As the qualification period for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast approaches, the future of basketball in Scotland was today given an unprecedented boost with the announcement of a partnership between the Glasgow Rocks, Caledonia Pride, basketballscotland, and sportscotland.
The Rocks and Pride will now play a major role on the Player Pathway in Scotland with the recruitment of 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.
With these positions made possible by an additional investment from sportscotland of £280,000 into the basketballscotland performance programme, the partnership aims to progress performances both on and off the court, improving Scottish basketball as a whole.
It is hoped that the majority of the national team players will remain in Scotland to train and play full-time, bringing together a core of the Scotland Senior Men’s and Women’s National Teams and providing the players with an excellent training environment as they bid to qualify for the Games on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018.
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 Scotland.
Long-term, the project aims to 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.
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.”
CEO of basketballscotland, Kevin Pringle added: “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.”
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.”