Shockwaves will topple

Nearly three years ago Jonathan
Powery decided to guide his passion for basketball into coaching. Now the young
man is on the cusp of being one of the top youth coaches in Cayman.

The Mount Pleasant resident is in
the midst of training the Shockwaves, the reigning Appleby Under-19 Boys
Basketball League champions. Powery, 20, has been leading his collection of
nine youngsters in various drills and basketball exercises since mid-August
across Grand Cayman.

Powery states the training has been
unique as beach runs have been mixed in with typical on-court practices.

“I started training the team since
Monday 16 August,” Powery said. “Twice a week it’s been on the court and twice
on the beach for right now until the season starts. At that point we’ll do one
beach day and two days on the court.

“The beach strengthens athlete’s
legs and since 90 percent of basketball is about using your legs we do a lot of
physical work on the beach to be very fit. We go across soft and hard sand
doing intermittent jogging and sprinting over set distances. We have the beach
as a resource and I feel we have to use it to better our athletes.”

Last Thursday evening the team held
one of its on-court training sessions at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex
netball courts and worked extensively on defence. With a half-court press and
defensive rebounding taking priority, it seems the orange warriors are looking
to be strong defensively. Powery, a proud West Bayer, admits his teams are
built on defence.

“On Thursday that was the second
time we’ve done the half-court press as we just got into working on it. We also
worked a lot on ball-handling to achieve less turnovers. From there we focused
on passing and working on some offensive schemes. Right now we’re trying to see
where everyone is at skills-wise and be strong offensively and defensively.

“Every team I’ve ever coached has
been about defence first and offence afterwards. Offence may win games but my
motto is defence wins championships. That will always stay the same. I know all
of the guys want to win so that is why I emphasize defence and staying in the
game mentally.”

The Butterfield Bank wire
department officer is no stranger to winning. Back in 2008, in his first stint
as a head coach, Powery guided the Assassins basketball team to the Cayman
Islands Basketball Association U15 basketball league championship. In addition
he is not fazed by where his team plays with titles on the association’s
outdoor court off Eastern Avenue and Camana Bay’s indoor facility as proof.

The 2010 U19 season is set to start
in early October at the Sir Vassell Johnson Hall at the University College of
the Cayman Islands. The change in locale is nothing compared to the turnover in
Powery’s roster. Gone are star duo Patrick Barnes and Brandon Glasgow, the
leading play-makers on last year’s squad. Also Khalil Mellad, the team’s
starting point guard, is not on the team’s roster thus far.

However Powery, who turns 21 in
November, is quick to state that he has a couple of new pieces on the team that
can make up for his subtractions.

“Diego Smith and Alex Ebanks are
two of the core guys coming back this season,” Powery said. “Patrick is already
too old at 19 and Brandon is going away to Santa Clarita Christian high school
in California. However we have a number of new players like Rashaad
Powery-Saunds, Keon Bodden and Jordan Cacho.

“In particular Rashaad was part of
my U15 team years back and I actually advised him to play with Collin (Anglin)
last year (with Future Sports Club). I wanted him to get knowledge from Collin
and then come with me. Keon grew as a player with Rashaad and he was more than
happy to play with us. On the whole we’ve brought in great players that are
good for us. I know what they can do and I’m very excited having them
on-board.”

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