HOPEFUL: Steve Smith outside the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre.
HOPEFUL: Steve Smith outside the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre. Adam Hourigan

Big River Basketball showing signs of slam dunks

STEVE Smith was one of Grafton Vikings' finest players, and now he is targeting Yamba.

Smith has been manager of Raymond Laurie Sports Centre for the past four years, trying to help develop a facility that can host a myriad of different sports.

A push to develop basketball sounds like an obvious path for Smith to follow, but it has been one of the toughest challenges he has faced.

"When I first started here we emphasised other sports like roller derby," Smith said.

"It was more about keeping the place being used rather than focus on any one sport.

"Now we have up to 40 different user groups every week."

Smith envisages the centre as being a place community groups can take advantage of rather than a place that centrally runs a limited number of sports.

"That's been the biggest difficulty," Smith said.

"It's been like starting 40 different little businesses and passing over the reins where we are more interested in allowing the groups or associations to come to us.

"I initially thought they'd be banging down the door to get in but it hasn't exactly worked out that way."

Basketball is one of the main sports associated with indoor sport centres, but futsal and netball have also made their presences felt.

Big River Basketball, which the competition is called, has started slowly but is showing sign of becoming more popular.

"Basketball didn't show as much interest in the beginning but we have made some big inroads recently," Smith said.

"We're now up to about eight teams in the men's competition and six in the women's.

"It's more of a social comp and it's played in the right spirit."



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