Scott Balsar sets sights on nationals gold medal

Shoalhaven's Scott Balsar. Photo: COURTNEY WARD
Shoalhaven's Scott Balsar. Photo: COURTNEY WARD

SHOALHAVEN basketball identity and high performance coach Scott Balsar has recently been re-appointed as the head coach of the NSW under 20 women’s team for 2018.

Balsar has an extensive background in coaching NSW state teams, having being at the helm of NSW Country under 16 and 18 teams for more than 15 years - boasting three national championship gold medals along with four national bronze medals.

On top of that, after this year’s under 20s campaign, he brought home his first ever silver medal at a junior national championship - an unbelievable achievement in itself.

Balsar, who was named 2005 Basketball Australia male coach of the year, is now focused on bringing home one more title again but this time, he has his heart and mind set on the ‘holy grail’ - the illustrious gold medal,

“It was great to take my team to the championship match in Bendigo this year but I feel like we have unfinished business,” Balsar said.

“This is why I put my name in the ring again to coach this team

“Don’t get me wrong, a silver medal is great but we fell just short of our long term goal and I want another crack at those Victorians.”

The preparation for the under 20s starts in early October and is limited, with most of the players having HSC commitments, before the school holidays begin for the summer.

“We only have small windows of opportunity to get prepared for the championships – exactly five camps with approximately 40 sessions before we go to the championships, which are being held in our home state next year in Terrigal in early February,” Balsar said.

“Last campaign we had 25 players trial for only 10 spots and with the possibility of seven players returning from our silver medal team - it’s going to be tough to pick the right group that can get it done.

“The talent pool in the girls program has improved, so as always I’m going into our first lot of trials with an open mind - no one is an automatic selection and everyone will be expected to trial for their spot.

“There will be a great mix of talent and height, with many of the players being development or train-on players on WNBL teams.

“Most have played in the Molten Waratah BNSW women’s league’s throughout this year along with the COE (Centre of Excellence) athletes playing in the SEABL competition.

“To top it all off, we will have three of the players that won the gold medal 12 months ago at the under 17 World Championships in Spain.

“So in the end, I think we will have a very talented team that will have a good chance of playing for gold but we will take one day at a time and chip away at making everything we do right.”

The under 20s national championships are being held at Terrigal’s Scholastic Sports Stadium from February 7-11.

“The thing I’m most looking forward to again is coaching the athletes both on the floor at practice and in the games – it’s definitely something I have missed in between campaigns,” Balsar said.

“I’m again looking forward to hopefully taking this group to the next level getting in and grinding it out on the practice floor - hopefully putting it all together come February next year.

“It’s a real honour to represent your state at any level of sport and I take my job seriously.

“I will put all my efforts and knowledge into bringing success to our team and Basketball NSW.”