Anstey helps Braves

CHRIS Anstey has backed an overhaul of National Basketball League administration to ensure the future of the sport in Australia.Anstey will join Carlton full-forward Brendan Fevola at a star-studded fundraiser for the Telstra Bendigo Braves this Sunday.He spoke to The Advertiser yesterday about title aspirations with the Melbourne Tigers and his unorthodox introduction to elite basketball.The dominant centre returned to the NBL before the start of the 2006-07 season after stints in the NBA and Euroleague and promptly claimed a championship with his first club, the Melbourne Tigers.The Sydney Kings dashed back-to-back aspirations last season, but, as the Tigers planned revenge, the Kings fell on their sword.The Sydney Kings were declared bankrupt weeks from the season opener, joining the Brisbane Bullets on the NBL scrap heap.Australian basketball seemed destined for a fall, but Anstey is confident the sport will rally.“Once we get a new management group to oversee and run the league I think we’ll be a lot better off,’’ Anstey said.“Those two teams dropping out . . . reflected poorly on the sport, when it probably shouldn’t have.“I think it’s strong, I think it’s consolidating, and the quality of basketball is very good.’’Anstey didn’t start playing basketball until he was 18, after spending the majority of his junior sporting career on the tennis court.He is now the highest profile player in the Tigers’ team which is a raging favourite to claim the NBL championship.“The pressure is all external, we haven’t put any of that pressure on ourselves,’’ Anstey said.“We definitely don’t rate ourselves higher than anyone else, we think we’re a chance for the championship like every year, but no more of a chance than anyone else.’’Tickets for the Bendigo Braves Sportsmans Day, which will raise funds for their upcoming trip to the USA, are available by calling Dean on 0412 183 092.

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