2015 national U18 basketball titles for Ballarat

AUSTRALIA'S next generation of international basketball stars will converge on Ballarat for the 2015 national under-18 championships.

Ballarat has defied the odds to secure the eight-day event in April - winning the bid despite the city not having a six-court complex.

Ballarat Basketball chief executive officer Peter Eddy said the city's experience in successfully running major basketball tournaments of this magnitude had been a major factor in attracting the championships.

He said while Ballarat did not have the facilities to match other major metropolitan and regional centres, Basketball Australia was well aware of the wider community support for a $21 million redevelopment of the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre to provide a multi-sport complex of international standard.

Despite this success, Ballarat Regional Tourism CEO George Sossi warned that relying on Ballarat Basketball's reputation to attract and run events such as the under-18 titles was not sustainable without a minimum of six courts at one location.

"Ballarat has fallen behind other major regional centres such as Bendigo and Geelong.

"We will begin to miss out on significant basketball championships such as these if this is not addressed," he said.

Eddy said Ballarat's reputation for hosting nationals continued to grow and the potential for the future would be limitless if the proposed expansion for the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre could become a reality.

"If our facility base can match our behind-the-scenes work we will have the complete package for staging not just nationals in basketball, but a whole range of major indoor sport and community events," he said.

Ballarat Basketball's home, the Minerdome, has four courts.

Wendouree Sports and Events Centre has another two.

Eddy said the men's and women's under-18 championships attracted enormous interest from NBL, WNBL and US college talent scouts each year.

"The best-of-the-best of up-and-coming Australian basketball talent will be here."

Twenty-eight teams from across Australia and New Zealand will play off of men's and women's championships on April 11-18.

The tournament will also feature eight teams vying for the Australian Under-21 Wheelchair Basketball Championships - the Kevin Coombs Cup.

The under-18 championships, which were also contested in Ballarat in 2008, will attract about 540 athletes and officials, as well as another expected 1000 family members and supporters.

Sossi said this would generate 11,000 bed nights, meaning close to $1.6 million would be injected into the economy.

Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay, representing Sport and Recreation Minister Damian, joined Ballarat Basketball and Ballarat Regional Tourism for Thursday's announcement.

TEAMS competing in the national men's and women's under-18 championships: Vic Metro, Vic Country, New South Wales Metro, NSW Country, South Australia Metro, SA Country, Western Australia Metro, WA Country, Queensland North, Queensland South, Tasmania, ACT, Northern Territory and New Zealand.


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