Youths learn from Lions’ 50th Anniversary Basketball camp

NBA trainer Tim Martin, right, explaining and demonstrating a move to  Jahshiembbah “Jah Jah” Daniel, for other campers to execute

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

Shamaar Lavacia of Seventh Day Adventist School, isn’t affiliated with any basketball club or team, he just has a love for the sport. On Saturday, he was among 80 participants in two sessions of a camp conducted by NBA trainer Tim Martin, with former Atlanta Hawks star Spud Webb as guest speaker. The event sponsored by the Lions Club, was part of its 50 Anniversary activities.

“I love basketball and that’s why I came here,” Lavacia told Island Sun Sports. “I came to see the professional basketball player and I wanted to meet him. I learned about dribbling—how low to get low and doing cross overs—I realize I was slapping it, but I came here and I got better.”

Lavacia, who said he also learned techniques to improve his shooting, walked off with Webb, who’s 5’7” advice. “It doesn’t matter how small you are, you can achieve big things,” he said.  

Damari Lawrence, an Elmore Stoutt High School Sr., said it was a good camp and Martin taught him how to shoot, improve his defense and dribbling skills. His drive, he said, brought him to the camp. “I just love basketball so I play every day,” he said. “So when Kennedy (Bass) told my mother about the camp, she told me and she just dropped me here.”

Lawrence was captivated by Webb. “He reached the NBA, won the dunk contest and didn’t have a camp,” Lawrence said.  

Rico Bailey described the camp as ‘inspirational.’ “When Spud came and gave us an inspirational speech, never giving up—even if you’re down—it was fun,” said the Elmore Stoutt High School 10th Grader. “From this camp, I’m taking away to be respectful to our coaches, never giving up and fighting for what you want.”

Antonio Bramble of the Jr. East Rockers said it was an amazing camp where he learned how to shoot and lay up better. “I had a nice experience,” he said. “Spud Webb was very inspiring. He said when he grew up he didn’t have a coach and I should take the opportunity now. I think this will help me mentally and physically.”

When asked what he was trying to impart to the campers, Martin told Island Sun Sports that the biggest thing was working on pace. “Understanding what the essence of pace means in a game is going to allow you to make better decisions,” Martin said. “With a lot of these kids, as the skillset develops and gets better, when you have the ball in your hands it’s always about good decision making. If they didn’t get anything else out of the camp, it was understanding how to control their speed and in certain situations throughout the game and make good decisions.”

BVI Basketball Federation Vice President Jason Edwin, said the camp went great and participants were enthusiastic about the workouts and new drills they learned as well as improving their game, their shots and all other aspects. “The highlight of the morning was getting to talk to Spud, getting to learn about his experience in the NBA, who he competed against, so I was pleased with the morning session,” he said afterwards. “Seeing that we have been in the woods in terms of the storm and the pandemic, to come out at this stage and have the kids be enthusiastic, I’m hopeful that they would pick up from this camp and we’ll have a lot more with Tim and Spud. We have been in conversations with them, to have them come back to our shores and help improve the game.”

Edwin said basketball’s future is bright and the camp and open opportunities. He said track and field is doing well and they’d like to model the basketball program after that. With no Coaching Association in place, Edwin said the plan after the ongoing District League is to have a weeklong camp with Don Showater, the head of USA Basketball Juniors and his crew, to get coaches certified at Level I. Coaches, he stated, need to be informed on the proper way to teach the fundamentals, so that they don’t stunt their growth and development.

“With the workshop and clinics coming up, coaches would understand the language of basketball, what drills, what words, technique to use, the diet—all the things from the grassroot level so we’ll be right on par with our neighbors and even the mainland,” he said. “The camp is for later this summer and we’re trying to work out the logistics with Showater for that and make it a week-long concentrated camp for the coaches,” he said. “When they come and leave, our coaches would have the Level I certification.”