Hey Mr Jamboree Man, play for me |PICTURES

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ASHLEY Donaldson knows better than most the benefits of jamborees.

Since the early 1990s, the Bendigo basketball stalwart has either been organising or karting kids around to them throughout Victoria and NSW.

He’s been everywhere from Horsham to Swan Hill to Echuca to Leeton to Albury.

Donaldson has seen budding stars such as current NBA player Matthew Dellavedova come through the jamboree ranks as well as other well-known sporting identities including Test cricketer Peter Siddle and AFL superstars Luke Hodge and Scott Pendlebury.

“The jamborees have been a terrific bonus for basketball particularly in the country areas where they are run,” Donaldson said yesterday.

“Obviously Victoria and NSW have been the backbone of it since day one.

“In most cases it’s the first time the boys and girls, 11-year-olds, have been away from home and we feel it’s great to get them into the role as once they get into under 14 academies and state stuff they are used to being away.

“The beauty about this one is that we have kids from all over the place.

“Here we have three Victoria and NSW players in every team and they are topped up with kids from other states. The benefits are enormous.”

Donaldson, in his role as events manager, has been coming to the Border since The Great Murray River National Basketball Jamboree started in 2001.

Numbers have remained consistent during that time, with location, five courts and social activities making it one of the most popular jamborees on the calendar.

“You look back and wonder where the last 12 jamborees have gone here,” Donaldson said.

“It’s been a great event.

“We have had a lot of players come through.”

Action continues this morning, with the closing ceremony at Lauren Jackson Sports Centre at noon.

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