Hungry Jack's NBL
Aron Baynes launches junior academy in Cairns
The NBL Coach of the Year Aaron Fearne has partnered up with NBA star Aron Baynes for the launch of the Aron Baynes Academy. The Australian Boomer and 2014 NBA Championship winner Baynes has underwritten the new Academy to provide elite-level coaching to Cairns’ brightest 10 to 13-year old talents. The initial 13-session intake for 50 players will run until late June, filling a local elite development gap for players too young for the long-established CQUniversity Taipans Academy programme. The concept evolved from a conversation between Baynes and long-time mentor Fearne, Baynes jumping at the chance to help in his hometown. “Cairns is where I started playing basketball seriously; initially I was very raw, so having the opportunity and access to coaches was crucial,” Baynes said. “Getting that level of coaching and time on the court put me on my path to the elite levels, and that’s what I hope the Aron Baynes Academy provides this generation of players,” he said. “I want to make sure other kids have the opportunities I always had.” Baynes and Fearne developed the six-week Academy programme to include ball-handling, passing, individual and team defence, offensive moves and strength and conditioning. Cairns Taipans head coach says the Academy will develop Cairns Basketball’s coaching contingent too. “I wanted to continue developing our coaching stocks here, so the programme we have in place covers specifically how I would like them to coach,” Fearne said. “I’m keeping a close eye on how they’re coaching and teaching aspects of the game at every session.” With Baynes’ profile and Fearne’s coaching nous combined, they hope to inspire Cairns’ junior basketballers. “The opportunities are there for anyone to take. I wouldn’t have ever picked myself to be where I am now when I first started playing,” Baynes said. “But, through my own hard work and that of plenty of coaches, I’ve been able to make the most of my opportunities.” “It all starts here at the grassroots, and that is exactly what we’re trying to do here with the Aron Baynes Academy."