This week, the Taylor Hawks have had to make the very difficult decision not to enter into the 2020 Competition that the NZ NBL have put together. We have thoroughly researched the proposal and consulted with the wider basketball community in order to come to this decision.
It has been a very long process and the continued support of our Board, Kelvin Taylor at Taylor Corp, Brendon Smith at Hastings City Pak’nSave, and our two patrons, Colin Francis and Kevin Atkinson has been invaluable to us. We have reached out to players, coaches and fans for feedback and detail, which was all well reasoned and supportive. Throughout these difficult times created by COVID 19, it has been heartening to hear the positive messages from you all. It is great to see you stand behind your team.
While we commend the NZNBL League for all of the work that they have put into this and we are definitely supportive of the intent behind the competition, as of the entry deadline this week, there were still too many unknown factors for us. Essentially, our decision was based on two main factors, community connection and player welfare.
The success of the Taylor Hawks is based on the support of our community; our Sponsors, our funders, our players and our fans. This had to be in the forefront of our minds through the decision making process. Unfortunately, the draft system and the tight timelines meant that our ability to build a team with a strong connection to our community was going to be very difficult. There was a possibility that we would only have one or two of our team members in the ten player squad.
Many of our extended squad in Hawke’s Bay work or go to school. After the lockdown period, it was almost impossible for them to take the time out for the competition. This meant that we would have to rely heavily on the draft system, which again, gave us very little control over our team. We are not one of the larger regions, but we have built ourselves up to runner up in 2019, so it was important for our community and key stakeholders to maintain the gains we have made over the last few years. In the end, we were unable to build the team in a way that we could show a direct benefit to the Taylor Hawks Community.
This has the potential to be an intense competition, so the preparation before the competition and the ability to rest and recover throughout the competition are vital to player welfare. Unfortunately, we as a franchise could not prepare for this given the unknown aspects of the draft. Our players are important to us and their welfare had to be a key aspect of this decision also.
The League are still working on some of these issues and we hope that they can overcome some of the obstacles in their path. Unfortunately, at the point of the deadline, there were still too many unknown factors for us to take the risk.
It is disappointing that three of the top 2019 teams will not be competing in this competition, but at the end of the day we had to do what is best for our community, our players and our franchise.
We are now focused on our 2021 Campaign. All of the support we have received so far makes us confident that it will be a good one. Watch this space.
Keith and Amy Price