Since the launch of the program in May 2011, more than 8000 children from 18 schools across the five Bafokeng regions have taken part in regular basketball coaching sessions held by the NBA Development Team of Technical Director / Head Coach Joby Wright, and Development Coaches Patrick Engelbrecht and Franck Traore, teaching the fundamentals of the game.
Following months of vigorous basketball training, the RBS scholastic league was established in October, comprising of the 18 participating schools.
Teams of 12 to 15 players, across nine middle schools and nine high schools, played in weekly League games in a 170 game season, with each school playing eight games. The RBS Jr. NBA League Finals on Dec. 3 will see eight schools participate in four championship games featuring the Middle Schools Girls Championship, Middle School Boys Championship, High Schools Girls Championship and High School Boys Championship.
“We are very proud of the work the kids have put into this first year and the progress they have made in such a short space of time. From never having set foot on a basketball court to playing a full game under the whistle is a tremendous achievement and testament to the passion the kids in the North West have developed for the game,” said NBA Vice President for Development in Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall.
“The amount of interest shown by the young players and newly-trained coaches has been overwhelming, with their passion for the game of basketball proving just how successful the RBS NBA Basketball Youth Development program has become among the Bafokeng people in just a few short months and we’re looking forward to an exciting day of finals,” said MD of Royal Bafokeng Sports, Floyd Mbele.
The Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA League Finals will be a basketball festival – complete with an NBA Dunk Squad, the Rip City Slammers from the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, a basketball skills display by NBA All-Star performer and Guinness World Record Holder Joe Odhiambo, music and DJ’s.
The Bafokeng community and surrounding regions are invited to share in this special sporting milestone, by attending this free celebration of basketball at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace from 09h00 until 18h00.
In the event of rain, the event will be moved to the following day, Sunday, December 4. As part of the broader NBA RBN partnership, 13 new and refurbished basketball courts were built across the five Bafokeng regions to help the local basketball infrastructure and to provide a lasting legacy.
The courts were utilized for the RBS NBA Basketball League. In addition, the three NBA development coaches based in Bafokeng since the launch of the programme held ‘Train the Trainer’ coaches’ courses, during which 40 members of the community comprising teachers and parents were trained in basketball coaching and table officiating to be able to apply the rules of basketball in matches.