‘We will start our first Father versus Daughter basketball programme’

COACH Terrance “Red-Eye” McSweeney teaches basketball fundamentals on Saturday during his Diamond Basketball Development Programme, which staged its second weekend of action at the
Hope Centre. McSweeney noted that once school reopens this week, the players will be invited to come out at 4pm on Fridays to participate in scrimmage games.
Photos by Racardo Thomas/Tribune Staff

COACH Terrance “Red-Eye” McSweeney teaches basketball fundamentals on Saturday during his Diamond Basketball Development Programme, which staged its second weekend of action at the Hope Centre. McSweeney noted that once school reopens this week, the players will be invited to come out at 4pm on Fridays to participate in scrimmage games. Photos by Racardo Thomas/Tribune Staff


Senior Sports Reporter


THE Annual Diamond Basketball Development Programme is back at the Hope Centre and organiser Terrance “Red Eye’ McSweeney couldn’t be more happier with the progress he’s seen from the young girls participating between the ages of 5-18 years old.

“This is our second day back for 2022 with our Diamond Basketball Development League. Thank God for the weather,” McSweeney said. “What we’re looking at this year, continuing from 2021, with more than 10, we hope to have more games played.

“However, we have some special events that we will be starting from as early as February 19. We will start our first Diamond Basketball Development’s Father versus Daughter basketball programme where the fathers can come out and play with their daughters.

He pointed out that he had a father, who showed up for the first time with his five-year-old daughter, and he’s loving it.

“We started our primary school programme last year and this is one of the recipients from that programme,” he said.

For the past eight years, McSweeney said the Hope Centre has been a fixture for the programme and he commended Pastor Carlos Reid and his wife, Minister Tiffany Reid, for allowing them free access to utilise the facilities.

In March, McSweeney said the girls will be allowed to stop in on Friday afternoons after school hours from 4-6pm where they will participate in pick up games to help sharpen their skills before they return on Saturday morning for the training sessions starting at 9am.

Additionally, McSweeney said they are looking forward to having his players in the programme in some scrimmages against visiting teams.

But if that doesn’t materialise, they will just play amongst themselves.

“One thing we are not looking at getting into that we did last year was to participate in tournaments,” he said. “We found out that the tournaments we went to, our girls ended up playing against ourselves. That didn’t make any sense.

“Why pay a fee of $80 or $100 and we are unable to play against any other team or club. The clubs only focus on primary, junior and senior boys. So this year and in the future, we will create for ourselves. We will provide shirts for the girls and they will have their own league to play in.”

It’s a year-round programme with a break just for the weather. There’s an average of 20-30 girls participating on a weekly basis.

Reyenne Greene, a 10th grader at St John’s College, has been a part of the Diamond Basketball Development Programme for the past four years. She first met McSweeney when she was at TG Glover Primary School.

“I was supposed to be running track, but I ended up playing basketball for St John’s,” Greene said. “I always liked it. I found it very interesting.”

She noted that McSweeney has certainly helped her to improve her game and she’s looking forward to heading off to school on a basketball scholarship and eventually becoming a professional player, hopefully in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

“Despite COVID-19, we still get to practice and keep up with a lot of stuff,” Greene said. “This is good to keep us occupied without any competition in school right now.”

Arianna Gomez, a 15-year-old 10th grader at St Augustine’s College, said her love for the game she developed four years ago inspired her to get more knowledge and that is why she joined the Diamond Basketball Development Programme.

“I used to play with my brothers and neighbours before I started coming here,” Gomez said. “It’s a very friendly environment. We are all very close with each other and coach (McSweeney) really pushes us to get better.”

Without any league to play in for the Big Red Machine because of COVID-19, Gomez said Diamond Basketball Development enables her to stay fit and sharp. She noted that she can even go home and display what she has learned against her brothers and the neighbours.

In the near future, Gomez said her ultimate goal is to go to college, hopefully South Carolina, which offers one of the best division one basketball programmes, and eventually go on to play professionally as well, either in the WNBA or in the European League.Cara Deveaux, the mother of 10-year-old Chloe Deveaux, who is in the fifth grade at Southwest Christian Academy on Gladstone Road, said when she met McSweeney in her neighbourhood, he was impressed with her 5-foot, 6-inch height and encouraged her to come out and check out her options.

“Chloe’s school doesn’t have any extra-curricular activities, so I wanted to bring her out to tap into something extra,” her mother said.

“She’s a little bit on the shy side, but basketball is bringing her into her own and this is giving her an opportunity to do more. Basketball is an outlet for her to do something extra rather than being idle around the house.”

Deveaux said the programme has definitely fit the bill.

“I love the programme. It brought out a lot of discipline in her as well,” she said. “Chloe didn’t want to come out today, but because they’re just starting back and I saw the potential in her, I decided to bring her out.

“I love the way coach McSweeney works with them. He’s very professional and he pushes them to do even more than they think they could do. I’ve seen her do some things in the programme that I didn’t think she could do. So it’s bringing out a lot more in them than they expect. That’s what I liked about the programme.”

Keva Ferguson, a former cheerleader, said she wished her daughter Tasah’nae Barnett, a 17-year-old 12th grader at CV Bethel Secondary High, had gotten exposed to the Diamond Basketball Development Programme at a much younger age.

“I came out here to visit a scrimmage game that they had against CV Bethel and I saw coach ‘Red Eye’ and the way he dealt with the girls and that was why I wanted to push my daughter into the programme,” Ferguson said.

“If I had known about the programme earlier, I would have had her here from the sixth grade instead of grade 11 when she joined last year. But dealing with him so far, she has progressed from what she was doing before to now. I’ve seen the transformation with her. Things she is doing with the ball, I’ve never seen any other coach get that out of her.”

Ferguson said she continues to encourage more parents to get their girls involved in the programme because McSweeney is doing an excellent job with the programme.

Even Bahamas Basketball Federation president Eugene Horton is weighing in on the programme. His daughter, Ebony Horton, a 17-year-old student at the University of the Bahamas, got involved when McSweeney brought the programme to Sunshine Park. “What I liked about it is that if there’s 10 people or one person, he went through the drills with whoever was there,” Horton said. “During the COVID- 19 and taking her exams at school, she had to stop.

“But I never pushed her to come here. I told her that she will have to tell me when she wants to go and I will be there to support her. She told me she wants to come back out and develop her skills. So I brought her out.”

Horton said more of this type of programme is what is needed in the country to help develop the skills of the young people. He noted that his daughter also worked with Sharel Cash.

But he said that while there are a number of persons working, the BBF will be pushing for the same type of training across the board so that if a child goes somewhere else, they are getting the same training as the other programmes.

“We want to know that the same drills and programmes are being implemented so that when we do invite these players out to try out for the national team, they have developed the same skills and you don’t spend that much time going through that process with them,” he said. “Speaking with a lot of the parents, they are comfortable with bringing their child here and leaving them in the hands of coach McSweeney. We want to know that they can do the same thing if they take them to any other programme elsewhere.”

Over the years, McSweeney said he appreciates those parents and coaches who are encouraging their players to come out and participate. He said he will continue to offer his expertise to whoever comes out. “I am developing your daughter, your young niece, your grandchild, your ball player in the fundamentals of the game,” said McSweeney. “The coaches in the schools will develop the plays for them to execute.

“At the end of the day, at least seven to eight of the young girls who have made the junior national team in the past few years, have come from the Diamond Basketball Development Programme. Numbers are not my thing. For me, if we have four or more, we can play some games. But if one shows up, we will go through the drills from nine (am) to noon.”

With the programme being free of charge, McSweeney said all he expects is for the players to come out and follow all of the safety protocols in place with the wearing of their masks and having their temperatures checked and recorded and be willing to spend the time going through the drills assigned for that particular day.

Once they do that, McSweeney said they will be able to enjoy their time spent at the Diamond Basketball Development Programme.


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