Digicel/NBA Jump Start Basketball Programme underway in BVI


BVI youngsters go through drills at the Digicel/NBA Jump Start Basketball Programme at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex on August 25, 2015. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO

BVI youngsters go through drills at the Digicel/NBA Jump Start Basketball Programme at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex on August 25, 2015. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO

Digicel and the National Basketball Association (NBA) joined forces on Tuesday August 25, 2015 to launch the Jump Start Basketball Programme that will be giving 40 boys from Tortola and Virgin Gorda a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase their talent and gain selection to an elite training camp in Trinidad and Tobago.

The clinic at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex is the first of six such events, all of which are aimed at 14-16 year olds and all of which will see five participants selected to represent their country at the five-day elite camp, from which the top eight players will be chosen by an NBA Legend, as well the coaches, to attend an NBA game in the USA.

The coaches who are here for the camp, Troy Justice and Robert Mackinnon, have extensive global experience within the NBA Organisation.

The coaches launched the clinic yesterday with an intensive warm up, including ball work, shooting and dribbling drills, that got the boys more than ready for a series of five versus five games that concluded the first day.

“It is an exciting opportunity for us as coaches to work with these 40 boys and I would like to thank Digicel and the NBA for making these clinics possible and for their support in growing the game of basketball,” commented Justice. “We are also implementing a programme that is just not for two days, but what we are providing is something that coaches and players can use throughout the year.”

Justice also stressed that the clinics were more than just about playing the game, but would also reinforce the importance of the values of the game such as sportsmanship, teamwork, discipline and work ethics. “These values that will impact you on the court will impact you in your life moving forward, so take the opportunity to learn as much as you can.”

Digicel Brand and Basketball Ambassador, Jason A. Edwin has spent the past month working with the BVI Basketball Federation to select the best 40 players. “The boys were selected on skills, passion for the game and drive to succeed and I’m confidant each of them will represent to the highest standard possible,” Edwin stated.

Tommy Farrell, Commercial and Finance Director for Digicel (BVI), was on hand during the day and expressed delight that the VI had been chosen as the first location for the Jump Start clinics.

“It is testament to the level of skill, ability and passion for basketball that exists in the territory,” said Farrell. “Already the coaches have mentioned that they have been very impressed with what they have seen and suggested a few of them have already shown they are worthy of scholarships. We are certain, that as these boys are coached and mentored by the elite NBA coaches, that this clinic will develop their skills, take their game to the next level and that the benefits of the clinics will reach far beyond these 40 boys, and the learnings of both players and coaches will live on for a long time to come.”

Not done with a hectic day of coaching, Justice and Mackinnon finished with an hour long session with the students of the Eslyn Henley Richez Learning Centre and after much excitement and no little talent; each boy was awarded NBA shirts and caps, along with a Digicel back pack.

The clinic concludes today, August 26, 2015 and those five selected to go to Trinidad will be announced at a closing ceremony.

The clinics will then move on to Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos, with the five-day camp in Trinidad and Tobago scheduled for September 23-28, 2015.