Augustine keeps an open mind

Heading into the registration period for the Cayman Islands national men’s basketball team, head coach Daniel Augustine has a clear message for any resident interested in representing their country in the sport.

“No one is guaranteed a spot (on the team). The biggest requirement is being Caymanian and/or being naturalised. The guys will have to earn a spot.”

The Truman Bodden Sports Complex will see open registration for the squad taking place this Saturday 18 December. Augustine will be among the coaches on-hand for attendees 8am-1pm. The deadline to register is 21 January, 2011 and applications can be submitted to the Department of Sports located at Truman Bodden.

Augustine is expecting dozens of players to take advantage of the registration period. With 60 players set as his personal limit from which to choose from, the George Town resident is confident many of the 200 players in the national mens league will attend.

The goal is to have a final roster of 15 players by late January/early February. Like with any national team selection Augustine is looking for the best local talent. In this case it’s mainly due to a desire to utilize a certain strategy for upcoming matches.

“The team (I’m looking for) has got to play a fast-paced game,” Augustine said. “We’ll be doing straight press and man-to-man defence. The guys have to have the legs to handle that and play lots of transition offence. The reason being is because that is a universal pace to the game. Most teams around the world want bigger, faster athletes (for that reason).”

Saturday’s session is the start of a short selection process for the national team. The try-out period is slated to start before Christmas and extend until the end of next month. A meeting to announce the roster is slated to take place 7-8pm on 25 January, 2011 at the VIP lounge located at Truman Bodden. All the players who register will be required to attend. Training for the Island Games and the Caribbean Basketball Confederation Senior Championships, the two major events next year, will begin 31 January.

News of the try-outs comes after the Cayman Islands Basketball Association entered a four-man relay team in the Cayman Islands Marathon this month. The team raised $1,200 toward funding the team’s participation in the aforementioned competitions.

Interestingly Cayman has a number of star basketball talents overseas currently chasing tertiary education. Among them are established stars like Jorge Ebanks and Jerome Narcisse and up-and-coming talents like Tikko Moore and Sammy O’Garro. Augustine states that though he’s not saving any roster spots for them he will include them in the try-out process.

“We have about 12 guys overseas who deserve the right to try out for the national team. They’ve all been through the youth programs, especially the one that recently wrapped up at Kings. A lot of those guys have experience on the national squad and I’m confident I’ll get it down to 15 names by the end of February.”

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