Basketball: NBA, SportSG launch Jr programme for kids here

Dikembe Mutombo, one of the NBA's greatest defensive players, teaching kids on Jr NBA Day in February in Toronto.
Dikembe Mutombo, one of the NBA's greatest defensive players, teaching kids on Jr NBA Day in February in Toronto.PHOTO COURTESY OF NBA ASIA LIMITED

Budding players can look forward to being trained by international coaches when the Jr National Basketball Association (NBA) makes its debut in Singapore next week.

A collaboration between the United States-based NBA and Sport Singapore, it aims to teach fundamental skills as well as inculcate the core values of the sport at the grassroots level. It will complement the ActiveSG Basketball Academy curriculum and is free and open to all aged between five and 14.

The scheme tips off on Wednesday and runs till September and will be helmed by Americans Tom Kelsey and Chris Sumner.

Kelsey's 28 years of experience as a coach and educator includes stints at Louisiana State University, Belhaven University and the University of Alabama.

He will lead the Jr NBA's six-week regional training programme from next month to select the top 200 boys and girls aged 10 to 14 to take part in September's national training camp.

Sumner will serve as the Jr NBA head coach - a role he has overseen for the past three years in the region. He will lead the open clinics and coaches' workshop next week and also co-lead the NTC.

The Jr NBA is also held in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said: "The Jr NBA programme gives us access to curriculum and methods for coaching and junior player development that will enable the ActiveSG Basketball Academy to develop an edge in nurturing basketball enthusiasts."

The Sept 9-11 camp will be attended by a current or former NBA player. The inaugural Jr NBA Singapore All-Stars will be picked then and these 15 outstanding athletes will embark on an overseas NBA stint, along with their South-east Asian counterparts later in the year.

Singapore Slingers captain Desmond Oh welcomed the Jr NBA programme, saying: "This is a good opportunity for our kids to learn and develop themselves in the sport.

"To be coached by Kelsey and Sumner allows our local talent to learn a different aspect of the game."

•Sign up for the programme at www.jrnbasingapore.com. Registration for the coaches workshop is at www.myactivesg.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2016, with the headline 'NBA, SportSG launch Jr programme for kids here'. Print Edition | Subscribe