Academy holds key to top-level success
THE boss of basketball in Australia has lauded the return of the Taipans Academy as a vital cog in the search for the next Olympians.
With the backing of CQ University, the Cairns NBL club has re-launched its development program after a two-year hiatus.
Basketball Australia CEO Kristina Keneally said there was a need to better use the NBL in its search for the very best players.
"All levels have a role to play, not just the AIS," she said.
"How the NBL contributes to our national teams is a very real and live question at the moment, and programs like this are part of that."
She used Mareeba product Aron Baynes, who played for Australia at the London Olympics this year, as an example of its success when the program was run between 2001-2010.
Current Euroleague star Nathan Jawai and Taipan Kerry Williams are also academy graduates.
"Look at that very real success. It's a great commitment they make to their local community to develop the next generation of NBL and Boomers players," she said.
Taipans CEO Mark Beecroft said the academy would provide education and development opportunities to players on and off the court.
The squad will train four times a week under Taipans assistant coaches Mick Downer and Jamie Pearlman and strength and conditioning coach Scott Callaghan.
The squad: Matthew Adekponya, James Mitchell, Jstin Soleimani, Matthew Andronicos, Shaun Bruce, Aaron Bin Tahal, Jason Osbourne, Beau Hollingsworth, Daniel Majer, Matthew Jellatt, Billy Hopkins, Denzel Kennedy, Jaylan Bin Tahal, Aaron Farmer.
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All set: Matthew Adekponya and Shaun Bruce gear up for the launch of the Taipans Academy last night. Picture: MIKE WATT