Ex basketball star inspires next generation

Former NT basketball star Timmy Duggan helped Katherine youth perfect their ball skills at the YMCA today. 

Duggan became the NT’s first player in the National Basketball League in 1996 and is also one of only a handful of Aboriginal people to have played in the NBL. 

Darwin based Duggan, founded the Hoops 4 Health Program in 2002 which focuses on health promotion through basketball. 

YMCA Katherine youth services manager Charles Mbouti said more than 50 young people fronted the courts today to learn from the former pro.

“We invited Tim along to run a skills session and also do some mentoring,”  Mr Mbouti said.

“Having been the first Indigenous basketball player in the Australian league I think he has inspired a lot of the kids to discover their own talents and encouraged them to follow their dreams.”

Duggan who previously played for Cairns and the Gold Coast said he was passionate about engaging youth through sport. 

“I think I got as much out of today as the kids did, it has been a lot of fun,” Duggan said. 

“All of the kids genuinely wanted to learn and improve. They have been engaged all day in the heat and I think that is a testament to the staff at the YMCA. 

“It is all about getting the kids active and to keep them busy during the school holidays,” he said. 

The former pro said he hoped today’s session would encourage young people in Katherine to hit the court more often.

“When I was young my dad put up four basketball hoops in the backyard and when I was bored on he holidays I would just practice all the time,” Duggan said. 

“I got a thrill out of watching the ball go through the hoop, it gave me a natural high.”

The YMCA will be holding a pool party tomorrow at the town pool from noon-3pm, a colour run on Friday from 10am-3pm and a roller disco on Saturday night from 6-9pm.