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In just over a week National Basketball League (NBL) clubs Melbourne United and 2014/15 Runners Up Cairns Taipans will have made it to Ballarat. United will arrive on Thursday September 10 to begin a two day Community Camp and will return to Melbourne at the conclusion of their practice game on Saturday September 12. The Taipans will arrive Friday with two Ex-Miners Shaun Bruce and Ash Constable and will stay until they fly out on Sunday afternoon.
Basketball Ballarat’s Events and Business Development Officer Jason Rossi said “It’s great to be able to secure such quality basketball teams to not only compete in Ballarat but also interact with our community”.
United has scheduled visits with Yuille Primary School and Ballarat Secondary College on Thursday as well as visits to Ballarat Specialist School and Ballarat High School on Friday. These visits have been planned around their training and gym sessions as well as specialist coaching sessions with the under 12 Ballarat Representative Program players.
Rossi added “It is great that United are willing to engage with our community as they see this as a growth area for their memberships and they are taking the time to get involved.”
Meanwhile Cairns will arrive in Ballarat late Friday with their Head Coach Aaron Fearne heading straight to a coaching clinic with Ballarat’s best and up and coming coaches from each club. Melissa Thomas the Elite Teams Administrator said “It’s a fantastic opportunity for our local coaches to pick the brains of a coach who took his team to the Championship series just five months ago”.
Ex-Miners players Bruce and Constable will travel with Cairns to Ballarat, returning to their home court and playing in front of a local crowd. Bruce who played four seasons with the Miners from 2010-2013 averaged 14 minutes a game last NBL season and will be looking to push for more minutes with a strong hit out in the Ballarat practice game.
Constable, who made his way through the Ballarat Representative Program and Youth League team, is now in his second year as a development player with the Taipans. Constable spent his off season with the Cairns Marlins averaging 14 minutes. Constable will be looking forward to playing in front of family and friends and showing the coaching staff how far he has come in the off season.
Ballarat is not just hosting NBL teams this year they are also hosting three Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) teams. The Melbourne Boomers will arrive in Ballarat on Friday September 18 where their management team will attend the Women in Sport Luncheon hosted by Basketball Ballarat in conjunction with City of Ballarat, while players head out to visit Delacombe Primary School.
Rossi noted “It is important that when we have high profile players come to town we get them to interact with different areas of our community and not the same place each time”. Former Miners and current Melbourne Boomers Head Coach Guy Molloy will put his team through a training session on Friday night in preparation for their game on Saturday.
Thomas stated “It’s important for these participants to see and adapt to a new coach and to see what is expected of them if they were to reach the national level and Guy will definitely make them work.”
Bendigo Spirit will arrive in Ballarat on Saturday afternoon ahead of their clash with the Boomers that night. Before the Boomers take on the Spirit, the Ballarat Wheelchair team will be competing against Geelong as a curtain raiser from 5:30pm. The Boomers and Spirit will then tip off from 7pm.
Bendigo will then back up their efforts with another practice match at the MARS® MINERDOME on Sunday with a match against the Perth Lynx from 12pm. Doors for this match will open at 11:45am.
Tickets for all games are still available and can be purchased at Basketball Ballarat or a form can be downloaded from ballaratbasketball.com and returned to the MARS® MINERDOME.
For all enquiries about the Melbourne United, Cairns Taipans, Melbourne Boomers, Bendigo Braves or Perth Lynx please contact Elite Teams Administrator Melissa Thomas via 5330 7604 or Melissa.Thomas@ballaratbasketball.com