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SBL which is ok

April 10, 2010

By

Krists Bērziņš

Student basketball league (SBL) is one of the largest tournaments organized for students in Latvia. This league is for all Latvian universities to compete and for top honors.

SBL was founded in 2002 and in the first season 7 teams participated in the tournament. In 2003 SBL encompassed basketball for all of Latvia. During 6 seasons 663 players have participated in this league.

Since the 2006/2007, season the league has been sponsored by SEB, one of the biggest banks in Latvia. Also partners are Molten, but informational support is ensured by inbox.lv and sportacentrs.com.

This season 10 universities participated in the tournament with first place in the regular season taken by School of Business administration Turība.

University of Latvia (UL) has participated in SBL from the first season and always has been one of the favorites. In this regular season UL finished in fourth.

Head coach M. Zībarts said the first part of the season was bad, but in the second round UL won 8 games out of 9 and earned a place in the in playoff’s.

Talking about the league Zībarts said, organizers have to consider which players are allowed to participate (i.e. professional players) and their restrictions in regard to playoff games. (point 3.6.).

G. Justovičs, one of the players for Latvia University of Agriculture (LLU) team said, “SBL organization is ok. This season almost all games were at Secondary school No. 49, which is very comfortable.” He added that the level of leagueplay is good too.

“Almost all teams are in the same level, so games are interesting,” he said.

To recruit players some of the universities offer incentives like tuition fee discounts. For example, on the UL team, two players had tuition fee discounts in the first semester. Also Justovičs said that he doesn’t have to pay for this semester, but he also admitted that other players with worse statistics don’t have any discounts.

Of course we can’t compete with Americans who have the biggest and strongest basketball league in the world, but we hope in the future, our league will be a good beginning for many new basketball stars.

Here is little insight from last year play off’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmq2_VqJUgY

(M. Zībarts the head couch of University of Latvia basketball team. Source: UL foto archiev)

(G. Justovičs player of Latvia University of Agriculture basketball team. Source: http://www.sportacentrs.com)

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