Ipswich Basketball Association operations manager Sean Fernance.
Ipswich Basketball Association operations manager Sean Fernance. David Nielsen

Why schools so important to basketball's future

JUNIOR development in schools and bolstering programs in the community are two of Sean Fernance's major goals at Ipswich Basketball.

"I'm really going to put a lot behind our school and junior development as that's an area I have a lot of experience in,'' he said.

"I want to make a commitment to have a much broader presence in schools throughout this year and the next few years as well. And really start to boost our Aussie Hoops program, and in turn, get a lot more participants playing.

"I'm looking at basing some of these junior development programs at schools.

"We really want to get behind our female participation as well.''

Fernance said basketball had a clear advantage in that many young people knew what the game involved.

He said the rise of Aussie basketballers in the NBA had given the sport a massive boost, as has the return of the Brisbane Bullets in the NBL.

"It's about as strong as it's ever been,'' he said of the game.

"We get a really good flow-on from our Boomers (national team) being at a really high standard at the moment.

"All our guys in the NBA, like Ben Simmons and Joe Ingles, are doing great things over there so it's putting a lot of eyes on the sport and we're definitely capitalising on that extra exposure as well.

"Basketball is a sport that everyone plays. Kids absolutely love it.''

His vision is to maximise what is available at Ipswich stadium.

"We have room for growth,'' he said. "We have courts available. We have teams looking for players so I want to start filling up those gaps.''

Ipswich company Stroud Homes has thrown its weight behind this year's Ipswich junior competition, something Fernance appreciated in his quest to grow basketball's base.

The next step is getting more kids playing the game.

"Other sports are probably leading the market on that and we are playing a little bit of catch-up there,'' the IBA operations manager said.

"It's great that kids already know about basketball . . . but we probably need to do a better job of getting out there and putting balls in the kids' hands, and getting our name out there as well as a place that they can come and play at a high level.''

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