BALLARAT Basketball’s new director of coaching Lukas Carey says Rush’s South East Australian Basketball League grand final appearance must be capitalised on to develop the sport in the city.
Carey says success is a strong recruiting tool and, importantly, a key to rebuilding club culture.
In his new role, Carey will be hard at work recruiting and retaining players at all levels in the Ballarat basketball programs.
“I can approach players with links to work and study... a grand final can help with recruiting,” Carey said.
“(Rush coach) Peter Cunningham has pulled together a pretty good roster with a lot of Ballarat kids, international and Opals squad experience in Alice Kunek.
“A good season helps promote Ballarat as a place where female and male players want to play.”
Rush plays Knox Raiders in the south conference grand final at the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna on Saturday night.
Carey has begun working closely with Cunningham, Miners coach David Flint and elite program coaches to reinforce programs and strengthen how they work together.
Retention and development of the region’s players and outer recruiting areas like Maryborough, which overlaps with Bendigo, was crucial.
Cunningham says a lot of what the restructured program is trying to achieve hinges on how his players approach the grand final.
“It’s about respect – and that is something you have to earn, you can’t just expect,” Cunningham said.
“We’re building a brand and that is based on what people see and think about us, it galvanises what we’re about.”
Cunningham said the interaction and support between the marquee men’s and women’s teams and their development ranks was a big focus.
He said it would be ideal to mirror the average football-netball one-club culture, rather than each team working in isolation.
That is why, Cunningham was so pleased to receive celebratory photos and messages from the Miners’ camp when almost the whole Miners’ SEABL roster gathered in Ballarat on Saturday night to watch live statistics roll on for Rush’s preliminary final in Hobart.
A strong contingent was courtside a week earlier for Rush’s elimination final in Nunawading, and those that were not sent messages of support.
Carey, who is the City of Ballarat sport and recreation manager, joined the Minerdome after three years coaching Bendigo Lady Braves’ SEABL program and the Braves’ director of coaching.
He knows first-hand what it takes to become a powerful, regional SEABL club.
Ballarat is taking important steps in that direction and Rush’s grand final reinforces this.