Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Coach Lloyd’s back


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AT LONG LAST, the adopted son is coming back home.
Barbados’ hoops hopes are in the hands of Nigel Lloyd once more, after the British-born basketball great agreed to return as head coach of the men’s national programme following an eight-year hiatus from the local sport.
Lloyd’s appointment was made official this week when the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association (BABA) executive released a list of the new coaching staff and trials list.
“We wanted an overseas-based coach with a strong international profile that can command some level of respect at that level in terms of recruiting players,” explained chairman of the selection committee, Francis Williams of his selection.
“Obviously there is the history with Nigel as well, so when he said he was open to returning as coach then it was pretty straightforward.”
And what a great history it has been, starting from 1994 when the British-born prolific combo guard – who has Bajan heritage – led Barbados to their first regional title before he repeated the feat six years later as national captain.
That success in the ultramarine and gold wasn’t limited to his playing days, as Lloyd also guided the country to its lone appearance at a Commonwealth Games in 2006 as the head coach.
But shockingly, he wasn’t returned for the subsequent Caribbean Basketball Championships, instead being replaced by understudy Dwight Rouse in a sub-par fifth-place showing.
Outside of seeking professional opportunities for players in England, Lloyd, 53, never returned to local basketball before this appointment.
An assistant coach with London Lions in the UK, Lloyd surprisingly replaces American collegiate coach and former NCAA Division I player Brian Good, who was named as head coach last year.
Good did not coach a single game for Barbados, with the 2013 regional championships abandoned due to a lack of venue. Another coaching search was made due to changes within the administration.
“The move helps us from a financial standpoint in terms of us having to house Good, but we had already notified him earlier this year,” said BABA president Derrick Garrett.
“It was very unfortunate the tournament wasn’t last year and he couldn’t coach the team because we really want that international experience.”
Lloyd’s international standing has seemingly paid off already as the programme has attracted the interest of American-born, European-based players Dwight Burke and Julian Mascoll.
The nephew of veteran calypsonian Smokey Burke, the six-foot-eight Burke has played in Switzerland, Lithuania, Slovakia and Czech Republic following a four-year stint at NCAA Division I school Marquette – the alma mater of NBA superstar Dwyane Wade.
An Eastern Kentucky University alumnus, Mascoll – a six-foot-four combo guard – last appeared for Slovakian side Iskra Svit.
Former overseas-based national players Roderick Ramsay and Dale Worrell are also expected to compete at trials, and will join a list that includes UK-based pro Andre Lockhart, collegiate graduates George Haynes and Kregg Jones, plus Illinois State University forward John Jones.
“We can’t successfully compete at the next level with all local-based players so it’s great to see that we can attract this type of interest,” said Williams.
Twenty-two players in total have been invited to trials, which are slated to start at the completion of the Premier League sometime around the end of May.
Jeremy Gill, Charles Vanderpool, Ramon Simmons, Junior Moore (Smalta Pinelands), Keefe Birkett, Ian Alexander, Mark Bridgeman (Lumber Company LSC), Jamario Clarke, Darren Hunte (Station Hill Cavaliers), Akeem Marsh, Stefan Clarke (Urban Vybz St John’s Sonics), Nicholai Williams (Warriors), Ricardo Jemmott (Cougars), Rahiim Gibbons (Clapham Bulls), Andre Lockhart, Dwight Burke, Julian Mascoll, Kregg Jones, John Jones, Roderick Ramsay, Dale Worrell, George Haynes (overseas).


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