Shaad nets Kentucky scholarship

A young Caymanian basketball player
reached great heights in the States this summer. As a result he is getting a
full athletic scholarship to a college in Kentucky.

Shaad O’Garro will be attending
Campbellsville University this Fall on a full scholarship worth roughly
US$30,000. O’Garro, 21, will be playing for the men’s basketball team, called
the Tigers, which start their season in roughly two months. In fact the side
plays its first game against National Collegiate Athletic Association division
one school Oklahoma State University (which calls its team the Cowboys) on 5
November.

O’Garro’s team plays in division
one of the North Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The school plays in
the Mid-South Conference and is coming off a 26-8 campaign. In years past the
school has played the universities of Arkansas and Kentucky, both NCAA division
one programmes.

A staple in local basketball for
years playing on the Esso Blazers men’s team, O’Garro is looking forward to
fitting in with his new team. “I don’t have to pay a cent and I’m definitely
not missing practice,” O’Garro said. “It’s a great experience and I’ll be
learning from it as well as I’ll be pursuing a degree. I’m going to help the
team and help myself.

“I’m going to start off with open
gym sessions, pick-up games and all the preseason stuff now. There will be a
lot of running involved to get in shape for the season. In late October, two
weeks before the season starts, official team practices will start. We have to
play a big-name division one school every year and I’m looking forward to
facing the Cowboys this year.”

In addition to playing basketball
O’Garro is expected to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in marketing. He already has
an Associate’s degree in sports management from Howard County Junior College in
Texas.

This summer he won the division one
national championship for US community colleges. His Howard Hawks team ended
their season in mid-March with a 33-2 record. The school played squads sanctioned
by the National Junior College Athletic Association. The 6ft 7in, 180lb forward
states playing basketball in the US was an eye-opener.

“What struck me was the level of
intensity and seriousness of it. I admit I didn’t take it serious in my
freshman year but I soon found out that the coaches don’t joke. You have to
come hard and give it your all or you will be sent home. There were times I
didn’t feel like practicing but the coaches would get on my case because they
don’t care for excuses.”

Interestingly basketball talent
abounds in Shaad’s family. Older brother Dwight O’Garro just won his second
straight Cayman basketball title with the Wolves this month. Younger brother
Sammy O’Garro played for the Esso Blazers this season and is back as a
sophomore in Florida’s Eckerd College.

Sister Dionne Anglin has won
numerous women’s basketball championships and accolades locally and
sister-in-law Bobeth O’Garro is a star in basketball and a number of sports
on-island. Not much is known about mum Angela’s basketball skills though she is
at almost every game serving as a Cayman Islands Basketball Association table
official.

Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro is the
technical director of Cayman basketball and Shaad’s father. Often times he can
be found with a whistle in his mouth as a basketball association referee though
he relives his glory days on occasion, like in last year’s corporate basketball
league. He states he would like to see his son impart his experiences to local
players. “I want him to come back and share his experiences because to make a
living from this sport you have to be serious. You need a tunnel vision to be a
pro player.”

Shaad left Cayman last week to
start his preseason work-outs with the Campbellsville Tigers. Before leaving he
had some words of advice for aspiring hoopsters. “Get right with the books.
Without academics you cannot play. When you’re ready to play, you have to bring
your A game in the classroom and on the court.”

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