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One Year On: What Happened to the Olympic Basketball Legacy?

July 28, 2013 17:36 pm 77 comments

by Sam Neter

Olympic Basketball Arena Dismantled

It has been almost a year to the day since the London 2012 Olympics started (wow, where has the time gone?!), and 12 months on I think it’s clear for everyone to see the Olympic legacy, for basketball, was nothing but a mere fallacy.

In September of 2011, Hoopsfix published the results of a poll asking ‘Will the London 2012 Olympics make a difference to basketball in the UK?’ – 57% of you said yes; I wish you were right.

In the same post, I chimed in with my own thoughts and said:

“I don’t see anything changing. It will still take a couple of weekends to get your Level 2 coaching qualification and be deemed ‘qualified’ to be developing our best prospects. It will still cost money for players to get in a gym. Our best players will still have to head abroad to have any chance of a decent professional career. Some of our best coaches will still have to hold down a full time job whilst trying to create a basketball team.”

And that, my friends, is still the reality.

Before I dive into this, I just want to make clear – when I’m referring to legacy, I’m talking about anything that has happened as a direct result of the Olympics that is going to make a LONG TERM difference to basketball in the UK.

Yes, British Basketball would never have been formed if it wasn’t for the Olympics, and we wouldn’t have had GB teams competing in European Championships or the Games, but does any of this make a difference for basketball in the UK 10 years down the line? No. If basketball’s funding remained cut earlier this year, 15 years down the line, the GB teams would be nothing but a distance memory.

Anyway…let’s do this.

Participation

In June, Sport England’s latest participation figures showed a 16% increase in basketball participation – wow, this must be the Olympic legacy in action right?

Wrong. This is seemingly little to do with the Olympics, and actually a result of England Basketball’s ‘IM Basketball’ and ‘Ball Again’ initiatives – programmes that have essentially been put together to be able to record those playing recreationally in an effort to more accurately measure participation numbers (basically, a lot of these people were playing anyway, there was just no way to record them as participants before).

For clubs I have spoken to who are in the trenches, it remains business as usual; they’ve received no major influx of kids from the Olympics (and by the way, even if this did happen, the infrastructure isn’t in place for clubs to be able to support it).

Facilities

A year on, and the main basketball arena from the Olympic Park has been dismantled (see image above). This was always the plan, but was met by opposition from the likes of GB star Luol Deng, and more recently, his former Brixton coach Jimmy Rogers.

The one shining beacon of ‘Olympic legacy’ that we’re constantly being reminded of is the London Lions’ use of the Copper Box, the former Olympic handball arena, this coming season. By all accounts it makes for a very nice mid-sized venue (7,000 seats), but it remains unclear how much the Copper Box will actually benefit the wider basketball community. It is yet another multi-use sports facility that basketball will be wrestling with other sports to get access to, and one they will have to pay for at that.

There remains a worrying lack of purpose-built basketball facilities up and down the country, but there is light at the end of this tunnel, with a number of facilities in the pipeline (got a feature coming out on it soon). However, none of these are a direct result of the Olympics.

Coaching

The standard of coaching remains as it always has been – with much to be desired. John Amaechi has called for a cull of all coaches that aren’t up to the job earlier this week – and I don’t think this is too far off the mark. Something desperately needs to be done about the standard of coaching that many kids receive in this country.

I’m still a level 2 qualified coach, on paper good enough to provide teaching to some of our best talent, but in reality so far off from being an expert I should never be allowed such a prestigious responsibility. It still takes a couple of weekends to be deemed a “qualified” basketball coach and then be let loose to nurture the future basketball potential of this country. This is a problem.

It remains ironic that all the junior national team jobs at England level, which are voluntary, are held by English coaches, and before this year (post-2012, of course!), close to all of the paid positions within the GB junior and senior teams were held by foreigners.

Disappointingly, the GB Senior Men’s coaching team for this year has been announced and doesn’t feature one British based coach who will then be able to pass that knowledge on to the up and coming talent (both players and coaches) in the UK.

Talent Development Pathway

Our best players are still all based abroad and all of our younger players look to leave the country as soon as they are physically able. This leads to a multitude of other problems (the level of competition in this country is not as good, kids have no measuring stick of what “good” actually is, national team programmes are hard to administer with kids being away etc etc) but no-one can blame them – it remains in their best interest to get out (funnily enough, many coaches are heading abroad at the first opportunity now as well).

Some coaches have pointed to the work Warwick Cann (formerly the GB/EB Performance Pathway Manager, the job now being done by Vladan Dragosavac) has done with the performance pathway and say it is “night and day” from before, so perhaps it’s not all bad.

The England U18s, who have just finished 9th in Europe, feature 10 of 12 players who remained in England last season – so maybe we can develop talent? However, by the start of next season at least another 4 of them will have headed abroad, and I’m sure every single one of them would if the opportunity presented itself.

There remains an extremely small minority who have stayed in the UK for their entire junior development and advanced up through the BBL and onto a better league elsewhere (Myles Hesson is the only player in recent times I can think of). The BBL, as a whole, still doesn’t place junior development as a priority and is a long way off from emulating the feeder systems in place of many European clubs.

Standard of Competition

The standard of basketball domestically, not only professionally, but at a grassroots level is as bad as it’s ever been. In the three years I have been covering the sport closely (watching games from U14 level right through to GB Senior level), you could make the argument the level of basketball has taken steps backward.

The 2010 Junior Final Fours was the first I attended, and all four of those teams would’ve dominated the 2013 Junior Final Four teams. The consensus amongst players and coaches is the same. The BBL, though taking steps forward, is still ways away.

Many of the league’s leading scorers would not have got off the bench of a top BBL team 10 years ago (so I’m told repeatedly by old heads). A former England international and BBL player when the league was near it’s peak, told me he finds it astounding that Charles Smith, a player who was solid but not spectacular by the league’s standards back then, is now 37 years old and having 40 point games last season (in the ’99-00 season Smith averaged 16.2 points in his first year out of college, last season, 13 years later at an age where, for most, their playing days are long gone, he averaged 18.8).

Media

The media continues to pay no attention to basketball at any level. This is partly the sport’s fault (England Basketball don’t even send out press releases, British Basketball’s communications are worse this year than they’ve ever been), however, even during the Olympics, basketball found it very hard to get a look in.

The Olympics has provided no boost to the coverage of basketball (or any other sports for that matter); the sports page are still 90% football, with 9% rugby and cricket and the other 1% given to whichever lucky sport is flavour of the month (not accurate percentages, but you get what I’m saying).

This, of course, is all a self-fulfilling prophecy – until the sport gets better and has more interest the media won’t be interested, but it’s hard for the sport to improve and receive interest without media coverage at some level.

British Basketball

And then we have British Basketball, the organisation, which is perhaps as in as sorry state as it’s ever been. Straight after the Olympics, funding was pulled entirely, then reinstated but on a one year conditional basis with the conditions being near unattainable.

For British Basketball to unlock the remaining three years of funding after this year, UK Sport want World Championship qualification from the senior teams. The women have already failed in that, despite getting their best ever finish at Eurobasket, and the men, by all accounts, will have their work cut out with a Luol Deng and Joel Freeland-less team that will be the most inexperienced it has been in recent years.

The reality is British Basketball could be done by the end of 2013.

It might also be worth nothing; since the Olympics has finished, pretty much every single member of the GB staff has moved on to greener pastures. Chris Spice, the Performance Director has gone to Swimming, Ron Wuotila, the High Performance Manager, has gone full time Athletics Director at the University of Calgary (a job he was already doing whilst still at GB), Simon Tuckey, the Commercial Director, has left to pursue business interests, James Tombs, Head of Commercial & Business Operations, now works for the Youth Sports Trust, and Beverly Kettlety, the Operations Officer, now works for Netball.

But what about…

People will try to point to the Under-18s competing in Division A, knocking off Spain, or the Under-20s finally getting the Division A promotion that has eluded them for eight years – but these are exceptions; it is no surprise the ’95s are the ‘golden generation’ and the ’93s (who many will say are the other golden group in recent times) feature arguably the best prospect out of the UK in recent years in Devon van Oostrum. But what after them?

The ’96s are one of our worst generations in years and the ’97s are thin. Until we get to a point where year upon year we are consistently producing teams that can compete in the upper echelons of Europe, instead of relying on an exceptionally talented generation or player, we will remain a joke amongst the international basketball community.

On the ground things remain the same. For the last three decades people have been constantly harping on about what “potential” we have, how basketball is on “the brink” of blowing up in the UK and how other countries would kill to have our raw talent.

So why is it not getting better, and how is it possible that the world’s greatest sporting event, which made so many promises of legacy (pumping £9million+ into basketball over the past 8 years), has made no difference whatsoever to the state of affairs?

How is this allowed to happen? What happened to the Olympic basketball legacy?

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  • Don

    In the junior final fours , some teams looked quite strong such as Peckham Pride u14s and u15s, Lewisham Thunder u14 and Haringey Hawks u15.

    • Richard

      Looking strong and playing good team basketball which helps the development of the players are two different things.

    • JohnB

      Not quite sure what you mean by “looking strong” Don. As Roy has said in a comment re the U18 team remaining in Division A, there are talented players, but the knowledge of how to play the game and the skills they require are very much lacking.

  • jack

    i think you have covered nearly all bases with regards to exactly what the state of, the “legacy” and the game itself in england is, I am interested to know what you think would be the correct steps forward on the whole, as you did briefly touch on some areas, but on a broader scale what do you think actually now needs to happen for the sport to progress forward in the correct direction..

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      I did think about whether or not I should touch upon what I think are the solutions but it would’ve become a 10,000 word dissertation and wanted to try and focus purely on the state of the legacy (and even then, re-reading it, at times I go off a bit).

      The number 1 step forward, in my opinion, is getting the right person in charge. Right now, EB’s role is far more important than GB’s and with Keith Mair stepping down later this year it is a huge opportunity to take a massive positive step forward. Mair has played his role in helping the sport (bringing it back from the edge of bankruptcy when he took over) but it is time for change and someone with a fresh approach to come in. If EB get that hire right, it could change everything.

      With a visionary leader in charge, who knows the landscape, isn’t afraid to upset a few people along the way and brings the right people in, I can see things changing on the ground pretty quickly.

      • http://twitter.com/matt_clear Matt

        Great article Sam. Depressing, but I can’t really disagree with what you’ve written.

        I’d be interested to hear what changes you think a more effective CEO could bring about. Who decides who’s appointed to that position (I’m guessing Jan Hagen would have a significant voice)?

        I wonder if the Olympic results had any effect on the legacy. If the men had beaten Australia to make the QFs, and the women had beaten France, would anything you’ve listed above be any different? UK Sport might have less stringent criteria for future funding, but other than that? So it saddens me to think that the Olympics may have been essentially pointless as far as developing basketball in the UK goes.

        I’m looking forward to the feature on facilities. I started playing in what is now the Stockport Ball Hall and in retrospect, I was spoilt by having a high-quality venue where I could play for my club team every week and attend camps during the summer. That put me in contact with coaches and got me playing National League – and the National League team played and practiced at the Ball Hall too. More venues like that and the Amaechi Centre are essential for getting kids into the game early.

      • JohnB

        This comment is hitting the nail very much on the head. Since way back in the 70’s we have NEVER had a C.E.O., or any Executive Committee Director with vision or the required determination and , for want of a better word, ruthlessness, to put their own stamp on things.

        But whoever does come in will have to fight against problems such as personnel just waiting for their pension or wanting to be big fish in a very small pond.

        The whole administrative structure would need a complete overhaul.

        • Fan

          Is one of the main problems getting “the right” C.E.O. in place, that of salary? “The right” C.E.O. will certainly not accept the job if he is not given the required salary for the immense amount of work and effort involved.

          £50,000 or more?

          • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

            The CEO position has been advertised with a salary of approximately £85,000. I’d say that’s plenty to attract someone of the right calibre.

            • Fan

              Thanks Sam.

              I agree, although IF he/she is the right person and gets the right people in place, and manages to obtain sponsorship, better facilities, improve the competitions etc. etc. etc. I would think this is a bargain!!!!

              IF.

  • http://londonsummerleague.com Stephen Garrett

    Great article – in terms of of direct legacy from the Olympics this was always going to be limited but what has come should not be underestimated.

    “And then we have British Basketball, the organisation, which is perhaps as in as sorry state as it’s ever been”. Before London was awarded the Games the GB team and supporting organisation did not even exist and the England team was only recently resuscitated. Losing funding will be a massive blow but British Basketball will not be done in 2013. We return to the state of affairs in 2005 but with some important differences – BBL is now organising home internationals, central events are their forte so these now have a chance of making money, there is a headline sponsor in place in Standard Life – there is a lobbying network in place from the “Back British Basketball” campaign up to the MP’s basketball group fighting to overturn the funding criteria.

    “The one shining beacon of ‘Olympic legacy’ that we’re constantly being reminded of is the London Lions’ use of the Copper Box” – too right it cannot be underestimated how huge it is that a London pro basketball team has an affordable arena venue to play out of. The last time a London team was playing out of a arena was Towers at Wembley in the late 90’s and it was costing them 20k a game so was never ever viable. Rumours are that Lions have sold 2k tickets already for the Iowa warm-up game in August – if Lions can make the Copper Box work it will be a turning point for the BBL.

    Finally want Hoopsfix to start another campaign regarding the temporary “basketball” arena – understand that a buyer is yet to be found. Want to campaign the government for the arena to be be broken up into four 2.5k seat basketball dedicated arenas to be located around the country. Put those in say Edinburgh, Chester, Birmingham and Bristol – for Warriors, Phoenix, Knights and Flyers to play out of and the BBL can become a serious pro league.

    • neil w

      I am no architect but I don’t think you can just take a 10k seat temporary arena and create 4 2.5k arenas.
      Also, who would cover the costs of these new arenas and you would also have to find space (purchase the land) to put the arenas, more costs.

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      When I said British Basketball could be done by 2013 I was referring to the organisation – and by all accounts, based on what has been said by UK Sport etc, that could well be true. They will be in the exact same situation they were at the start of this year when funding was cut – they have reserves that would give them a year or so, and after that would be screwed; the commercial income they generate just isn’t enough.

      I can’t comment on whether the BBL organising GB internationals is a good or bad thing – and will hold judgement until we see GB vs Puerto Rico at the Copper Box. I know they are confident they are gonna do a better job than has previously been done (which is not hard), but the real measure will be ticket sales, so we shall see.

      Standard Life is a headline sponsor, but as far as I’m aware, did not actively go out and seek basketball as a sport they want to back – they were essentially gifted to basketball by LOCOG as one of the big corporations who wanted a piece of the Olympics. I know they have had concerns of the benefit they are receiving from the sponsorship and I don’t expect them to be around long-term now the Olympics is over (I’m surprised they are still around to be honest, I can only assume that is because something was written into their initial contract?).

      MP’s basketball group is obviously a good thing – a direct result of the Olympics though? Not 100% sure about that.

      The Copper Box’s agreement with the London Lions is being brokered by GLL – who are also obviously responsible for Crystal Palace. I can’t see the Copper Box being given to them at a much cheaper rate than Crystal Palace was (I don’t know this, I’m just guessing) – making no difference to the Lions as an affordable venue…yes it’s bigger; but Crystal Palace is 2000 seats and they couldn’t sell it out regularly at full prices – Copper Box is 7000 – they have their work cut out. Added to this – when I’m referring to legacy I’m talking about long term difference – GLL’s involved for 3 years to begin with…if it doesn’t work out and they pull out where does that leave the use of the Copper Box as a basketball facility. It’s another multi-use sports centre – not a purpose built, community centred, basketball venue that London so badly needs.

      Haha with Back British Basketball, then Fund British Basketball, not sure I’m ready to take on another campaign yet!

      Thanks for your comments.

      • http://londonsummerleague.com Stephen Garrett

        Neil W – afraid you are right Barr Construction who own the Baksetball Arena confirmed with me today that it cannot be broken down – though the have had plenty of requests – shame as don’t believe any city could sustain a 10k basketball venue – wonder if capacity could be reduced and a clubs such as Giants or Knights could campaign for it as both are teams in major cities who don’t have suitable/affordable venues.

        Sam – I think I have more faith than you on Lions in the Copper Box – if they are getting it at CP prices (know that is just speculation) then that is a great deal and is the first time (since Leopards in 90s) that a London club will be playing out of an arena at an affordable rate. Lions built up a decent fanbase at CP and did get sell-outs by the end of the season – people were standing in the aisles at the Riders game. Even if they half fill Copper Box that will be significant and will allow them to attract sponsors and start attracting the type of players that will make the BBL interesting – even to Hoopsfix! My view is that Vince Macauley and Lions are a great fit for London, he understands that you need to put on a show and he is full of ingenuity – when Lions lost their venue in MK he kept them afloat playing out of a shopping centre! – hope London fans do get behind them so that some legacy is delivered.

  • James

    Great article, covering most of the aspects.

    One of the biggest problems is facilities. People DO NOT have places to play! They end up buying a hoop and play at home ALONE!

    Why the schools are charging for the gyms? They charge £25-£40 an hour for facilities that the community has paid taxes already! so the same people have to pay again? for the kids to play basketball! Many families cannot afford that…hence..the hoop at home.

    In countries like Greece or Spain there are basketball courts everywhere and people play for free!
    Well guess who are winning the Euroleague and the Eurobasket every now and then! And yes these are warmer countries and you can play outdoors too! What about Russia and Lithuania, Latvia, France, and more.

    Another important aspect it the media. In GB they just know NBA! What about the tactical European basketball? How can people watch or follow that! They do not even know it exists! You cannot have as prototype the NBA players and ignore the Europeans! NBA is based on physical abilities while European or American college basketball are based on team tactics, purely smart basketball. If kids cannot watch and understand the sport they will just keep on buying the hoop trying to copy NBA stars.

  • JohnB

    One of the problems with everything that has been written and published in these comments, is that so many people have constantly stated what they think is wrong with our sport (in nearly all cases being correct), but NOBODY in our Administration would seem to be either reading it or doing anything about it or are just simply ignoring it.

    I suspect that this article too will go the same way.

    Unfortunately it is a case of ostriches in the sand.

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      People in the ‘administration’ read the site, and the comments – I know that for a fact; ranging from regular staff, all the way up to board members…

      • JohnB

        As I said ” or are simply ignoring it”

  • dpeti

    Some months ago a new Executive Chairman was appointed and shortly afterwards the C.E.O, Keith Mair decided it was time to leave.

    Has anyone any information as to who else in the Administration will decide to leave and who the new C.E.O. will be and, further to this, just what other action is this Executive Chairman (part-time?) doing to address so many of these comments re English basketball?

    Certainly seems to have been extremely quiet recently.

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      I’ve only just seen the CEO position advertised, not sure how long it’s been out there but closing date is 30th August (which seems a little crazy seeing as Keith leaves on 31st August) – I know of some people planning to apply and, in my opinion, there are some good candidates going for the position.

      When you say Executive Chairman I assume you’re referring to Jan Hagen – he’s still working on it – it has taken him a lot of time to get his head around the ins and outs of the setup, how everything works etc. He has been speaking to every major stakeholder in the sport – I still think it’s far too early to be criticising.

      I hope the new CEO is given a fair shot and people understand what a long term job this is.

  • McrRed

    Gloomy…but nail. on. head.

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      It is gloomy, unfortunately. Important to be aware of the issues though, to force change. The lack of media coverage in the UK means the federations aren’t held accountable like many other sports.

  • Monty

    Very hard for Junior Clubs to achieve financial self-sufficiency . One of the Junior Clubs mentioned has folded very recently . EB has gone many years without replacing the RAF sponsorship which was very helpful .

    The Level 2 Coaches should be made to work for a set period of time with level 3 Coaches .

    EB will not give Junior Basketball the competitive structure we need ; look at the number of games with a points differential of 50 + .

    The improved International performances gloss over a lot of the problems at a lower level .

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      Hard for junior clubs to achieve financial self-sufficiency when they are run by volunteers who have no clue how to create an attractive product to sponsors.

      Coaching qualifications need a complete overhaul.

      Junior basketball league structures need looking it.

      And yes – improved international performances means people instantly start believing that all of a sudden we are good at basketball – not the case at all.

  • Jordan

    Good article but I struggle to see how youth basketball is supposedly getting worse when our u18s just finished 9th (our highest ever finish) that doesn’t make sense to me.

    Also the article mentions the media and the fact that it could help British basketball, but your’e a huge media outlet for British basketball and instead of reporting on the BBL, EB, BUCS, BCS etc. there seems to be more NBA highlights than anything. In the past their was more British stuff but recently (before the euros started) it seemed to be lots of NBA stuff. I think hoopsfix should go back to how it was a couple years back.

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      I say it in the article – the ’95s are our ‘golden generation’. They have been responsible for almost every success that England junior basketball has had internationally in recent years; it was them that got the U16s promoted, it was them that got the U18s promoted, and it was them who have just finished 9th. It will also likely be them who lead the U20s to their best ever results. They are a once in a decade generation of talent – an exception rather than the rule.

      On the ground, the domestic junior leagues are in as worse state as they’ve ever been, from the standard of competition, to the administration, to the public interest.

      RE: the content that Hoopsfix puts out – I will try to explain…

      The site is currently doing better traffic numbers than ever before (80,000+ visits a month, 35-40,000 of those are unique visitors, 70-80% of the traffic is UK based) – the numbers are important for me to be able to make a living. Being able to go to advertisers saying I have X amount of visitors gives me leverage to charge more etc.

      If I did purely British basketball stuff, I wouldn’t touch those traffic numbers (back then it was doing about a quarter of what it is currently doing) – simple reason being there just isn’t enough stuff to update about. In an ideal world, I want to be an aggregator of information; a central hub for all UK basketball news which piggy backs onto other people’s stories, as well as producing original content (pretty much exactly what SlamOnline does). The problem is, because there isn’t wider media coverage of basketball, there are very few stories I can jump on, and as essentially a one man band, it is near impossible for me to do it all myself.

      People have got no idea how incredibly hard it is to be a British basketball news site when teams don’t put out news! It means a lot of emails, phone calls, text messages, chasing people and basically relying on a network I have built over the years.

      Additionally, I have become way more video focused than ever before. Everything on the internet is becoming so much more visual, if you’re a business and not doing video, you’re way behind the times. Filming and editing takes up most of my time (again, people have no idea) – the NBA stuff is a quick and easy way for me to continue to have daily updates, whilst being able to have enough time free to edit.

      I could go back to doing purely British basketball, and like back then, you’d see 1 update every couple of days if you’re lucky, as well as me having to juggle a full-time job whilst doing the site (meaning I also am forced to miss events as not able to get the time off), or I continue doing what I’m doing – international stuff as well, meaning daily updates, and also giving enough income to be full time. I can see what people look at on the site – if the NBA stuff wasn’t getting views I wouldn’t bother with it, but the reality is it keeps bringing people back.

      I think it’s clear what is best for not only me, but the site/community as a whole.

      • Jordan

        My problem isn’t that the nba stuff is there. I understand you have to make your money and I understand people like the man, but you dont cover the bbl or eb at all, which doesnt make sense to me. You mention they don’t put stuff out, but the bbl publishes stories constantly. Also when I click on popular I see that it’s mostly British stories. I think that it’s good for hoopsfix to branch out but I feel it’s starting to ignore British basketball at times especially our domestic leagues.

        • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

          To say that Hoopsfix is starting to ignore British basketball is absolutely ridiculous – there isn’t a site on the internet that comes close to providing the level and depth of coverage on the site.

          I will publish big news about the BBL/EBL, but the smaller stuff just doesn’t receive interest.

          RE: the BBL – just because they put out stories constantly doesn’t mean they are ones that people are interested in. The stuff I used to post was recap all the scores every night with leading scorers…there is no point doing that as all the info is on the BBL’s website (and it used to get about 10 views), player signings which is pretty much all that’s going on right now, again receives very little interest. What I’ve found is the vast majority of people (that read this site) just aren’t that interested in the BBL.

          EBL is slightly different, it has a lot more younger guys playing good minutes and contributing (the prospects is what receives the most interest here, by far), however, when full stats aren’t done for every game, and other good content isn’t produced from teams it makes it difficult. The only way to really provide comprehensive coverage of the domestic leagues in this country is to attend all the games and this is just impossible. During the season I’ll be at U18 games pretty much every weekend filming guys, and then college/university stuff on Wednesdays (I think you’ll find few people who aren’t coaches/players/refs/table officials that get to as many games/events across the season as I do – bear in mind it costs a lot of money as well). All games fall at the same time so you have to pick and choose.

          Until the communications and content being produced by teams and local news is better then this won’t change and will continue to make it difficult for any external media outlet that wants to start covering the sport.

          • Rob

            If the BBL produced highlights the same night or even the day after games, there would be videos to put on websites, not just this one. As it is….

        • Fan

          “You DON’T cover the bbl or ebl AT ALL” !!!!!

          With respect, what you say is B.S.

          Obviously you are (a) not reading the site and (b) not having the faintest idea as to what Sam is doing and is required for him to publish anything on his site, let alone the BBL (which, let’s face it, is almost hardly worth covering in any case it is so abysmal.

          I would agree that coverage of the BBL is not every day and is not perhaps as much as other (more interesting) aspects of the game, but the BBL is covered, as is the EBL.

          If the BBL publishes stuff on its web site, why on earth should it all be repeated on other web sites? Just for those too lazy to look?

          In any case, I suspect that Sam’s hope is that by including information other than British basketball it will give him much more scope to obtain outside interests from sponsorship, funding, general finance, advertising income etc.

          • Jordan

            Sam: I understand the problems faced and I cant speak for everyone, however personally I’d like to see more BBL, EB and BUCS stuff, I do understand your workload is heavy and they can be hard to cover but I’m just saying what I would like to see. I understand my ignoring British ball comment is a little far fetched and badly worded, I just remember certain times when 6 or 7 of the latest 10 stories were not on British ball. I’d like to point out that I think you do a great job and I’m a big fan of the site, I’m just saying what I’d like to see.

            Rob: I agree the BBL don’t do a great job themselves.

            Fan: I read this site daily, and am just pointing out that I’d prefer to see more domestic basketball coverage. I know that the BBL and EB cover themselves on there websites and I do read them, your point about repeating things from other sites carries no wait considering the amount of things (such as NBA etc) that are repeated on this site (which again I have no problem with).

  • James

    Agree with pretty much 99% of this. Only point I would question is within coaching, most of the junior national team coaches are not English, (or have spent gaining there basketball experience elsewhere) U18 men (is english but gained his experience in america) and women head coach are American, U16 boys coach is European and U15 boys coach is Canadian. Not that there is anything wrong with that but it’s a clear sign that the majority of English coaches are not up to that standard let alone GB coaching standard.

    So the point I’m getting at is that I believe opportunities for coaches to gain experience and face the consequences if they aren’t up to standard just like our players do is crucial.
    For example if a junior player isn’t good enough he is generally cut from the team in national league. If the coach is not good enough….. Nothing happens.

    So before implementing a new coaching structure we have to surely set the coaching standard by getting rid of bad coaches first. Regardless if its a voluntary position or not.

    An obvious opposing question would be how do we differentiate between a good coach and a bad coach? Would be to harsh to go on results purely as there are way to many variables but I personally believe some of our funding should be put towards having a system similar to what our schools have in OFSTED. That regularly visit coaching sessions randomly within there region and need to see the coach following certain guidelines and showing they can teach certain vital skills. (Correct shooting form, defensive stance and movement etc etc) not spending the whole session with 14-15 year olds going over the X’s and O’s and even worst teaching a zone.

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      Good point on some of those with international coaching backgrounds – rather than meaning that literally they are all English coaches, what I should have said is they are all England-based coaches.

      There are English coaches that are up to that standard, of course its not the majority (same with any country) but they do exist.

      Reason coaches aren’t cut is because majority are voluntary – everyone is doing they best they can with what they have. Until coaching becomes an actual professional job this will be hard to change.

  • twopointgeezr

    - Lack of indoor facilities and individual practises. Where does a 13/14/15/16/17/18 year old go to work on his jumpshot or ball handling? It’s too cold, wet, and windy outside during the basketball season.

    Kids will have 1, maybe 2 if they are lucky national league team practices a week. This is a team practice. When does the aspiring player go to develop and fine tune his individual skills?

    Leisure centres want anywhere between £50 to £100 for court hire per hour.

    When I was a junior player it used to irritate me so much. All I wanted to do was work on my game but other than team practice, I had no where to play but outside which the elements made impossible to do 8 months of the year.

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      That’s why purpose built facilities are so key – I mention it in the article, there IS light at the end of this tunnel. We have a feature we’re working on at the moment about it.

      I’d also like to add to that however, purpose built facilities are not the be all and end all – Nottingham and Barrow (!) have purpose built basketball facilities and are both far from being a factory of talent production.

  • Speedy

    You guys need to lay off the coaches! Most coaches are volunteers that have had no access to decent mentoring and hey have a day job so are unable to put any amount of quality time into their own development. Coaching standards are not good but that is not because people are neglecting their coaching responsibilities so ‘getting rid’ of the poor coaches would often result in just a club shitting down. The big issue is facilities or lack of them and access. A good coach can’t do a lot in 3/4 hours a week. In Europe they get four times as much as that. Even if the coaching is bad, a kid will get better with 10/12 hours of training a week just from having a ball in their hands.

    Lay off the coaches….

    • James

      That’s the main problem. Just because you are a volunteer doesn’t mean you have the right to be a bad coach. There is always time to develop as a coach the punt of resources on the Internet I.e coaching clinics is huge. A lot of coaches can not be bothered because they do not get paid so rather spend an hour watching tv than learning about basketball coaching, there is no excuse not to improve as a coach every week at minimum especially if we expect our players to constantly improve.

      Players will only be as good as the coaching they get. I’m not tarnishing all coaches with the same brush there are a lot of coaches out there that do constantly look to improve but there are also even more coaches who see coaching as purely a ‘hobby’ and are not interested in improvement.

  • Mike

    I agree with this actual but I do not understand where people are going with the whole idea about the standered of coaching. Sam it’s unfair when people are bring down basketball coaching when for 1 none of the junior club pay there coaches it voluntary and 2 you have to go out and pay for your own coaching certificate yourself. When your coaching these teams you end up having to pay for you n your teams travel around the country for games you also have to hold down a full time job struggle with getting time off work excreta. Basketball to me in the UK is a thankless job with no real prospects of future earnings we who are involved only do it because of our love to the game and the goodness of heart. From those who give up endless time they could have spent doing other things just because of the love of the game. Because if you look at it in the way I look at it since my playing days as a junior player the system as gone backwards. I came from the London towers junior program back when the bbl was a league to be admired to what it is now. I’ve seen it deep n not recover basketball over here will always be looked at as a pass time n never a real sport you can go into with a realistic long term future I think deep down we all know it but hate to admit it.

  • Roy

    I would agree that the vast majority of coaches are coaching for the love of the game, I know that was the reason I initially got involved in the sport, and all are volunteers.

    Again, I am well aware that many of these volunteer coaches spend their own money to ensure that their team and players can get to practice and play in competition.

    Even so, I don’t think this is any reason to not criticize the coaching standards, which are not very good at the moment.

    As mentioned in above comments, for so many reasons it is extremely difficult for would-be coaches to develop ; job, family, facilities available to learn, very little. if any, help from the Administration (Coaches’ Association) etc. etc.

    The present set-up for the qualification of coaches, from the first level right through to the highest level is almost laughable it is so inefficient and incompetent. One only has to look at the qualifications coaches have to acquire in say Spain or Serbia, to realize how far we are behind Europe in this regard.

    I would suggest there is a distinct difference between game coaching and coaching training sessions – the latter of which I would rather call teaching basketball as opposed to coaching basketball.

    The higher the playing standard is, the more likely that game coaching will improve but of course the playing standard of the game is so low – at all levels of the game – that this does not help coaches to develop.

    From personal experience I do not think it is possible to develop yourself as a coach (to any high level) by staying in England. One just has to go abroad to really try and develop as a coach, and this of course is the problem for so many coaches.

    I have made many suggestions as to how we might start to re-organize our coaching system which I will not repeat here and even though I do not think that this would necessarily produce coaches of the same class as some of the European coaches, it would at least give and provide a firm foundation for those coaches who (REALLY) want to get to a high standard of coaching.

  • Mike

    @Roy your right in what your saying and if your looking at it form my view point a lot of these coaches may have been badly coached themselves so they can only be passing on the same things that they where shown. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it basketball in England is a pass time recreation sport with no real or immediate prospect to any young budding person who is seeking to make it in the sport while doing it in the UK. It’s a fact that one day every one will have to face up to. If you speak to or ask the majority of people who are involved its because of there love of the sport. I’ve learnt that this sport will sometimes break your heart if you give everything to it because your return will never match your input. Basketball will always be a novelty in this country with a lot of people only seeing it as a bit of fun and not real competion I work in a school where I have to fight the school system and people in power to convince them how much the children love basketball I’ve known local school competion to only exist because people like myself in other schools care enough to put in the extra time to make it work. When I look at other sports like cricket and football even rugby to be miles ahead even with the fact my school has been borough champions for the past 8 years and have 3 natinaol school championships still the school feels its not weathy of new equipment new kits or for them to fix the outside hoop.

  • Martin

    Great article Sam, even though it is a little depressing to read. I wanted to add a few points of my own to the debate.

    1. I’m not sure how much could realistically be expected from the Olympics itself, as it seems the issues are far more deep-rooted. The Olympics gave the sport a chance to shine in the media spotlight, but I feel the opportunity was not taken. The fact that there were many British successes at the Olympics meant that basketball would always be secondary to the general media, and the chance of basketball success was always going to be difficult (despite a close run with the Spanish team).

    2. The fact that tickets for the Olympic basketball events were ridiculously over-priced was a missed opportunity to allow youngsters to see basketball played at such a high level. This was a similar situation in the Final Fours of the Euroleague. Half empty arenas might indicate to the media a general apathy to the sport of basketball in the UK, but statistics on youngsters playing the sport would indicate that this was not the case.

    3. I think your opinion about the standard of coaching is a very valid one. The fact that there are many volunteers who give their time/money to help youngsters is certainly admirable and should not be dismissed. However, in order to allow the youngsters to reach their potential, high quality coaching is a necessity. Giving sole responsibility for looking after sick patients to volunteer doctors, or the education of students in schools to volunteer teachers would not be ideal either.

    4. Investment in a sport is always crucial if results are to be achieved, but a clear plan is perhaps more critical. If you look at the considerable investment in football in England, and compare the England national team to other European nations with a lower budget, it is clear to see that money is not the only issue. The fact that Holland, Croatia and Belgium all rank above the England football team is a testament to this.

    5. A close examination of why there is success in basketball in other countries might help to generate a plan of action for basketball in England, although any plan would require not just investment, but time and patience.

    Thanks again for the article Sam.

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  • Speedy

    To say that because I am a volunteer that doesn’t give me the right or an excuse to do it badly is totally narrow minded. I got into coaching because my son started playing and the local club needed volunteers if the team was to run. I also run marathons, go to the gym, have two other children and a wife. I also enjoy a beer at the weekend – dont tell me that I am letting anyone down by being a ‘bad coach’. I do the best I can with the time I am able to give it, which is a training session once a week and a game at the weekend.

    Pay me and I could justify giving it more time. But if you have money, you can almost certainly get someone far better than me! But what I give allows fifteen kids that would otherwise not have a coach, a team to play on.

    I would agree that those few good, paid coaches we have in this country need to be put in a position to support the ‘bad’ coaches. However, after ten hours at work and having not seen my kids for a a couple of days I might want to see them, or I might want to relax in front of the tv – which is also apparently against the rules for volunteers!

    • JohnB

      IS anybody saying YOU are a bad coach? (Apart from perhaps yourself?

      If I am a volunteer doctor, I can do a bad job?

      If you are a volunteer, in anything, one would assume you would try and do the best job you can, but, in this case, if you are a poor coach, for whatever reason, why should it not be commented upon?

      If you are a volunteer it certainly does not give you the right to do the job badly. Neither does it give you the right of course not to see your family. Exactly one of the problems

      What is actually being said is that the current overall standard of coaching is bad, which is correct. The reasons for this might be and are many and varied.. However it does not alter the fact that the standard is poor.

      Neither does it give you the right of course not to see your family. Exactly one of the problems

  • Adam

    Sam – who do you think IS doing a good job of developing a programme, decent players, coaches etc….

    The Staff at EB are nearly all associated with a club so they are biased.

    Which clubs, academies, universities are doing well in your opinion? I’m interested because you are not associated with anyone in particular so are a neutral…

  • Speedy

    Exactly, and yes I am saying I would probably fall into the bracket of ‘bad coach’ compared to the majority of people on here. I do the best I can, I speak to other coaches, I read, watch stuff of YouTube – but that’s about all I can give…. I think where I am at with my coaching is where a heck of a lot of coaches in the uk are at.

    I’m just saying that its a struggle to give any more.

    • Andy

      Speedy – it is thanks to people like you who are prepared to give time with little support from the ‘administration’ that the sport survives in this country.

      I have great admiration for John Amaechi, but he and others who call for a cull of coaches had better come up with the replacement experts. Can someone explain why, if we are looking to the future, individuals are expected to pay to attend coaching courses? Typically £150 for two full weekends of your time which will often require travelling a considerable distance and possible a hotel.

      Britain has athletes and in individual sports we do well. Also in team sports where there is good school competition we do well – soccer, rugby, cricket, netball and hockey.

      British basketball will rise to be serious International contenders when the current players aged 16-30 become teachers and coaches so that the sport is taken seriously in schools and junior teams outside schools are run to a high level. Until then, Speedy and others like him are owed more than we can imagine for the time and money they put in to at least allow youngsters in certain areas to experience any organised basketball at all.

  • James

    To think that because you are volunteer is an excuse to do something badly is narrow
    Minded. It may very well be something you do as hobby which is fine but to some kids it’s a dream that to a degree is put into the coaches hands.

    Now I am all for offering kids opportunities to play basketball as much as possible but if you are admittedly a bad coach who is just interested in offering kids an opportunity to play (which there is nothing wrong with) why not just run an open recreational session? Or local league?

    A large problem is these teams are bing entered into national league and getting absolutely slaughtered by 30+ pts which does nothing for development and a lot of the coaches teach zone defense at youth level which is even worst for development. And that’s why part of the article states the standard has dropped especially in the final fours. And the main problem is these kids can’t do basic fundamentals.

    This is also backed up by John Amechi who bluntly puts it there needs to be a ‘cull’ of coaches for the standard to increase.

    And if its the case of priorities come before coaching (which is more than understandable) especially in a voluntary role and you do not have time to constantly develop then the hard truth is the bad coaches are doing more harm than good

  • Speedy

    I’ve not lost by 30+ points very often other than to NASSA, who beat everyone by that much and several of my players have gone on to play in academies, senior national league teams. Where is the harm there?

    I’m not that bad, I’m just saying that the majority of coaches in this country are I. The same boat as me in that they are giving as much as they can, but in reality I am an volunteer that can’t give these kids the same level of coaching as a full time coach.

    Your making me out to be a villain for admitting what the majority of volunteer coaches fail to see. That the responsibility of developing players with ‘dreams’ of playing professionally or internationally is more often than not falling on the shoulders of coaches that are out of their depth.

    I’m great at my job, I’m pretty good at most of my hobbies, of which coaching basketball is one of them. I think I know more than enough to teach the basics of the game to youngsters and then pass them onto someone more experienced than me. What your missing is that without people doing what I do as a volunteer a lot of kids wouldn’t play ANY basketball. I would love to earn a living coaching, but frankly basketball couldn’t pay me close to what I am able to earn doing what I do.

    In the UK the majority of programmes are run by volunteers who do their best. Sadly their best isn’t good enough – that’s my point, which I think we all agree with!!

    • James

      Then you do not fall into the category that this article is aimed at. If your able to teach fundamentals and the basics of the game correctly then well done because a lot of coaches can not.

      The coaches who run recreational sessions but put them into national league set ups are the problem as to why the majority of national leagues are so lop sided.

      Of course no one is born a great coach like player development, coaches have to work just as hard, (which as a volunteer is not the easiest but is do able). A large problem is we have the mentality of, “I am giving up my own time so I can’t be doing anything wrong”, when sometimes the best action for these coaches would be to admit as much as they love the sport they would do more harm on a players development than they would good if they were to coach.

  • lemarko

    Sports like B-Ball always had a slim chance at legacy, or did they?

    When I see the standard of teenage ball on this website I am simple amazed. I played England in u15 and u17 in the 90s – only 1 of us could dunk (not me), only one person had a Euro career (Steve Hansell) ! Recent performance by national teams are an indicator of legacy and it looks good!

    The commercial legacy ie a professional national basketball league looks slim. The dominance of football, the lack of a middle class fan base to buy the type of high tickets necessary to pay bigger names, the interest is not there. Young people paying £5 a ticket in a 2000 seater stadium don’t enable clubs to pay their star player more than £20K per year. This is very sad as the sport does so0 much to engage yp who may not engage with society in other forums.

    This gap could be bridged by sports and other big product companies paying big advertising fees, but again not there. Even in big global capitals like London.

    On the participation and performance front B+ / the commercial-professional front F (no change and progressively worse from when I saw my first game in the Just Juice GB league of 1984 with green Channel 4 carpets!)

  • Statto

    Our team is not that weak. Some of the team have played at three championship so they’re not lacking in experience. It’s also time for MBA and Boateng to step up.

    There was never going to be an Olympic legacy!

    Still we have light at the end of the tunnel – The BBA!!!!!!! They are going to ride in on a white horse and produce finance, players, spectators and a tv audience. The future is bright!!!!!!!

  • Roy

    I think that we are drifting away slightly from all the other very valid points that Sam has made.

    However !!!!

    The recent comments do give rise to one possible problem relating to coaching and coaches.

    Just how many people who are coaching our youngsters started coaching simply for reasons like their son wanted to play the game and to give that youngster the chance to do what he wanted to do.

    Equally, maybe there are many similar reasons why people decide to start coaching (here I include my two “classes”of coaching- teaching the game and game coaching)

    Just HOW many coaches who are presently coaching in the junior league are in this position and have no real interest to become a coach at the level of our European coaches. They may well like to know more about the game, or to improve their knowledge of the game, but have no desire to really commit to the game. (and, at the moment, these people are desperately required for the junior league to exist)

    If all these people are taken out of the equation, what is left?

    Maybe this is one reason the overall standard of coaching is so much lower than our European counterparts, we just do not have a sufficient number of people who have this ultimate desire to become a great coach.

    One other possible problem might be that there are a number of coaches who are of the opinion that they are already good coaches and are offended when criticism comes their way.

  • James

    Very valid point, Coaching in this country is one of the main reasons why we are where we are at the moment. Some would argue we aren’t doing to badly considering the recent U18 & U20 performances. But I recently attended a coaching clinic run by a top european coach and his comments on the U18 NIJT at the O2 were;
    – Spacing was terrible
    – Passing was even worst
    – 3pt shooting threat was no existent

    So the standard we have at the moment is due to how things are run at the moment. Will a volunteer ever be turned down because they do not meet coaching requirements?
    We are wording that ‘culling’ the bad coaches would cause a break down of many clubs, which in all honesty if they aren’t doing any good. surely that is what’s needed?

    Why have a junior national league club if the standard is so poor?

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  • Twopointgeezer

    Why does it matter why the coaches are bad? Perhaps it is because they are volunteers or whatever.. The bottom line is.. They are BAD!

    No one is saying it’s the coaches faul for being bad, it’s the systems fault.

    The fact that it’s ridiculously easy to get your qualifications, and the fact that it’s ridiculously easy to coach and enter a national league team.

  • Speedy

    So you now see my point…….

    The majority of coaches are similar to me. There are some terrible coaches out there coaching terrible teams that have no business in the national league and then there are some decent coaches out there that are being employed by the sport, but they are normally academy based and then work at senior level in the national league rather than junior level.

    I’m interested in what clubs programmes are seen as ‘doing a good job’.

  • Roy

    I have many times suggested that the junior league needs a complete appraisal and overhaul. At the moment it would seem that all is cared about is number of participants and while I understand the reasoning behind this, it only serves to reduce the level of competition and therefore development of players.

    As has been suggested, at least by me, there are many people trying to coach teams in the junior league who are doing for reasons other than they want particularly to become proficient coaches.

    If the junior league was evolved into a true national league, with many fewer teams, but with teams that had coaches who really do aspire to coach at a high level, than surely the competition would dramatically increase?

    Ah, but, then what would happen to all the other teams? Well, they would play in their own local leagues, arranged and administered by their own local area.

    This is somewhat simplistic and a much more in depth analysis would need to take place, but the overall idea I think would help to ensure that competition at a national level would be the result, and participation numbers would probably remain constant.

  • coach z

    I TOLD Y’ALL, I TOLD YALL I TOLD YALL, I TOLD YALL BUT NOOOOOOO!! Dont listen to me!!! I’m just a dumb american that likes to knock on british basketball, LMAO!!! *Sam I’ll donate 20GBP to any charity of your choice if you don’t delete this.

  • Morris

    Why should Sam delete it? He leaves numerous fatuous comments alone including from those who are grammatically challenged !!!

    I’m really sorry you think you are a dumb American

    • coach z

      Well really appreciate it Morris. Sams known for deleting my coments because when I visit this site on numerous occassions. I give the cold hard truth about the British approach to basketball. So anytime I post something truthful about the games standards of British basketball, Sam always deletes my comments and other users percieve me as negative and arrogant. Ive been saying it all year long. Basketball will NEVER grow in the UK. And its sad to see that the UK is the last to pick up on it in Europe. Just dont get why most brits on here get so offended by hearing the truth as I predicted a year ago. Wonder what the excuse is right now. Now Sam defnatley gon delete this lol

      • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

        Sam “always” deletes my comments is hardly true. I’ve deleted two in the past – simply because you aren’t trying to have an actual conversation or debate about things, you’re just trolling and trying to antagonise people. I don’t want the stuff on here. Either be a part of the community (where negative comments are more than welcome, but with an eye to actually be constructive) or don’t comment at all.

        • coach z

          Never believe in trolling Sam. You know most of the stuff I put on here make sense. Why I gotta troll for? shoot you sound like you want me to sugar coat it a lil. Well I cant do that. You have to expect people to give harsh comment especially when a nation that desparatley beg for respect and chances when it comes to BBall. In order to change as a nation, y’all brits gotta learn to deal with harsh criticism which it seems to me, y’all cant deal with. Look at Lebron or D Wade…. you think they have time to delete comments? No. Thats what american sports is about. Youll always have criticism even most of the time trolled, you think they honestly have time to worry and delete harsh comments? HELL NAW! your supposed to ignore it. You have a lot of viewers who come to see your work not only in the UK. And you’ll get trolled at some point. Its sports and you just have to deal with it my man. If y’all wanna improve in y’all game, fundings, or whatever. Y’all gotta look at whats wrong with y’all as a nation and I’ll be glad to tell you what it is. Y’all sensitivity level.

          • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

            Trust me, I can take criticism and whatever else. But you were trolling – unfortunately I don’t have the comments anymore but I delete very few of them and wouldn’t without good reason (in fact, yours might be the only ones I’ve ever removed at my own discretion).

            Have you donated the £20 yet? I’m yet to receive an email with the screenshot. Let me know if you’re not going to so I can delete your comments :-)

            • coach z

              yea man for sure hit me up with the link my man. I’m waiting :) u got my email address right?

            • coach z

              oh and with all due respect, I’m not buying that you can take criticism. To a level yes, but harshly no

        • coach z

          Somebody gives a brit criticism, they dont listen. They turn around and say were arrogant and antagonizing. Why do you think theyre not too many brits playing in the league. Us as coaches will challenge a player to the point that it becomes personal. How do most hungry players respond? they respond by letting their game speak instead of turning around and say OH HES ARROGANT THIS HES ARROGANT THAT! thats the problem with your nation. Can’t accept the fact that y’all sensitive to criticism and are unwilling to take it in as a challenge to get better. So Sam respectfully speaking. I commend you for what your doing but you deleting my post is not doing you any favor. A young 12 yr old could read my post one day and take it personal to drive him to work hard on the court to be the best player to come out of the UK in the next 8 yrs or even be the governing board of uk sports in the next 18 years to put more money in the game of bball in the uk. People y’all need to start realizing the truth, theres no such thing as sugar coating criticism when y’all been having this problem for years, When y’all Brits gon see that? I guarantee you that once y’all change y’all mentality by responding with PROGRESSIVE ACTION not DISSMISSIVE ACTION, they’ll be a big change on both sides. I Challenge all of y’all to read this without saying these words “Bloody yank, who does he think he is.” or “What is he on about.” and research plus take action by building a better foundation using this negative and arrogant comment people like me will post. UK its been real but I hope i reached out to at least 1 or 2 youths out there.

          • Pointman

            Just curious Sam… Has coach z made his donation?

  • E

    I agree with Sams article and most of the comments that have been posted on this site they all have valid points Coaches,Facilities,Leadership,Funding but the reality is the ball has already been dropped and a different approach is needed to get to the goals which a lot of people have commented on and until the highest level of basketball in this country sorts it self out getting sponsorship,promoting high quality foreign import players that people other than hardcore basketball fans will want to watch on a weekly basis then this discussion will be the same 10 years from now .I know this is not the perfect solution I was a fan of Birmingham Bullets pre Harry Wrublewski and after and I know what devastation this can cause but what are the alternatives

    • Mike

      The problem will always remain as long as the culture over here is anything none British is not taken seriously I remember a time when the bbl was running there was also an ice hockey league over here as well as American football league but I wondered what ever happened to those leagues and this is actual fact you can do the research yourself there either still some teams running or none at all the American football league I think is still going but the ice hockey league died ages ago. The reason basketball is still going is because of the fact that’s its mostly an inna city sport and is very easy to take up. But can never be taken seriously as a professional sport that could take off over here due the lack of interest from the mainstream media over here. The same problem is seen over in America with the Major league soccer very hard for the main stream public to pick up its ok at school level but not serious when it comes to the MLS level I’ve seen some matches and believe me it’s shocking not to mention the commentary. So you see at grass root ok let the kids have some fun no harm in that no 1 is trying to stop it but when it gets serious the UK are like let the pro’s get on with it. So my point is basketball in the UK can never grow and will never grow here because of the fact that its an adopted sport from the USA and 8 out 10 people you stop and ask on the street will agree with this comment its not our thing and we should not feel bad about it but learn to deal with it until the people in power over here start to give it a true voice and its heard and not dismissed as it has as ways been in the past. Plus please can any one tell me why can’t the EBL and the BBL merge to form 1 league and also why can’t football clubs over here buy and own basketball clubs like they do in the rest of Europe? If it had a place in the UK market then am sure it would have been done but just like any other imported sport it will always remain in the basement no 1 in power is interested in basketball. The reason why I believe the euro league final was played here is simple London had the 2012 Olympics of the back of that came the champions league final so the euro league thought it will be a great idea to hold there event here to as it was the hub of all these sporting events. Problem is this was the wrong part of Europe to hold it London is still trying to understand NBA basketball which is the Hollywood of the sport so there just was not ready for it because that’s the Bollywood of basketball.

  • Fan

    In reality we are all wasting our time writing comments, making suggestions, and so on. Basketball in this country has always been poor, badly organized and administered. Nothing has changed in this modern age and will not change in the future, there are just too many obstacles that are almost impossible to overcome.

    Getting our complaints off our chest by writing these comments serves a personal satisfaction and are made with the very best of intentions to help the sport improve, but I have seen literally hundreds of articles over many years which have contained exactly these complaints and suggestions.

    They have not, and will not, make any degree of difference to our sport from the present state it is in currently.

    This is no reason to stop commentating or trying to publicize the present state of our game, just as long as we realize what effect it will have.

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      I think that’s something everyone reading should remember – if you have an issue with the game/are upset about something then TAKE ACTION! It’s all good sitting at your computer venting but in reality that won’t change a damn thing.

      Though obviously I vent a fair bit on the site and on social media – behind the scenes I am having email conversations and talking to people about solutions to the above issues – I’m trying to live it, not just talk about it. If you think EB or GB aren’t doing something they should be – talk to them about it, put pressure on. If you think facilities in your area are too expensive, have you written to your local MP to find out if there’s anything that can be done?

      If all the people who moaned about British basketball all the time actually took positive action the sport would be in a much better state for it.

      • Fan

        I understand that you are having email conversations and talking to people Sam, just as I have done, as well as many other people, have done over the years. This includes talking directly with personnel in the Administration, many local council people, in an effort to get the sport recognized, and so on. However I have had very little success and, judging by the present state we are in, all the other guys I know who have tried, and indeed, are trying, are having not much success.

        Social media sites have their advantages but, for a sport these are limited for a number of reasons .

        Of course, these are no reasons whatsoever that we should all not continue trying to promulgate the sport and hope that, eventually, it will take hold amongst the general public

  • Leah

    Wish women’s basketball aroused this much interest and comment …

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