Only days removed from the culmination of the U/14 Australian Club Championships and National Coaches Conference, Basketball Ballarat has announced the city has secured another huge national basketball event.
Ballarat will host the 2020 U/18 Australian Championships for Men and Women together with the Kevin Coombs Cup for Wheelchair Athletes.
The championships will be held over eight days from 17 April at the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre while the Kevin Coombs Cup will run over three days from 21 April.
Basketball Ballarat CEO Peter Eddy said the event would bring some of the nation's best young basketball talents to the Ballarat courts.
"On court - Ballarat will be lucky to witness the best junior basketballers in Australia - many of whom will be vying for future NBL and WNBL teams and, from that, Australian representation right through to the Olympic and Paralympic levels," he said.
Eddy estimates the dual events could bring in upwards of 1000 people in the region.
"The eight-day National Championship will attract players and spectators from across Australia. The two events will deliver over 8,500 bed nights to the city which will provide a significant boost for local businesses and accommodation providers."
The competition will include 26 teams from around Australia and has featured some NBA prospects in the past.
"Looking at the teams themselves the quality of the players is always very high," Eddy says.
"In years past Ballarat has hosted guys like Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova."
With so many elite players in the one place, Eddy says the event is sure to draw attention from major American college programs.
"It's a very prestigious event in terms of kids having worked their way through the system and always draws the attention of American colleges.
"Those colleges will be looking at the national championships with a view to see who is suitable for an overseas scholarship."
It will be the first time Ballarat will host the event since 2015. Eddy believes the championships provide a great opportunity for local talent to come watch some of the best young players from around the nation.
"My heart is in local development and junior development career paths so this to me is the best of the best.
"(This event) provides an opportunity to watch the emerging talent in Australia in your own backyard.
"Kids from Stawell, Ararat, Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and other areas in the region get a chance to take a short drive up the highway and watch some of the very best boys and girls in Australia.
"Hopefully that can give them the motivation to continue their own growth as athletes and pursue their dreams."
Basketball Ballarat operation and events manager Mark Valentine said he was extremely pleased to have received the pair of events
"We staged the U/14 National Girls Club Championships and National Coaches Conference last week delivering just over 16,200 bed nights to the city and I believe we have again demonstrated our capacity to host these major events," he said.
Valentine said receiving the nod to host the events demonstrates the worth Basketball Australia sees in the region.
"What this is saying to us at Ballarat Basketball and to the Ballarat community, is that we have the volunteer base and the backing of the City to manage such important championships."
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