Australian basketball icon Andrew Gaze was today appointed to the interim board responsible for the merger between Basketball Australia and the NBL, and the overall reform of the sport in Australia.

As Australia’s best known and one of its most successful basketball identities, Gaze is expected to bring a unique perspective to the board. While his insights as a player will undoubtedly be of benefit, it is his commercial and community level experience that will likely generate tangible outcomes for the sport.

Since his retirement in 2005 Gaze has remained a passionate advocate for the sport, playing a central role in the development of grass roots basketball, both as coach of the junior Melbourne Tigers and through his work across a number of community and junior development programs.

“Basketball has been a driving force in my life since an early age, and I have been lucky enough to build a career out of it both as a player and off the court,” said Mr Gaze.

“I am confident my past experience will allow me to make a positive contribution to the review process and I look forward to being part of this exciting new phase in the sport’s development,” said Gaze.

Despite recent setbacks at the national level Gaze believes Australian basketball is in a strong position, and sees a bright future for the sport.

“Basketball is booming at a community level with more than 600,000 people participating in the sport and numbers continuing to grow,” stated Gaze¬†

“Internationally, Australia is currently ranked 2nd of 213 playing nations on the International Basketball Federation rankings, as a result of the performances of our senior, youth and junior teams, and our four national teams look set to be strong competitors at the Olympics and Paralympics in August and September.”

“The challenge now is to bridge the gap between the grassroots and our world-class national teams and I am confident that the introduction of a single, streamlined structure for basketball will ensure a bright future for the sport in Australia.

“The board recognises that changes are needed, and are committed to making the hard decisions,” said Gaze.¬† “The results of the independent review will provide us with the managerial and financial blueprint needed to cement basketball’s place as a major spectator and participant sport.”

Gaze’s involvement follows the recent appointment to the board of high profile business identities David Thodey, Group Managing Director for Telstra Enterprise and Government and Diane Sias, Group Executive, Westpac Business & Technology Solutions & Services and the announcement of Basketball Australia Chief Executive Scott Derwin as Interim CEO.

“Andrew is uniquely placed to contribute to the reform as he has seen all sides and stages of the basketball journey first hand, from its fledgling amateur days to its position as a professional national competition consistently producing world-class players,” said Chairman Mr Thodey.

“His appointment is welcomed by the interim board and a strong vote of confidence in our plans for the future of the sport.”

The second stage of the independent report commissioned by the NBL, Basketball Australia and the Australian Sports Commission was completed on 30 June. The Interim Board is expected to announce the revised governance and management structure and future business plan for the sport on 11 October following consultation with key stakeholders.