Konov extended invitations to NBA champions like Bruce Bowen from the San Antonio Spurs and Brook Lopez from the Brooklyn Nets to formally inaugurate these facilities and conduct basketball workshops for kids. Additionally, he took an active role in coordinating educational programs for youth basketball coaches in Russia, a valuable experience now sought after in Kazakhstan.
During his tenure on the supervisory board of the Russian Basketball Federation, Konov invited the coaches of the Russian national team to scout promising players aged 14 to 16 at regional basketball centers. This initiative enabled the identification of the most gifted players, who were subsequently invited to summer camps with the opportunity to join the national team’s reserves. These interactions also contributed to enhancing the qualifications of basketball coaches in Russia’s regions.
Recently, Abay Alpamysov, an enthusiastic Kazakh manager, assumed leadership of the country’s basketball federation. One of his top priorities is to construct modern sports facilities, each capable of accommodating up to 3,000 people, in every region of Kazakhstan. This effort aims to attract both young athletes and spectators to the sport, and Alpamysov has now enlisted Konov’s support in achieving these ambitious goals.
The development of Kazakh basketball has seen a mix of progress and setbacks. The country joined the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in 1992, shortly after gaining independence from the USSR. Since then, the Kazakh men’s team has achieved notable success, including winning a bronze medal at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan and securing fourth place at the FIBA Asia Championship in 2007. On the other hand, the women’s team has consistently finished in fifth or sixth place at the Asian Games and the Asia Championship.
Efforts to elevate youth basketball in Kazakhstan have been ongoing. Until 2021, the National Basketball Federation organized tournaments for schoolchildren in partnership with the NBA under the Junior NBA project. A notable feature of this project was that each children’s team represented a real NBA club, donning licensed league attire. An encouraging recent accomplishment in youth basketball is the qualification of the Kazakh under-16 boys’ team made it to the final stage of the Asian Cup, scheduled for September in Doha.
Despite these achievements, Kazakh basketball encounters several challenges. The most pressing issue is the limited presence of teams in the country’s premier basketball league for men, the National League for Men, which currently consists of only five clubs. This number falls far short of promoting player development and fostering serious competition. The leading club, Astana, which includes numerous foreign players, also participates in a regional tournament involving basketball clubs from Russia and Belarus, providing them with more competitive exposure.
Another significant problem plaguing Kazakh basketball is the low attendance at matches. Even the prominent club, Astana, hosts its games in a velodrome, which is not particularly convenient for spectators. According to the National Basketball Federation, Kazakhstan lacks a single basketball facility meeting international standards. The absence of quality basketball stadiums and courts poses a substantial hindrance to the development of both professional and youth basketball. The hope is that Konov and Alpamysov can collaboratively surmount these obstacles.