SUVA - Fiji is known worldwide for their rugby prowess which will be on display in this year's Rio Olympic Games. But, come 2017, Fiji's men's national basketball team is going to be thrust into the spotlight.
FIBA's New Competition System will see team Fiji competing in home and away games against teams from all over Asia and Oceania. Fiji will potentially play host to some of the best teams in the region including powerhouses China, Japan and the Philippines.
You can find extended details about the new competition system here.
As part of FIBA's commitment to facilitate the development of their national federations, Australian NBL Coach of the Year Shawn Dennis visited Basketball Fiji's headquarters in Suva.
Dennis is a seasoned coach with a laundry list of accomplishments both in Australia and New Zealand: 2004 New Zealand National Basketball League (NZ NBL) Coach of the Year, 2006 NZ NBL Championship, New Zealand Tall Ferns Head Coach 2009-2010 and 2015/16 Australian NBL Coach of the Year. He has accomplished an enormous amount as a coach and, combined with his decades of playing experience, is highly respected in the basketball community.
Dennis visited Basketball Fiji headquarters in Suva from June 24th to July 10th. During this time the Fiji senior national teams were put through their paces with Dennis conducting a number of high-level training sessions. A big focus for him was showing the national team coaches how to build their holistic player development system. This consisted of individual player development, building team offensive and defensive principals plus building a team culture.
Dennis also held multiple theoretical coaching sessions for both coaches and team managers.
"The coaches were expecting an Xs and Os session but I wanted to explain to them that there is a lot more than X’s and O’s to creating a successful program," commented Dennis. "The response to these topics was very good."
Dennis also used this time to educate the national team coaches on what they could expect come November 2017.
"A number of these sessions included watching film from [past] FIBA Asia Championships," he said. "This was an eye-opening experience for the two national coaches and a very worthwhile experience. It also highlighted to them about the work that needs to be done to be competitive."
Dennis felt that this was an extremely worthwhile and productive exercise.
"Overall the visit was a success in my eyes. The coaches have been left with a large number of resources on how to run and prepare a national program. We were also able to help facilitate the process of up skilling their coaches and better prepare them for their upcoming national team commitments."