LONDON 2012 IS FANTASTIC NEWS FOR GLOBAL BASKETBALL
Congratulations London on winning the right to stage the 2012 Olympics ! What a fantastic opportunity this is for British sport and for British basketball in particular and what a huge challenge lies ahead to get the right structures in place so that we can take part with distinction on the biggest stage in world sport.
The jonahs are already saying "we can't do it", "the task is too great" and "there's no point in trying" but they said that about the bid and look what happened.
The Olympics have the power to inspire a whole generation of youngsters to play, train and achieve and the prospect of the Olympic basketball finals being staged at the Dome before a crowd of 20,000 must surely set the pulse racing.
Despite being host country the United Kingdom is not guaranteed a place in the 12-team basketball competition. We must prove our worth and earn that right.
We have the players, of that I'm convinced, but we must give them the right platform on which to perform and that will not be easy. But then winning the bid was not easy either !
CRUCIAL MEETING FOR COMMONWEALTH BASKETBALL
FIBA's new Commonwealth Committee will meet in Geneva on Saturday to hear the zonal nominations for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne when basketball will feature for the first time since the Games began in Hamilton, Ontario in 1930.
Eight men's teams and eight women's will take part in Melbourne in March 2006 and, apart from the very laudable desire of the organisers to have the strongest nations present, there is a requirement that at least three of the six Commonwealth Games regions be represented. Australia naturally will be there as host nation.
FIBA invited each of its five zones to nominate its Commonwealth countries in ranking order 1,2,3 but the European zone has lobbied strongly for the chance to stage qualifying tournaments to decide on the ranking order.
If this were approved it is proposed that two triangular tournaments would take place involving England, Cyprus and Scotland (men) and England, Malta and Scotland (women).
Hoopscotch would like to invite readers to nominate the eight best men's and women's teams who should take part in the Games on the basis of recent results.
Our nominations: men: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Cyprus, England, Nigeria, India and a Caribbean team; women: Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Canada, Malaysia, Mozambique, England, Malta or Scotland.
SCOTS WOMEN FINISH FIFTH IN ANDORRA, KEEP ALIVE COMMONWEALTH GAMES HOPES
Scotland beat Cyprus 59-49 in their final game of the European Promotion Cup in Andorra on July 31 to finish fifth overall and second Commonwealth country behind surprise medallists Malta, who beat Armenia 69-61 for bronze.
The title went as expected to Iceland, who beat Luxembourg comfortably 81-66 in the final, which made their surprise defeat by Azerbaijan in their final pool game all the more bizarre.
Scotland's Lauren Walker, who is going back to play in Holland for 3ES Lieshout, completed a superb tournament by scoring another 24 points against Cyprus to finish easily top Scottish scorer and one of the best on view, with an average of 19 a game.
She also added nine rebounds for a 7.3 average, again Scotland's top overall and matching former City of Edinburgh clubmate Hazel Howson in the game, and was in the top three overall for steals.
Midlothian Saints guard Leanne Stupart added 12 points and Polonia's Ali Paton had eight rebounds as the Scots came from 30-25 down at half-time to lead 48-41 after the third quarter.
Malta, who had shocked Scotland 57-39 on Thursday, went on to beat Armenia and maintain the sequence of all the countries from Pool A beating their opponents in Pool B in the play-offs, suggesting the seeding had not been very fair.
Results: Final: Iceland 81 Luxembourg 66; play-off for 3/4: Malta 69 Armenia 61; 5/6: Scotland 59 Cyprus 49; 7/8: Azerbaijan 81 Gibraltar 38; 9/10: Andorra 55 Wales 39.
CITY OF EDINBURGH KINGS CAPTURE TOP CITY AWARD
It's official ! Kings ARE Edinburgh's Team of the Year, beating off tough opposition from pro rugby club Edinburgh Gunners and famous Scottish Cup football giant-killers Spartans at the city's ceremony for outstanding achievement in sport.
The team with the city's name had its most memorable year, winning both Scottish Cup and Scottish League and going through the season unbeaten.
Coach Danny Costello, the man behind the success and by coincidence a former Spartans team coach, was absolutely delighted as he and five players received the award and a cheque for £250 from Lord Provost Lesley Hinds at the City Chambers.
The Gunners and Spartans were given a joint recognition award for their achievements in joint runners-up spot.toronto raptor tickets
CUP TREBLE FOR CITY CLUB, DOUBLE FOR KINGS SENIORS, JUNIORS
City of Edinburgh Kings have achieved the Scottish Cup and League double at last ! And for good measure the juniors have done it as well, both teams winning impressively in the cup finals at Meadowbank on April 3 & 4 to go through their entire season unbeaten. With Kool Kats retaining their junior women's trophy with a splendid 77-70 win over league champions St Mirren it meant for the second year in a row a Scottish Cup treble for the city club, who also added runners-up medals when Kool Kats cadettes went down to St Mirren.
But the Kings men left it late, beating Falkirk Clark Eriksson Fury 82-73 in a pulsating final watched by a noisy crowd of well over 1000 in which they only took the lead for the first time in the game, 74-73, with three minutes left.
It was only Kings second victory in 10 Scottish Cup Finals, the previous success being in 2001 but it gave coach Danny Costello a satisfying family achievement - the double at cadet, junior and senior level, all with son Laurie his playmaker.
Injury-stricken Dan Wardrope, who played with his right calf strapped, had poured in 12 unanswered points to close the door and MVP Laurie Costello rounded off a fine personal display and sensational win with two from the line. Appropriately both players tallied 25 points, Costello also being top rebounder with nine and Wardrope adding six. But they were strongly backed by Kevin Anderson with 18; while Val Foss and Rob Jansson came on strongly in the final quarter, when the team stepped up their defence as they scented victory.
Yet Fury, without their holidaying skipper Marek Pawlak, had led 13-5 and 42-28 in the first half, which closed with them 50-43 up and they again went out to 66-53 in the third quarter. Peter Duncan sent out a strong claim to be added to the Scotland squad, scoring 18 points before fouling out, while brother Mark and Spaniard Jose Alastvey both had 17 and Walter Lebeigt 10.
Ben Lewis (24) and Sean Mitchell (20) who both went on to play in the senior final the following day, led the scoring for Kings juniors, who beat Troon Tornadoes 86-66, helped by great displays from Jack Tindell, a double "double" with 13 rebounds and 10 points, and Garreth Lodge, with 17 points, seven steals and four rebounds.
Michelle Duff, 18 points and five steals, Rose Anderson, 17, Emma Findlay,16, including three "treys", and captain Rachel Boyd, 13, led Kool Kats in the RAF Junior Women's Final in which they trailled 13-0 at the start.