BASKETBALLERS across the state are already starting to talk about the play that allows them to feel a step closer to national ranks.
And it is all in a name.
NBL1 is Basketball Victoria's new venture, a commercial and development partnership with National Basketball League, for what had carried the working title "senior elite competition".
Essentially, the move adds weight to what will both be so similar and so different for our marquee teams Ballarat Miners and Rush.
What is in this name is added excitement, profile and technology to promote the best players from our region. Plus, NBL1 sounds so much edgier than what otherwise could sounds like any A-grade competition at any stadium across the nation.
Miners and Rush move into NBL1, predominantly a Victorian-based competition, from the disbanded South East Australian Basketball League that stretched from Brisbane to Hobart.
We are five weeks out from the opening round for fans to really gauge how much will change aside from less travel and more metropolitan rivals.
But already, this is encouraging clubs to raise the bar.
Tasmania is pushing for a new national league team and basketball is in the spotlight. Southern Huskies crossed the ditch to join New Zealand's NBL with renewed calls this week it was a key step to bid for a spot in the Australian NBL.
Their NBL1 arm Hobart Huskies means business and have been recruiting strong. This month the Huskies have signed former Ballarat Lady Miner-turned Australian Opal and WNBA talent Cayla George.
For Ballarat, this undoubtedly means stepping up our game on and off the court.
Fundamentally, our players are still likely to have the same chance of reaching the NBL, WNBL or, like George, the game's top-tier in the United States from a Ballarat pathway.
NBL resources and consistency in live streaming and statistics should help increase professionalism in the game across the state.
There is no denying NBL1 is deliberate positioning to make this competition second only to the NBL and Women's National Basketball League in Australia.
There is a clearly defined pathway.
NBL chief executive officer Jeremy Loeliger has flagged the plan would be to partner with other state associations in future seasons. In turn, he said this investment should boost sustainability in the sport.
After months in uncertain territory, Miners and Rush players can have added purpose and clearer understanding in what is on offer.
This comes in a year in which their new base with a 3000-seat showcourt in Ballarat Sports and Events Centre is well under construction.
More broadly, this is a year in which western Victoria will be left without state league netball representation and confirmation there will be no Victorian Football League club in the foreseeable future.
Playing in a basketball league now with extra credibility and potential - all from a name - is vital to showcase what is possible to juniors across the state's west and to reinforce Ballarat as a regional sporting heavyweight.
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