The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Basketball England have today announced the expansion of the Jr. NBA Basketball England Leagues from 13 to 16.
This coincides with participating schools receiving the draft announcement video for the upcoming Jr. NBA Basketball England Leagues, which features two-time NBA Champion Kenny Smith.
The Jr. NBA Basketball England League has grown from just one league since the programme launched in 2014. In 2018, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced plans to increase the number of leagues in the UK to 16 by 2020, an expansion that has now been successfully achieved, with 16 Jr. NBA Basketball England Leagues tipping off this week, when the first round of games get underway.
The leagues now span most regions in England, including Co-Ed leagues for years 7 and 8 in the West Midlands, East Midlands, North-West, Yorkshire, London and the East of England. There will also be Co-Ed leagues for year 7 in the South West and South East as well as girls leagues for years 7 and 8 in the North West and London.
Laura Doherty, relationship and co-ordinator manager at Basketball England commented of the league expansion, said: "Basketball England are excited about our continued partnership with the NBA as the Jr. NBA maintains its growth across the country.
"We're thrilled our partnership will now be able to offer 30 schools in the South East of England and 30 schools in the South West of England, as well as an additional league for Year 8 students in the East Midlands, the opportunity to get involved in the Jr. NBA programme.
"We've had unprecedented levels of interest in our 16 leagues this season and look forward to welcoming all of our schools to the Jr. NBA in 2019-20."
The Jr. NBA League was created for 11-13 year olds (Year 7 and Year 8) boys and girls in secondary schools to participate in basketball.
The League is organised and operated by the local operating partner in partnership with the NBA. The leagues are made up of 30 teams who each represent one of the 30 NBA teams.
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In the UK, the Jr. NBA Basketball England League now comprises of 16 leagues across the country, where schools are drafted as NBA teams. Schools compete in four regular-season games as part of seven rounds of fixtures, followed by an elimination playoff. Schools who top their groups then progress to the semifinals with the final four schools in each league playing in the Jr. NBA Finals to be crowned the league champions.