Basketball will re-join the IAS in 2017 after a 20-year absence. Basketball was a foundation Sports Program in the first IAS athlete intake in 1986 and ran for 11 years to 1996, before Basketball NSW changed their Junior Pathway.
Basketball NSW, in amending their pathway, has returned to the Regional Academy Network to assist in developing the next generation of Boomers and Opals. Basketball Scholarships will be offered to both Males and Females aged 14 to 17 in 2017 that show potential to progress to the NSW State team.
The IAS Basketball Head Coach will be Hawks player Rhys Martin with current Illawarra Kittyhawks captain Lauren Sparks as Assistant coach. Current Hawks assistant coach Matt Flinn will assume the role as mentor coach.
Flinn was himself an IAS Scholarship Holder and still holds fond memories sitting on his bed opening his letter of acceptance.
“I was part of the second intake of the IAS, missed out on the first one, it was a prestigious thing to be selected for the IAS. I had a great 2 years in the Academy and leant a lot from Gordie McLeod who was the coach at the time and look forward to assist the coaches in doing the same for the next crop of players.” Flinn Said
Current Hawks player Rhys Martin brings with him a decade of NBL experience and will be the Head Coach. Martin said “ If we can start to align ourselves (Illawarra Hawks) and help players across the Illawarra get into basketball and stay in Basketball, that’s really going to help the Hawks on an NBL Level, so crossing over will be very beneficial.”
“We are going to teach these kids a lot of things but from a coaching point of view we are going to learn her side of things, what she has dealt with, women in sport, so having her on board in fantastic.” Martin added about his female assistant coach and current Illawarra Kiddyhawks Captain Lauren Sparks also being a part of the coaching ranks.