NMBA, Moncton Spearheading Bantam Pilot League for Province
Could Jaiden Penney and the NMBA be part of league play this year?
The opportunity to kickstart a province-wide league pilot project is starting to gain some steam.
Presented at the Basketball New Brunswick spring meeting, the desire to begin a bantam AAA girls' league for 2014-15 was first launched by the Northside Minor Basketball Association and long-time Moncton coach Alyssa Lebans.
As the basketball season looms on the horizon, talk has accelerated to form a AAA, AA and A league.
'We've been doing a lot of work behind the scenes over the summer, speaking with coaches, associations and officials on the creation of league play,' said NMBA president Brad Janes. 'For years, the BNB play is an exhibition season, but at the bantam level we wanted to prepare the players for the high school level by getting them used to league play. There were a lot of positive comments and some concerns and that was to be expected.'
One of the concerns was competitive levels.
If a league was formed would some teams struggle?
'I can see that to a point, but regardless of the level and regardless of the sport, teams will finish first, teams will finish last,' said Janes. 'In reality, we're talking perhaps an eight team league at each level and we're looking at a six to 10 game 'regular season' to get this off the ground.'
A league would also allow teams to play mid-week games if there were close geographically, perhaps even opening up weekends.
Many teams already know what tournaments they're playing in 2014-15, but it's always a mystery what weekends will be played.
'From an NMBA point of view, if we can play Fredericton YCBC on a Wednesday or Friday night, it reduces travel and perhaps allows families and players to have a rare weekend off,' Janes said. 'We're mindful of BNB's recommended 30-game schedule and we try to ensure our players aren't over-taxed. It's not unusual for teams to play four games in a tournament one weekend and then play four games the next weekend back-to-back. It increases injuries and puts a demand on young athletes.'
As of now, the NMBA has garnered interest from YCBC, Riverview, Moncton, Sussex and Woodstock. East Saint John and Kennebecasis Valley are all potential entrants.
If there is a Tier II league, the NMBA's bantam B girls would be involved along with others.
BNB had extended the offer to bantam boys for a pilot project as well, but consensus was to allow the girls to try for one year and see what the results are.
A league would be sponsored by Delta hotels, feature a commissioner, Website and statistical information.