By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Gradually transitioning form player to administrator and coach, Jason Edwin has played and been involved with a lot of basketball.
But last week was a new experience for Edwin who attended the 2016 NBA Americas Team Basketball camp in Mexico, which is part of the Digicel NBA Jumpstart program. He said it was an ‘awesome experience.’
Edwin said it was interesting seeing the ‘super powers’ of our region including Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Mexico, the talent that they have at the U-17 level, the coaches they brought on board and the various NBA players for the coaches to work with and how they broke down the game in terms of what the rest of the world is doing to develop their basketball players.
“That experience in itself was awesome,” he said. Chris Clunie, Associate Director, Basketball Operations-International for the NBA,been responsible for developing the US U-17 national team for the last 10-12 years and they are No. 1 in the world. He took us through a series of fundamental drills that they use to develop athletes.”
Edwin pointed out that one of the things they spoke about is that they are too many coaches and not enough teachers in terms of teaching the right was to play the game. “From the class room level, you’re suppose to teach the youngsters the proper mechanics, how to treat their body and selling the sport—those are things that were stressed,” he stated. He uses it and the professionals uses it too.”
Edwin said these fundamentals includes hand and footwork. Stressed that before going into other things like shooting, dribbling or passing, you start off with footwork.
“A lot of players want to play the sport but don’t have the foot work, like running and jumping mechanics and you have to have coordinated movements to play the sport,” he stated. “They also stressed that its not just one person but now it’s my job to have a collection of coaches and trainers and lay out how we want the development to go from the grassroots level on up. Everybody had to understand and be on the same page, and everyone has to know what’s being thought and then it’s a natural progression to the next level. Once the fundamentals of each stage followed, that’s when you’ll begin to see success and expect success because you have had the proper programs and tournaments to attend in place.”
Edwin said the program showed how far the BVI is behind in basketball development. He noted that the place they stayed in Mexico, is the facility they use for what they consider future national athletes, they go there to train.
“That’s all they concentrate on. It has everything, gym, weight room, cafeteria—everything needed,” he said. “We have a decent facility but we don’t have that focus and concentration on whatever particular sport we are doing to help accelerate them. It’s not only just the facilities. They bring in coaches. In contact sports like boxing, they bring in Cuban coaches. They reach far and wide to ensure that they have proper specialist coaches at that facility.”
Edwin will head the local leg of the Digicel NBA Jumpstart Program which will run Sept 2-4 at the Multipurpose Sports Complex. This year’s activity will target both boys and girls.