Category: Front News Headline, Capitals & Gunners News, Newsletter, Gunners
By: Jon Pratt
Investing in Development
When the Gunners Academy boys arrived at training this past Saturday, they had no idea what was waiting for them. An embarrassment of riches is the only way to describe it.
Five coaches were waiting for them, including some of the best coaches Canberra, and indeed Australia has ever seen. Their combined resumes included: a former Australian Olympic coach and member of the Basketball Australia Hall of Fame, two with NBL experience (one of whom won a championship), a WNBL and NBL coach of the year and a former Gunners coaches, who was a SEABL championship winner.
Led by former Gunners Assistant Coach and local Premier League stalwart Tony Plunkett, Assistants Brad Barnes and Matt Anderson were joined by Jerry Lee and Barry Barnes. If there was any doubt in the players' minds as to how serious the newly formed Gunners Academy program was, you'd hope it was dispelled upon seeing this group.
Formed out of the now defunct Canberra Nationals and 2012 ACT under 20 representative programs, the Gunners Academy is a development team, designed to help players make the transition from Junior Representative basketball to the Senior Representative program, the Gunners.
The team is already off to a good start, after a resounding 35 point victory last week in Bathurst, but Head Coach Plunkett knows there is a long road ahead.
"The goal is not to win every week," he said, "our job is to graduate as many players as possible to the Gunners. Be that this year, or next year, or in the case of some our younger players--several years down the line, we are here to make sure the Gunners is filled with local talent for many years to come."
With the experience and knowledge that Coach Plunkett has at his disposal, the strong work ethic and desire to learn that has been displayed by the group so far, that goal doesn't seem like a lofty one.
The first home game for the Gunners Academy is a double weekend on April 14th and 15th featuring a rematch against Bathurst on the Saturday night at 6pm followed by the Wagga Wagga Heat on the Sunday at 1pm.