By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Basketball players D’Moi Hodge and Malachy Payne along with coach Jason Edwin, saw the Golden State Warriors improved to 22-0 with a victory over the Brooklyn Nets, toured the NBA office and participated in scrimmages at Columbia University, while on a tour in New York.
Hodge and Payne were the BVI winners of the Digicel NBA Jumpstart Elite Basketball camp and joined their counterparts from other markets served by the telecom provider, for the excursion.
“We had fun, I enjoyed myself and hope I can do it again next year,” Hodge said.
They began the sojourn with a scrimmage among the players from, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands and Trinidad and Tobago. Hodge said they worked on dribbling drills, out of bounds plays, sideline plays and secondary plays they can use in a game.
Prior to Sunday’s game between the Nets and Warriors, they toured the Barclays Center, saw the cheerleaders, some of the players backstage, the walkway and the tunnel players enter the court through. Then they went courtside to see how the players warm up and interact with the fans.
“It was very vibrant, you could feel the players emotions as they are getting ready for the game,” Payne said. “The court is big and beautiful. I would love to go there again and would love to be playing on the court one of these days.”
Hodge said while it seemed the game would be a blow out early on, the Nets made it a game. “You got to see the real deal, the half time shows, cheerleaders—everything live,” he stated.
The players wrapped up their tour with a visit to the NBA offices on Monday. “There were eight feet rims in the office, I could have stood up and held on to it,” Hodge explained. “They had all the players shoes, player jerseys and the different colors. They showed us what they did to ensure everything goes right, how NBA Care works—everything.”
Payne said what they office personnel shared that it’s not just what happens on the court the what’s seen on television. “They do a lot of things around the clock to make sure everything is in order,” he said. “One of the things I picked up is that everything that has the NBA logo, the office makes sure it’s legit—nothing forged.”
Edwin thanked Digicel and the NBA for joining to make the opportunity possible. “Being a part of this whole experience from the beginning to the New York trip, was exciting in itself watching the young men who were part of the camp and it broke down from the five who went to Trinidad to the two who went to New York, just seen them grow,” he said. “We went to the gym three hours before the Nets played the Warriors and the players were there three hours before their game. What does that say? When you have a game here, you don’t show up 10 minutes before the game to get ready to play—the same in any sport—you don’t just show up to play. You come early, go over your game plan to be successful. Those were the little pointers I gave the guys, that it’s not just showing up to play, it’s being prepared to play.”
Payne said he took away that one has to come early in order to be prepared to execute. “That’s what I can grasp from it,” he said.
Hodge noted the players come out in small groups, work on drills, stretching, getting warm and game focused.
“I grasped that down here, we need to become official, come early and do the things we have to do and not forfeiting games,” he said. “If you want to make it far in basketball, there are a lot of little things you have to do to make it.”