By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
DESPITE the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, Terrance ‘Red Eye’ McSweeney was pleased by the turnout for his Diamond Basketball Development Programme.
The programme, designed for female basketball players in the country, got started on Saturday, November 14 and will wrap up from 9am to noon Saturday at the Hope Centre Ministries Basketball Court on Big Pond Highway and Bahamas Games Boulevard. This year, McSweeney will pay tribute to the late Jonique ‘Mini’ Webb, a former Diamond Basketball Development camper, who died on January 19 at the age of 30 after she lost her battle with lupus.
“It’s going to be very, very exciting,” said McSweeney of the finale of the programme this Saturday. “We are looking forward to the Alpha Kappa Sorority Inc., an organisation that Jonique Webb was involved in, to be a part of the event.”
McSweeney said Ida Poitier, the president of the local chapter of the sorority, now celebrating its 112th anniversary, will be in attendance along with other sisters as they honour the life and memory of Webb on the basketball court.
After hosting the programme for the past six weeks, McSweeney said they too are honouring Webb, who was a part of the organisation from 1998 to 2006 after graduating from Jordan Prince Williams High School where she was a multiple sporting star.
“We just thought it was fitting once again with these six Saturdays practices,” McSweeney said. “Prior to Saturday, November 14, we tried during the summer to do a five-week basketball tournament for girls honouring Jonique.
“But the pandemic played a part in that not coming to fruition. But we give God thanks for the one week we were able to host eight girls during that week, who came in and got a chip off the iceberg in terms of what the programme is all about.”
With an average of 12-16 girls participating in this latest programme, McSweeney said Webb’s mother Linda Forbes has been an inspiration assisting with transporting at least five of the players to and from their homes from schools such as CV Bethel, Nassau Christian Academy and LW Young.
Other players came from Anatol Rodgers, St John’s, Temple Christian Academy and Harbour Island All- Age School, which is now home schooling here.
Special awards will be presented to the most outstanding players who depicted Webb’s attributes, as well as a few other presentations to the players and to the Diamond Basketball Development Programme.
Members of the AKA, the oldest black sorority, will also have members come out and share their experiences and to encourage the young campers.
As a part of the activities planned, the sorority members will also be invited to participate in the specially designed Jonique Buckets where they will have to either make as many lay ups or shoot free throws or jump shots with pink and green basketballs to help play their part in honouring Webb’s achievement as a player. “Jonique was full of life and was always having fun around whoever she was with,” McSweeney said. “She was a fun person to be around, so with her organisation coming through, we decided that we will make it a fun-filled day in her honour.”