Monday, June 24, 2024

Tasmania can be ‘mecca’ for Australian basketball: Roth

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Tasmania JackJumpers coach Scott Roth believes the island state can be Australia’s basketball “mecca” if tired courts and facilities are upgraded.

The American has also backed Jack McVeigh and Will Magnay to step up for the Boomers if selected for the Olympics, and detailed his plan for Next Star signing Roman Siulepa.

Roth, who guided the JackJumpers to championship success in 2023/24 in their third NBL season, said the sport’s growth in the state had been tremendous.

He said Tasmania’s impact on basketball in Australia could be akin to that of Lithuania, which often punches above its weight in Europe.

“Why can’t (Tasmania) be the mecca of basketball,” he said on Tuesday.

“We have everything going for us, we just need the facilities because the amount of growth has been unparalleled.”

The JackJumpers are awaiting the construction of a high-performance centre promised by the state government.

It was originally slated to be built near the team’s MyState Bank Arena home court, but will now be constructed south of Hobart near current training facilities at the request of the club.

“There’s been talk for three years … but until I see some dirt moved or a sign put up … I’ll wait and see because it’s been a very slow three-year process,” Roth said.

“Not only do we need it, but the state needs the improvement across the board.

“I understand there’s a lot of things the government promises with health and education … but I hope we can get ours going.”

The state government has pledged to build more community courts and upgrade facilities in Launceston and elsewhere.

The JackJumpers have kept the majority of their squad together ahead of season 2024/25.

Magnay is in the US exploring NBA opportunities, and along with McVeigh is in the mix to be in the Boomers’ squad for the Olympics.

Jack McVeigh.

Jack McVeigh, who is in line for a spot with the Boomers, has shown himself to be an elite shooter. (Linda Higginson/AAP PHOTOS)

“(Boomers coach Brian Goorjian) has a tough decision because there are a lot of really good players,” Roth said.

“Jack (McVeigh) has taken off and is an elite shooter – that is always in the back of your mind as a coach, especially when you get to the national level.

“You want guys who can knock shots down at crucial moments, and he does that better than anyone else.”

Roth indicated the club would take a patient approach with Queensland forward Siulepa, who signed a two-year deal as part of the Next Stars program.

The 17-year-old was named in the All-Star Five at the 2023 FIBA Under-17 Oceania Championships, and was the 2023 Queensland male player of the year.

“We’ll try to get him on the floor if we can, and the second year have him up and ready to go,” Roth said.

“Sometimes people get a little bit excited because he scored ‘x’ amount of points in an NBL1 game, but it doesn’t translate to the NBL.”

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