The Northern general behind Tasmania’s NBL mission said he would love to help secure the state’s long-awaited next national sporting team.
Brett Smith will help steer the Southern Huskies into the New Zealand NBL confident it will see the state achieve national basketball involvement long before either football or soccer.
“It would be massive for Tasmanian sport and particularly basketball,” he said. “It’s another pathway for our young Tasmanian male players.
“I reckon it’s fantastic for Tasmanian basketball because we have not had this level played in the state since the Tassie Devils were in the NBL in the mid-90s.”
Smith, who will join Corey Davey as assistants to Huskies head coach Anthony Stewart in the NZ NBL, played 180 games for Launceston’s SEABL team the Ocelets/Tigers before the venture ended in 2002.
He has also played and coached Devils in LSBL/LBA since 1984, coached numerous women’s and junior teams in Launceston and won a North-West title with Wynyard under Basketball Tasmania head coach Mark Radford.
Smith is equally excited about the level of competition heading to the state and the professionalism of the Huskies operation.
“This is above the level of the SEABL and below the Australian NBL but the ambition of the Huskies is to get the brand and team going with a view to being in the NBL sooner rather than later. It’s very exciting to be involved in that.
“It’s a new club and organisation and from my dealings with them they are very professional and well on the way. The branding and merchandising is really good and the games will be run as a night of entertainment so should get a good following.”
The Huskies will play five games at the Silverdome, four at the Derwent Entertainment Centre and nine in New Zealand spread across four trips. The opener is likely to be in Hobart in April with Launceston’s first fixture expected to be in April.
“It’s very important to be a statewide team which is why they are playing at the Silverdome. It’s based out of Hobart but going to represent all of Tasmania and hopefully be supported by the North. We should get three or four thousand people to the Silverdome games.”
Backed by Huon entrepreneur and former Tassie Devils player Justin Hickey, the Huskies will feature much of last season’s SEABL-winning Hobart Chargers squad plus Burnie’s former Perth Wildcat Mason Bragg.
The Hobart-based Devils played in the NBL from 1983-1996 after Launceston-based Casino City won a championship in 1981 and Smith is confident the Huskies can resurrect the state’s national involvement with the franchise pledging to continue playing NBL games in Launceston.
“These guys are a long, long way to getting a side in the national competition and that is their goal. They already have thousands of members and followers.”
We have not had this level played in the state since the Tassie Devils were in the NBL in the mid-90sBrett Smith
Stewart was delighted to enlist the 49-year-old real estate salesperson and father of two teenage daughters who both also play for the Devils.
“I’ve known Brett for a lot of years,” Stewart said. “He knows the game really well, the timing is right for him and it’ll be a pleasure to have him on board and have a representation in the North.”
Smith played SEABL and NWBU with Stewart and coached him at the Devils and to a gold medal at last year’s Australian Masters Championships.