By Colin MacGillivray
WALLAN Basketball president Tracy Connors will help shape the future of regional and rural basketball competitions across the state after being named chair of the Basketball Victoria Country Commission.
The commission is one of four convened by Basketball Victoria, with the others being a junior representative commission, a senior representative commission and a technical officials commission.
Ms Connors said the country commission was responsible for a broader range of concerns than the other commissions, with many associated challenges.
“We have to look after and advocate on behalf of all of the country associations, whether it’s in relation to coaches, referees, governance structures, boundaries between metropolitan and country, the [Country Basketball League] or country championships,” she said.
Ms Connors said Basketball Victoria encouraged her to put her hand up for the chair position after four years on the commission, with long-time incumbent Bill Jeffs stepping down recently.
She said her experience across a range of country associations would hold her in good stead.
“I’ve got a bit of a broad perspective, because Wallan is more of a peri-urban country association, but I grew up on the courts in Horsham, which is a really traditional country association,” she said.
“I’ve also had a bit to do with micro associations that just play summer competitions out on the asphalt courts of Ouyen or Edenhope or other far-flung places.
“Some of them still haven’t come back from COVID, so we’ve got a lot to do to get some support to those clubs to get them back up and running and get those towns into the swing of sport.”
Ms Connors said she was passionate about strengthening talent pathways and providing opportunities for junior country basketballers.
“I’m taking what I’ve learned here and at Horsham and trying to help the commission in its goal to further country basketball and create pathways for juniors in the country,” she said.
“We’ve got some pretty unique challenges as country associations. The tyranny of distance is always one, and that is not always understood by metro clubs.
“We’ve got to find ways to make sure that country kids have just as much opportunity as metro kids.”