SOUTHERN Peninsula Basketball Association players gleefully broke out of lockdown and hit the outdoor courts last week.
About 250 players aged 6-17 enjoyed free sessions throughout the day at Rosebud Primary School in their first session back since mid-March.
“The players were spread out throughout the day to comply with restrictions and included 30 families who have never been part of basketball before,” the association’s new general manager Ben White said.
He said the association was realigning its focus with an emphasis on providing basketball for everyone.
“We have a number of projects on the way, including the expansion of indoor facilities which will likely form a sort of community hub,” White said.
“We are building on our rich past of producing Australian athletes but also providing opportunities for all of the community, including all abilities, Indigenous participation and gender diversity.
“We are also meeting with Basketball Victoria, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, state government and federal government for facilities.”
The players were introduced to new director of coaching and high performance James McKinnon who has played NBL1 for Sandringham, played three years in the United States at Aurora University and Dominican University of California, and was head coach of the University of Lethbridge, Canada, 2019/20.
McKinnon will lead the association’s pathways program from community based participation through to developing the elite.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the Southern Peninsula Basketball Association. I’ve watched the program from afar for many years and seen great work in progressing athletes and coaches.
“It’s great to be back on home soil and to help the next generation of athletes and coaches. I’m looking forward to progressing the program and continuing the great reputation that I’ve been able to see.”
The association also has 41 junior teams playing in a 3×3 outdoor competition on Saturdays in line with COVID-19 restrictions.
Sessions were scheduled for Sunday 15 and Sunday 22 November.
First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 17 November 2020