BRODEN Collins knew he needed a break after the 2019 season, when his love for the game he'd played his whole life was waning.
As it turned out, it was a break that all of community sport had to take in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was a break that came at exactly the right time for the 20-year-old from Melton.
Collins was on Wednesday named the Miners Youth Championship MVP, having moved into the centre position in the youth team.
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He also saw some solid minutes in his debut season playing for the Ballarat Miners in the NBL1 South competition, an experience he knows he couldn't have dreamed of just 12 months prior.
Having a year away from basketball and taking up an electricians apprenticeship worked wonders for Collins who recaptured his love of basketball.
"I 100 per cent got the enjoyment back, even though I was playing for two teams, it was a great year," he said.
"I moved into the centre position in the youth team because we didn't have a lot of height there.
"It definitely helped me getting that experience playing with so many top-flight NBL players and having Brendan Joyce as a coach, he's one of the best coaches this country has ever had."
The strongly-built Collins has yet to commit to any club for 2022, but said he would love an opportunity to return to Ballarat if it materialised.
With Keilor also entering into the NBL1 South competition from 2022, and him being Melton based, it's a decision he will likely need to make in coming months as he weighs up his future.
He said he could take heart from the experienced bodies around him and the success of players like Jock Perry who came from relative obscurity to pick up an NBL rookie contract.
"It was a learning curve year, but it was unreal, getting to play under Brendan Joyce and learning from all those guys, I couldn't have asked for more," he said.
The girls Bev Harwood MVP was won by Indya Hayes after another strong season.
Defensive awards were taken out by Will Hynes and Emma Pedretti.
The final awards for Basketball Ballarat's MVPs will be awarded on Thursday.
Among the awards to be announced are the Ray Borner MVP for the Miners and the Robyn Maher MVP for the Rush and coaches and defensive awards.
YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP MVP AWARDS
- Les Hotchin MVP - Broden Collins
- Defensive Player of the Year - Will Hynes
- Bev Harwood MVP - Indya Hayes
- Defensive Player of the Year - Emma Pedretti