Basketball: Duff’s first big test is to appoint women’s coach

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Scotland’s new Head of Basketball, Steve Duff, has a major task before the festive break as he begins his new post.

Applications have just been invited for the post of head coach to the Scottish senior women’s team, who are due to contest the European Small Nations Championship in Struga in Macedonia from July 10 to 15 next year.

Duff, a former MIM junior star whose US college career was ended when he suffered a serious knee injury, is a former coach to Edinburgh Kings juniors and spent several years in basketball and disabled sports development with East and West Lothian.

But now he has been given charge of the performance side of the sport in Scotland, though still responsible to CEO Kevin Pringle. Among the possible contenders for the unpaid women’s coaching post might be two with outstanding credentials, Ian Gordon, the former MIM senior men’s coach, who has expressed a preference for developing younger players in recent years, and Graham Gunn, a former holder of the post and another ex-MIM player who has made an outstanding but largely unrecognised contribution to women’s basketball, coaching Edinburgh Kool Kats to a cup and league double last season. Scotland women were last in Macedonia in 2000, when the now CEO of Sportscotland Stewart Harris steered them into second place behind the host country, with Gunn as his assistant.

* Troon coach Tom Campbell has been reappointed coach of the Scottish senior men’s team, who are going to San Marino for the Small Nations tournament from July 2 to 7.

* Scotland’s under-16 teams are both heading for Gibraltar for their respective Euro C tournaments, the girls from July 17-22 and the boys from July 24-29.

Meadowbank’s 2012 chance

Meadowbank is in line to host one of the Great Britain women’s warm-up games for the London 2012 Olympics.

The venue for two of the GB men’s home games during their campaign to qualify for the European A division – GB beat Netherlands 63-39 in 2006 and Albania 110-78 – Meadowbank has not staged a GB women’s game, but if it does, probably in May or June of next year, hopes would be high that the Capital’s own Rose Anderson would be included in the team.

Recognition for duo

Louise Gillespie (Polonia Phoenix) and Niall Ritchie (Lothian Phoenix) were honoured at the National Volunteers Awards ceremony before last Sunday’s Glasgow Rocks v Newcastle Eagles BBL game at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.

Gillespie was named Young Volunteer of the Year and Ritchie was named as Wheelchair Basketball Volunteer of the Year.

Kings without key trio

Edinburgh Kings will be without Latvian Edgars Rekis, Lithuanian Audrius Ciapas and Portobello’s Stephen Dickson for their trip to Glasgow tomorrow to play bottom-of-the table Glasgow Rocks at Langside College (12.30pm).

Dickson will be heading north to Arbroath to coach top-of-the-table Kings in their cadet game with Tayside Musketeers which precedes the junior clash. Boroughmuir Blaze head for Queen Anne High to play Dunfermline Reign (4pm) while their improving juniors are at Troon to play Team Ayrshire Tornadoes.

Top women’s game of the weekend is Polonia Phoenix at home to Glasgow Rocks at Wester Hailes tomorrow (3pm) where the juniors clash tonight (7.30pm) and the cadettes tomorrow (1pm).