A group of enthusiastic young basketballers have been given the chance to see regular performances from a professional basketball team, in the National Basketball League.
In a partnership with the Breakers Manawatu Jets and UCOL Palmerston North, Sport Whanganui's Court Sports Development Officer Ross Cronshaw has secured tickets for most of the Jets' home games in the 2015 season.
The Breakers Manawatu Jets are based in Palmerston North, with Arena Manawatu their home venue.
Eight clubs are competing in the national league, with teams from locations across the country (Auckland, Christchurch, Invercargill, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington).
The lucky kids heading to the games are selected from Wanganui Basketballs' Academy programme.
The opportunity has also been made available to other children, through local schools. Around 8-10 kids are travelling to the games, most aged around 13-14 years.
Sport Whanganui has come to the party too, making the Sport Whanganui van available when possible so that transport is not an issue for the kids getting to the games.
Basketball is enjoying a renewed interest around the region, and Ross is working to further lift the profile of the game. The rise of New Zealander Steven Adams in NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder has added to the buzz around Basketball, and Wanganui has its own success story with Megan Compain having recently been inducted into the Saint Joseph's University Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
On the NBL table, the Manawatu Jets are sitting in seventh place, well behind league leaders Super City Rangers (Auckland). But the numbers in the Manawatu supporter stands are high.
The Jets have a large following, and their newest fans from Wanganui are pleased to be a part of it.
Ross Cronshaw sees it as a good learning opportunity.
"It's great for local kids to be able to see basketball played at a very high level. There are no easy games in the NZ NBL and the competition is intense! The kids get to see what kind of level they have to achieve to be competitive in the future."