The return of indoor basketball is a momentous happening.
The ability for weather not to have an impact signals a growth in the sport’s professionalism and international appeal.
One man who is looking forward to the change is Duran ‘Trini’ Whittaker.
In his eyes the indoor aspect will change the sport significantly.
‘This is the first time I’ll be coaching indoors and I think having everything inside will make a big difference. It should definitely make things a whole lot better for the sport.
‘I expect a faster pace to the game and a lot more scoring. The game should be easier because there is no breeze that will alter shots.’
Most know Trini for his work as the head coach of the Wolves basketball team. This year was arguably Trini’s best. He guided the Wolves to their first national championship in the squad’s third season of existence.
Key to that run were local stars Dwight O’Garro and Gary ‘Butcher’ McLaughlin and role players Earl ‘Barbosa’ Allen and national footballer Carson Fagan.
All of those names will return to the fold for the indoor league. The only change is slated to be the inclusion of Vanrick Felix.
The short Guyanese guard played last season with the Silver Bullets. That squad made it to the playoffs last season and pushed the Esso Blazers to three games in their first round encounter.
For Trini bench players on the team are expected to be the main force indoors.
‘It’s the same team as before with Felix being the only addition. We’re going to go hard and try to win though I want to focus on the bench players.
‘Depending on the level of competition Dwight and Butcher will get good rest and won’t play much. I want to rely on guys like Shawn Smith, Paul Miller and Jonathan Manderson. They’re all great team players who deserve more minutes.’
In fact fatigue is a key concern for Trini. As he states the team gave maximum effort to win.
‘To be honest I hope the league is not as intense s the men’s league. It was a very tense year for the squad because everyone was focused on winning.
‘We came up short so many years and at the hands of George Town Sports Club. In our first season we lost to George Town in the finals and last year they beat us in the first round. We were determined to win in our third year no matter what.’
A staple of the team’s success this season was defense. They allowed the fewest points in the league and prided themselves on various defensive schemes that frustrated opposing teams.
Playing inside should be a boon to that part of the team with the indoor court’s rubberized surface making jumping and landing easier on the joints.
Trini is expecting rebounding to be a less strenuous task than before.
‘I can see where going for rebounds can be easier. Hopefully our guys have an easier time of things in the paint. I’m not sure what impact there will be on defense. All I know is defense wins championships.
‘Winning is all about fundamentals and we’re just going to run our plays and see how things go.’
Regardless of their performance indoors the Wolves certainly have struck an accord with the community.
The team enjoys the support of a legion of arguably local basketball’s most loyal fans whenever they play and an enthusiastic sponsor in DHL.
Surprisingly, corporate support does not end there as Funky Tangs recently stepped up to sponsor them for the indoor league.
It may not need to be said but Trini is keen to urge the public to come out and show their support.
‘I encourage everyone to come out and support basketball. It’s not about the Wolves, it’s about the sport. All of the guys love the sport, no matter where they play.’