Draper joins Jets

Ben Draper has plenty of experience coaching across Australia. (Supplied)

By Oliver Lees

Ben Draper had no hesitation in putting his hand up for the head coaching position for the Sunbury Jets Big V women’s state championship team.

Draper was confirmed as the side’s new leader earlier this month after John White decided to shift from the women’s program to start coaching the Sunbury men’s.

Draper said the Jets’ professionalism and success made the vacant coaching position immediately attractive.

“Sunbury has such a good record and reputation, overall the program is well run, so that was really enticing to me,” Draper said.

“It’s also the style of play they have, that I think is pretty much the same as my philosophy and style.

“The transition is always easier when it’s something you’re familiar with and the club has such a smooth style of operations.”

Draper said he also sees some key similarities between his one style of play and what is already in place at the Jets.

“I’m a defensive first coach, which is the same way that Kennedy [Kereama] has his junior program working to get out and attack at the defensive end,” he said.

“That sort of thing I like to run with, and then we flow from defence and have a dynamic offence. It’s quite exciting basketball.”

Draper joins the Jets with a wealth of experience under his belt.

He played his own junior basketball at Bulleen and has remained involved in the sport ever since in several coaching capacities.

In 2015 Draper served as head coach of the Bulleen men’s side, before moving on to serve as an assistant at Ringwood in NBL1 and Big V Championship.

Sunbury Basketball Association coaching director Kennedy Kereama said Draper’s many postings at club’s across Victoria made him an excellent candidate for the position.

“As you can see from Ben’s experience, he has a great understanding of how to develop athletes at all levels from the grass roots to a national league level,” Kereama said.

“He has an excellent track record when it comes to giving to his basketball community and has worked with some great coaches in his journey. We are very excited to see him continue to grow our women’s program at Sunbury.”

Draper will be taking over from a Jets side that impressed before the season was cut short.

They finished in second place on the table with 12 wins and two losses, just one win behind first place Bulleen.

But the team will be without two of their biggest offensive weapons in Jacinta Beckley and Orla O’Reilly.

Following a stellar 2021 campaign, both Beckley (21.4 points per game) and O’Reilly (13.3 points per game) have agreed to play elsewhere next season.

“I’ve been in contact with a few former players of mine, so right now is just about trying to find our feet and get to know each other,” Draper said.

“We’re just so much looking forward to getting on the floor again and playing some basketball.”