New Zealand's highest level of basketball will be on display in Tauranga this weekend, showcasing the pathways that are available to local athletes.
As part of the 2019 Sal's National Basketball League competition, Auckland's Supercity Rangers will take on Tasmania's Southern Huskies at Tauranga's Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre tomorrow.
The Rangers sit in eighth place on the competition ladder and go into Sunday's match following a 105-82 loss to the Southland Sharks on Thursday, while the fifth-place Huskies, were due to play the Taranaki Mountaineers last night.
Tauranga City Basketball Association general manager Mark Rogers is looking forward to hosting New Zealand's highest level of basketball in New Zealand in Tauranga.
"It's great for the profile of the sport to bring games like this to Tauranga," Rogers says.
The Rangers are the closest team to the region in the competition and Rogers says with a former Tauranga basketballer in the team, former Aquinas College student Reuben Fitzgerald, it shows there is a pathway to players once they progress through school.
"For us it's an opportunity to expose the local people to that level of basketball, an opportunity for people to see some professional athletes, some of them are nearly 7ft, running around and experiencing that live," he says.
"There's also lots of talk about a NBL franchise from our area so, you know, it's just sort of exposing people to the level of basketball and I suppose giving them the opportunity to see what it's like and if we end up being part of a franchise in the next few years, it'll give them some experience around what that's going to look like."
Being a long weekend Rogers is unsure what size crowd they'll get but hopes to see plenty of people supporting the sport.
Also this weekend, Tauranga City Basketball is hosting the inaugural Tribes Tournament today, a tournament for adults.
Rogers says they are looking to grow opportunities for adult-playing basketballers in Tauranga and hopes this tournament will be an annual fixture on the calendar that will continue to grow.
NBL Supercity Rangers vs Southern Huskies:
At: Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre.
When: Sunday, June 2.
Time: Doors open at 4pm, tip off at 5pm.
Tickets are available at the door.