At the heart of local basketball, like any sport, is its young players. With 2011 well under way the discipline is gearing up to produce more youth stars.
The Kings youth basketball programme is going into its second month at Kings Sports Centre. The endeavour is organized by executive members of the Cayman Islands Basketball Association.
Dozens of kids under the age of 16 passed through the programme last year, with hundreds in total stretching back to its beginnings six years ago at the Lions Centre.
Heading up the Kings endeavour is national men’s coach Daniel Augustine. He states in the last six weeks numerous children have showed up along with some interesting guest speakers.
“We started back in January and we go Thursdays and Fridays 3.30-6pm,” Augustine said. “We do two groups for those at the intermediate and beginner levels.
About 60 kids have been out for the sessions. We had two guest speakers, with one being track hero Cydonie Mothersill and the other sports fitness instructor Alton Williams.
“They spoke about discipline, dedication and ensuring that good grades in a school are a priority. In particular Alton honed in on the importance of balance in sports and education while Cydonie spoke about peer pressure in general and how to deal with that.”
Augustine has not been alone in spearheading the Kings programme. He has been helped by national technical director for Cayman basketball and national women’s coach Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro.
Together the duo have been working with U16 basketball talents that have starred in the various youth leagues.
Among their star pupils are Peter Grant and La-Torae Nixon. Grant recently won the 2010-2011 U19 championship while Nixon claimed titles in last year’s U16 and U19 competitions along with the Most Valuable Player awards.
Augustine states they are still heavily involved in the programme and that their success gives inspiration for new initiatives.
“Peter and La-Torae have always been there. They haven’t left. They helped grow the program and ensure all of the U16 age groups are represented, as kids from age nine to 16 come out.
“We are still working on having more local athletes abroad. At the same time we want kids like Peter and La-Torae to see local speakers and nutritionists and be exposed to stuff all kids should be aware of that is not highlighted much.”
The programme is still in need of sponsorship. To help out call 938-0185 or e-mail [email protected]