Derion Hurley is a simple guy that is in love with sports. The 20-year-old Barbados Community College student just returned from New York where he participated in the Big Apple Sports Tippy Showcase.
Hurley may be small in stature but no one should be fooled by that. He is one dynamic package. The point and shooting guard had the nickname SuperDeri given to him by his teammates and his coaches.
“On average I score 20 points, have about six rebounds, three assists, four steals. My past coach, Ryan ‘Sam’ Maynard, who is now deceased, actually gave me that nickname, along with the guys at Pinelands who thought that I could do everything like I was some superhuman and it stuck from there.”
One would be surprised to know that basketball is actually not Hurley’s first love.
“I fell in love with sports through badminton and I played badminton at a national level but I knew that I couldn’t get as far in badminton as I would in another sport. So that’s when I started to play basketball and basketball eventually became my love.
“Basketball is very different from badminton and I think what I love most about it is that it is a team sport. Every time I went out on the court, I went out not as Derion, but as part of a team and that for me was what made basketball such a wonderful sport. It wasn’t a one-man individual sport or a selfish sport, it called for me to be part of something. Basketball is the kind of sport that allows you to learn from other people and teach other people and that’s another reason why I love it,” Hurley said.
Derion is not only known on the court but on the field as well. “Besides badminton and basketball, I also played football and at one point in time squash,” he said.
Hurley’s mother and father, Marion Johnson-Hurley and Derrick “Billy” Hurley, are also avid sports enthusiasts. “I am surrounded by sports, my mother used to play netball at national level, she was on the first female football team for Barbados, she played basketball in Caribbean tournaments and now she is an international netball empire. My dad is a very well known coach, especially in Trinidad and even in England, he also played table tennis at national level,” he said.
Hurley’s eventful trip to New York was in the works from last year.
“I was playing basketball at Combermere and Coach Henry ‘Bigga’ Miller from Brooklyn was there and he saw me playing with the other guys and he thought I stood out so he came to me afterwards and told me ‘there is something about you that I really like, from watching you I can see you are dedicated and hardworking’ and from there we kept in contact and he told me to come up to New York in April because they’ll be showcases. He also told me to ensure I did my SATs, so I did them,” said Hurley, who has played for Combined Schools Tridents which is the school league team and is now playing for Pinelands.
It was a full year of planning and gathering funds before the young player who trains sevens days a week would take off to New York and play against the big boys,
“I would really like to thank my trainer Ingrid Mayers because she really assisted me in ensuring I was physically ready for this trip,” he said.
He added he basically did the planning for the trip on his own with the help of his family. “In fact most of my funds came from family, my family is always behind me, always supporting me but I also received funding from CGI Barbados and that was a great,” he said.
Hurley described the trip as thrilling.
“It was exciting, I enjoyed every minute of it but it was also challenging at first. The guys over there are really talented, strong physically and fast but I was able to still keep my composure and do what I do best, which is play basketball and although I didn’t achieve what I fully wanted which was to be offered a position at a division two or three college, I still was able to gain a lot of experience from the trip and learn more basketball drills which I now get to bring home and teach some of the youngsters,” he said.
Hurley, who considers himself to be a role model for younger boys, is calling not only for better and more sports facilities but also corporate buy-in.
“I believe that we should put more money into sports, we need a lot more facilities and not only for basketball, but for sports in general. I believe that sports can bring in money if we were to diversify our tourism product because sports tourism would be a hit,” he said.