After a successful referee clinic, Cayman Islands basketball has added respect in the region.
In fact, technical director for Cayman basketball, Victor “Voot” O’Garro, says the result will be more exposure and tourism dollars.
“As a Caribbean Basketball Confederation board member, I know the CBC wants to encourage all small member countries to be involved,” O’Garro said. “We’ve never hosted a clinic quite like this before, and the confederation wanted to know if we could host it. The confederation knows if we could host it, with facilities in the works, that we can host the international tournaments.
“The confederation gave the blessing for the clinic and the Fédération Internationale de Basketball authorized it. We, the Cayman Islands Basketball Association, thank the confederation for giving us the opportunity to host this clinic. We thank the athletes and the local referees who took part and we thank Dart for the facility usage.”
The clinic took place over several days, catering to three groups of officials – match referees, commissioners and national instructors – and featured initial certification and re-certification. The majority of participants were from around the region, hailing from the Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and the United States. All were overseen by FIBA Americas referee manager Geraldo Fontana of Brazil and Terry Moore from the United States.
Six local officials took part in the sessions. Ian Yearwood and Antonio Hanna pursued match commissioner certification. Gregory Hamilton and Bobeth and Dwight O’Garro engaged in referee re-certification and Miguel Pitta attempted to be a FIBA-certified ref for the first time.
The clinic mixed theoretical instruction with practical application as attendees flocked to Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Center to officiate exhibition matches. The highlight of those contests were the All-Star Games for division two and division one players in the Digicel National Men’s League.
The league is winding down and shifting gears toward the postseason. The division two playoffs are slated to begin on April 15, featuring frontrunners Ryne Staback and Charterland, Eric Morata and Smoothie King, and Darwin Mancenido and team Philippines. Division one has its final regular season games on April 27, with the playoff picture far from clear. Through week eight of the 10-round competition, Borislav Djordjic and the Caledonian Lions, Adam Milburn and the Silver Bullets and Antonio Thompson and the Dominos Warriors were all tied atop the standings at 6-2. Deandre Simpson and the Esso Blazers were 4-4 and holding on to a final postseason berth ahead of David Taylor and the 2-6 Wendy’s Tarheels. For O’Garro, credit for the successful staging of the clinic rests with association president Joel Jefferson.
“Hosting a clinic at this level tells a lot about the administration. A lot of credit goes to Joel and his team, and we also thank government, who have liaised with Joel. He had the foresight for this to happen. All in all, it is a great thing for Cayman basketball, and it was a chance to show the people in authority, within FIBA and the confederation that we have the ability to host.”