SportsEvents Magazine

NOV 2017

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November 2017 34 www.sportseventsmagazine.com t SPORT Report Developed by James Naismith more than 100 years ago, the game of basket- ball continues to grow and thrive, accord- ing to leaders of the sport's national organizations and planning commissions that regularly host major tournaments and events. Part of the reason basketball has been so popular for so long is its simplicity, according to Don Ruedlinger, president of the Youth Basketball of America (YBOA). "It's a sport that's very eco- nomical," he said. "There's not a lot of equipment to worry about." That aspect helps YBOA facilitate its mission of promoting youth basketball worldwide, within the United States and in more than 30 countries. "We like to work with countries in dire need of basketball," Ruedlinger said. "And we donate to those who are lacking in mate- rials." Beyond providing access to uniforms, basketballs and educational clinics, YBOA makes available opportunities for personal growth, teamwork, sports- manship and fun for kids ranging from 2nd grade to 12 th grade, everyone from the "intramural program level to the elite high school player," according to Ruedlinger. "For every talented athlete, there are 1,000 kids who want to play and have fun," he said. "We're for the everyday kid." Next-Level Assist The continued popularity of basketball among youth—furthered by organizations such as YBOA and USA Basketball— helps serve as a pipeline to college pro- grams, national teams and professional leagues. USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley echoed some of Ruedlinger's reasons as to why the sport continues to attract players. "It's easy to play, it appeals to athletes because it's fast-paced, involves coach- ing strategy," he said. "Because it's so popular, there are a lot of courts, so there is ease of access to play the sport." That also contributes to the expansion of basketball worldwide. "The sport is getting into parts of the world it might not otherwise be," Tooley said. On some of the biggest stages, USA Basketball teams have dominated and continue to shine. The sport's national governing body fields squads that currently hold the top spot as Men's and Women's Olympic champions; Men's FIBA World Cup and Women's FIBA World Championship; Men's and Women's FIBA U19 World Championships; Men's FIBA U17 World Championship; Men's and Women's U18 FIBA Americas Championships; Men's U16 FIBA Americas Championship; and 3-on-3 Women's Youth Olympic Games. One of the "most significant develop- ments right now" for USA Basketball is the inclusion of 3-on-3 competition in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, accord- ing to Tooley. This 3-on-3 competition has previously debuted in FIBA's 2012 World Cup and the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, and it's even more fast-paced style has helped it catch on quickly in a relatively short amount of time. Played on a half-court with one hoop, 3-on-3 matches last only 10 minutes with a 12-second shot clock. Its fast and furious tempo—no halftime and no tim- eouts—is further emphasized with non- stop music to pump up the players and the crowd. "It's grown to where it has become a disciplined sport," Tooley said. The second most notable change for USA Basketball is the introduction of FIBA's new competition system that allows teams to qualify for the Olympics and World Cup. Tooley described it as being similar to the soccer qualifying system, with the intent of getting national teams together on a "more regular basis." The first round of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World ► The Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial (LJVM) Coliseum is home to the Wake Forest University Men's and Women's basketball teams. USA-Spain Game at the 2017 FIBA Men's U19 World Cup in Egypt

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