THE future of the Bathurst Goldminers is looking bright after four of the club's rising stars took part in the recent Country Development Tour in Newcastle.
The tour brings together country and metropolitan associations' promising juniors together to help advance their game and prepare them for a potential step up to the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup in the following season.
Bathurst had a stack of players named to take part in the four day event in both under 15s and 17s.
Goldminers under 15s players Clayton Allen and Roxy George took part at Newcastle while a large under 17s group of Meleke Jenkins, Kaleah Mack, Fletcher Bolte, Jonathan Limbrick and Jackson Tapu also took part.
Players were given a mixture of skills development and game-time scenarios against some of NSW's most promising basketballers.
They're not the only Bathurst juniors in action this month.
Bathurst currently has two players taking part in the ACJBC at Albury - Riley George and Reilly Allen.
The Bathurst presence continued into the coaching ranks as well.
Goldminers under 18s boys coach Reweti Tapu lent his mentoring services at the CDT.
Bathurst Basketball Association committee member Amanda Matthews said it's great for the city's juniors to enjoy valuable match practice with different players.
"It gives them a taste of what it's like to go to the next level at Australian Country down in Albury. With there being two years in each age group, a lot of players in the CDT are usually from the bottom age who are aiming to go to the tour as a top age player," she said.
"At CDT they used to have the country players in one team and the metro kids in another, because metro clubs usually nominate kids, but this year they've combined them.
"The format this year was they played three-on-three for a couple of days, because it's happening at the next Olympics and they're really trying to promote that at the moment."
With 3x3 basketball making its way onto the Tokyo 2020 program there's been a push to get more players involved.
Much like Twenty20 in cricket or Fast4 in tennis, the format is designed to put a fresh spin on a familiar sport.
"The kids seem to really enjoy it because it's quick but still quite physical," Matthews said.
"We hope to eventually get a 3x3 tournament going out this way but that's something we're still working on."
For the CDT and ACJBC competitors, as well as their Goldminers teammates, the focus will soon turn towards the upcoming Western Junior League season.
The season gets underway next month and the Goldminers will once again be fielding at least one team in every age group (under 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s boys and girls).
Adding to the excitement factor this season is the fact Bathurst is playing host to the finals.
Teams were named late last year and all squads have been busy training in the lead up to the new season.
Matthews said there's been strong numbers sign up across all age groups.
"We're really looking forward to the new season. The first round will be in the Riverina and then the next two rounds are split between Bathurst and Lithgow then Bathurst and Orange," she said.
"Bathurst again has the finals, which is always exciting. Hopefully the new backboards at the stadium will be up by then. It's all coming together well.
"This year we had a lot of boys try out in under 14s so we've been able to enter two teams in that age group. We had enough numbers to field two teams which would be strong enough to compete."
George and Allen's Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup campaigns start on Saturday and run through until the following weekend.