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Next Level Development League (NLDL) FAQ

1. What is the reason(s) for establishing the SMBA Next Level Development League (NLDL)?

Answer: To provide each and every player in the SMBA an equal opportunity to play at the most developmentally appropriate level. The Community League together with the NLDL will expand opportunities for players to play at a level that maximizes their enjoyment and development in the sport of basketball. The objective of NLDL is to create competitive teams in each division (Girls-Mini, Boys-Mini, Girls-Bantam, Boys-Bantam) that run together with and along-side the traditional Community League, thus creating a better environment (enjoyment and development) for all players.

2. How are the zones involved in the NLDL?

Answer: The NLDL (City-Wide program) is governed by the SMBA Executive board and operates in cooperation with the Saskatoon Community Associations. Input from each zone is considered in all programs operated by SMBA.

3. Who is eligible to play in the NLDL?

Answer: All players who live within the geographic boundaries of the SMBA, and are of appropriate age for Mini, and Bantam divisions, are welcome to attend the tryouts for the NLDL league. Players who live within the boundaries of Martensville and Warman, can tryout. Eligible players moving to Saskatoon after the registration deadline of August 31st on any given year, but prior to the first scheduled try-out start dates, will be given the opportunity to try-out without incurring the late registration surcharge.

4. How much will it cost for my son or daughter to play in the NLDL City-Wide League?

Answer: Registration costs and the league budget is reviewed annually based on projected gym rental costs, referees, and insurances. Check the website regularly for cost information for the upcoming year. For the 2023 -2024 season if you chose to tryout out for the NLDL it is a $60 fee and then if you are selected to play in the NLDL - there will be in additional cost of $70 per player for the season over and above the regular fees for Mini and Bantam. 

6. My son or daughter is registered for the tryouts - what does the registration fee pay for?

Answer: The tryout fee pays for your son or daughter to participate in the skill development and evaluation of the players during the Evaluation Camp in September. All players will be put through a qualification process of drills selected by the coaching and player selection committees. SMBA certified coaches will run all sessions during the qualification process. After the skill sessions players will be divided onto teams to display their abilities in scrimmage sessions.

7. Are teams required to fundraise or will registration fees and teams’ fees cover the cost of my son or daughter's season of playing Basketball in this league?

Answer: Fundraising will be up to each individual team to decide whether or not they wish to offset the cost of operating the team. SMBA Registration fees cover the cost of regular season and playoff gym times and the cost of officials. Additional Team fees, if decided upon, will cover the cost of tournaments, extra gym time, team clothing (coats, hats, etc.).

8. What happens if a zone holds their kids back in Community League and stacks a team?

Answer: Playing at the highest level that a player is capable of is optional. While this issue is a possibility, we are hopeful this will not occur. Ideally, players who have the ability to play at the NLDL level will not be held back for any reason and instead will be provided with the opportunity to tryout, and to play in the NLDL.

9. When does the season start? When does the season end?

Answer: The season will begin shortly after the tryout process has been completed. The tryout process is currently scheduled to be completed prior to the last week of September for Mini and Bantam players. 

10. How many players will be on each team?

Answer: Each team will consist of 8-12 players 

11. How many games and practices per week will there be?

Answer: The schedule will provide for a minimum of one game per week plus two practices per week. 

12. What qualifications do the coaches require?

Answer: Coaches are required by the Saskatoon Minor Basketball Association to have the appropriate coaching certification. Minimum certification for the Head Coach is “Learn to Train” Certification (or is scheduled to receive); Please see the Coaching Process link on the SMBA website for more information on coaching or checkout Basketball Saskatchewan or Basketball Canada's website for further coaching information.

13. Does each player receive equitable playing time during games?

Answer: The SMBA Executive mandates that all players receive equitable opportunities towards all situations on a game-to-game basis during league play over the length of the regular season. The SMBA Executive has presented the coaches with a CODE OF CONDUCT that includes an agreement on equitable playing time opportunities during games played throughout the regular season.

14. Will the player’s who are NOT selected for NLDL be posted on the website after the try-out process?

Answer: No, successful players moving on to the next stages of tryouts may be listed on the website, primarily as a source of communication. Because timelines are very tight throughout the process, the ability to contact everyone via phone may not be practical.

15. How will the team drafting process function?

Answer: Once the independent evaluators have determined the players, at each division, from the 2-Day Evaluation Camp process, the players will be placed in groups of 8 based on their ranking in an attempt to establish teams of equitable skill level. Each coach, having observed the scrimmages and thus being familiar with the players identified and ranked by the evaluators, will be given two choices from each group of players through a total of five rounds of drafting. 

16. If my son or daughter plays in the NLDL league this season, will he or she be guaranteed to play in the league the following season?

Answer: No. Each player will be required to tryout each year.

17. What happens if my son or daughter makes a team in the NLDL, begins playing, and then decides that he or she would rather play in their zone?

Answer: Every attempt will be made to ensure that this situation does not occur. However, should this situation happen, every attempt will be made to find a spot on a team in their Zone. If no spot is available a player may be placed in a Zone near their Zone of residence. 

18. Will the coaches be the same each year?

Answer: No. To ensure that each league is provided with the most qualified and suitable coaches, the NLDL will incorporate the coaching selection process for each and every season. However, all current coaches would be encouraged to re-apply again for the following season.

19. Will the league stats be posted on the website? Or in the Star Phoenix?

Answer: Similar to SMBA website, all NLDL Mini and Bantam game results will be posted on the SMBA website. There will be no statistics published in the Star Phoenix.

20. Does the NLDL provide tax receipts for the government rebate which is being offered?

Answer: Yes, upon registering for the season you will receive your tax receipt which can be used for the government sponsored sports rebate program. If by chance you misplace your receipt you may request another copy. There will be a $10 administration fee to obtain a duplicate copy.