The future of basketball in Scotland has been given an unprecedented boost, with the announcement of a partnership between the Glasgow Rocks, Caledonia Pride,basketballscotland, and sportscotland.
The agreement aims not only to improve the quality of on court performances, but also seeks to drive up attendances at matches as well as increasing participation in the game at all levels. The Rocks and Pride will now play a major role on the Player Pathway in Scotland and it is hoped that as a result performances will progress both on and off the court, improving Scottish basketball as a whole.
sportscotland is investing an additional £280,000 into basketballscotland in 2016/17 – 2017/18 specifically to bolster the governing body’s performance programmes.
This investment is allowing basketballscotland to recruit two full-time national team coaches to work within both franchise teams, linking professional basketball to the national men’s and women’s teams for the first time.
It is hoped that the majority of the national team players will remain in Scotland to train and play full-time, which is a big shift in player development culture where previously playing overseas was the only option to combine elite basketball and education.
Through this agreement a core of the Scotland Senior Men’s and Women’s National Teams will be brought together to play and train in their homeland for the two years leading into the 2018 Commonwealth Games. This partnership will provide the players with an excellent training environment which will promote the best possible performance for the national sides as they bid to qualify for the Games on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018.
It is hoped that the partnership can contribute to the long-term improvement of performance basketball and also inspire more youngsters to take up the sport through having Scottish role models playing in Scotland.
basketballscotland’s Head of Basketball, Barry Lang, commented, “By working with our key partners sportscotland, Glasgow Rocks and Caledonia Pride, we believe we can gain a competitive advantage as we aim to qualify and compete at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Our top Scottish prospects will have the chance to train and play together on a daily basis, improve their technical skills and physical capabilities in a professional environment.”
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said, “This partnership represents an excellent opportunity to enhance basketball’s performance programmes in Scotland. By working together in this way basketballscotland, sportscotland, Glasgow Rocks, and Caledonia Pride will create a stronger and more sophisticated performance pathway for men’s and women’s basketball in Scotland.
“It’s an exciting project for the sport which can really help the players in Scotland, and we’re delighted to be investing an additional £280,000 into performance programmes over the next two years.”
The Rocks expect attendances to grow through increased engagement with the wider basketball community in the country, and hope to be a focal point for fans of the game across the land. Owner of the Glasgow Rocks, Ian Reid,commented, “The partnership with basketballscotland is a significant step forward for the game in the short, medium and longer term. Just over the horizon are the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia and we have a shared agenda with the Governing Body and with sportscotland to enable a Scottish team to represent the nation with distinction.
“Over the last 10 years Glasgow Rocks, together with Scottish Sports Futures, our charity partner, have introduced over 100,000 young people to the sport and some of these participants are now representing Scotland at age group level. As a consequence, Scotland now has a significantly higher player base and it makes sense to ensure that there is a pathway for talented individuals to progress to the highest level. This agreement enables that vision and all of us at the Glasgow Rocks will be working towards achieving this.”
Caledonia Pride’s Head Coach and Women’s National Performance Coach Bart Sengers stated, “Today’s announcement marks an exciting time for both women’s and men’s basketball in Scotland. Caledonia Pride are looking forward to working with our partners over the next two years to develop a sustainable player pathway for Scotland’s top female athletes.”
CEO of basketballscotland, Kevin Pringle declared, “We are delighted that sportscotland is investing in basketball’s performance system. We are working to make a sustainable change in our system and our culture to ensure we can develop performance level players for the long-term.
“By establishing a partnership with the Glasgow Rocks, alongside the launch of our women’s franchise, Caledonia Pride, we will provide Scotland’s top athletes an outlet to train together over the next two seasons as preparation for the Commonwealth Games in 2018. By working together, the game in Scotland can benefit for generations to come.”