Sport

Basketball ACT appoints Maxwell Gratton as new boss for next three years

New Basketball ACT boss Maxwell Gratton could have spent his summer rubbing shoulders with soccer superstars David Villa and Damien Duff at a team owned by an English powerhouse. 

But the chance to help grow a sport he describes as a "sleeping giant" proved too difficult to ignore as he looks to provide Basketball ACT with much-needed stability. 

Gratton will become the organisation's third chief executive officer this year when he replaces Tony Fraser, who will depart at the end of this week. 

Basketball NSW executive team member Tom Moore will assume an interim CEO role until Gratton begins work on October 27.

Gratton has filled a number of roles with Football Federation Victoria and was match day event operations manager for Melbourne Heart, now Melbourne City after English Premier League champions Manchester City bought a major stake in the club.

He watched Melbourne City grow from "humble beginnings" to its exciting new phase, and believes Basketball ACT can make similar strides. 

"I think that's part of the appeal," he said. "I like to call basketball the sleeping giant. In Victoria, approximately 60-70,000 players are registered in football and basketball is 100,000. 

"I'm in for the long haul. This is going to work and I'm going to dedicate myself to it.

"I keep a busy itinerary sitting on various boards and committees; it's my intention to relinquish just about all of them to make sure we get everything out of growing the sport in ACT."

Gratton applied for the job when Fraser was appointed in March, but is so enthusiastic about the role he flew to Canberra on Sunday to meet with the board and key staff. 

Although he doesn't have a basketball background, Basketball ACT officials were impressed by his community engagement skills. 

"We've produced some household names like Patty Mills and Lauren Jackson, I want to capitalise on that and strike while the iron's hot," he said. 

"I think there's an X-factor about Basketball ACT. The potential of the sport and the challenges that lie ahead. It's something I just had to explore." 

Gratton has spent the past five months in a management role with ComfortDelGro Cabcharge, one of the biggest commuter bus operators in Australia. 

While the Canberra Capitals license has been taken over by University of Canberra, Gratton intends to maintain a close relationship with the WNBL club. 

The planned $7 million upgrade of the Belconnen basketball precinct - hoped to be completed before 2018 - is another priority. 

"There are obviously challenges which lie ahead in terms of venues and facilities; it very much will be at the forefront of my mind to provide that platform to continue the sport's growth," he said. 

He also didn't rule out another push for the Canberra Cannons to be readmitted to the NBL, which is currently looking at expansion, somewhere down the track. 

"I go by the the old adage, shoot for the moon and even if you miss you land among the stars," he said.  

"If the environment and the situations's right, why wouldn't  we explore it in the fullness of time?

"We shouldn't be ruling anything out."