An additional link in the player pathway chain sees the entry of a Canterbury team, playing in the inaugural Women’s Development League (D-League) beginning in April.
The D League team, to be known as Canterbury Caracals will be a feeder team to the Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats who have been tremendously successful in the Women’s National League in recent seasons.
“The introduction of a D-League for our women is a very important step for basketball in New Zealand, and one we feel will deliver more legitimacy to the player pathway,” said General Manager for BBNZ’s Elite Leagues Justin Nelson.
Canterbury Basketball General Manager Clive Beaumont believes a Canterbury D-League team will see the player pathway chain further strengthened.
“We have been offering Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats scholarships to our most promising Under 15 and Under 17 players for the last four years and these players have developed into talented young players. Often the jump to the greater demands of the Wildcats and senior representative honours is too great for most players immediately and the introduction of the Canterbury D-League team will enhance individual player development and provide an ideal platform for players to showcase their talents” Beaumont added.
Experienced coach Joshua Thompson will be at the helm of the Caracals. Thompson has ideal credentials for the position having been a Wildcats assistant coach for the past three seasons, coached the U23 Canterbury Women’s team, and heads the Ellesmere College Girls Senior team.
Thompson is in no doubt that the D-League team will benefit the Canterbury region.
“Our goal is to help grow the women’s game in the Canterbury region and develop more female athletes in the basketball community.
“We want the team to compete at a high level and help those individuals who aspire to be Wildcats and eventually Tall Ferns.”
Thompson also has one eye on the bigger picture.
“It’s not only about building the depth in Canterbury but also within our country. The more competition we have at the higher level the better we will become competing at the international level,” he added.
Wildcats’ Head Coach Dene Robinson echoed the same sentiments: “I was also pleased that Canterbury Basketball have entered a team into the 2020 D league competition for Women. This will strengthen the pathway for U19 players who I expect will make up a number of the D league squad
“I intend to work closely with the D League squad and coaches to effectively have one squad and one coaching team. My goal here is to develop a high performing wider group of athletes and coaches.”
The Canterbury Caracals will join Capital, North Harbour, Northland, Rotorua, Taranaki, Tauranga, and Otago in the new competition which will tip-off at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin on April 30.