After the U-15 National Basketball Team’s performance in the friendlies on the 19th weekend in Cancun, the BDBA hereby congratulates each and every baller on that team. Your commitment to your team, family and country is noble and patriotic. Your continued success came as a result of true leadership and guidance from a tried and true coaching/management staff, all of whom the BDBA say hats off to on a job well done. And to the BBF, because u saw it through, the team has now evolved.
I will now venture to call the U-15 National team, the U-15 PROJECT…because this team will set the stage for what’s to come at the senior national team level… because it is this exact team/concept/structure that will now make basketball reach international level (which we all know we are on par with) but this time keep it consistent.
History has shown that a recent talent pharm headed by Mathew Smiling/Fred Gabourel/David Lacey and others proved that with continued support and vision, we can produce world class ballers in little ‘ole’ Belize. History has also recorded the resounding success of that talent pharm in the likes of “Chaka” Lightburn, “Cherries” Cherrington, “Richie” Troyer, “Prince” Graham and many more…some of whom have gone to the next-next-next level of ballin’. I have always and will always big up the Mathew Smiling Vision…no one can erase what history has etched in stone!
Now in comes the BBF, similarly structured, talented and most of all visionary…and armed with the noses to smell when “gud ting” is cooking, Paul and crew sniff the Smiling talent pharm pot a bubbling (and I don’t mean the “nothin fancy jus di best meats”) and “common-sensically” directed Sir Mathew and his noblemen to ready the U-15 boys…along came other resources… for now this was no personal stew….this was a national pot-a-bubble!
If you ask us, it was sheer genius of a decision…for the federation could have taken the high road of “nonsensical nonsense” that has plagued our beloved basket-balling over and over again…but to see the likes of Paul, Julian, Charles, Frank and Brads strolling down that bumpy road will be when “fowl got teeth”…for you see my peeps…common sense is but sheer genius at work.
So from the time the U-15 PROJECT was placed in the Smiling talent pharm infrastructure, we HAPPY…because we knew what would happen…and Cancun is just previews of coming attraction….. “trust wi pon dat”.
Now let me hasten to say this, “wi no di powdah Mathew, wi just di state wi opinion based on facts” (things that occurred). If you know Mathew then you would know that nobody can powdah him; worse coach Fred Gabourel…and worse David Lacey…dem man deh know the content of their character and the value of their worth…so dem no need no pomp and circumstance….but for us here at the BDBA….right da right and wi wha big dat up LOUD!…and nonesense da nonesense and when wi see dat wi wha rail up same way…¿entiende?…Good. So now I can continue.
Back in the 2010 tourney there was some controversy about “imports” di chance wi local boys. Well the fact that Team UB came in first and Team Belmopan second took care of that so far. For you see my peeps, basketball is a TEAM game. One cannot dash a few high level “import” talents on a team and go win against teams like UB and Belmopan that have been together long enough to prove that basketball is about TEAM! (Sorry all you MIAMI fans). But the point of this paragraph is to answer the other part of the “import” di chance wi local boys concern. Viz, when we have a national team program from the U13/U15 level then we will produce talent equal to and even better than (I say within 5 more years for “better than”) the “imports”. Why do you think the countries in the region no want our U-15 boys come play internationally… “DEM FRAID FI WI ALREADY….AND WI JUST DI START KICK UP DUST!”
So we said it then and we say it again, we should welcome the “imports”…because we can compete at their level…ask UB and Belmopan…and because we need our ballin to go to the next level. Basketball is about defensive and offensive schemes and systems. Our individual talent is way ahead of our ability to instill such systems; but with international exposure both at home and abroad we can make one ketch up wid the odda.
Now what the U-15 PROJECT has are super talented ballers in a system where defensive and offensive schemes are being taught to them by some of the best in the bisniss. A lot of you may not realize it but one of the highest basketball IQs (in my opinion and I will defend that anytime) in the likes of FRED GARCIA, is a part of the U-15 PROJECT. I dare find a person to say otherwise. Fred’s knowledge of the game is beyond words; but of utmost importance is his ability to impart this knowledge…these young ballers have an opportunity of a lifetime.
As all of us (BBF, the district associations and GOB) keep the resources coming to sustain the U-15 PROJECT, can you imagine what these ballers would be like in 2 more years…5 more years? Do you see where we are going here folks? Yes, you took the words outa mi mouth – in a few years we will have a male national team in which the mix will be 9/3…or 8/4…or 7/5. That is 7 locally produced ballers to 5 “internationally made” ballers….or 8 to 4…or maybe even 9 local boys with 3 tall “imports” ( sonting bout di wata wi drink..wi just no mek lotta tall boys yah so).
All it takes is a system…with structure…a vision…with perseverance…with stubbornness to a fault…with utter selflessness and a passion for the common national good. This is the case with this our U-15 PROJECT. Sorry I had to bore you with my three-dots style of penning to paper…I know my style break all rules in writing…my English teacher Mr. Castillo (SJC in 1982/83 RIP) would shake his head haplessly…but da so wi feel….just my frugal attempt at some poetry in my prose. BIGG UPP ALL IN THE U-15 PROJECT!
Written by: Mark Usher