Alex English all set for inaugural ‘Top 50 Basketball Camp’


Sports Reporter


Junior basketball players in the Bahamas have been put on notice and Bahamas Basketball Federation executives are encouraging them to prepare for a possible life-altering opportunity this summer.

The BBF, Bahamas Global Sports Foundation, CSA Basketball Academy and iOWNpr present the inaugural edition of the “Top 50 Basketball Camp” at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium July 29-31.

National team coordinator Edgar Pickstock said the anticipation surrounding the event continues to build as teams play through their respective basketball seasons.

“We think it’s going to be a big success. What we are looking at doing is actually getting exposure for our kids on our home soil. For the first year, we are right now in a process where we are filming a lot of games, we will sit down, go through some tapes and then we are going to use our coaches.

“We are going to ask them for their opinion on who they think is the top 50 best guys in the country. We are going to use that with the information we gather to select the top guys. We’re hoping we get the right ones,” he said. “The whole key is exposure and if we can get exposure for 10 really good kids, we will be happy. We have been getting good responses this far so we think it’s going to be a smash and a great opportunity for our kids to develop even more. The Bahamas is somewhere these coaches want to come and the high schools game is as good as it has been for years.”

A large cross-section of international scouts and coaches are expected to attend the specialised three-day camp. “We are getting greater responses from visiting coaches to view the clinic and to us that is just as important as our local coaches coming on board. The better coaches we have coming down and participating, the better our product will become,” Pickstock said. “We are hoping now with the coaching clinic in addition to the top 50 they will get some more knowledge to put into their programmes that will benefit years down the road. It’s all building in stages, and hopefully at the end of it all we will have kids with NBA level talent coming out of high school.”

The camp will be facilitated by iconic head coach Mike Daniel, NBA Hall of Famer Alex English and local coach Marvin Henfield of the CSA Basketball Academy.

Participation at the camp will be by invitation only and will include three days of individual development, positional development, team play and assessments.

More than 100 scholarship opportunities will be available to the camp participants.

The breakdown will include - the top 10 players between grades 7-9, the top 20 players in grades 10-12 and the top 20 players who have graduated high school or currently attend a junior college. There will also be a special invitation to the top 25 female basketball players in the Bahamas in the aforementioned categories.

“It is a long-awaited venture and something that is needed for our young athletes. As we know, there is a lot of basketball talent in this country and it was just a matter of finding a medium between the federation and these entities. Through those conversations it was noted that these young players in the Bahamas have a greater need for exposure and to have access to American resources and coaching talent,” Henfield said.

“High school basketball is big business in the states and it can be here that way as well. Our job is to improve the product on the floor.”

Players will be ranked from 1-50 prior to the camp to give the visiting personnel an edge in their scouting and evaluation over the course of the three-day event. Players will receive invitations as the date of the camp nears, following a strict selection process made by an objective committee.

Daniel is a 30-year high school coaching veteran who is best known for coaching perennial NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony while at Towson Catholic. He led his teams to four Baltimore Catholic League and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference titles (1998-2001) and moved to City where he captured state titles in 2009 and 2010.

English was one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA during his 16-year career. Best known for his stint with the Denver Nuggets, English won three scoring titles and was named to eight All-Star teams.

Following the conclusion of the Top 50 camp, the BBF’s International Coaches Clinic is all set for August 1-4 at the Atlantis resort.

According to federation executives, the objective of the clinic – which will again feature top college coaches from the US and the Bahamas – is to increase the pool of qualified coaches in the country in the various leagues and youth development programmes, paving the way for their long-term involvement in the sport.

Coaches, sponsors and personnel will be able to enjoy three days of coaching and vacation during the ICC, which has become one of the largest training camps worldwide.

Both local and international coaches and personnel attend this annual event which has as its mission to “teach, develop and expose professional coaches, and personnel, on and off the court, to different techniques and fundamental skills that are important to team success.”

Emphasis is placed on fundamental development, career development, community involvement, peer networking and professional sports education.

Panel speakers will include Daniel, English, Nike Elite coach Vivian Stringer, and retired head coach from the University of South Alabama, Ronnie Arrow, who will be making his second visit to the clinic.


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