Hoopsters soared

Out of all the sports in the Cayman
Islands, basketball was arguably one of the busiest. From an international star
coming here to players excelling abroad the discipline was a slam dunk in 2010.

Starting things off in January was
the news of Deandre Simpson, 20, attending Hesser College in New Hampshire. The
6’5 Savannah native transferred to the school on a government scholarship from
the University College of the Cayman Islands. A star in the Under-19 ranks,
Simpson joined the school’s men’s team alongside two other Caymanian players in
Jerome Narcisse and Catherine Ebanks.

Later that the month came news that
national men’s basketball player Collin Anglin was promoted to the post of Director
of the Department of Youth and Sports. The West Bay native took over from
Dalton Watler.

In February the national women’s
basketball league began at the Arts and Recreation Centre at Camana Bay.
Organized by the Cayman Islands Basketball Association the competition would
run for several weeks before seeing the Dominos Lady Heels defend their
championship in March and claim their fourth national title in six years.

February also saw 20 local coaches
receive FIBA certification for both the level one and level two categories.
Noted instructor Nelson Isley led the coaching seminars. From there came news
of Caymanian player Davi Cotterell, 18, taking the Santa Clarita Christian High
School in California to second place in its group and past the first round of
the playoffs. The Bodden Town native came through the ranks locally over the
years.

In March came the national women’s
league all-star night which included an exhibition game and three-point
shooting contest. Scimone Campbell would take home the biggest props as she was
named all-star MVP for making the game-winning basket.

April saw the national men’s league
kick off at Camana Bay. Competition would span across two divisions and feature
a number of teams playing over the next two months. Ultimately the Wolves from
George Town would best everyone for their second straight title in the last
three years in August. The division two champions would be the Derek Bogle
Insurance Warriors.

In May the PriceWaterhouseCoopers
Under-16 league got under way at the basketball association court off Eastern
Avenue. Action would spread across a boys and girls division until late June.
Rookie club team Bodden Town would emerge victorious in the male segment while
the Sparks would claim highest praise amongst the females. At around the same
time the Cayman National Bank Under-12 Inter-Primary league took place at the
Camana Bay outdoor courts. Competition went on until mid-June featuring 17
teams and some 150 children.

July would see the second annual
Orlando Magic camp put on by the basketball association at Camana Bay.
Headlining this year’s session was former Orlando Magic swingman Vince Carter,
33, who saw over 70 kids come out over five days. It was Carter’s first trip to
Cayman and he took time to give talks to the children, speak about the
2010-2011 NBA season and visit attractions.

August saw news of Jerome
Graham-Record, 20, attending US division one school Weber State University in
the Fall. The 6’8 forward hopes to play on the men’s team in the 2011-2012
season and get a full athletic scholarship. Graham-Record was in Cayman during
the Orlando Magic camp the previous month. August also saw youth players
La-Torae Nixon and Travis Manzanares (both 13-years-old) join local coach Shawn
Pitterson on a trip to Turkey for the inaugural 2010 Children of the World
basketball camp. The event coincided with the 2010 World Basketball Championships
taking place in the country. The Turkish Basketball Federation covered all
accommodations, domestic and international flight expenses.

Another August happening was Shaad
O’Garro, 21, becoming the first Cayman-based player to win a US national
basketball championship. As a result he earned a full athletic scholarship to
Campbellsville University in Kentucky worth roughly US$30,000. A number of basketball
camps also took place in the Cayman Islands in August, including in Cayman
Brac. The Brac event saw about 40 kids at the Brac high school taking
instruction from national men’s coach Daniel Augustine and national women’s
coach Redver Ebanks.

September saw news of U19 stars
Tikko Moore, 18, and Brandon Glasgow, 17, attend Santa Clarita Christian High
School on basketball scholarships worth a combined US$13,000 per year. The duo
would join fellow Caymanian Davi Cotterell at the school. Interestingly Moore,
who hails from East End, would take up playing full tackle American football
before the start of the basketball season.

In late October the Appleby
Under-19 league would begin at two venues; namely Camana Bay and the Sir Vassel
Johnson Hall at the University College of the Cayman Islands. Dozens of boys
and girls are taking part in the league which took a break for the Christmas
holidays. The Shockwaves of JML International Ltd are the defending male
champions while the Sparks are the reigning lady champs.

November saw the cancellation of
the annual Rodney Bodden memorial 3-on-3 tournament. Organizer Corey Thompson
faced logistics issues and stated he will put it on next summer. The event is
in honour of young basketball talent Rodney Bodden who was 16-years-old when he
died of sudden heart failure.

News also emerged in November about
the formation of an U16 national girls team. Coaching the 12 youngsters on the
side are national coaches Daniel Augustine and Redver Ebanks. The group already
got equipment sponsorship for their 2011 international competitions from companies
Jacques Scott and DRG Construction Company Ltd.

Finally in December the annual
Kings U14 programme at Kings Sports Centre wrapped up for the Christmas break.
The initiative has been a steady part of local hoops the last six years. For
2011 the programme looks to incorporate additional areas such as nutrition and
personal fitness.

Earlier in the month four male
basketball players took part in the Cayman Islands Marathon. The group took part
in the four-man relay and placed 37th. In addition the men raised CI$1,200
towards the national men’s team participation in the 2011 Island Games and 2011
Caribbean Basketball Confederation Senior Championship.

Before the Christmas break came
news of George Town native Jorge Ebanks, 24, turning semi-pro in Buffalo, New
York. Ebanks is playing in a pro league while finishing up his last year at
Daemen college. Among his 2011 plans is to go to Las Vegas next summer for
professional basketball camps.

At the end of the day basketball
made many moves to the basket this year. With most of them leading to points
there is every reason to believe 2011 will be a high-scoring one.

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