For years Dubbo Basketball Association juniors have punched above their weight, with massive numbers playing at a local level while representative sides won western titles and competed at higher levels.
Many individual youngsters have also gone on to play representative matches, turning out for NSW Country and various other state sides.
But while that success on the court has been impressive, it has been hard work off it for a long time. Costs of court hire at the privately-owned Dubbo Sportsworld, equipment, travel, and uniforms have made life tough for all involved.
But that is all set to change now with the association’s new board bringing in a host of new sponsors to ensure a huge 2019 and sustained success moving forward.
“We’re looking to tackle a bit of an issue we’ve had with junior basketball, as far as the presentation of it goes,” incoming president Hale Gordon said.
“The big part of that is making sure everyone is in uniform, everyone looks presentable. It gives us a good look and can attract new members.”
Raine and Horne is the main sponsor, ensuring each and every player will have a singlet to wear come game day while Western Plains Granite and Peppercorn Childcare have also jumped on board and the Castlereagh Hotel has continued its ongoing partnership with the sport.
“You see in sport that those who runs well behind the scenes then run well on the court, field, or whatever it may be,” Gordon added.
“We’ve got a lot of improving to do and you’ve got to start somewhere. This is a massive leg-up for us and I think this will help so much in attracting people to our sport.
“It’s a world-renowned sport and a popular one and we want the kids to get the opportunity.”
There is a huge amount of excitement around the coming season and not only at a junior level.
In massive news for the sport in Dubbo, a women’s senior Rams side is returning to competition for the first time since 2012.
Canadian import Faatimah Amen-Ra arrives this week and will provide some start power to the new-look side, while the Rams men will also feature Canadian big man Rob Dewar and American Charles Baines in 2019.
“The beauty of this association is we run things from juniors right through to state league,” Gordon said.
“We’re really looking to grow the sport across the board and we’ve got a lot of people who are looking to help.”
Ken Mongan, managing director at Raine and Horne Dubbo, said his organisation was all to happy to lend a hand.
“We have for some time searched for the right way of giving back to the community in such a way that supports the up-and-coming young people of our region,” he said.
“We were blown away by the 30 teams or approximately 300 kids that support the Dubbo Basketball Association.”