The Townsville Suns and the Hobart Devils have been resurrected, with the former NBL team names set to return as foundation clubs of Champions League Basketball's CLB3X3 Australian Elite league.
Hot off Australia's success at the FIBA 3X3 Asia Cup where the women earned gold and the men came home with bronze, CLB3X3 has announced grand plans for and a 3X3 league that will eventually feature 24 teams spread across every state with a goal for a truly national league.
CLB General Manager Matt Hollard whose organisation recently announced partnerships with Peak Sport Australia and Wilson Basketball, is looking forward to delivering Australia's first 3X3 national league that will include some familiar names in the Townsville Suns and Hobart Devils.
“Both of these teams come from cities that are no strangers to the world of basketball and have an impressive history, but have been starved of the opportunity to represent in a National League," said Hollard.
"We thought it was time to bring them back to the stage and this is just the beginning, we will be announcing more teams over the next few months. Peak Sport Australia together with Nahum Ziersch Illustration (the designer behind the Adelaide 36ers new branding) have worked tirelessly to get the uniforms “just right” and bring back a bit of the old school hoops, and reinvigorate some traditional Australian Basketball names not seen or heard of for some 10-20 years.”
The Townsville Suns brand were launched as an NBL side in 1993 before eventually changing their name to the Crocodiles in 1998 due to a dispute with the Phoenix Suns of the NBA. Unfortunately for the league and Townsville, under extreme financial pressure in 1996, the 'Crocs' were forced to pull out of the league, leaving Cairns as the only team in Queensland before the Brisbane Bullets made their long awaited return to the NBL in 2016.
The Hobart 'Tassie' Devils were last seen in the NBL in 1996 before their NBL license was revoked by the league. Their demise coincided with the Geelong Supercats and the Gold Coast Rollers that all last played in the same year.
Former 300-game NBL star and current Hobart Chargers (SEABL) leader Mark Nash will be taking charge of the CLB3X3 Hobart Devils.
"As a Tasmanian diehard and member of the original Devils, I am excited to be involved with CLB3X3 and bringing back the Hobart Devils to the basketball public in Tasmania," said Nash on the resurrection of the Hobart Devils brand.
"Our teams will feature emerging male and female Tasmanian talent and the initial buzz from Athletes so far has been contagious.”
“Mark will be a key driver in the Hobart Devils brand as our CLB3X3 Regional Manager, having lived, played and coached all over Tasmania. We are very proud and honoured to have an individual of Marks calibre join our team and head up a very important piece to our brand,” added Hollard.
The Hobart Devils will be leading the way with brand new teams in both the men's and women's categories. Local players Ellie Collins and Sharna Thompson will spearhead the women's team, while the experienced BJ Radcliffe of the Hobart Chargers SEABL side will link with emerging talents in Matthew Young and Elijah Pawson.
Former NBA centre Luke Schenscher, now retired from the NBL, will join Olympian Peter Crawford who has continued playing with the successful Townsville Heat in the QBL on the roster. Townsville are led by QBL veteran Tim Keating as Suns Regional Manager, with Robert Linton also suiting up after a successful SEABL campaign with the Nunawading Spectres.
All of the new CLB3X3 sides have been entered in the elite “SEABL vs CLB3x3” event being staged on the Saturday of the WNBL Cluster Round on the weekend of 24-26 November at the State Basketball Centre in Melbourne which will feature both men's and women's divisions that will showcase the rising stars of Australian 3X3 basketball now that it is an Olympic sport, with CLB3X3 digital partner Live Sport Australia streaming the event live.
New Zealand are also sending a team over for the event featuring Karl Noyer– the current number one 3X3 player in his country– when the SEABL vs CLB3X3 Elite showcase event tips off on the Saturday leading up to the WNBL double-header starting at 5:30pm. The competition on the Saturday will feature a host of players from across the SEABL, Big V and CLB3X3 Elite teams, with $1,000 up for grabs for the winners.
Everyone will have a chance to taste the shorter form of the event for the first time, with a Corporate Masters event being held on the Friday, and the kids receiving their opportunity on the Sunday.
WNBL Cluster Round Schedule
Friday Nov 24: Corporate Cup / Masters categories 5pm – 7pm
Saturday Nov 25: SEABL / CLB3X3 ELITE categories 12-5pm
Sunday Nov 26: JUNIOR categories 9am-1pm