By Ben Hope
AFTER eight years of planning the Pakenham and District Basketball Association (PDBA) will host its first game of Big V basketball this weekend when the Pakenham Warriors take on the Cranbourne Cavaliers in both clubs’ inaugural season in Division Three.
Warriors coach Danny Adamson is confident his team can perform at the elite level after a successful pre-season.
“We feel pretty confident that we can compete past this level after a very good performance in the Melbourne Metropolitan Basketball League (MMBL),” Adamson said.
“We have just come back from a pre-season tournament in Ballarat where we played against teams from the Big V first division and the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) D Division. We were very competitive and I am pretty happy.
“It is a fairly young team and our ultimate ambition will be to move up beyond Division Three.”
The Big V side is made up of members of the Pakenham MMBL team with a few additions because of injuries.
Adamson said the entry into the Big V competition was just one part of the club’s 10-year plan that includes additional teams at both the senior and junior level.
“We have already exceeded our expectations with the senior men’s program but we also have ambitions for the SEABL and the National Basketball League (NBL),” he said.
“Ultimately we want two men’s and two women’s teams in the MMBL as well as one men’s and one women’s in the Big V.
“First we will need to build community support for our Big V side; we are aiming to get 300 or 400 supporters at every game.”
Warriors team manager Ian Flannery said the Pakenham Basketball Association had applied for a team in the Big V competition for the past two years.
“After last year’s application the league wanted us to prove we could host games and support them financially,” Flannery said.
“We hosted two of Kooweerup’s games at Cardinia Life and the CEO of the Big V league came to both games. He was really impressed and loved the facility. With eight courts, there probably isn’t a facility in the league that compares with it.”
Flannery said the success of the new team was partly due to the efforts of coach Danny Adamson who believed in the club and pushed them to get a team in the Big V competition.
“Danny is very well credentialled and well known in the basketball world,” he said.
“People used to scratch their heads and ask, ‘how did Pakenham get hold of him?’ Well, his dream was to come to Pakenham and develop basketball in the district. We can now see his dream come to fruition.”
After a university basketball career Adamson moved to Tasmania to play with the Hobart Devils before moving into coaching as a way to give something back to the game. He coached the women’s national team and has been involved with both SEABL and state-level teams.
For Adamson a basketball club offers a range of skills for young players and his coaching encompasses a life philosophy aimed at developing respect and honesty.
“Our program isn’t based only on basketball. It’s family first, education second, then basketball,” Adamson said.
“At the end of the day it’s about the community getting involved and helping young people to have a commitment to something.”
It was after a chance meeting with PDBA president Jack Vanstone at a coaching course that Adamson found himself in Pakenham.
“I told the coaches that if they were having trouble and wanted me to help out, I would,” Adamson said.
“I came down to Pakenham to work with this group of young country boys and I was really impressed with their attitude to work and listen. They asked if I could come back next week and I have been coming back every week for the last eight years.”
The Pakenham team will be out in force to drum up community support before their first game this weekend, including a flyer outlining the clubs teams and coaching courses that will be distributed to primary schools.
“This is the first time a Cardinia team have stepped up into the Big V league so we are expecting the community to get behind us,” Flannery said.
Pakenham and fellow newcomers the Cranbourne Cavaliers meet this Sunday in the first round of the competition at Cardinia Recreation Centre, from 1pm.
By Ben Hope