A quartet of local basketball players were scouted by US coaches in Florida.
Christopher Collins, Juawon Ebanks, Arin Taylor and Phillip Webb took part in an invite-only camp in Coral Springs last weekend. The sessions were a result of their performances at the Billy Mims camp at Florida Institute of Technology and the University of Central Florida’s Five-Star Basketball Camp this summer.
Men’s national team coach Daniel Augustine accompanied the boys, who are part of the Cayman Islands Hoopsters group, which is the national Under-19 development programme. Augustine said the invites are a boost to local basketball.
“These camps are scouted by coaches all over the US,” Augustine said. “It is a huge accomplishment for the boys and it serves as a stepping stone for the future of basketball in Cayman. Making this selection at this particular camp certainly means that we are doing something correct here in Cayman.
“Having been at school in Santa Clarita Christian High School in California, Phillip has excelled and taken his game to a different level. Christopher also attends Santa Clarita and his overall effort has spoken for itself.”
A number of basketball legends have attended the Coral Springs camp, dubbed the Florida super sessions for the Five-Star Basketball Camp, including Michael Jordan. The camps feature National Collegiate Athletic Association Division One college prospects who are nationally ranked in the Top 150 by ESPN.
At the Billy Mims camp in Melbourne, Taylor and Ebanks were pro-league lay-up winners along with Michael Brooks. Webb and Collins won the 2-on-2 competition with Webb joining Jace Ebanks and Kameron Reynolds among the 5-on-5 winners. Jamel Winton won the 3-point contest, Brooks won the free-throw competition, Reynolds won a shooting contest and Cayman won four out of six scrimmage games.
At the Five Star camp in Orlando, Collins, Ebanks, Taylor and Webb were named all-stars, Taylor earned the best defender accolade, Ebanks won most promising player award and Webb dominated the drills. At each camp there were more than 100 campers present.
In all, about 18 local boys took part in those camps. Among the others were Naithique Jackson, Franz Manderson Jr., Jahmoll Miller, Albis Amaya, Josh Ebanks, Justin Collins and Shemar Lindsey.
Augustine said many of those youngsters will have a bright future in the sport.
“They all won in my eyes because they completed two weeks of vigorous basketball training. Kameron and Justin, in particular, have both showed signs that in the next five years, college coaches will be keeping a closer eye on them.
“These trips help the boys grow and help them to understand and handle certain situations in life through the guidance of their coach and chaperones that were present and others who had an involvement leading up to this experience,” Augustine said.
He added, “Without the help of our sponsors and the efforts made through fundraising events, this trip would not be possible and wouldn’t have given these boys the opportunity to accomplish their goals and play the sport that they all love and have passion for.
“We have a lot to be thankful for, especially the Ministry of Sports and Department of Sports for allowing me to assist these boys in their development using sports as a vehicle to a better way of life.”