Barking Abbey Named GB's First Regional Institute of Basketball -

Barking Abbey Named GB’s First Regional Institute of Basketball

T16 Regional Institute of Basketball Launch - 13th May 2011

Barking Abbey Basketball Academy was named the first ever Regional Institute of Basketball (RIB) on Friday as part of British Basketball and England Basketball’s Toward 2016 (T16) strategy.

Barking Abbey academy, launched only in 2005, was identified in 2009 by British Basketball as a potential RIB after having become quickly recognised as one of the premier academies for developing basketball student-athletes. A one year pilot period was established to help review the existing program and establish a framework as well as looking at a further roll out of the RIB model to other regions in the home countries.

Now after a thorough review period, British Basketball, in partnership with England Basketball and Barking Abbey School, will establish the UK’s first Regional Institute of Basketball which is secured for the next four years.

At its heart, the RIB initiative aims to provide an elite training and coaching environment in England for future national team players. Current or former Barking Abbey students made up 25% of all 2010 National teams (England U15 boys, U16 boys and girls, U18 boys and girls and GB U20s men and women) whilst there are currently 23 former BA students now on scholarships in the United States.

British Basketball Chairman, Roger Moreland, commented on the day of the launch:

“Today is an exciting day for basketball in the UK and a key element of the initiative within our T16 development. We are pleased that we have a very good partner in the Barking Abbey School to establish the first Regional Institute of Basketball.”

The RIB is a tri-party arrangement between British Basketball, England basketball and the Barking Abbey School. The RIB is the point where the nation’s home talents have the opportunity to meet the lower reaches of the GB performance beam through working to a national curriculum designed to develop international senior players. The RIB supports players and coaches in areas that are important for development of international standard players and coaches.

The vision for the Regional Institutes of Basketball is to be the premier player and coach organisation for British players on home soil that is equal to, or better than, any equivalent of the best national federation programmes in the world for 16 to 19 year olds. It is expected that there will be four RIBS in operation by 2015, with British Basketball keeping their cards close to their chest as to where they will be. Head of Performance at British Basketball, Warwick Cann, explained:

“There’s places I’m looking at and I will go and talk. It’s not the place I’m interested in, it’s the potential to develop the capability that exists in those particular areas. There’s about three at the moment and Scotland should develop one in it’s own right. We need a partnership with a school that is prepared to commit and willing to invest.”

“There’s two (main places they’re looking at), one is probably ahead of the other, one has the right things but has a long way to go and the other has always been a traditional hotbed which needs to be created a little differently because it’s a different model”

The next pilot RIB is expected to be announced in the next 12 months. Cann added:

“We want to establish a professional, well managed performance unit which develops national youth players in a competitive training environment.

“We also want to support the student players and coaches with key high performance services to increase our international competitiveness at European, and ultimately, Olympic levels. The RIB is very important for player development in the home countries.”

Barking Abbey School Basketball Director, Mark Clark (pictured above), is excited about what being an RIB means for Barking Abbey:

“It’s an incredible opportunity so I’m really excited. It’s an opportunity for us to build on what we’ve done already and hopefully with the federation’s support, with GB and EB, we can take this programme to the next level. It’s recognition of what we’ve done already and sets a platform for us going forward.”

“It gives us a badge to become part of the ‘official programme’ if that makes sense, in the same way the INSEP in France is recognised as that’s the route international players need to go, the Regional Institute programme is where we want to manage our players development. Going to the states becomes one option, going to Europe is another option, but hopefully channeled through and managed through a network of regional institutes.”

“It also gives us the scope to access more funding, and improve facilities which is what the kids really need to develop.”

He also gave his thoughts on what sets Barking Abbey apart allowing them to gain RIB status:

“We focus on developing individuals. The resources we put into this are independent of any external funding, the school commits to this programme so we’re able to give the kids the hours on the court already. We look to Europe and Internationally more than any other programme does. And our objective here isn’t to win national championships, that’s a nice plus, if we win them that’s great but the biggest plus is people like Joe (Ikhinmwin, who was at the launch talking about what Barking Abbey did for him) who come back, and you’d hope can develop a professional career. Now our next challenge is to give him a way to develop that professional career here.”

The objective of the RIBs is to be pioneering educational and elite youth basketball learning centres in the UK. As a leading youth basketball performance development centre the RIB will offer a viable alternative to US high school and European Academies. This will enable British players to develop their basketball to an elite level without prejudice while completing their British schooling and living closer to family at a crucial time for players and families.

Thoughts? Where do you think the next RIB will be? A step forward in the right direction? Drop a comment!

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