A first-of-its kind global youth basketball tournament, the Jr. NBA World Championship will feature boys and girls divisions, each comprised of 16 regional champions (eight U.S. and eight international teams) of teams featuring athletes aged 14 and under.
Teams will receive all-expenses-paid trips to compete in the inaugural event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida.
“The inclusion of Basketball Australia’s Under-14 Club Champions into the Jr. NBA World Championship shows the strength of Australia’s basketball development program and the esteem that it is held in the international basketball landscape,” said Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore.
“Bulleen and Eltham are long standing associations with a history of success at a national level and they will represent Australia’s basketball community with respect and determination.”
The most successful club in the history of the Under-14 Club Championships which began in 1970, the Bulleen Boomers won their 12th title this year after excelling through three incredible Grand Finals.
They first claimed gold at the Medibank National Junior Classic before going on to finish the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) season with an 18-0 record, only to fall to the Dandenong Rangers by three points in the Grand Final.
Still advancing to the Under-14 Club Championships, Bulleen then got their revenge on Dandenong in the gold medal game, coming from eight points down in the dying minutes to win 36-33.
Eltham began their Under-14’s campaign quietly with a loss on opening day to the Sydney Comets but they would not drop another game after that, entering the finals with a 4-1 record.
The Wildcats then succeeded in two closely fought finals to advance to the gold medal game which was a replay against the Comets but this time, they proved too good with a 52-43 victory.
“The Jr. NBA World Championship will serve as a platform for standout Australian youth to compete at the highest levels against their peers from around the world and learn the values of the game,” said Francesco Suarez, NBA Asia Vice President of Global Marketing Partnerships, Events and Basketball Operations.
“Basketball Australia has done a tremendous job of teaching and developing talent and we are excited for Australia’s top boys and girls teams to showcase their talents on a global stage.”
The Jr. NBA World Championship will be separated into U.S. and international brackets that include round-robin competition followed by single-elimination boys and girls tournaments.
Winners of the U.S. and international brackets will play in the championship games on August 12.
Basketball Australia previously supported the NBA and FIBA’s Basketball without Borders (BWB) Asia camp, which was held in Australia for the first time at Dandenong Basketball Stadium in Melbourne in June 2016.
A year later in June 2017, the NBA and BA partnered to open the NBA Global Academy, an elite basketball training center at BA’s Centre of Excellence at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
The NBA Global Academy serves as the NBA’s hub for top male and female prospects from outside the United States, employing a holistic, 360-degree approach to player development with focuses on education, leadership, character development and life skills.
The Jr. NBA World Championships will complement the Australian basketball pathway and instil children as young as five participating in their local Vicinity Centres Aussie Hoops program with aspirations to represent their club on a global stage.
More information about the Jr. NBA World Championship can be found at jrnba.com/worldchampionship.
About the Jr. NBA
The Jr. NBA presented by Under Armour is the league’s youth basketball participation program that provides a fun environment for kids to learn the fundamentals and values of the game. The Jr. NBA is focused on helping grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents, and offers a free curriculum covering all levels of the game that includes 48 practice plans and more than 250 instructional videos featuring NBA and WNBA players. The Jr. NBA World Championship, a first-of-its kind global youth basketball tournament for the top 14U boys and girls teams from around the world, will take place in August 2018.
Roger Ong, NBA Asia, (852) 6772-8911, firstname.lastname@example.org
Renee Narcis, Basketball Australia, (61) 477 550 665, email@example.com
Grant Richardson, Basketball Australia (61) 435 133 903 firstname.lastname@example.org