The Young Men’s Christian Association Mini-League Basketball programme is on the rise and attracting several young enthusiastic players.
This past weekend at Pinfold Street the young players were presented with uniforms and demonstrated in the presence of their parents what it meant to be part of the YMCA family.
During his remarks to the players and especially the parents who braved the showers to witness some of what the programme had to offer, head coach Adrian Craigwell encouraged them to continue playing their part as the committee could not do it alone. Craigwell, the current coach for defending knockout champions Station Hill Cavaliers, said there was a great need to enrol more young men into such programmes in an effort to develop confident and respectful players.
Now in its 19th year, the programme began with 16 players including 15 boys and one girl but over the years the membership has increased to 56 players including 54 males and two females who all attend regular sessions on Saturday evenings.
The mini league programme has been so beneficial that it has earned YMCA success over the years. They are currently the reigning champions of the Under-21 and Under-16 Barbados Amateur Basketball Association (BABA) Summer Jam competition.
Carlos Moore, the son of late journalist and former national footballer Carlos Moore, heeded the 2007 call by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) who instructed that all associations should implement junior or mini league programmes to help build the sport locally and internationally.
Moore, a former BABA president, is also the facilitator for the YMCA mini league and has the assistance of persons such as Jason Smith, Jason Collymore, Ianthum Alleyne, Dean Squires and Gillian Martindale.
Under the theme, Practice on regardless of sunshine or rainfall, the programme has produced many rounded individuals who have attained scholarships overseas including Nikolai Burton and Kaman Bridgeman who are both currently in Canada studying. There are also Joel Hunte, Anand Joseph- Thorne, Stephan Oxley and Joshua Lowe who would have represented Barbados in some aspect of the game.
In addition to basketball, the programme also facilitates academics by hosting the Caribbean Examination Council’s Physical Education school-based assessment classes conducted by Shakira Shorey who was recognized for her hard work and invaluable contribution.
With such great success the players and committee members including coaching staff showed their gratitude by thanking YMCA, Digicel, Capita Insurance and Subway for their assistance over the year.