Construction of Tasmania JackJumpers’ high performance basketball centre held up over red tape

Tasmania’s championship-winning basketball team says it’s open to a re-location of its planned new high-performance facility, as a three-way tug of war over construction intensifies.

The Tasmanian government, who are footing the bill for the build, Glenorchy City Council and JackJumpers basketball team owner Larry Kestelman continue to wrangle over the promised $50 million indoor, multi-sport facility build at Wilkinsons Point in Hobart’s northern suburbs.

Build conditions placed on the development application by the council are the source of the frustrations, with the back-and-forth delaying a start in construction, leaving the JackJumpers without a home base.

The high-performance facility will sit adjacent to Hobart’s Derwent Entertainment Centre.(ABC News: Dan Yeomans)

The red-tape delay has prompted the team to consider a permanent relocation to Kingborough, where it currently trains.

The team’s current arrangement at the Kingborough Sports Centre, 18 kilometres south of Hobart, sees them pay court hire fees and share the use of the facility with local pickleball and futsal teams.

A woman with brown hair and green blazer sitting in front of a trophy

Christine Finnegan says the team want to display their maiden NBL championship trophy at a home base.(ABC News: ABC News)

Centre ‘absolutely freezing’ in winter

JackJumpers chief executive Christine Finnegan told the ABC the existing arrangements were not ideal.

“The facilities aren’t up to professional standards, and I don’t think we’d expect any of our other professional teams to train in facilities that one, they don’t own; and two, that aren’t at the standard our competitors have,” she said.

“The facility in winter is absolutely freezing and I think for a team that is competing with others in professional environments, it puts us on the back foot”.

“We have just won our first NBL trophy for the state of Tasmania and we currently don’t have a place to house it”.

Jack McVeigh training Before Game Four of the final's series

JackJumpers’ Jack McVeigh trains at Kingborough Sports Centre, Kingston.(ABC News: Jake Grant)

Anywhere better than nowhere

The development application for the new indoor multi-sport facility was lodged to the Glenorchy City Council in June last year.

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Tasmanians daring to dream as JackJumpers on brink of basketball history

It was the shot that league legends, pundits, fans and even some players have labelled the greatest in the history of the National Basketball League.

But Jack McVeigh’s staggering half-court Hail Mary, which sent the Tasmania JackJumpers into a potential championship decider against Melbourne United, will be quickly forgotten should his team fail to “get the job done”, according to the man himself.

“I’ve received messages from people I haven’t talked to in 10 or 15 years and it’s been awesome,” McVeigh said.

“I’m grateful, but it’s been weird because the shot is irrelevant if we don’t get the job done.”

Jack McVeigh says he has watched a few replays of his shot to “check out the guys’ reaction on the bench” and the fans.(ABC News: Jake Grant)

McVeigh says he’s only watched replays of the shot a handful of times, and rather than focus on the miracle make, his eyes were diverted to teammate and crowd reactions upon the ball hitting the bottom of the basket.

“My phone has pretty much been on silent and chucked under my bed,” he said.

“The night I made it I watched it quite a few times, checking out the guys’ reaction on the bench, the crowd reactions, having a laugh at Mags (Will Magnay) and Drim (Anthony Drmic) on the sideline and him running to take my head off, just enjoying those little moments.”

The 35-footer, assisted magnificently by Milton Doyle in the dying breaths of Sunday’s Game 3, will be etched in Australian basketball folklore should the JackJumpers win one of their next 2 games to claim a stunning maiden title.

A basketball player speaking to media off camera.

Captain Clint Steindl has backed McVeigh’s decision to take the shot, rather than try to advance the ball.(ABC News: Jake Grant)

Captain Clint Steindl says McVeigh’s decision to take the shot, rather than progress the ball or attempt a higher percentage play, was the right call.

“You have to make decisions on the fly,” he said.

“Jack made a decision. He’s done it before. I think everyone knew that Jack was going to shoot it at some point, and I think to look at it now, it’s like ‘good decision, Jack’.”

The rest is history.

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You can’t find a court to play on thanks to this team’s surprise basketball success

It is no secret that Tasmanians have a new-found love affair with basketball.

Since the Tasmanian JackJumpers entered the National Basketball League in 2021, interest in the sport has skyrocketed.

Each home game, thousands of Tasmanians don their green and yellow to cheer on the team — but the growing fanfare is creating headaches for grassroots basketball clubs.

In the state’s north, the Launceston Basketball Association has seen a 46 per cent increase in the number of players wanting to hit the court since the JackJumpers played their first season.

Association president Craig Gibson said while it was great so many people wanted to play the game, it now had 500 teams — 300 junior and 200 senior — and was struggling to give them all court time.

“We’re very much expecting to not fit everyone in this year,” he said.

“We’ll have to go back to the clubs and tell them, ‘We don’t have the space, you can only have this many teams’, which will mean there’ll be kids that don’t get to play.”

Mr Gibson fears kids may soon be turned away from playing basketball.(ABC News: Manika Champ)

The reason the association is struggling to accommodate the influx of players is court space.

It is a similar situation across the state, with Basketball Tasmania saying the state needs at least 26 new indoor courts to keep up with demand.

Junior basketballer in a red top with a ball running down a basketball court
The number of basketballers wanting to play in Launceston has increased by 46 per cent in the past 18 months.(Supplied: Launceston Basketball Association Facebook)

The Tasmanian government has plans to develop new facilities, but basketball organisations say they are still years away.

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