’s first home away from home. To this day, Froggy is still a proud LSU Tiger! Her basketball also took her to Germany where she had the experience of playing throughout Europe.  Often forgotten, Hibbert also played in the WNBA. A quirky fact is that while playing in the WNBA, Hibbert scored the first ever basket for the Seattle Storm franchise, the team that is now home to Lauren Jackson!

 In Australia, Hibbert is a two time WNBL MVP and two time WNBL All Star Five recipient. She was a member of the Australian Opals team that won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and was a regular Opals squad member for a number of years.

 Head Coach for Eltham’s State Championship Women Greg Jeffers was excited about the international star coming back to the club. “The path Katrina has taken in basketball is proof of the opportunities that exist within our sport especially for female players. The young players not only within the team, but in the Youth League and our junior program are going to benefit from Hibbert’s return to Eltham. When placed alongside the return last season of Eltham junior and former WNBL player Zoe Carr, it is very exciting for the club! Probably the most significant point is the fact that our first six signings are all past Eltham players to some degree and that is something we are very proud of.”

The Wildcats are hoping to re-establish themselves within the Big V State Championship competition in 2011 after efforts to rebuild over the last two or three seasons. With young talent, for example 2011 U20 Victorian State player Olivia Bontempelli, combined with senior national and international experience, the foundations are being set for a big 2011.

For more information about the Eltham Wildcats Basketball Club and its programs including the Big V program contact Greg Jeffers on 9439 5686 or gregjeffers@elthamwildcats.net.au

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