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‘Elite draft will make league more competitive’

Somersfield Academy hosted final open trials on Saturday for hoopsters seeking to play in this year’s CellOne Elite City Basketball League.

The purpose of the exercise was to afford those interested in playing basketball at the Island’s highest level the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of coaches and club representatives.

“The coaches and team representative would have been able to see what some of these guys have to offer and be able to rank them personally for their draft choices,” said Bermuda Basketball Association (BBA) vice-president Cecil Hendrickson.

The BBA senior executive said the draft was implemented to ensure that talent is spread around the league and not just concentrated at the top-end clubs.

“We had a period, as far as the top teams were concerned, were all of the good talent just wanted to go to the teams that were perennially either contending as winners or winners so that would leave other teams struggling without the benefit of playing without some of the top players in the Island,” he said. “The games weren’t competitive as often unless the better teams were playing so it wouldn't be very fan friendly and no one likes to sit up and watch a blowout.”

The draft for the upcoming season will take place this Saturday at a venue yet to be determined.

“The ECL is revolutionary in the fact that the league is run very similar to a professional league,” Hendrickson said. “The top 72 players on Island made available via a draft where coaches pick players that will fit into their expected playing style. Not only are you playing to win each year, but attempting to keep your roster in check through draft, trades and free agencies.

“With each year comes new challenges and opportunities. This year we've challenged the coaches by having them protect five core players and rebuild the rest of their roster through the draft.”

Two-time defending champions Young Men’s Social Club Bluebirds are gunning for a third title this year.

“The other five teams are playing catch-up, but the Bluebirds are the clear cut favourite at this point,” added Hendrickson.

Anyone that wants to play during the upcoming season who may have missed Saturday’s final open trials have been urged to e-mail their intentions to be included in the draft to ECL@bermudabasketball.org.

Hendrickson is delighted to have CellOne come on board as title sponsors for the ECL this year.

“This season we are pleased to have CellOne as our premier sponsor and really thankful for that support,” he said. “CellOne and the Bermuda Basketball Association have had a really strong and solid relationship as far as funding and them being behind, not just this particular product, but our other league (Premier Basketball League) which happens in the Fall now.”

Hendrickson said there are still openings available for individual teams’ sponsorship.

“What the team sponsor gets is that they get to actually name the team themselves with their logo put in front (of jersey),” he added.

All ECL matches will be held at Somersfield Academy during the upcoming season provisionally slated to commence on May 4.

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Published April 22, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm)

‘Elite draft will make league more competitive’

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