Around 800 school students from across Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley had a chance to meet their sporting heroes this week as the stars and coaches of the National Basketball League put them through their paces at coaching clinics around the region.
Students from St Joseph’s Primary School in Warragul, Maffra Secondary College, St Thomas Primary School in Sale, Morwell Park Primary School, St Vincent de Paul Primary School in Morwell East, Glengarry Primary School, Churchill North Primary School, South Street Primary School in Moe, Mirboo North Primary School and Kurnai Secondary College took part in the clinics, held on Thursday in Sale, Warragul, Churchill and Morwell. Traralgon Basketball Association also will run clinics on Friday night.
Melbourne United star guard Chris Goulding said the teams valued the opportunity to meet and interact with the students.
“I would imagine that not a lot of professional sporting teams can get out this way that often so to be able to come out and share some of our knowledge and just interact with the kids and the people of this area is a really great opportunity for us,” Chris said.
“If we can help some budding young basketballers in the process, that’s a bonus!”
Basketball Victoria and the NBL are running the clinics; each is led by a local basketball coach with players and coaches from all eight NBL teams on hand to share tips and lend their support.
The General Manager of Basketball Victoria Country, David Huxtable, said hosting the NBL Blitz was a huge achievement for the region and gave local people an opportunity to meet and learn from their sporting heroes.
“It’s exciting for Gippsland, it’s exciting for the Latrobe Valley, it shows players the pathway, it shows coaches the pathway, and it’s really exciting to have them here,” he said.
The clinics are part of the NBL’s pre-season Blitz in the Latrobe Valley, a three-day tournament at the Traralgon Sports Stadium.
The event has been funded through the Victorian Government’s Latrobe Valley Sports and Community Initiative, an $85 million investment in sports and community infrastructure, events and associated support programs.
As well as significant upgrades to local sporting infrastructure, the sports and community initiative forges an alliance between the State Government and elite Melbourne-based sporting clubs to bring major events to Gippsland. It also ensures local residents have access to world-class sporting facilities.