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6.10.11 Interview With Carolyn Ngan


Basketball Crazy Interview:  Carolyn Ngan

 Basketball Crazy’s brief about Carolyn Ngan: Born in Te Awamutu, New Zealand (home of the Finn Brothers from Split Enz and Crowded House).  I moved to Australia in 1984 with husband Joel.  Played basketball at the age of 13yrs as was not allowed to play sport in the weekend so could not play netball – (had to work on the family market garden). Basketball was the only sport being played mid week!  Joel and I got together through our combined interest in basketball in Christchurch (late 70’s).

Lived in Padbury/Duncraig 1984 – 1999, moved to the South West and lived in Donnybrook 1999 – 2008, Currently live in Bunbury.

Current Profession:  Health Manager, WA Country Health Service

 Family Members:         Partner/Husband   Yes                Name:  Joel

                                         Children  two boys 

                                         Pets    gold fish but would love a dog

Working Career Qualifications & Achievements

 Basketball and Career Qualifications & Memberships:

Place of Birth:  Te Awamutu, New Zealand   Year of Birth 1958

History of Involvement with basketball Highlights:


Refereeing/Scoreboard Career Highlights

Most admired International of USA Player:  Too many to name

Most admired Australian Player:  Phil Smyth

Most memorable basketball moment: Technical Official (Scoretable) – Olympic Games, Sydney 2000 – seeing the Opals win the silver medal.  Being part of the whole Olympics – seeing the most elite basketball players in the world - it was such a buzz.

Carolyn’s most inspirational phrase:  Life is what you make it….


Basketball Crazy’s Interview With Carolyn Ngan

BBC   Hi Carolyn, thank you for taking the time to talk with Basketball Crazy.

CN   No worries, I can’t remember ever being interviewed before!

BBC   Carolyn, You do a great variety of activities in basketball from working with administrators, clubs, umpires and score bench officials.  You would have to be crazy about the sport to commit all this time and effort.  Are you crazy about basketball?

CN   It’s my sport – am I fanatical about basketball? – you bet!  I’ve had some great experiences and opportunities in basketball – not many people can say they have been to an Olympic Games, been a technical official for a Gold Medal game (Women - Opals vs USA) and get to see your home team win a silver medal!  I’ve met some great people over the years and many of my closest friends are still heavily involved in basketball at different levels. 

BBC  You do a great deal of training for people in basketball, what training do you provide?

CN   I used to provide some Level 0 basketball referee coaching in my earlier days, I was a game supervisor for referees at Perry Lakes stadium for over 10 yrs mid week and currently I provide training and support to all the WABL parents (Slammers) in learning the scoretable.

BBC    It must give you a great deal of enjoyment to assist in the development of the sport, can you tell us what drives you to continue to do what you do?

CN   The game of Basketball has brought so much to my life – it has been good for me so I want to give something back to the sport.  I get a lot of rewards from my involvement – much of my time and energy is voluntary – it has been my choice to do what I have done.  It hasn’t happened without the years of support provided by my partner (Joel) – of course it might be that he wants me out of the house so he can relax with his Foxtel sports!  He loves basketball as much as I do, so we have a shared interest – he is also on the Wildcats scoretable. 

BBC  You are often seen on the score bench on the side of the court at all levels of the game either scoring, assisting or training,  does it make you feel you have some kind of control over the game being on the score bench?

CN   I wouldn’t say control … It’s never felt like that for me… more like it’s a great way to be part of the game – especially since I can’t play or referee anymore (too old, unfit and injured!).  Scoretable officials are part of a team and are there to support the referees and ensure the game runs smoothly for everyone!

BBC   Can you tells us some of the elite levels of the sport you have officiated at on the score bench?

CN   National Champs, WABL, SBL, WNBL, NBL, Olympics, International games

BBC   What would be the most memorable moment as a score board official?

CN   would have to be sitting in front of the Opals (after being on the scoretable) and watching the team receive their silver medals (after losing to USA) – the highest level any Oz team had achieved at that stage. It was a tremendous experience and I will never forget it.

BBC  For those parents that may be too afraid to step up and participate on the score bench doing the score sheet, score board or shot clock, what advice would you give them to encourage participation?

CN   Have a go – the more you do it, the easier it gets.  The scoretable are the best seats in the house! 

BBA What advice would you give to someone wishing to become a score bench official at a state or national or even international level?

CN  Put your hand up for different opportunities (Local, Club, State and National competitions, have fun and be committed

 BBC Things can go terribly wrong on the score bench, can you tell us about a time you were on the score bench when a major problem occurred that you cannot forget and what happened to resolve the problem?

CN   There was an incident in a National U/16 boys game at Perry Lakes.  I was rostered to do the game clock but someone did not turn up, so I volunteered to do the scoresheet but the Chairperson decided to put someone on that had had minimal experience with the newly introduced scoresheet.  The first 4 minutes was a nightmare as the scorer put the scores on the wrong side so the visuals were wrong and so was the scoresheet!  I was trying to help out so I made mistakes with the game clock…  it was a disaster!  We had to stop the game and the scoresheet and visuals were corrected with the help of the referees.  We were all stressed as hell and did not work as a team throughout the game …I couldn’t wait for the game to finish.

BBC Score bench officials come under intense pressure at times and subjected to verbal abuse from time to time.  How do you manage to deal with the intense pressure and abuse?

CN   It is important to concentrate on the game and support each other on the scoretable (help each other out if something is missed).  If I feel that things are getting out of hand, I have no hesitation in stopping the game and reporting offenders to the referees.  I have reported a number of coaches over the years, had a few spectators moved away, but they have to be really bad for me to put pen to paper as we are all supposed to be on the same side.  After all, I get that coaches, players and spectators get hot under the collar if things are not going their way, but I draw the line at being verbally abused and especially when they are ‘biased’, ‘irrational’, ‘ignorant about the rules’ and ‘bloody minded’. You wonder if these people understand the meaning of ‘sportsmanship’…It certainly is not a good role model for young players – I could go on…. and on…. and on… (this is a bit of a soap box issue for me)!

How do I deal with the intense pressure and abuse – I look after my own mental well-being and don’t take it to heart or personally.

BBC  Many basketball association’s struggle to find people to do score bench duties, what would you recommend associations do to encourage more people to become involved?

CN   Start early and recruit families – make it a team effort – share the load and not rely on the same people.  Get the players at a young age to score for their teams, as they move through they may get more involved (that is how I started off all those years ago).  Give them some recognition for their efforts (can be as simple as an invitation to the end of year celebrations, certificates of appreciation, badges- printing their name and photo in the club newsletter)

BBC   What do you believe the State and Federal Governments could be doing to assist basketball  in producing more officials both referees and score bench officials?

CN   I recognize that there is funding available to clubs and associations to run training programs however, there needs to be more resources for clubs (laptops, computers, program resources such as manuals and DVD’s – make it consistent across Australia).  More advertising around being involved in the game would help – lift the profile.  Provide scholarships for people to travel to national and international games (I have self funded nearly all my own trips – even the Olympics).  It needs people to commit time to teach others and make it fun.

BBC If you had significant funding to establish something that would progress basketball in Australia, what would you do?

CN   Media exposure across Australia – rural and remote.  Increase sponsorship.

BBC  What do you like doing away from basketball to wind down and take your mind off somewhere else to unwind?

CN   Read books, I like walking and riding my bike, learning to play golf at the moment

BBC  Basketball Crazy wishes to thank you for your time and effort to do this interview.  Readers will hopefully find your responses interesting and thought provoking to enable others to join you in the ongoing development of basketball in Australia. 

CN   thanks for the opportunity


End of Interview