Coaches to hold camp on September 12
For the third consecutive year, basketball fraternity USA Select will be returning to Malta for a training camp as well as four games from September 12-15.
USA Select is an organisation composed of athletes that have completed their college or National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility and are looking for professional contracts internationally.
Their visit to Malta is part of an annual international tour they are undertaking where they will start their with matches in the United Kingdom against top clubs such as Gloucester City Kings, and Leicester Riders, in the British Basketball League (BBL), before coming to Malta at the end of their European tour. This year, they will face SiGMA Depiro, Starlites FIJO, Gzira Athleta, and Depiro’s amateur team.
In a press release, event coordinator Ruben Baldacchino said the senior team tournament, taking place between September 13-15, should be good preparation ahead of the new season.
“It will be three nights of high basketball level, where USA Select will face local teams during the three days,” he said.
“It will be a good preparation for local teams as part of their preseason preparation.”
The USA Select’s stay in Malta will also include a training camp for youth players on September 11 for players 11 to 18 years old.
“The Elite Basketball Tournament will give its importance to the youth sector by hosting a one-day basketball clinic for youth basketball players on September 12 where they will have the experience of learning from top coaches coming from the USA,” Baldacchino explained.
“All players will have the opportunity to meet USA Select basketball players and interact with them during the camp.”
Stinson to lead training camp
One highlight of the event this year is the inclusion of former WNBA star Andrea Stinson.
“Coach Stinson is a twice WNBA ALL-Star who had her shirt retired by the Charlotte Stings and NC State where she won the ACC player of the year,” Baldacchino said.
“She is the first WNBA All-Star player to visit Malta and her experience will definitely be an added value to the basketball camp organised for our youths.
“She is surely a role model for all the young players out there who aim to succeed in the sporting field.”
While such an event will be a great opportunity for sport tourism in Malta, particularly in a different sport other than football which has been at the forefront of the country’s strategy, Baldacchino lamented support has been an issue.
“To bring high calibre teams is very hard, the first year we had COVID-19 to surpass as a hurdle and the last two years the lack of sponsors made it harder to organise,” he said.
“This event is a great way for our local teams to play against higher level opponents yet the financial burden to organise such events without help from the authorities and sponsorships can lead to a situation where one should consider the possibility of stopping.
“My wish is to bring more higher-level teams to Malta but this cannot be done without support.”
Wednesday September 13: USA Select vs Gzira Athleta (Tip-Off: 6PM)
Thursday September 14: USA Select vs Startlites (Tip-Off: 6PM)
Friday September 15: USA Select B vs Depiro Hoops (Tip-Off: 6PM)
Friday September 15 (Elite Basketball Cup): SiGMA Depiro vs USA Select (Tip-Off: 7PM)
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