Sport set to sizzle at schools

HE'S only been in Rockhampton for a few days but already Mathew Neason is setting about his task of lifting the profile of basketball in the area to a new level.

Neason has been appointed as Rockhampton basketball's development officer and he has plenty of experience having held similar positions in his native Victoria.

The new position, which is for at least 12 months, covers a multitude of areas and activities but as with any position there has to be a starting point.

"I've organised to get out amongst the primary schools, grades 3, 4, 5 and 6," he said.

"I want to get some enthusiasm in these schools and build the profile of basketball."

The sport gained a huge boost this year with the success of the Rockets and Neason is hoping to capitalise on that.

"It's a perfect time to come in," he said.

"It will be a chance to utilise some of their players in (coaching) programs."

Neason will take charge of the "Learn to Play" program that is currently being run at the stadium on a Monday evening.

He said the 4-5pm section works on skill development followed by a further hour where those skills are used in a game situation.

"It's a good program at a minimal charge," he said.

Neason believes if the game is built from the grass roots then it will stimulate more interest locally.

"We want a basketball family," he said.

Neason admits his view of Rockhampton was given a boost by the timing of his interview.

"I came up for the interview when the finals were on and saw the Rocky crowd in action," Neason said.

"We don't have that sort of community support in Victoria."

Apart from developing the profile of the game in the area Neason has a multitude of other tasks including the coaching of coaches.

Consequently he sees his own opportunities of spending time on court as being very limited.

One of the first tasks for Neason will be to set up camps for youngsters to attend during their school holidays.

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