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How the AIS inspired the NBA

Over 100 of the world’s top international male basketball talent from 18 countries descended on Canberra for the NBA Academy Games, 16-21 July, with talent scouts from NBA organisations and over 30 colleges in tow.

This is the second time the games have run, and took place this year in conjunction with Basketball Australia’s (BA) prospects camp.

The games saw five Australian teams and five international NBA Academy teams representing Africa, China, India, Latin America and a global team all compete.

NBA Elite Basketball Operations Lead Chris Ebersole told Canberra Weekly the six-day program provides the athletes with a multifaceted schedule.

“They’re getting a chance to compete with one another, train with one another and get exposure to really high level coaching, and then obviously showcase their skills.

“We’re also trying to utilise this week to give these guys exposure to some off-court education.

“We focus on academics, character development, life skills, time management, leadership, communication and really try to instill a lot of the values,” he says.

Ebersole says the decision to base the games in Canberra was partially due to the NBA’s Academy programs being inspired by the AIS Bruce precinct.

“When we started the NBA Academy, one of the models we took out of our research was the AIS and the BA Centre of Excellence.

“We’ve built a relationship to the point where we’re not just using their Centre of Excellence as a model, but they’re now our partner for the academy … it’s been a really fruitful relationship so far.”

With a record 10 Australians on NBA lists for the next season, Ebersole says the sport’s resurgence in Australia is due to a number of desirable qualities found in our athletes.

“There’s something about Australian players; we see a common thread, a certain toughness, selflessness with how they play that translates into the way the NBA game is played.

“Their ability to space the floor, to shoot and share the ball, those are all skills that have become a premium … it’s no surprise that Australia is producing that level of talent.”

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