Rashaad’s technical aspirations

Rashaad Powery-Saunds is a unique
young Caymanian. He wants to be a mechanic and is getting training in school.
On the other hand he is an extremely talented basketball player with hopes of playing
at the highest levels.

Last weekend the born-and-bred West
Bayer got a chance to aid both efforts. Powery-Saunds, 18, was part of a
contingent of basketball players who went for tryouts at Vermont Technical
College. The public university is located in Randolph, Vermont and is part of
the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Sunrise Athletic
Conference.

As Powery-Saunds explains the plan
is to advance himself as a basketball player and a mechanic by the end of the
year.

“I’m currently a mechanic’s
apprentice at GT Automotive,” Powery-Saunds said. “In the evenings I’m taking a
level two Institute of the Motor Industry mechanic course at the University
College of the Cayman Islands. As part of the class we are placed at Tony’s
Toys. I applied to Vermont Tech and by August I hope to be going there on a
government scholarship.

“However I also want to play
basketball there too. Kwei General (who came up through the local basketball
ranks) is over there now and people like Coach Voot (Victor O’Garro), Collin
(Anglin) and Redver (Ebanks) all pushed me in the sport.”

The national coach for junior
women’s basketball in the Cayman Islands Redver Ebanks, who got Powery-Saunds
into the sport, organized the Vermont trip. Joining Powery-Saunds were notable
local players Courtisha Ebanks and Kadane Hall. All took part in the recent
Appleby Under-19 Basketball League, arguably Cayman’s premier youth basketball
competition. Ebanks teamed up with youth basketball star La-Torae Nixon to
claim the U19 girls title with the Sparks. Hall took Future Sports Club to a
second seed on the boys side and ended up losing in the semi-finals.

Powery-Saunds, who is one of four
children, played for the Shockwaves of JML International Ltd. His side would
come up short of repeating its championship by losing to the Wolves in the
title game. It was a slight surprise to see the Shockwaves return to the finals
after a lackluster regular season campaign where the squad struggled to claim
the third seed. Nevertheless the son of Vanda Powery states he felt the team
played well and that the competition on the whole was positive.

“The U19 league was really good.
The team chemistry with the Shockwaves was good also. Later in the season we
gelled together and we proved people wrong in the semi-finals. Unfortunately we
didn’t show the same kind of finishing in the finals (as we had at the end of
the season).”

As the statistics sheet shows,
Powery-Saunds had a great season. He was 13th in scoring averaging 14 points a
game. He was seventh in rebounds with 13 boards per contest and sported 1.9
assists on average. Furthermore he was third in blocks with 22 rejections while
totalling 23 steals (good for 20th in the league). Those numbers resonated with
Shockwaves head coach Jonathan Powery, who states his performance carried the
team.

“Rashaad’s impact was great,”
Powery said. “He led the team on and off the court. He worked on his game and
proved to be a good addition for us. During the season Rashaad was always
trying to improve and he is a real hard worker.”

Currently women’s basketball has
the spotlight in local hoops as the competition kicked off late last month.
However the national men’s league gets going in about a month. Powery-Saunds
states he intends to take part in that league, which he played in last year for
West Bay side Future, while pursuing a national team spot.

“I’ll be playing in division two of
the men’s league again. This time I will be with the Shockwaves. I’m also
taking part in the national men’s basketball team tryouts. I want to play in
the Island Games this summer. All in all a lot is going on with me. At this
point all I can do is keep in mind what my grand-mother (Velma Powery) and my
aunt (Melanie McLaughlin) tell me. They say to keep your head up, dream big and
anything you believe you can achieve.”

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