Sunday, April 14, 2024

B-ball squeeze


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Local basketball has been left standing outside.

Barbados’ senior men’s national side may have to revert to practising outdoors after being turned back from the Wildey Gymnasium, Barbados Community College and Kensington Oval’s bond to prepare for next month’s FIBA Caribbean Cup.

Interim Barbados Amateur Basketball Association president Francis Williams addressed the issue in a correspondence sent out to the 32-member trials squad as the team are yet to hold a practice session five weeks before the start of the tournament.

“As is common during exam time each year, both of the indoor venues are in use for that purpose. In anticipation of this we would have made arrangements with the relevant parties to use the bond at Kensington with the understanding that at our cost we could transport the backboards from the Gymnasium there,” wrote Williams.

“Despite all the meetings, countless emails, text and phone calls we have been informed that the old backboards we were promised were scavenged to keep the new ones in use.

“[We have been informed] that the bond does not have the required voltage the old backboards need to be raised [and that] Government approval has to be given for the new ones to be used at the bond.

“With that being said we are feverishly trying to find a solution which, though not ideal, might regrettably include the use of outdoor courts for the short term starting Tuesday May 22, 2018,” he added.

It’s just the latest setback for a team that was already dealt a huge blow with the unavailability of professional players Akeem Marsh and John Jones.

But even with the absence of its starting big men, the side was still expected to contend for a top position after being pooled in a relatively weak Group B that features regional lightweights Bermuda and Montserrat, big unknowns Haiti and Antigua and Barbuda.

However, the trials squad seems certain to enter the tournament short of a lot of court time considering the players still haven’t practised together due to the lack of an indoor venue.

And the players already may not be in the best of shape as the Co-operators General Insurance Premier League has been on break since last month due to the same absence of indoor venues.

“We acknowledge that this situation is not adequate and that the preparation of the team is our responsibility; however, each of you has a responsibility to yourself to do your best to be ready,” wrote Williams to the players in the correspondence.

“To this end I encourage you to put in as much individual work both on and off the court as possible and also utilise your respective club facilities and coaches while we get this matter resolved.”

It’s not the first time top-flight basketball has been displaced, as the Premier League had to play a handful of games in the YMCA two seasons ago due to the refurbishment of the Wildey Gymnasium.

Those games were originally slated for Kensington’s bond before officials realised the warehouse wasn’t wide enough to hold seating alongside the court.

As a result the entire 2017 Premier League season had to be staged in the Barbados Community College while the Gymnasium was still going undergoing $18 million renovations. (JM)


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