Posts Tagged ‘basketball’

Registrations are now open for the new three-tiered ‘MEBA Head Start’ basketball program at Nunawading Stadium, Melbourne. The introductory skills program starts in term four and focuses on player development to prepare 6 to 12 year-olds for club basketball.

Head Start uses an altered set of rules allowing the programs’ coaches to be more hands-on than other programs and tailor sessions to each individual’s ability. Coaches from the stadium’s previous Spook Hoops program such as Peter Kotaridis are pleased with the changes.

Coach Peter Kotaridis

“At the moment there are a lot of kids who are better than the other kids and they tend to hog the ball a bit too much,” he said.

“The three tiered program is better because it breaks them up into different skill levels and that way each kid can feel comfortable in the team they get assigned to.”

Coaches grade children into Aussie Hoops, Rookie or Club Ready tiers based on their current skill level, with the aim to advance each tier until they are ready to graduate from the program. Similar to martial arts, each tier has its own coloured uniform and title that both encourages and rewards players for their efforts as they progress.

Program Director Lyndon Dale has designed this process as an entirely positive experience, each aspect of Head Start is focused on fun and improvement. It is replacing the Spook Hoops and Pink Ball competitions which were awarded Best Junior Program by Basketball Victoria earlier in the year. Despite initial concerns about increased fees and the mandatory assessment of their children, many parents have voiced praise to Dale for shifting focus away from the competition of ladders and grand finals.

Nunawading Spectres Import and Brazilian National League player Cicero Gonzaga has been coaching with the stadium since arriving in Australia and sees Head Start as a great learning environment.

Cicero Gonzaga with a team from Vermont

“I love it, I feel like this is something that I will probably do after I finish my basketball career,” he said.

“We work with a lot of specific skills and we help the kids so when they go to clubs they already have knowledge of the basketball game. If you come here it would definitely help you a lot, so I recommend it”

Head Start is already receiving a high number of registrations and Nunawading Stadium is pleased by the evident demand. All current coaching staff from the award winning Pink Ball and Spook Hoops will be continuing with Head Start next term.

Australian basketball and why it may be one of our most popular sports but why we don’t want to watch Australian’s play it.

By Michael Salisbury

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics basketball ranks a close number 3 in most popular sports behind tennis, cricket, AFL and football (soccer as we call it here in Australia) but why in the world is no one watching it? Why is it not the sporting juggernaut that the AFL is? Why aren’t people in the streets wearing a Melbourne Tigers jersey as opposed to a jersey of a city 100’000 miles away?

An argument can be made that perhaps it is Australia’s fierce patriotism that makes it so hard for us to truly ‘fall in love’ with Basketball, the AFL and NRL dominate the headlines where even when home made stars who play in the NBA like Patty Mills a former Melbourne Tiger who now plays for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs scored a career high 31 points against the Golden State Warriors leading his team to a victory only got a mention on ONE of the local news sports reports that night, (note: Channel 10 news, the mention lasted all of 15 seconds)

photo courtesy of

Basketball in Australia has had a very strange and inconsistent journey. The NBL was born in 1978, the national competition was born out of the need to improve and develop our Olympic teams. Starting with 6 teams (Canberra, St. Kilda, Newcastle, West Adelaide, Wollongong and Brisbane) over the years many teams have come and gone. Financial solvency being the major issue as almost every team failed to draw crowds. Teams from all over the country (and in some cases other countries with both New Zealand and Singapore both fielding teams in our national competition at one time or another with the New Zealand Breakers winning the NBL championship in the 2011/12 season)

Victoria bearing the brunt of poor attendance and apathy towards the NBL have fielded a total of 10 teams (St. Kilda Saints, South East Melbourne Magic, Nunawading Spectres/Eastside Spectres, North Melbourne/Coburg Giants, Geelong Supercats, South Dragons, Victoria Titans / Giants who were a merger between the North Melbourne and South East Melbourne teams) all but one survives the Melbourne Tigers.

Come the 2012/13 season the greater Melbourne area has seen 9 teams fall as the higher brass of the NBL are offering the chance for a Melbourne bidder to take the dreaded ‘2nd’ spot in Melbourne’s already dead Basketball market.

A Melbourne consortium making a bid for one of the new NBL teams seem ready to make the same mistakes previous owners have. Planning on using the 10’000 seat  Hisense Arena high rent and poor attendance spelt doom for the last franchise that called it home, the South Dragons. The Victoria Titans and Melbourne Tigers also used to call it home but moved out (and in the Titan’s case folded) thanks to its high rental prices. The Tigers now call the State Netball Centre (with a capacity of only 3’500) home and in an ironic twist the Melbourne Vixin’s of the ANZ Championship the pre-eminent netball league in the world now play their games at Hisense.

The new stadium in Melbourne South East suburbs does more to prove this strange popularity of a game enjoyed worldwide. Not only with the professional NBA in the United States but leagues in Spain and Greece are hugely popular.

Basketball is destined to be a sport only popular in the offseason, when footballers need to stay in shape.


Ward, R, Push to introduce a second NBL team to rival the Tigers, June 17 2011,…

Ward, R, Knox in NBL bid, December 21st 2011,…

NBL History,

The Olympic Games are about bringing athletes and teams together from all over the world. It gives people an opportunity to cheer on and celebrate their country’s talents on the world stage as a team or individual.

This event held every four years is aimed at bringing excitement and happiness, however sometimes this happiness is not achieved.

According to Tom Van Riper, a member of the American business magazine ‘Forbes’, in the London 2012 Olympic games, millions of people missed out on tickets due to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) delegating 2.6 million of the 8.8 million tickets to sponsors, media, athletes and Olympic officials.

It does not seem like a lot, however when majority of these seats were left empty throughout the games it is consequentially a huge loss for the LOCOG, not for the money, but for the unsatisfied responses they received from all the people who missed out.

Basketball Empty Grandstands – Taken by Bob Donnan from USA Sports Today

Grandstands being left next to empty are becoming an increasing trend with the Olympic Games, which is surprising considering the four year hype and build up to the two week event.

Australian Football Match with Full Grandstands

Australian Football Match with full grantstands

When you compare this world wide known event to a local national sport like Australian Rules football, Soccer or Basketball the stands at these games are almost packed every time full of screaming fans who continue to support their team every week.  

This indicates that having seats made available to the general public for purchase, minus the small portion of allocated seating for members, shows that when given the opportunity, people will fill a stadium to support the team they love.

In an interview with members of the general public they were asked to express their opinions about the issue regarding the close-to-empty grandstands, whether they believe the Olympics is a fair and equal event and why they thought so many tickets were set aside for sponsors.

Ultimately many expressed how they thought not as many tickets should be distributed to the sponsors, unless there is a way to guarantee they will show up.

It is disappointing that so much effort goes into the preparation for the games, yet it cannot be experienced by many due to the lack of planning gone into distributing tickets. This needs to change before the next Olympic Games, to ensure the grandstands do not stand alone.