Melbourne United basketballers in town for week-long promotion

MELBOURNE United coach Chris Anstey is treating the week-long camp in Ballarat as the perfect chance to show off his club’s greatest assets – its basketballers.

Fan favourite: Stephen Dennis signs merchandise at the Minerdome on Monday. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

Fan favourite: Stephen Dennis signs merchandise at the Minerdome on Monday. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

The entire Melbourne playing list, which arrived in Ballarat on Monday, held a training session at the Minerdome before greeting a swarm of children that had gathered to get some signatures.

The recently re-branded franchise will spend all week in the city before a pre-season match against the Adelaide 36ers on Friday night.

Anstey said it was crucial his club pushed its new name far and wide, especially since the famous Melbourne Tigers name no longer existed.

“We want to actively get out into the community and actively spend time and develop relationships with as many basketball families as we can,” he said.

“We would have come anyway (if we had remained the Melbourne Tigers).

“It’s been interesting in Melbourne with the rebranding – there’s obviously a lot of conversation around the reasons as to why and questions as to whether or not it will succeed, but I’m absolutely confident it’s a positive thing.

“There will be growing pains but we’ve got a great group of basketball players and more importantly, a great group of people.”

Anstey, a former NBA player, three-time NBL champion and dual Olympian, said the week in Ballarat and practice match on Friday night would prove crucial for his side ahead of the 2014-15 NBL season.

He also hinted Ballarat Miners guard Ash Constable, who is training with the side this week, could see some game time on Friday.

However, Anstey would not be drawn on how much court time Constable would receive.

“Ash has done enough to earn that opportunity to train with us for a week and to see how his game stacks up,” he said.

“The result is largely irrelevant on Friday but I believe winning is a habit.

“We have a responsibility to put on entertainment and that’s what we will do.”

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