A new basketball development program run by the Narrogin Junior Basketball Association, Narrogin Nets, brought a host of junior players together at the Narrogin Leisure Centre on September 28 for an intensive training session delivered by Coby Freeman from the Jungle Academy. “It’s a new program that we’ve just started this year and there’s a lot of excitement amongst the kids, we’re really impressed with the turnout,” NJBA’s representative teams co-ordinator Jo Thomas said. “Historically the association would just form teams and take them away to Country Champs. To enhance performance we’ve run trials, identified players and formed seven teams which we will train through until December aiming for that next level development.” The teams will head to the South West Carnival games in October before heading to the State Championships in November with an ultimate aim to field competitive sides at Country Championships in February next year. Ms Thomas said that neighbouring regional associations have been invited by the NJBA to come to Narrogin on training nights to participate in games. “If they accept those invitations hopefully we can make it a bit of a community event,” she said. “It will also assist player development.” Along with creating a formidable NJBA junior side, it is hoped that the emphasis on training, development and competition will also help Narrogin basketball at a senior level. “There was a senior’s league but that was abandoned several years ago,” Ms Thomas said. “As part of the Country Association with a junior league, we are eligible to submit senior teams so we’ve put out an expression of interest to see if there is anyone out there who would like to form a men’s and women’s team.” The interest the junior league and the Narrogin Nets initiative has garnered bodes well for the season and the sport’s future. “We have about 90 participants across the seven teams which is pretty exciting,” Ms Thomas said. “When we had trials we had 25 kids try out for the under-18 boys and we selected a final team of 10 players out of that, it was very competitive. “We’re aiming to grow the program and to make it bigger and better every year.” The September 28 training session run strictly for the development teams saw the kids put through their paces “It’s been about learning skills, defence and ball handling,” Ms Thomas said. “During the training sessions, we have some great support within the community such as physios, mental health experts and nutritionists coming down. “They’ll give talks to the kids about the importance of warming up and cooling down, sleep and rest, the importance of not being on your phone all night and healthy eating.” Applications have closed for players in the 2023/24 NJBA domestic season that starts in the second week of the final school term of the year.