By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
EUGENE Horton, who increased the awareness of the league through the social network over the past few years, has decided to run for the presidency of the New Providence Basketball Association when the election of officers takes place on Saturday.
The elections will be held during the NPBA’s annual general meeting at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, starting at 10 am.
Horton, the incumbent fourth vice president, has put together a slate of officers whom he feels will help him to further push the NPBA to higher heights if they are elected.
His slate includes James Price for first vice president, Randy Cunningham for second vice president, Bob Hudson for third vice president and Kevin ‘Island’ McPhee for fourth vice president. The others include Sophia Hunter for treasurer, Katrinka Marshall for secretary, Enricka McPhee for assistant secretary, Jeff Rogers Jr for public relations, Darrel Ranger for commissioner and Oscar Dorsett for assistant commissioner.
“I just think that it’s time for me to step up and put in my plans for the association and the only way I can do that is to be the president,” Horton said. “I’ve spoken to a lot of the coaches and the players and they all like the ideas that I want to bring forth.”
Horton, who retired three years ago from the Commonwealth Bank Giants to pursue his role as an administrator, said after hearing the complaints from the media houses that they were not given the information on the league on a timely basis, he decided to institute the online stats that have been provided immediately after the games are completed.
If elected, Horton said he intends to introduce a few other ideas to increase the awareness of the league.
“I decided to run because a lot of the coaches and players have asked me to run,” said Horton, who has not heard of any challenge to the position as yet. “I decided to run too because I just think that it’s time to step up and take basketball to the next level.
“I would like to technically produce the stats for the games live, but that requires us to provide high speed Internet in the gym. All of this takes money and we would have liked to have gotten a head start in securing the sponsorship for the league. But we’re working on getting something in place.”
Horton said there is also expected to be an increase in the fees for the players’ insurance, but that will have to be ratified by the new administration whenever they take office.
Also if he’s elected, Horton said he would like to commission a coaches’ association and a players’ association, which would allow both presidents to sit around the table with the executives to discuss the ideas that they may also have for the elevation of the sport.
And as far as the referees’ association is concerned, Horton said it’s going to be imperative that they gain more respect from the players and so their administration will be looking at ways to ensure that they are allowed to perform during the games without being hassled by the players.
At present, there are about 12 teams who have expressed an interest to play in the league when the new season starts in late October, early November. The league will be looking at hosting its opening night at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium and although AF Adderley will be their home base, they intend to play a number of special games at the national gymnasium.
“I want to invite all of the former players who have participted in the league in the past to come out for a mix and mingle night on the opening night,” Horton said. “We just want them to be able to see the product that we have and if there is any way they can help to improve on it, they can give us their suggestions.
Horton said the NPBA operates under the umbrella of the Bahamas Basketball Federation and so they will be working closely with the BBF to ensure that they follow all of the guidelines so that when they are ready to host the National Basketball Tournament, the NPBA will be ready to compete.
If not elected, Horton said he has met with his officers and they are prepared to share their ideas with the officers elected because they only want to see the sport continue to flourish. But Horton said he’s confident that he has the mandate from the voting delegates that he will be elected as the new president.
Incumbent president Keith ‘Belzee’ Smith is not expected to seek another term in office. Smith is currently serving as an executive of the federation.