Basketball structural change to benefit the game, says chief executive Chris McCoy

The governing body will move toward a “three association model” for next season (one in each region of the state) to not only grow the sport, but help cement the futures of the state’s NBL1 sides.

With that in mind, in the North-West the NWBU will become the North West Basketball Association, with the North-West Thunder being embraced into the association as the “flagship program”, with Basketball Tasmania to appoint full-time staff as part of the change.

North-West junior teams in future tri-series competitions will also be entered under the Thunder name in this new format, as the club becomes the “official” basketball brand of the region.

“This is good timing with the requirements of the NBL1 clubs around the state to have to be under an association model to be allowed to play in that league, but we wanted to ensure that we kept on operating under best practice for the sport. Essentially it will be the NWBU and the Thunder coming together to drive the sport going forward on the Coast.”

McCoy said the brief of the new association would be “to continue to run all the regional activities, and that includes continuing to run the rosters, both juniors and seniors, running a development program at regional level for athletes and push local competitions”.

“There would be a strategic board that would be focused on the basketball in the association, but I would still see the need for an organisation committee with the Thunder to specifically look at the needs for that team,” he said.

McCoy said Basketball Tasmania would oversee the new structure, to ensure consistency with similar set ups in Launceston with the Tornadoes and Hobart with the Chargers.

“We would have three regional associations that have over 3000 members each, and we will make sure it is properly funded with full-time staff in each of those bodies to help propel the sport forward,” he said.

While there would be no changes to the senior competition, representative junior competitions on the Coast, which will be run by the NWBA, will feature Launceston teams, with games to be played on Sundays across two divisions.

He said meetings with the NWBU and the Thunder would take place to ensure the change is in place by next season.

“The North-West has always been a pretty strong region for the sport, but it has needed revitalisation to build big bases at the bottom of the pyramid to make sure we are capturing the attention of young boys and girls,” he said.

The change has “more positives and negatives” according to former NWBU president Kim Robinson, who has resigned from the position for reasons outside of basketball.

“I think to have a more professional organisation, a general manager and definitely a strategic board that is elected with independent people, that has to be a good thing,” she said.

“As long as we protect the history and those involved in our history, I can’t see there being a problem.

“But we are closely aligned (with the Thunder) as the eight clubs currently own the Thunder and we help fund Thunder, so while Hobart and Launceston might seen separate, we are more closely aligned.”

NWBU vice-president Melissa Budgeon said it was “looking at discussing it further” and was hopeful that the changes to the junior set-up would not impact the senior program.

North-West Thunder chairman Tony Barker said his club would discuss the structural change at its meeting on Thursday night