ABSL and Harbour Basketball launch Talent Accelerator Programme

In a ground-breaking agreement, Auckland Basketball Services Ltd (ABSL) and Harbour Basketball have combined forces to launch the Talent Accelerator Programme (TAP).

The Talent Accelerator Programme is a platform that provides Auckland players with a development experience aimed at preparing them for competitive basketball after New Zealand high school.

Uniquely, Harbour Basketball and ABSL’s Basketball Auckland, Waitakere West Auckland Basketball and Counties Manukau Basketball are collaborating to provide a programme that addresses the key issues that student- athletes will face on and off the court.

This alignment through the TAP, is the first time we have seen collaboration among four of the biggest associations in the country in the area of player development. This joint agreement will, for the first time, provide a shared vision for player development structures and pathways as well as promote a shared Regional Style of Play and the Basketball New Zealand National Style of Play. The TAP alignment illustrates the commitment the four associations have to player development across Auckland.

At the top of the pyramid is the Supercity Talent Accelerator Programme, the senior programme tier within the wider Talent Accelerator Programme. Together, Harbour and ABSL will deliver two aligned Supercity Talent Accelerator Programme’s. Harbour’s Supercity TAP will operate at Eventfinda Stadium, while ABSL’s Supercity TAP will run out of Auckland Grammar. Both will cater to 14-16 selected athletes in their separate catchment areas.

The two aligned programmes will consist of three components:

  1. Early Morning basketball training

Basketball outside of New Zealand is different. The game demands a faster pace, quicker decisions and more physical play. Players must be familiar with a wider variety of situations and schemes. In order to prepare our athletes for this environment, weekly sessions will specifically target the concepts and skills suited for success outside of New Zealand.  To ensure uniformity, ABSL & Harbour have built a shared curriculum that combines the BBNZ Style of Play, FIBA / WABC curriculum and trends from NCAA, ANBL and New Zealand NBL.

  1. Enrichment workshops for players and parents

Success after high school demands more than on-court skills. Facing newfound pressures in an unfamiliar setting, our Kiwis abroad tell us that preparation for life off-court is key. To this end, Supercity TAP includes eight unique workshops that address key needs in the life of a student-athlete.

  1. USA College Pathway

Harbour and ABSL are combining expertise, resources and knowledge to support our Supercity TAP athletes wanting to pursue a USA college scholarship. Tying in on court teaching specific to the US college system with off court learning about the NCAA system and the rigours of being a student-athlete, we aim to prepare and help our players take the next step in their US college journey. In 2020, we will be selecting a team of 10 athletes from both the ABSL and Harbour Supercity TAP programmes to be a part of a USA College Exposure Tour over the July School Holiday period. More details on this tour and the  selection process of this will be provided once our programme commences.

Former Tall Black and ABSL Development Manager Lindsay Tait is excited about the introduction of the collaborative approach.

“About two years ago when I stepped away from playing I began the Basketball Auckland Talent Accelerator Programme. For ABSL to now be able to combine forces with Harbour, and pool our resources and talent, really excites me. It presents our kids with tremendous opportunities as the pathways that are created open up moving forward.

“I feel strongly about helping the kids avoid making the mistakes I made at their age. I remember receiving college offers but I wasn’t ready to pursue them.

“With our connections and knowledge we are very confident that we can help these players grow. We want to create a situation where our players are prepared for the rigours and expectations of playing college, semi-professional or professional basketball.

“We want to give them a greater chance of being successful as they navigate their own post high school careers,” said Tait.

Equally enthusiastic is Harbour Basketball Coach and Player Development Manager Vincent Minjares.

“Harbour Basketball is really excited about a new, aligned approach to our academy programme. Alongside ABSL, we see the Talent Accelerator Programme as a long-term approach to player and personal development,”

“We see a real need to integrate on-court training with off-court enrichment to help prepare our community basketball after high school. We’ve learned from the kids in the US and elsewhere that it’s not just about the basketball skills. It’s also really important to prepare them for life as a basketball player.

“That means educating our players about how the pathways work and setting realistic expectations. From there, we work on the mental skills and lifestyle behaviours needed to make it work.

“Of course, making this a collaboration is key. Pooling knowledge with our partners across the bridge increases the scale and scope of what we can achieve. For some time, Super City has needed a collaborative approach. “That time is now,” added Minjares.

Basketball New Zealand High Performance General Manager Leonard King strongly endorses the Talent Accelerator Programme.

“Basketball New Zealand is thrilled that the larger associations in the Auckland region have banded together to create this fantastic programme for the talented players who are based in the Auckland region. To have ABSL and Harbour Basketball as a lead in our national ambitions with regards to development of talent is absolutely amazing and is exactly what we want as a national body.

“The central theme of the talent system and pathway relies on interaction from various clubs, coaches, volunteers and to see Harbour and ABSL connecting and collaborating and communicating in a transparent way is a huge bonus for everyone involved.

King is convinced that TAP will have major benefits for the Basketball New Zealand National Programme.

“Without doubt the Talent Accelerator Programme will underpin and re-enforce the National Style of Play and the National concepts that we have in place. As far as we are concerned we will be fully supportive of this initiative and we will be providing as much resources, materials and personnel to ensure it is very successful.

“We strongly encourage the kids in the Auckland region to take advantage of the skills and expertise of the coaches that are involved in this programme. Good coaches can make great players,” King added.