HORSHAM Hornets captain Tim Pickert remembers making his debut for the senior basketball team 17 years ago.
“I played my first season in 2000. I was a 14-year-old kid playing with the big boys back then so I’ve been around for a while,” he said.
In that time, Pickert has gone on to win multiple championships.
“Five championships I think I’ve won with the Hornets and I’m chasing another one (this season),” he said.
Pickert is one of two men to have played more than 200 games for the Horsham Hornets.
The other is coach Cam Bruce. The two have become good friends, playing basketball together for the past 10 years.
“Cam Bruce is one of my favourite players to play with,” Pickert said.
“Cam and I started playing together 10 years ago. We’ve created a great bond on the basketball court and a great friendship.
“I coached for a couple of years and Cam was captain, so we’ve sort of switched spots now. We understand each other on the court and off the court.”
Pickert has seen plenty of high-quality players come through the Hornets, some of which have gone onto play in the National Basketball League and represent Australia.
“I’ve played with a lot of great players who have come through Horsham,” Pickert said.
“Some of the great players like Shane McDonald ... he is a really good mate of mine, so to play with him was great. Then the likes of Aaron Bruce, Shaun Bruce and Mitch Creek – all guys who have gone to further their basketball at the national league.”
Alongside playing with some of the best players in the country, Pickert said it was hard to look past the five championships when it came to his favourite basketball memories.
“Winning championships is always a proud thing to do and to win five I’ve been pretty lucky,” he said. “Each (premiership) is as good as each other.”
Pickert is now one of the senior lads around the club, and said it was great to see young guys step up into the Hornets side – just like he did 17 years ago.
“The kids keep me on my toes at training – especially the young 14 year-olds coming through the ranks now,” he said.
To win five premierships, I’ve been pretty luckyTim Pickert
“As an old guy at the club now, it’s good to see the kids coming through. The future is very exciting – we just need to keep the kids playing basketball and not chasing the money at footy.”
The Hornets entered a new country basketball league this year in the North West and Pickert said the transition had been challenging.
“We went into this league a bit blind. We didn’t know any of the teams, so every game has been a bit of a challenge for us,” he said.
The Hornets started the season well and went undefeated in their first five matches before losing to Bendigo two weeks ago. They sit top of the ladder, having won six and lost just the one match.
Pickert said the vibe around the club was as positive as it had been in recent times.
“There’s a feeling around the club which is very encouraging,” he said.
“Every other year we’ve been a good team but the feeling hasn’t always been as good. I think the feeling is very good now and really encouraging to go another step further this year.”
So what’s left to achieve for the Hornets legend? A sixth premiership would not hurt, and then he will be closing in on yet another milestone.
“I’ve played about 275 games now, so 300 is the next milestone,” Pickert said.