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Interview with Baravi Thaman - Apr 25, 2006

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Name, Height, Position and Age
Baravi Thaman, 6'1", Guard, 26

What are strengths and weaknesses in your game?
Strengths: outside shooting, passing, quick, good court vision.
Weaknesses: dribbling, driving to the basket.

How did you start playing basketball?
My dad used to run mini-b-ball sessions when I was very young (about 5) and just continued from there.

When did you first start playing for the national team?
In 1997 for the U-22 side and in 1999 for the national men's side.

Which has been you favorite moment in the national team?
The win against Australia by 1 basket at the Oceania championships in 2001 in the semi final to take us into the final against New Caledonia. We eventually lost to New Caledonia but beating Australia made us so happy
Which has been the most disappointing moment in the national team?
Performing badly in the 2003 south pacific games in front of the home crowd. We lost out in the bronze medal playoffs.

Has the national team been improving in terms of skills during the years you have been there?
We did improve a bit in the beginning when the Oceania coaches used to come over and coach us and with the help of our then national coach, Michael whippy, but lately b-ball development has been at a standstill here with a lack of qualified coaches and inadequate access to facilities.

What do you think is the most important element if Fiji is to win the South Pacific Games in 2007?
A qualified coach, access to training facilities, exposure to top class competitions and player commitment.

Does Fiji have any good up and coming players, and if so name them
Fiji’s best player at the moment would be Marques Whippy but he is away on a church mission. He is very young and talented. There are some young players here but there does not seem to be any development programme in place for them. It is basically on the players themselves to improve their game.

You could describe to us the local basketball leagues in Fiji, how are they run and what kind of facilities and quality of players and coaches are there
The leagues here in Fiji are ok. Things are not too well and this is due to a lack of facilities and officials to help run the leagues as people do not get paid as is the case in overseas leagues. At the moment, there are 2 separate leagues being run in the capital Suva with a lack of teams in both. In my view, there should just be one league. This will produce stiffer competition between teams and things will be more organized with more officials being involved. Also there is no development programme and a huge lack of good and qualified coaches. At the moment our national men’s team is without a coach.

How would describe the development of Basketball in Fiji
Poor development due to lack of human resources and facilities to run the development programmes

Are the facilities good enough to play basketball there?
they are adequate at a national level with the FMF dome and national gymnasium but what we need is more neighborhood and street courts so that people can just go and play and train freely at their own time without having to travel very far or pay lots of money.

Describe to us a typical Fijian basketball player
He/she is strong, very quick and athletic. Not very tall but not very short as well. Also very coordinated with a strong will to win.

What do you is you biggest achievement in basketball so far
Maintaining my place in the national men’s team since 1999.

Where do see yourself in the next few years in terms of basketball
Well it depends on my fitness and willingness to train and practice. I am still recovering from a knee arthroscopy so I have to take it easy for a while. I will try to stay in the national team but if I do not make it I will still try to help out wherever I can. Maybe start coaching or  

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