The future stars of basketball will take centre stage this weekend when the 2015 Under 18 Australian Junior Championships and Kevin Coombs Cup for Wheelchair Basketball get underway, in Ballarat, Victoria.
Running April 11-18, the very best up-and-coming talent will be on show at Ballarat MinerDome and Wendouree Sports and Events Centre with 32 teams competing. It will be the third time that Ballarat has hosted the event, following on from the success of the 2008 tournament when NBA Championship-winner Patty Mills represented ACT.
“The tournament provides another wonderful opportunity within the Australian Basketball pathway for athletes and coaches to compete against the best players and coaches in the country in an environment that replicates a World Cup or Olympic Games format,” explained Men’s National Team Coach, Andrej Lemanis. “Each member of the current Boomers program competed at this tournament at one point in their career, and I know the guys all pay attention to the results of the tournament – often using it for bragging rights amongst themselves and adding to state pride.”
Head Coach, Australian Women’s Basketball Program Brendan Joyce added that while the tournament was an important step in the development pathway, the spirit of competition shouldn’t be forgotten.
“These tournaments are also exciting and an enjoyable experience for players to test themselves against the best of their age group throughout the nation,” he said.
In 2014, Victoria Metro reigned supreme in both the men and women’s competition, while a strong Queensland team took out the Kevin Coombs Cup.
Up to date information, scores, statistics and imagery can be found throughout the tournament via the event website – http://www.basketball.net.au/championships/u18/ – along with Basketball Australia’s social media feeds.