A push to bring NBL matches to Tasmania could open the door for Launceston-born Olympian Chris Goulding to play in his home town.
The 28-year-old shooting guard, who was this week named in a Boomers squad preparing for the Asia Cup, plays for Melbourne United which has been named as the side seeking to bring the national basketball competition across Bass Strait.
Basketball Tasmania chief executive Chris McCoy said discussions involving the franchise and the Tasmanian Government have been going on for about a year.
“It’s still early days, and I’m not sure if it will come off, but Melbourne United are very keen to bring two games down here,” McCoy said.
United confirmed its interest, with chief executive Vince Crivelli saying: “We will be delighted to come down if we have the opportunity to. We are looking to play games for points, visit schools and provide coaching development opportunities to the basketball community in Tassie.”
If secured, it is expected that the two fixtures would be played at the Silverdome in Launceston and Hobart’s Derwent Entertainment Centre.
“That would be our preference,” McCoy said. “We think they would have the most benefit for our state because those venues can cater for crowds of 4000 people which is what we would need for the NBL.”
The fixtures would be viewed as a forerunner to a bid for a Tasmanian NBL team within three years, a prospect the Hobart Chargers are driving with support from the state government.
While any NBL team would be located in Hobart, McCoy would be keen to see matches in Launceston.
In the Boomers team that finished fourth at the Rio Olympics, Goulding has been contracted to Melbourne since 2015 having previously played for the Brisbane Bullets, Perth Wildcats and Gold Coast Blaze in a decade-long NBL career.
Goulding, whose father Steve coached North Launceston FC, went to West Launceston Primary School and began playing basketball at the PCYC before his family moved to Brisbane.