BBO still filling in the gaps

Basketball Otago general manager, Peter Drew, on court in 2019. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Basketball Otago general manager, Peter Drew, on court in 2019. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Basketball Otago will soon be able to field a starting five again.

The association had been in a "rebuilding phase" following some recent departures, general manager Peter Drew said.

Community and competitions officer Tim Gillan left part-way through the season last year, and long-serving game development officer Greg Brockbank left in mid-December to take up a role with Harbour Basketball.

"We’ve just been filling the gaps but we’ve got a starting five ready to go again in 2024," Drew said.

Gillan’s replacement has not been confirmed yet, but a person has been lined up for the role.

Brockbank’s role has been filled by 28-year-old Englishman Will Hopper — great name for basketball, that.

He has accepted the position of pathway development manager and is expected to arrive in March.

An exact date is yet to be confirmed, but he will bring a diverse basketball background.

Hopper played the game professionally in Northern Ireland, Denmark, Malta and Cambodia before moving into coaching.

He is the head of basketball at Sheffield College and is head coach of the Northern Ireland senior women and under-17 girls teams.

Hopper is also an assistant coach with the Plymouth City Patriots in the British NBL.

He also previously coached the junior women’s team in Wales

Drew described Hopper’s background as "interesting and pretty diverse".

"He’s coached a number of international teams and he’s also involved in the British NBL . . . and he is one of the developing young coaches in England."

He was part of the England development programme for aspiring coaches.

"He saw coming to New Zealand as a really exciting step in his basketball coaching journey,’ Drew said.

"The fact that he has got picked up by a lot of teams and nations would indicate that he is pretty well thought of [in England]."