by Killi Akamarmoi for The Pick and Roll
Gosford City Basketball and Sports Stadium is all set to host the 2018 Australian Under 20 and Ivor Burge Championships from February 6th-11th. For the first time, the NBA Global Academy will also make their debut in the event.
The Championship’s main venue will be Scholastic Sports Stadium – home of the Club Terrigal Central Coast Crusaders and Gosford City Rebels. With 27 teams participating and 86 games being played over six days, this event will showcase some of Australia’s best talent from both men’s and women’s Under 20 teams. Add to this the ongoing state rivalries who will be battling to take out the title of the nation’s best Under 20 team. This week also provides an exciting opportunity for intellectually disabled players to represent their state at the Ivor Burge Championship and demonstrate their skills on the national stage.
Host association Gosford City Basketball are excited for the occasion and are set for the big week ahead.
“We are really excited to have some of the best and brightest Australian young basketballers coming to the coast for this week,” said Gosford City Basketball General Manager Matthew Skinner.
“It’s going to be an opportunity to see some great basketball played in one of the best stadiums in Australia.”
Scholastic Sports Stadium is situated in one of the Central Coast’s most popular tourist destinations, Terrigal. The popular area will provide a great atmosphere for the level of talent put on display this week.
For the first time in Australian Championships history, the NBA have cemented their footprint in the event, with the NBA Global Academy team competing in the Under 20 Men’s competition. With many athletes aspiring to play in the US and using this as the stepping stones to greater achievements, the NBA’s presence not only allows exposure to high calibre athletes but also the exposure of Australian Basketball.
NBA Scout and former head coach of NSW U20 Men’s team Tim Hudson was excited for the event to get started,
“It’s really special,” expressed Hudson. “With the NBA building its development programs, pooling talent, and engaging in our national tournaments, more NBA teams are expanding their scouting here.”
The Basketball Australia and NBA initiative will bring attention across our shores at new levels. These tournaments have traditionally been scouted by NBL, WNBL, SEABL and US colleges. With Australia’s presence currently at new levels across the globe, with the likes of Ben Simmons, Patty Mills and Joe Ingles starring, the NBA are dialing in a whole lot closer and at an earlier stage.
This engagement will see many scouts keeping a watchful eye over this event to monitor these Australian basketballers. Hudson believes it is a special thing to see this connection of Australian Basketball and the NBA.
“It really gives great insight into the positioning of Australian Basketball, the growing opportunities and just how much respect the NBA has for the Australian pathway,” added Hudson.
With the likes of former NBL Championship coach Bruce Palmer, former NBL superstar, Australian Boomer and NBA player Chris Anstey, and hometown favourite and AIS coach Michael Cassidy spearheading these elite teams, it’s going to be a thrilling week of basketball on the Central Coast.