The Eltham Wildcats are proud to announce our first signing for the 2021 NBL1 season – Dyani Ananiev; who’ll enter her second season of NBL1 at just 16 years of age. Since receiving a license for NBL1, the Wildcats have focussed on the both the men’s and women’s being the pinnacle of the club pathway. To highlight this, the first signing each year is someone who has progressed through the club’s junior programs to achieve a spot in the second tier national level of NBL1. Dyani Ananiev is no different.
Dyani started her basketball at the nearby Hurstbridge Hurricanes in a local midweek competition, but the St Andrews resident took up Saturday basketball with the Wildcats at a young age in order to gain stronger opposition playing in the Eastern Districts Junior Basketball Association (EDJBA). Almost immediately Dyani was fast-tracked into the club’s Junior Championship programs where from a young age she was identified as one of the age group’s most talented players.
Having represented Eltham at the U14 National Club Championships, Dyani has also been a regular for Victoria Country state teams and high performance programs, where she represents the Seymour Blasters. Such has been her potential and development, Dyani was named on the inaugural Eltham NBL1 roster for the 2019 season where she played 10 games around junior and Victorian representative duties. At just 15 years of age, her season highlight was 14 points playing against the ladder leading Bendigo Lady Braves.
Dyani reflected on her rookie season of NBL1.
“Playing NBL1 with pro’s such as Chelsie (Schweers), Ness (Vanessa Panoussis), Chelsea (Brook) and Maggie (Mulligan) was something I didn’t think I’d get the chance to do so young. It was an honour to play for Eltham at that age with those players and whilst we didn’t get to compete in 2020, I know that I’ve continued to work on my game and I am ready to have a bigger impact in 2021. I can’t wait to get back on the court with the girls and in front of the crowds again!”
Ananiev in action NBL1 2019
Head Coach Grant Spencer is excited about Dyani’s potential and the big year ahead.
“Dyani is a young talent with a long career ahead of her. She’ll have a lot to balance in 2021 and we’ll continue to manage her workload to ensure she is well looked after, but you also can’t deny her the chance to perform at this level. She has put in a lot of work in 2020 away from everyone’s eyes and that’s all you could ask for from a young prospect. We’re keen as a club to give our juniors and graduates a chance at NBL1 level and Dyani is a beneficiary of that. She represents the pathway that exists from Saturday juniors to the national second tier competition of NBL1.”
In 2021, Dyani will continue to manage her U18’s in the VJBL for Eltham, Seymour Blasters in Vic Country, as a student at Templestowe College, whilst also having been recently named to the Basketball Victoria’s National Performance Program. While she has a lot on her plate to manage, the pathway at Eltham has been clear for Dyani as she looks to take another step forward in her NBL1 career.
Stay tuned for more announcements to come.
The Eltham Wildcats are a basketball club providing a direct pathway from beginners to the elite in the north-east of Melbourne. We value highly the providing of opportunities and pathways for our members through playing, coaching, officiating and in administration.