What does 2020 mean for High School basketball?
There's a lot we do and don't know about Wellington's High School basketball ring at the moment. We know a lot about nine teams, but not a lot about others. It's all word of mouth but no physical play. It looks to be that way until at least the end of May as well with the current COVID-19 situation. What does COVID-19 mean for High School basketball?
Let's start with the information we have. In Wellington, there's no Secondary School Sport till the Winter Season. This means that when 4th May ticks over, we should be in the Winter Sport Season. an announcement will be made by the Secondary School Sports Council in April as to what they recommend. We also know that there are two major basketball competitions each year. Regional Qualifiers for High School basketball, and National Championships run by Basketball New Zealand. These kick off August and September. There's a long time between now and then for us to know the full extent about basketball and the impact COVID-19 will have on it.
What would a year without High School basketball look like? It's easy. It would be dreadful. Friday nights at ASB Sports Centre wouldn't ever be the same. Imagine playing in front of nobody. Six courts, no music, no sound, no chatter. What about the implications of this? It would mean that there would be an increase in students staying an extra year to play basketball in 2021. This is something that's happening more frequent amongst Year 13 players. They will stay behind to nail in another year, and some are even switching schools to do this. There's no doubt this will increase.
It opens up the next question to Basketball New Zealand which is, if the National Leagues this year aren't looking likely to go ahead, what can we look to in the future for High School Basketball? There's a huge National Championship that goes on each year and shows off some of the best youth basketball talent New Zealand has to offer. Where do they play after school? Once we know more about the situation ahead of us, we should be looking for a platform that gives these young ballers the opportunity to play after their schooling days are over.
Even after The Summer Series suspension, there is no way we can safely play High School sport in the next few months. It's a hard pill to swallow, but it's the right thing to do. The priority is safety, and that's what's needed if we are to be playing sport by the end of the year.