By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
The second Digicel NBA Jumpstart Program Clinic is scheduled for Friday through Sunday at the Multipurpose Sports Complex and has attracted 60 participants—20 of them girls. Additionally, 10 coaches have been invited to be part of the program as well.
Sessions are expected to run from 9-3 p.m. daily, followed by a Level I FIBA coaching session for the 10 coaches.
Digicel Brand Ambassador and coach Jason Edwin who recently returned from the Americas Team coaching camp in Mexico is coordinating the program. Edwin said the 10 coaches have been identified and for the 60 participants, he has given first preference to the boys and girls national team players as the first accepted.
“They want basically disciplined young men and women,” Edwin said. “They want to ensure you have a high basketball IQ, you come in and be coachable—those are the basic criteria that has been set.”
A common practice for the territory’s young basketball players is the tendency to hog the ball. Edwin said the personnel coming in will highlight many important areas in developing youth basketball players.
“Passing is one of the things that would aid during the clinic to help ball players here, to go away from hogging the ball,” he said. “The Europeans, the South Americans, they obviously understand how important it is to move the ball—be a team player—and I guess that’s why they are ahead of the game right now.”
Edwin said while the NBA doesn’t announce the coach or players who will be conducting the program ahead of time, Troy Justice, who heads the NBA international operations and started the program of getting players into the professional league will be in attendance. Justice he noted started the program in India which is on the verge of having their first NBA player, who’s currently in the summer D League.
“Our players will be exposed to the game on a whole different level as far as training and preparation, areas that they will stress,” Edwin stated. “In years to come, we’ll see our national teams doing better and we can be proud of them because of these fundamentals and knowledge they will gain.”
Of the players, five will move on from the Digicel BVI market to to join players from other Digicel markets at an elite camp. No venue has been named as yet. From there, the best from all the markets will advance to the Digicel NBA Jumpstart camp in the USA later this year.
D’Moi Hodge and Malachy Payne grabbed two of the eight spots from all the Digicel markets last year and attended the program in New York, including a tour of the NBA office, attend and NBA game and a visit to an Adidas mega store.