Men’s Basketball National Team for Centrobasket 2010

After dominating the 2009 COCABA Games in Cancun, Belizean Basketball has made a name for itself in the Americas.  COCABA officials made several attempts to derail the efforts of Team Belize to get to the top in the tournament.  Unknown COCABA officials and/or representatives stirred trouble, alleging that six of Belize’s players were “ineligible,” almost stripping Belize of the Silver Medal.  The questioning of the players’ dual nationality hinged on Belize’s right as a nation to grant nationality to any individual born to Belizean parents abroad.  Refusing to be denied and to relinquish what was rightfully theirs, The BBF (Belize Basketball Federation) initially protested to Federal International Basketball Association (FIBA) and later took the case to the International Court of Arbitration for Sports in Luzon, Switzerland which subsequently agreed with BBF’s attorney, Godfrey Smith’s presentation and ruled in Belize’s favor.

With its success in the 2009 COCABA Games, Belize now prepares to compete with Caribbean nations such as Cuba, host country Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico and Puerto Rico in the 2010 Centrobasket Tournament.  The tournament will be held in the Dominican Republic from July 5th through the 12th and represents the highest level of international competition Belize has ever faced in basketball.  A top four finish for Team Belize at the 2010 Centrobasket qualifies it to the  FIBA Americas games, while the top eight from the FIBA Americas Tournament, goes on to play for the Central America and the Caribbean championships.  The FIBA Americas tournament is held every two years with participating teams of the other continents.  Winning the Central American and Caribbean Championship advances the winning team, hopefully Belize, to FIBA World, which takes them a step closer to the 2012 Olympics.

The Belize Basketball Federation has put Belize’s boys in very capable hands, bringing in NBA legend and former 5-time All-Star, Marques Johnson as Head Coach.  In 1977, Johnson was the 3rd overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft and was snatched by the Milwaukee Bucks.  Thought to be one of the best small forwards in the NBA, Johnson helped lead the Milwaukee Bucks to win five division titles and was the NBA’s third leading scorer in the early to mid eighties.  In only his second season, 1978 – 1979, Johnson averaged 25.6 points per game.  In 1984 Johnson was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers and after suffering a near career-ending injury he had a brief comeback with the Golden State Warriors in 1989. Johnson was only able to play ten games with the Warriors and gave it all up – he retired in 1990.  Until his call from the BBF he was an NBA analyst and commentator for FOX Sports in the United States.

Besides being a former coach at his alma mater Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, California, Marques Johnson has limited coaching experience. He says basketball is more than just drawing and running plays, it’s about building character, teamwork, critical thinking, conflict resolution, and mostly, impacting a player’s life.  Johnson believes that viewing basketball in that light, he is more than able to orchestrate.

The Belizean business community has also taken up the challenge and has contributed greatly, strapping the BBF with over BZ$100,000.  Benefactors include the Belize Tourism Board, Belize Telemedia Limited, the Central Bank of Belize, Social Security Board, Maya Island Air, Princess Hotel, and The Government of Belize.   Belize ’s first game is against Trinidad and Tobago July 5th 2010.

Men for the Belize National Team are to be chosen from this elite squad of twenty-five:

  1. Acosta, Keith
  2. Bowman,  Lennox
  3. Burgess, Charlie
  4. Burgess , Kurt
  5. Carcamo, Alex
  6. Cayetano, Lennox
  7. Felix, Noel
  8. Garnett, Marlon
  9. Itza, Elsworth
  10. Jones, Jorett
  11. Jourdan, Keenan
  12. Lauriano, Farron
  13. Lauriano, Leroy
  14. Lennan, Travis
  15. Leslie, Darwin
  16. Myvett, Gene
  17. Palacio, Milton
  18. Paulino, Kenton
  19. Pratt, Winston
  20. Rudon, Greg
  21. Smith, Kirk
  22. Troyer, Richard
  23. Watson, Sonny
  24. Williams, Stephen
  25. Young, Matthew

About KREM
The idea for the KREM Radio station originated in early 1979 while Rufus X and I were visiting New Orleans. There was a New Orleans deejay I liked, by the name of Sister Love, and one day Rufus and his cousin, Sam Wiley, who was our host, showed me the building where the radio station which featured Sister Love was located. It was quite a modest, one flat structure, much smaller than the three story Albert Cattouse Building from where the Belize government monopoly station – Radio Belize – was broadcasting.

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