Home of the New Canaan Basketball Association

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NCBA Fact Sheet 5th-8th Grade 


1.  Overview of the New Canaan Basketball Association (NCBA): 

The NCBA sponsors travel basketball programs for boys and girls in grades 5-8 to compete in the Fairfield County Basketball League (FCBL). Students may tryout only for their grade level team following the eligibility guidelines set by the FCBL(FCBLhoops.org).  NCBA typically has four teams for each grade - 2 Boys  2 Girls .  Teams are 10-12 players. 

Travel basketball is a competitive program. Competition begins with player evaluations during tryouts as only a fixed number of players will be selected for each team. It is important to remember that participation on the prior year’s team does not guarantee selection in the current year. The coach of each team is selected by the Coaching Director. 

All players and their parents are asked to make an extraordinary commitment to the travel teams, including mandatory attendance at all practices and games.  Practices are generally twice a week on weeknights and there may be anywhere from 10-22 games in the course of a season.  If a player is unable to make the required commitment, he/she should not participate in tryouts potentially depriving another player who is willing to make the commitment to the team.

Players that are accepted to the Travel Program must register and pay online prior to the first practice.  It is the NCBA’s desire that the financial cost never prevent a player from participating.  Parents of children with special circumstances should speak with the NCBA Co-Presidents as scholarships are available through the board. The NCBA is a non-profit. 


2. Who we are…..New Canaan Basketball Association.  

  • A competitive travel basketball program for New Canaan boys and girls in grades 5-8 
    • All schools welcome 
  • 4 teams per grade level (if there are enough qualified players) 
    • 2 Boys , 2 Girls 
  • NCBA teams compete in the Fairfield County Basketball League (FCBL).  Please see http://www.fcblhoops.org/ for league details.  
  • Teams are coached by paid coaches and assistants, as selected and trained by NCBA Coaching Directors. 
  • We are a non-profit organization. 


3.  Important Dates & Tentative Schedules (subject to change)

  • Tryouts - Boys week of October 18th; Girls week of October 25th
  • Practices - start 1st week in November
  • Games - FCBL league games begin December 3rd/4th
    • Playoffs begin the first weekend in March
  • Weekly schedule - NOTE: Attendance is mandatory for all practices and games 
    • Practices: Weekdays (Monday - Friday) - 2 60-90-minute practices* 
    • Games: Weekends (Friday - Sunday) -  1-3 games*  

*Dates, times, and locations TBD


4.  Coaches:   Teams are selected and coached by paid coaches.  Our coaches are hired and directed by the NCBA Coaching Directors:  Danny Melzer (boys) and Diane Burns (girls)


5.  Coaching Directors - Bios and Coaching Philosophies:

     Boys’ Coaching Director: Danny Melzer

Danny played both basketball and baseball at Stamford High School (1998-2001) where he was named All-FCIAC in both sports and Academic All State during his senior season in basketball. That same senior season his baseball team won the 2001 LL State Championship, where he pitched and won both the semi-final and championship game. He went on to play basketball at Connecticut College where he was named captain by his teammates during his senior year. Danny enters his 13th year as a Physical Education and Health teacher and sixth at New Canaan High School. Danny enters his sixth season as Head Boys Basketball Coach at NCHS, following four seasons as the head coach at Stamford High, where he went 45-24 during his final three seasons. After two years of rebuilding at NCHS, the Rams went 44-18 the following three seasons, including winning the 2019 Division 4 State Championship. He resides in Stamford with his wife Lianna and children Rylee, Maddie, and Kyle.


Coaching philosophy for the NCBA:

We want to provide a basketball environment where the players love playing the game, enjoy working on their skills and improving throughout the season, and develop a high basketball IQ that will translate to playing basketball at the next level. We want all our players to leave the NCBA as better people, as better players, and prepared to play high school basketball.


Girls’ Coaching Director: Diane Burns

Coach Burns has had a love for basketball her whole life. She was a four year starting point guard and team captain during her junior and senior seasons of college at Felician University. Burns has been teaching and coaching in Stamford, first at Westhill and then Stamford High since 2009. She has been the Stamford high head coach for the last 8 seasons and has spent various years coaching AAU basketball. Burns is in her 14th year teaching math at Stamford High where she is also an assistant girls lacrosse coach. 


Coaching philosophy for the NCBA:

We want to see our players learn, develop, have fun and enjoy the game. Each player will be challenged to get better, no matter the level of their skills.  Through hard work, a focus on fundamentals and a team atmosphere all of the athletes will develop habits that will help them in all areas of their lives.