Seven talented players were chosen to represent Barbados at the 2018 Digicel NBA Jumpstart Elite Basketball Camp to be held in Trinidad and Tobago in July.
The Barbados leg of the NBA Jumpstart programme now in its fifth year was held this past weekend at the Wildey Gymnasium where 65 youngsters sought to impress assistant manager of Basketball Operations at the NBA, Adrian Alvarez and assistant coach of the Orlando Magic, Jayson Hernandez.
During his address, Alvarez emphasized to the young enthusiastic group that basketball was an amazing game that did not define where a person was from or what language they spoke but rather the love and passion they had for the sport.
“It really doesn’t matter where you are from, how many borders you have, we all love the game. And when you are on the court, you don’t even have to speak the same language to communicate with each other. It’s that love of the game we want to share right now,” he said, while encouraging them to learn the values of the game.
“Part of it for us at the NBA, for Digicel and this programme at JumpStart that has been going on for the past four to five years, is that we can share something bigger than basketball. We can leave something bigger for you guys like values of the game. Right now, it is perfect that you are focusing on having fun and enjoying it… But little things you would keep with you and learn here on court like values, respect, teamwork, discipline and you will take it from here to the basketball court. But if you can take all those talents and values off the court and keep them with you that would be true success,” Alvarez said.
There were three respective age groups including girls, Under-14 and senior boys. The players selected are Kaliel Austin, Christopher Harewood, Primus Walrond, Carl Thorpe, Joshav Grant, Zara Ashby along with Tower Lorde who has been selected before.
Hernandez encouraged the youngsters to continue owning their skills and reinforced the need to work on their drills.
“Basketball has brought me across the world and I feel really blessed that this game, the work ethic that I have put into it starting at your age and all the way beyond, has helped me get to this point. I was able to meet some great people, establish relationships that I never had before and that’s the biggest part of all this. You guys are here, and you are obviously working on your game and we are going to give you a lot of different skills and drills that you can take with you to improve. But what happens is that within the way you work and the type of things you do to improve, that carries over into everything else you do in life,” Hernandez said.
Meanwhile, well-known coach and former national player Zahir Motara spoke on behalf of the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association and thanked all parties involved for their continued support. He also told the players to grab hold of their opportunities and work hard.