NBL: Melbourne United wants Ballarat as a home base - photos

MELBOURNE United wants Ballarat as a home base.

For now, United chief executive officer Vince Crivelli says the club is keen to return for another pre-season camp next year.

Crivelli also confirmed his support for the city and Ballarat Basketball's bid for a stadium and precinct expansion.

In the future, if a stadium could be built, Crivelli says United would bring a National Basketball League game here for premiership points.

United capped off a successful five-day community camp in Ballarat with a practice match against last season's grand finalist Adelaide 36ers at the Minerdome on Saturday night.

Crivelli said players and staff have enjoyed the stay and, looking at the packed stadium, he felt fans did too.

"We really want to make Ballarat a base outside Melbourne for us. Why Ballarat? That's easy," Crivelli said.

"Ballarat has an amazing basketball history some of Australia's greatest coaches and players come from here and there's an excellent culture and understanding of the game.

"Ballarat is one of the most professional organisations and with the vision and support of council to financially support something like this, the question is more 'why wouldn't we be here?'"

United, in its second pre-season week, fine-tuned its game at the Minerdome daily and worked in community and school visits.

A near-full strength squad took to the floor against the 36ers emerging talent in a close, exciting contest.

The crowd enjoyed a chance to see former Ballarat Miner Lucas Walker in action with his trademark dunks Walker top-scored with 26 points but it was clear hometown guard Ash Constable was crowd favourite.

Constable, invited to train with United for the week, had about six minutes on the floor in the third quarter.

Ballarat Basketball chief executive officer Peter Eddy said the crowd had come from as far as Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and even an eight-year-old from Deniliquin, who celebrated his birthday with the game in Ballarat.

Importantly, it drew in strong support from across western Victoria.

"People want this stuff in their backyard," Eddy said.

"United has certainly said Ballarat is a destination that it's comfortable with and they're buying into what we want to do.

"... What a week it has been in Ballarat with the soccer too (FFA Cup game), it really shows that sports tourism is one of the best things this city has going."

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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