Augustine readies Cayman troops


April is proving to be a busy one
for Daniel Augustine. Cayman’s national men’s basketball coach has a number of
concerns on his mind heading into Easter.

For starters Augustine remains
intent on developing talent in Cayman Brac. Earlier this month he made a visit
to the Sister Islands to nurture Under-18 players. The George Town resident,
who still oversees the Kings youth basketball development programme along with
technical director for Cayman basketball Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro, states the trip
achieved some tangible results.

“I spent one week on the Brac,
where I conducted 10 school sessions and five U17 sessions mainly in the
evening,” Augustine said. “Most of the work was focused mainly on character-building
and fundamental drills. The boys were put through a very intense work-out to
ensure their work ethic can be maintained for a whole game.

“Over a year after holding a Brac
basketball camp, one of the previous participants Anthony Rivers has improved
tremendously. He was definitely a stand out. In the past 12 months he has
attended more than one basketball camp overseas which has also helped with his
vast improvement. I can see the passion in some of these kids’ eyes, which is a
sign that the Brac children are hungry and want to improve.

“In June, those youths will get the
opportunity to experience and work with coaches from Washington, DC which we
are hoping to invite. This invite will give kids the opportunity to play ball
and get their education at the same time, which is an overall objective for our
basketball programs.”

Augustine also has much to think
about with the national team. After months of training and moulding players, he
is near the end of the try-out period. As Augustine states 14 names remain on
the roster heading into this week. In all likelihood they will constitute the
2011 national squad headed to a pair of major competitions in the Island Games
and the Caribbean Basketball Confederation Senior Championships this summer. Most
of the names are no strangers to local basketball and are currently involved in
the 2011 national men’s basketball league put on by the Cayman Islands
Basketball Association.

“The following are the names that
are in the second round of qualifying for the national team: Shane Evans,
Rotando Thompson, Chad Leslie, Omar Clarke, Eckerd McField, David Terry, Gary
McLaughlin, William Peguero, Stephen Shaw, Daniel Spence, Kenval Bryan, Andres
Kirchman, Patrick Barnes and Cory Thompson.

“The first round of tryouts
comprised of mainly conditioning and so far these are the guys who have
committed themselves for that aspect of training. The third round will be
broken down at the end of April allowing full focus on the team. There will be
practice matches where the coaches will select players within the mens league
to play matches when the selected team is final from May to June.

“We’re hoping to do games locally
in the future and internationally in preparation for games overseas, but at
this time we make our adjustments to suit. The public will get the opportunity
to see Cayman team play against a well-selected mens team in the future.”