TWO of Ballarat's most exciting basketball products have been named the season's rising stars, with Ned Renfree and Milly Sharp winning the coveted prizes.
The pair were declared the rising stars on the first of three days of announcements which will culminate in the naming of this season's MVP awards for both the Miners and the Rush.
For the second straight season, Renfree was named in the Under 16 Victorian Country State team which was due to play the national titles in Perth before being cancelled.
Renfree was one of six Victorian National Performance Program (VNPP) scholarship holders to make the country squad which was expected to be one of the favourites going in to the championships.
While Renfree has not yet made it onto the Ballarat Miners squad, the women's rising star certainly has, with Milly Sharp set to be one of the key components as the team looks to build with youth.
Sharp has all the attributes of a star of the future and in her first season with the Rush averaged just on 13 minutes a game on court, scoring just over four points per match with a top score of nine against Diamond Valley.
At just 16, Sharp has shown she has all the qualities of being a top player in years to come, with the biggest issue facing Basketball Ballarat likely to be hanging onto such a prodigious talent in future seasons, when no doubt US college's will come calling.
It will be a big three days of awards for Basketball Ballarat with a number of awards to be handed out this week culminating in the season MVPs on Thursday.
Other major award winners on day one were Lucas Impey and Jemma Amoore who each took out the Karen Ashby GRIT awards.
The Brendan Joyce coach of the year award was won by Chris Thornton while the best club person was won by Chris Radford.
The Bernie Stone female athlete of the year award went to Rush centre Alicia Froling. Bianca Hendry was named volunteer of the year and McDonald's Ballarat was presented with the Mount Avoca Club service award.
DAY 1 AWARD WINNERS
- Karen Ashby GRIT Award Male - Lucas Impey
- Karen Ashby GRIT Award Female - Jemma Amoore
- Male Rising Star - Ned Renfree
- Female Rising Star - Milly Sharp
- Coach of the Year - Chris Thornton
- Dennis Foley Best Clubperson - Chris Radford
- Bernie Stone Female Athlete of the Year Award - Alicia Froling
- Club Service Award - McDonald's Ballarat
- Frank Allisey Volunteer Award - Bianca Hendry