Anglin for hoop dreams

One of Cayman’s most recognized faces in basketball has his sights set on turning pro.

Colin Anglin recently went on a basketball tour of Mexico. Alongside Cayman stars Dwight O’Garro and Colin Bodden, Anglin played some six or seven local division two sides.

With the top Mexican teams in the midst of their playoffs, division one squads had scouts out in force to watch the games.

Anglin would respond to the pressure and lead his squad to an undefeated mark, winning games by some 40 points.

Anglin explained what happened on the visit.

‘We went round and played the division two teams. Our first game gave trouble as we needed to gel and feel out each other’s skills. I guess we were a little nervous too with all the division one scouts sent to watch us play.’

Anglin was recruited to play there by international consultant Joe Wright and was put on a squad with former college hoopsters and a Venezuelan pro.

The professional league in Mexico is called the ‘Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional’ or ‘National League of Professional Basketball.’

Among former NBA players currently in the league is De Juan Wheat.

Wheat was drafted by the LA Lakers in the second round of 1997 NBA Draft after a stellar career with the University of Louisville. He would play for the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Memphis Grizzlies for two years.

Some of the former college stand-outs that play include Sam Bowie and Mario Bennett.

Bowie played for South-East Louisiana University while Bennett is best remembered for his days at Arizona State University.

Anglin’s performance left a positive impression as many Mexicans looked upon him as ‘starting-five material.’

For Anglin the experience showed him that Cayman’s exposure to international competition paid dividends.

‘All the international exposure we have had over the years paid off. We weren’t nervous and we saw that nothing makes up for experience.’

Several scouts spoke to Anglin after the games were over and had stated their interest in offering him a contract to play for a division one team.

Anglin has anything but a passing fancy for basketball. He was introduced to the sport by local sports enthusiast Richard Parchment at 11.

Anglin, who is now 30, would plant his roots in basketball from the tender age of 14 when he made the national team.

From there he competed in several basketball camps and regional competitions before heading off to college at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.

One of the highlights of his time at FIU was, alongside long-time friend Joel Jefferson, playing pick-up games with future NBA player Carlos Arroyo.

Though Anglin was on the court almost every day he was not allowed to play with the college team.

Anglin explained how the lack of stats for local basketball hindered the process.

‘As Cayman hadn’t made steps in the area of recruiting there was a lack of local stat-keeping. Because of a lack of stats the guys in the US didn’t take me seriously.’

When he came back from college, he went about correcting the issue. He started a website and a stat-keeping system for all local basketball.

Anglin was far from finished on the court though. He continued to play in the senior’s men’s league, starring mostly with team Shaolin.

As the statistics show Anglin is one of the best in local basketball.

Last season Anglin was second in points with 27.8ppg and assists with 6.2apg and scored the most points in the league with 555. In years past he has consistently excelled, leading the league in assists, points and steals.

In addition he would serve as the key piece in the national team’s trips to the Island Games.

One of Anglin’s biggest moments was when Cayman beat Jamaica in 1995. It was one of the few times Cayman had beaten Jamaica in any sport in any context.

Cayman swept Jamaica in a series of exhibition matches shortly after the arrival of national coach and Anglin’s future father-in-law Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro.

Like many athletes however, Anglin battles with injuries. Aside from nagging ankle and leg sprains and bruises his biggest injury was in 2003.

During preparations for that year’s Island Games he suffered a serious back injury in Jamaica.

‘I have never really played at 100 per cent since then. It’s only now, five years later, I can say I’ve just gotten over that injury.

‘On the other hand, with the short 20-something game season in Cayman, my body has got plenty of rest.’

Anglin went on to say that he was in good shape for the Mexico trip and his health was not a factor.

‘In Mexico I felt great. My body was feeling good. I felt like a 20 year old, like I didn’t even lose a step.’

It’s worth noting that Anglin’s shot at turning pro in Mexico is not his first major chance at playing internationally.

Years ago he admits he was offered a chance to play in the Scottish League with the Scottish Rocks.

However the offer did not include much money and the side wanted him to be strictly a bench player.

Arguably Anglin’s biggest chance at turning pro came three years ago.

He went to England for a basketball camp. That camp had over 40 athletes, 25 of which were American. He ended up leading his squad to the top spot and was one of a handful of players recommended for a pro contract in the UK.

A representative from division one team Milton Keynes Lions and former squad Crystal Palace approached Anglin with a tentative offer.

However Anglin had an agent at the time and he referred the men to the agent. Nothing would come of the offers, which Anglin blames on his agent.

Nevertheless Anglin has his mind firmly focused on the possibilities surrounding his Mexico trip.

He says he has been busy since the trip trying to get government support.

‘Since the trip I have been talking to the ministry so that they understand what I’m on the verge of achieving. No one from Cayman has ever played in a division one league anywhere in the world.’

At least Anglin has got support from the corporate sector. Among his supporters has been Joel Jefferson of Domino’s Pizza.

Jefferson helps sponsor the local league and its efforts to provide uniforms and trips for the different programs.

Though time may be essentially winding down on Anglin’s playing career, he could find new life in Mexico.

American ball player Chris Jeffries is living proof of that. Jeffries played college ball at Fresno State before spending time in the NBA and its developmental league.

He then played in the Mexican league before getting a significant contract to play in the Argentinean pro league.

Ultimately Anglin says he is looking forward to a lot more time on the court, whether here or abroad.

‘I think I have at least seven years left in my body. Normally in a basketball player’s career retirement comes at 35. But I see guys in foreign leagues playing in their 40s.

‘It’s all about how your body can hold up and keeping your body in good shape.’