The O’Garro household has added
more than its fair share of championship hardware this summer. Arguably the
biggest honour comes directly from the States.
Dwight O’Garro won his second
straight national championship in Cayman basketball with the Wolves this month.
Younger brother Shaad O’Garro topped that by being the first Cayman-based
player to win a US national championship.
Shaad was part of the Howard County
Junior College Hawks this spring, a division one National Junior College
Athletic Association school in Big Spring, Texas. The Hawks were the top
community college team in Texas and won the national NJCAA tournament. As a
result the 6ft 7in, 180lb forward received a championship ring made of diamonds
and white gold.
O’Garro, 21, states it was a good
feeling to win because of the long journey he took to reach that point.
“I went to high school in Virginia
and after graduating there went to San Diego for a summer camp. I was noticed
by Texas recruits there and went to Howard as a freshman. Nothing happened on
the court for us last year but I returned for my sophomore year hoping to play
for a championship.
“When the basketball season started
we weren’t even ranked. I had my doubts during the season because we weren’t
favourites to win. There were games I’m not sure how we won but we came
through. We ended up losing only two games during the regular season and beat the
top 50 teams in Texas. We were the top junior college in Texas and were ranked
number two. Then we had to play conferences from other parts of the country
like Florida and Alabama. Only the top three teams in each conference played in
the single-elimination regional tournament. We were among the winners in the
regional brackets and went to play for the national championship. We ended up
being the top junior college in all of America with a record of 33-2.”
Thanks to that feat O’Garro is
receiving a full athletic scholarship to attend Campbellsville University in
Kentucky. Shaad’s father is Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro, the technical director for
Cayman basketball. He took the initiative to send Shaad to Virginia using his
personal funds and states his son’s achievement is legendary.
“This is history in Cayman and for
the Caribbean,” O’Garro said. “I’ve never heard of anyone from this region play
on a national championship team in the US, beside (Jamaican) Patrick Ewing with
the Georgetown Hoyas. It is an outstanding achievement and shows we have talent
here in Cayman. We have to put our axe to the grind and take it serious.
“I was an assistant coach at
Colgate University years ago and I’m telling you it’s a different culture of
basketball in the States. There are no choices in missing things as small as
Shaad is the second member of his
family currently attending college. Younger brother Sammy is a sophomore at
Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. Both have proven to be talented basketball
players locally as they have starred for the Esso Blazers men’s team the last
Shaad is the latest member of the
family to earn props in the sport of basketball. Sister Dionne Anglin won last
season’s national women’s championship with the Dominos Lady Heels.
Sister-in-law Bobeth O’Garro is a solid basketball player in her own right.
Ultimately Shaad has his sights set
on turning pro.
“I’m looking forward
to going to the professional level. I want to play basketball for money. It
doesn’t matter whether it’s the NBA or somewhere in Europe. I just want to
start somewhere and progress.”