The Mel Young Easter Basketball Classic's goals of development have been met.

Tauranga's traditional Easter basketball tournament underwent a couple of changes this year - a new name to pay tribute to a top player, referee, coach and administrator, and expansion into Rotorua - but the goals remained the same.

Alongside the age group rep tournament featuring teams from under 11 through to under 19 age group, there were clinics for referees and coaches.

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"The coaching clinics we have put on for the coaches with the special guests have been very well received. We had 40 coaches at the one here in Tauranga and 25 at the one in Rotorua," said Tauranga City Basketball Association general manager Mark Rogers.

Two of Australia's finest coaches, Peter Lonergan, the director of coaching at the Basketball NSW Campus of Australian College of Sport, and Patrick Hunt, chairman of the FIBA Technical Commission and president of the World Association of Basketball Coaches, held sessions focusing on skill development, shooting fundamentals, defensive footwork and one on one game play.

The feedback from the coaches is that it's the best opportunity they get in the country for coach education and networking.


"The feedback from the coaches is that it's the best opportunity they get in the country for coach education and networking. It's all very positive and it's something we require from the tournament that we are helping coaches and referees. All of the components of the game are getting development at the tournament and the standard of coaching has been pretty good too,' said Rogers.

"We've got ex-national league players that are coaching now, guys that have coached national age group teams, guys that are coaching national age group teams and we've got ladies as well - and that reflects in the ability of the players and the standard of the players."

With boys' and girls' divisions across five age groups and several divisions, there have been thousands of players in Tauranga and Rotorua. There have been teams from across the upper North Island and all-start teams from Australia.

"The tournament's been awesome. We've had thousands of kids playing basketball and loving the experience, loving the facilities and the feedback is they are loving being in Tauranga so we are really excited with the way it's gone. Overall the standard has been higher than it has been for a while - the Australian teams definitely add to that."

As the tournament progressed, the standard was raised and there were several close games. "One game (on the final day) went for two hours it was so tight."

The under 11 and under 13 games have been played in Rotorua and the under 15, 17 and 19 games in Tauranga as a trial this year.

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