Isley will stir local ballers

A renowned FIBA instructor will grace Cayman’s shores this weekend.


Isley will ensure local basketball rises. Photo: Matthew Yates

It’s the start of the Level One FIBA coaching course. The event is being put on by the Cayman Islands Basketball Association.

The training starts tomorrow at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex. Instruction will continue in Grand Cayman until 20 March before finishing in Cayman Brac 22-23 March.

Heading the seminar will be FIBA instructor Nelson Isley. He has been certified as an instructor for 13 years and has coached for over 40 years.

Isley’s credentials allow him to certify anyone in the world to FIBA’s highest level, Level Three.

Like many coaches, Isley’s road to coaching started from when he was a player. Growing up in North Carolina, basketball was one of the chief sports in the area. It would have been a stretch for Isley not to have grown up rooting for the likes of Duke, North Carolina or the other Carolina-based teams.

Therefore it was no surprise that Isley first went to play college basketball at North Carolina State University. He stayed for a few years before eventually transferring to Louisiana State University to get a better shot at turning pro.

From there, Isley got his big break. In 1971, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers, who at the time were called the Buffalo Braves.

However, due to circumstances beyond his control, Isley never got a chance to play with the team. Isley was determined to live out his dream and play pro basketball.

Thus in 1972, he had a try out once again with those same Clippers. Unfortunately, most team personnel thought Isley was an inadequate defender and he was consequently not signed.

From there, he explored other options. He went to Europe and played professional basketball in places like Spain.

Among his many claims to fame as a player were being coached by such acclaimed figures as Peter ‘Press’ Maravich Senior and Horace Albert ‘Bones’ McKinney. Isley also played alongside future NBA greats like Hall of Famer ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich.

After his playing career ended, Isley turned his passion for basketball into coaching. Over the years, Isley has coached men and women in the international version of the game.

As a coach, he has become a world traveller. Isley has shared his knowledge of basketball throughout various countries including Bahamas, Canada, Iceland, Peru and the US Virgin Islands.

In fact, he was in St Vincent for the past three months. There he was working with the International Olympic Committee and the St Vincent government to develop a coaching structure.

When Isley completes his duty here, he will be on the road again and travel to Singapore to work with the IOC on a national coaching programme.

For Isley, his mission in Cayman is simple. He will look to impart his knowledge of the game, cemented over the years as a player and a coach, to anyone who is willing to listen.

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