There was a lot of excitement at Ballyclare Secondary School this week as they and other schools around the country waited in anticipation for the first ever Jr. NBA draft in Ireland to take place at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, Dublin.
The draft marked the beginning of the inaugural Jr. NBA Basketball Ireland League, which will run from October to December 2018, culminating in a festival of basketball at the National Arena on December 12th, where an NBA Ambassador will be in attendance.
The league features 13 clubs who have partnered with local schools in their area to create the 30 teams. Yesterday’s draft saw the 30 teams from around the country matched with an NBA team as well as receiving corresponding NBA team-branded uniforms for their games.
Mr Crothers, the teacher in charge of Basketball at Ballyclare Secondary school said “We’re very excited to be involved in the very first Jr. NBA league in Ireland. To be one of only 30 schools chosen on the Island of Ireland chosen is fantastic and we thank the Ulster University Elks for helping to make it happen for us.”
The Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth basketball program for boys and girls, teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents.
Leveraging the excitement of the NBA, the league will also promote the Jr. NBA values of teamwork, respect, determination, and community through the upcoming Jr. NBA draft, competitive league play, finals events and Jr. NBA youth clinics.
Mr Crothers finished with “Basketball has enabled me to visit all sorts of new places whilst playing the game that I love, it has introduced me to some of my best friends and shaped me into the person that I am today. With the help of American professional coaches, players and ambassadors we hope to support and inspire the young people in our school throughout their sporting journey as they build teams, develop lifelong values, friendships and character. The NBA has nurtured some of the world’s top athletes and role models and this alliance will undoubtedly excite and inspire the children.
We have been partnered with the Chicago Bulls, the home of Michael Jordan and a fantastic era of Basketball for the kids to learn about. We will try our best to live up to their name as we compete in the league as the Ballyclare Secondary School Bulls.”