Ballers Begin National Champs

Hundreds of young basketballers from around the country will take to the court in Geelong this week as their team vies for victory at the 2023 Foot Locker Under-20 & Ivor Burge National Championships.

Held at Geelong Arena in Victoria between 14-19 February, 33 teams will compete in the Championships across the Men’s, Women’s and Ivor Burge (intellectually impaired) competitions, comprising of 119 games over the course of the six days.

Victoria will be aiming to defend its 2022 triumphs in the Under-20 Women’s and Women’s Ivor Burge categories, while Queensland and South Australia will be striving to once again take home the trophy in the Under-20 Men’s and Men’s Ivor Burge competition, respectfully.

The NBA Global Academy – featuring the likes of Dash Daniels, the younger brother of NBA player Dyson Daniels and Rocco Zikarsky, who stands at an imposing 7’1 – will field a team and feature in the Men’s Championship pool rounds. 

Meanwhile, Victoria’s squad looks dangerous with the likes of Johnny Furphy and Jensen Bradtke, who are both scholarship holders at the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence.

Generation Next will truly be on display as Jessica Petrie, daughter of former NBL power forward Anthony and WNBL Championship player Sarah, hits the court for Queensland.

She’ll line up alongside teammate, Lilly Rotunno, who is currently signed as a development player with the Sydney Flames and is a member of the Australian FIBA U18 Asian Championships team that claimed gold in India last year.

As announced last week, Kommunity TV will broadcast the event via live stream, giving fans across Australia a chance to watch the next generation of rising stars in action.

Basketball Australia CEO Matt Scriven said he was excited for the 2023 National Championships calendar to get underway this week.

“We have five high-performance pathway tournaments throughout the year and I’m really looking forward to kicking off the calendar in Geelong on Tuesday for the 2023 Foot Locker Under-20s and Ivor Burge National Championships,” Scriven said.

“We know there’s an amazing amount of talent across this competition which reflects the high-quality coaches and programs we have working in basketball right around the country, and I’m sure they’ll all be wanting to secure the Championship titles for their state.

“With 119 matches over the six days of competition there’s so much work that goes into each of these events and I’d like to thank Foot Locker, the City of Greater Geelong and the Victorian Government for all their support to help make this possible.”

Christine Couzens MP, Member for Geelong said she’s excited to welcome the 2023 Foot Locker Under-20s and Ivor Burge National Championships in Geelong – showcasing the region as an events destination.

“Geelong has always had a proud basketball history with the Supercats and the region is eager to welcome the best junior basketballers to the city.” "Victoria is the home of Basketball, with nearly half of all registered players coming from this state, and we're bringing out more games, more often, to more of Victoria, as well as delivering elite new facilities to support emerging basketballers across the state."

At the end of the competition the Bob Staunton Medal will be awarded to the most outstanding male and female player, with icons of the game including Lauren Jackson (1999), Patty Mills (2006, 2007), Erin Phillips (2004) and Dante Exum (2013) all having this achievement etched next to their name.

The pool games take place across the first three days, while quarter finals kick off on Friday 17 February, semis on Saturday 18 and the grand final, play offs and closing ceremony conclude Sunday.

Unlike previous years, the Ivor Burge Women’s Competition will be structured as 3X3 as Basketball Australia aligns it with the international rules and World Championships happening in Paris later this year. 

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