Basketball’s best hustling to Ballarat

January 20, 2022 BY

Shoot to score: Young local players Milla Rundell, Zac Dunmore, Dex Rizzoli, Milly Sharp, and Archer Martin gear up for the national competition. Photos: EDWINA WILLIAMS

IT’S time to hustle, with more NBL basketball action on the way to the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre this weekend.

Set for on Saturday, 22 and Sunday, 23 January, the NBL 3×3 Big Hustle National Championships will welcome about 500 players including children through to elite athletes from across Australia to Selkirk Stadium’s new outdoor three-on-three basketball courts.

This new facility is part of the second stage works at the facility, and head of NBL 3×3 Hustle Jaele Patrick said the bright blue surfaces are positioning Ballarat as the future home of the sport.

“We’ll start to see a lot more of our major events, and our national events coming here, especially at that top pro level. It’s really exciting,” she said.

“This weekend we’ll see the best teams in 3×3 which have qualified through a series of state tournaments; juniors aged under 12, 14, 16, and 18, and opens.

“They’re grassroots clubs, to professionals in our state NBL1 teams.”

The new three-on-three basketball courts outside the stadium were still under construction last week.

The 3×3 games run for 10 minutes, so spectators will be able to enjoy many contests, even if they only drop by for an hour.

Off the court players will be able to access a chill-out zone with an Xbox, music from local DJs, and a Ballarat-based artist will paint a mural on site.

“It’s more of a festival feel, compared to your normal basketball competition,” Ms Patrick said.

City of Ballarat’s Cr Amy Johnson said 2000 people are expected to visit the city over the two days.

“That will be amazing, boosting the number of people at our eateries, in our accommodation venues, and our local economy,” she said.

“We know many people get inspired to play sport and be active when they see these elite level sporting people participating here locally.

“We’ve been working hard on our events and tourism strategy, and investing in our local sporting infrastructure over many years. The fact that we’re able to attract high-level events such as these to our city shows that these investments are worthwhile.”