They say, “chasing perfection is not attainable, but along the way, you can catch excellence”. Well, for the Youth One Men’s Camberwell Dragons perfection is certainly on the cards. The Dragons are currently 16-0 with no signs of slowing down. A big reason for their impressive record and outstanding play can be credited to star player, Jackson Dean.
Dean has been in phenomenal form for the Dragons this year. He leads the team in both scoring and rebounding with 21.75 points and 11 rebounds a game. Plus, he averages the third-most assists and blocks on the team. He is a very well-rounded player, and it is paying dividends with him recently winning the May Player Of The Month award for the Youth One Men.
So, what makes Jackson Dean the player his today? Well, it all started with Hoop Time in grade 6.
“My first big basketball memory is competing in ‘Hoop time’ at primary school. In grade 6, my team made the semi-finals in the state division. We were all just good mates having fun and didn’t expect to do so well. “
Jackson first discovered his love of basketball while playing in primary school.
“I first picked up a basketball in primary school and really enjoyed it. Some friends were already in a team. They asked me to play with them, and I have played basketball since. I really enjoy being part of a team. My first year of basketball was in a domestic U10s team with the Waverley Comets. Most seasons I played in 2 age groups, as I loved the challenge of playing up an age group and playing the game I love.”
As with most kids, Jackson played many sports growing up. But, he had to make the difficult choice to focus on just one sport at age 15. He chose basketball!
“Growing up I also played local and representative footy, a season of tennis and learned karate until I achieved my black belt. I started playing footy in U9s and played until I was 15, then I realised I wanted to focus more on my basketball. It was a hard decision to make as I enjoyed playing footy and represented the league in interleague, but I just loved basketball more.”
“At this stage in my basketball life, I taught myself to dunk, this helped me enjoy the game even more and helped with my defence and rebounding. I also started working on my vertical leap at home with bodyweight exercises” he said.
From an early age, Jackson found success playing basketball making the representative team in Under 12’s. Through his junior years, he took the natural pathway up, finally playing his first season of Big V in 2020.
“I began representative basketball in U12’s but only played for a season. I then started playing rep again from U18s. I was brought through the pathway from U21s to the Big V level. My first year of Big V was in 2020, so this is my third year in the Big V program.”
“In U21’s I was fortunate enough to travel to America twice with the Melbourne Warriors. We played in multiple tournaments across Utah, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. The experience of playing against bigger opponents in America helped me develop my basketball game and help me achieve success at the Big V level.” Jackson said.
Fast-forward to this year and Jackson Dean is having the best season of his life. He commends his team and his hunger to get better for his outstanding play.
“My teammates and coaches push me every training session. It drives me to get the most out of my basketball, along with my natural competitive nature and my love of basketball, I am always looking for improvement in my game and the team’s results.”
“I have really enjoyed and felt very welcomed by the Camberwell basketball club. The connections we have developed both with players and coaching staff, means I look forward to both training sessions and the games every week. My family, girlfriend, and close friends continually give me positive feedback. They turn up to support me in my games and motivate me to perform well and to improve each week.” Jackson said.
Jackson’s great play has undoubtedly made an impact on the team's success this season. But, he credits the team's chemistry as the secret ingredient to their winning.
“I have loved this season! Our team’s connections make it easy to perform at our best. We are privileged to have a very experienced and knowledgeable coach and coaching staff. They are a massive contribution to our Dragons team, and we can see how much they enjoy coaching us with the commitment they put into our team.”
“My teammates and I also have great chemistry. As a result of this, my own game has improved every month. It doesn’t matter who is on the court, everyone gels with each other and knows how to play their role so well. There is always so much energy coming off the bench, and it’s what makes our Dragon’s team a quality group of guys and fun to be around.” He said.
With a perfect record so far, a championship seems destined for this team. However, Jackson admits there is still a lot more work to be done.
“If we can continue to improve each week, work on playing our best, then we have a belief that anything is possible. Everyone in our team knows that winning the championship would be an awesome achievement, but we still have lots of work to do to get there.”
Will the Dragons finish the season with a championship? Time will tell. For Jackson Dean at this moment, he has his eyes firmly set on staying with the Camberwell Dragons. His next goal is to play for Championship Men, but it doesn’t stop there…
“My next step in my basketball career is to play with the Camberwell Championship Men’s team, they have a great coaching staff and an experienced playing group, something I would really love to be involved in. I will keep improving as a basketballer and will aim for the NBL1 in the future. Making it to the NBL has been a long-time dream of mine.”