Basketball Scotland chiefs plan to target qualification for the 2018 Commonwealth Games after it was confirmed the sport is to get £280,000 of funding to raise their aims.

The cash injection will see a closer tie-up between the governing body, British Basketball League outfit Glasgow Rocks and Women’s BBL newcomers Caledonia Pride to pool resources to bring fresh talent through and give the best Scottish prospects the chance to play at home.

It is understood American recruit Erik Olson has been lured from Iceland to become Scotland men’s head coach as well as serving as Sterling Davis’ assistant at the Rocks with Dutchman Bart Sengers already confirmed in a dual role in charge of the national women’s team and the Pride.

“We are delighted that sportscotland is investing in basketball’s performance system,” said Basketscotland chief executive Kevin Pringle. “We are working to make a sustainable change in our system and our culture to ensure we can develop performance level players for the long-term.

“By establishing a partnership with the Glasgow Rocks, alongside the launch of our women’s franchise, Caledonia Pride, we will provide Scotland’s top athletes an outlet to train together over the next two seasons as preparation for the Commonwealth Games in 2018. By working together, the game in Scotland can benefit for generations to come.”

Olson, who has coached in Iceland and Australia since a brief playing stint with Scottish League outfit Falkirk Fury, is expected to receive visa clearance to arrive next month to provide Davis with some much-needed help on his bench ahead of the new BBL campaign.

And it is hoped the extra investment going into the Rocks – that will also see money ring-fenced to support prospective Great Britain players – will strengthen their case ahead of the planned revamp of the domestic league next season that will see greater demands on clubs to provide a developmental pathway.

“We’ve now got a better alignment on thinking on how Scottish basketball can develop in the short and medium term with a focus on the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast,” Rocks chairman Ian Reid said. “And it means we can work more closely with the Institute of Sport which will benefit our players.

“We have to be something that can aspire towards. And we already have kids who hadn’t picked up a basketball before coming through our Jump2it programme who are now playing for Scotland at age-group level. The key is to broaden the base and if you do that, gems will come through.”

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