Local basketball officials are not worried about Cayman’s recent Island Games flop.
The Cayman national teams were heavy favourites going into the Games. The men’s team finished fourth while the women’s team was last.
National Coach Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro feels Cayman did what it could with limited resources.
‘I think the Cayman teams in Rhodes did the best they could with the little they had.
‘We went into a competition of that magnitude with little preparation in terms of international games played. But I feel with more preparation, we can be up there [with the winners].’
Coach O’Garro was especially satisfied with the men’s team.
‘I am proud of the boys’ performance. They simply had a tough draw.
‘The two games they [the men’s team] lost showed Cayman play extremely well. The only teams that beat us were the eventual gold and silver medallists.’
The men’s team lost its only two games in group play. Cayman was defeated by a professional Spanish team in Menorca and a perennial powerhouse in Bermuda.
For Coach O’Garro, the local basketball season served as Cayman’s preparation for the Games. He feels the intense action in the league is evidence of Cayman basketball being in good shape.
‘The current state of basketball in these islands is very good. The recently completed senior league saw George Town [Sports Club] prove their superiority by winning the league again.
‘Local basketball has always been moving from strength to strength. This past season was no exception.’
O’Garro feels George Town Sports Club (GTSC) is in a prime position to dominate once more. However he sees other teams stepping up and giving GTSC trouble.
‘George Town was the most powerful team in local basketball. Jorge Ebanks was the difference for them.
‘However, they struggled to be among the Big Four. The possibility exists for GTSC to be beaten. Teams like Wendy’s Tar heels, Shaolin, Esso Blazers and Juniors can be good enough to beat them.’
On the whole, Coach O’Garro sees a higher standard of play next season. He feels the main reason for this will be increased international exposure for young college-bound players.
‘Most of our players are getting opportunities to play abroad in college. Some of these players going to school this year include Jerome Narcisse, Lloyd Samuels and Ariel Whittaker for the men. For the women will be Cassine Lawrence, Samantha O’Garro and Sade Wood to name a few.
‘In this way I see basketball in the Cayman Islands moving from strength to strength.’
In the end, O’Garro feels Cayman can put their Rhodes experience behind them and make next year a great one.
‘In 2008, I will be looking forward to more international games. I feel the local league will produce even better playoffs. I think 2008 will show the players who are Cayman’s la crème de la crème.’