Summer Slam Beats the Heat to Be a Huge Success

Frankston, in Melbourne’s south, was again the venue for the 2015 instalment of the South Sudanese Australian Summer Slam – an annual basketball tournament organised by the South Sudanese Australian National Basketball Association (SSANBA) that sees over 45 teams from across Australian compete across five divisions. The event, which is one of the largest gatherings of South Sudanese Australians in the country, welcomed 48 teams and over 500 players from Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

The three-day Summer Slam saw two days of competition from Friday the 18th to Saturday the 19th of December in which all six courts at Frankston Basketball Stadium were filled with more slam dunks, athleticism, crowd support and noise than you would expect to see at another basketball tournament. Although the players and spectators braved atrocious heat, which saw court temperatures reach 38 degrees, and were intensely focused on winning, the sense of community and sportsmanship on display was a credit to all involved.

The competitions culminated on Sunday, December 20, with semi finals deciding the finalists for the afternoon. Sydney’s Savannah Pride, who have recently rebranded from Sydney South Stars/Minor Stars, were the standout club of the tournament, taking out three of the five divisions, including the Under 16s, Under 20s, and the showcase event of the tournament – the Open Men’s division. The Adelaide Warriors continued their recent form to again take the Open Women’s trophy home, which will also be accompanies by the Under 18s championship cup. Full Summer Slam results are available below:

OPEN MEN – Savannah Pride (36) def Nadus (34)
OPEN WOMEN – Adelaide Warriors (39) def Canberra Eagles (29)
U20 – Savannah Pride (46) def Adelaide Warriors (43)
U18 – Adelaide Warriors (50) def Hoop Dreamz (39)
U16 – Savannah Pride (45) def Longhorns 1 (43)

The highly anticipated Slam Dunk Contest did not disappoint, with Melbourne’s Solomon Deer wowing the packed stadium of over 500 spectators. The 2015 Summer Slam also welcomed a new innovation – live streaming, which was kindly provided free-of-charge by Frankston District Basketball Association for the Slam Dunk Contest and Open Men’s Final. Live streaming was greatly welcomed, in particular by former players who cannot attend due to basketball commitments in the United States. Players, such as Louisville’s Mangok Mathiang and Iowa State’s Emmanuel Malou, joined over 300 viewers for the live stream.

The Summer Slam, along with July’s National Classic, is one of two annual basketball tournaments organised by the South Sudanese Australian National Basketball Association (SSANBA), and is not only one of the most exciting tournaments in Australia, but also an important event for the South Sudanese Australian community. Maintaining a sense of community and cultural identity, whilst celebrating the fact that we are all Australian, is a key feature of the work the South Sudanese Australian National Basketball Association undertakes.

Tournament organiser, and SSANBA committee member, Manyang Berberi, says,

“The SSANBA is a community organisation that seeks to engage youth through sport. We have helped thousands of young people over the years. We want young people to concentrate on their education and basketball at their free time.”

The SSANBA would like to thank our partner organisations Helping Hoops, Basketball Victoria and Frankston District Basketball Association, along with all the teams, players, volunteers and spectators that made the Summer Slam the huge success it was. We will return in 2016 with the South Sudanese Australian National Classic in July, and look forward to pushing forward to make SSANBA tournaments bigger and better in the future.