Centrobasket chance to learn
Barbados’ junior girls and boys’ basketball teams returned last week to the island after participating in the Under-15 Centrobasket Tournament in Mexico City.
The tour was especially an eye-opener for the girls who were touring as a unit for the first time. Though they lost all their games against Cayman Islands, Guatemala, Bahamas and Puerto Rico, it was a worthy experience for the teenagers who are expected to form the nucleus of the national team in the years ahead
One of those in the squad, and the captain, Mellissa Goodman, said the tour was challenging but provided a great learning curve for her and her colleagues. She told Barbados TODAY it was her first tour with a national team and there were lessons learnt that would be crucial as she and her team-mates progressed in the sport.
“The pace of the games was very challenging. Most of the times we practise at a particular pace and then we tend to carry that same pace into the actual games. I found that the games were very fast-paced, especially when we played defence. So I believe that one of the things that we have to work on is that when we practise, we have to practise at that type of fast pace so we take the same intensity into games,” the Princess Margaret Secondary student explained.
The pleasant 15-year-old, who was arguably Barbados’ best player on tour, said she only started playing the game about two years ago at the insistence of her brother and had grown to love the sport. Indeed, she explained that she was hoping to develop her skills to the stage where a basketball scholarship could be a real option in her future.
Goodman, who usually plays as a guard, had to play in the post in Mexico City as at 5 feet 11 inches, she was the tallest in the team. She has previously toured with a combined schools team called the Hoopsters, but lamented the fact that the sport was not played at her school.
“We do not have a basketball team and I have been trying to get some of the girls interested. If we had a team it would help my game,” she said, noting she had considered playing for another school while still at Princess Margaret but was not sure that would be possible.
The lanky lass who shoots hoops at a court in her St Barnabas, St Michael community, comes from a sporting family that includes a brother who plays cricket and a younger sister who is a blossoming football talent. She also stressed that she received great encouragement from her mother.
President of the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association, Derrick Garrett, who played a pivotal role in ensuring that both boys and girls teams made the tour to Mexico, told Barbados TODAY there was a deliberate policy to pay attention to developing the skills of Barbados’ young basketballers.
“Our intention is to try to keep these players together to form the nucleus of our national team ten or so years down the road. We want to start them at a very young age, and develop them at the under-15, under-17 and under-19 levels. It is an investment in the future,” he noted.
Garrett said the recent Mexico City trip had been an expensive undertaking. He noted the tournament was originally slated for Puerto Rico but was subsequently shifted and that meant an immediate hike in costs.
However, through the assistance of the Barbados Olympic Association, the National Sports Council (NSC), and his own association, the young basketballers were able to make the tour. Although the results in the win/lost columns were not what the association would have wanted, Garrett said the experience which the youngsters had gained was invaluable.
Touching on a subject raised by Goodman about the absence of a basketball programme at her school, the top basketball administrator said his association was looking to work with the NSC to have the sport played widely from the primary school level and upwards. However, he noted there were certain expensive logistics to this initiative, such as acquiring the necessary sized equipment to accommodate primary school children.Garrett noted that other tours to expose young basketballers would definitely be in the association’s planning strategy. (WG)