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Six camp starlets get recruited by school

Six of the Island's top female basketball players have been offered scholarships to Wilberforce University.

The players were selected after a skills camp for basketball and netball players, run last week by Iesha Gray, the head coach of the Division II school.

Asante Chapman, Amali Smith, Demiqua Daniels, SiYaunne Hall, Inshanae Smith, and Sakari Famous, who are all members of the Lady Cats Elite programme, will all be given athletic scholarship packages from the University, with all the offers dependent upon their continued player development and successful academic acceptance to the university.

For Chapman, who has been enrolled in a post graduate programme in Britain for the past year, and Amali Smith, an S4 student at Berkeley Institute, the decision to attend Wilberforce next year, and accept a scholarship, will need to be an immediate one.

Roughly 30 hopefuls all attended the clinics, which included a player showcase and two days of skills and development training.

Erica Woods, director of the Lady Cats Elite programme was in attendance for the three-day event, and stressed the importance of moving with a purpose during the skills clinic.

From the opening day and throughout the event, Gray shared an important message with the young ladies: “You cannot be afraid to fail,” she said. “Fear and love cannot exist in the same space. You cannot say that you love something, and then be afraid to try your best because you're afraid to fail or because it's too difficult.”

Gray spoke to the players about goal setting, and not allowing interruptions or distractions to take you away from your goals.

According to Gray, in addition to the girls who were named official recruits, several girls in younger age groups, also have the potential to become recruits in the future.

This news marks a historic first according to Charles Peters, the director of Wolfpack Hoops, the organisation that arranged the camp.

“This was the first ever recruiting showcase of girls basketball players in front of a college coach held in Bermuda,” he said. “In the past 30 years we have had three or maybe four ladies earn basketball scholarships by leaving Bermuda to pursue their dreams in the United States at a young age.

“To have six of our Lady Cats Elite players offered scholarships right here at home is an outcome much greater than we anticipated. We know that without this opportunity, some of these ladies would be unable to afford college.

“So, I really hope that the ripple effect of this event will impact the lives of these girls, their families, and the communities around them in positive ways for years to come. With this outcome, we also hope to strengthen our partnership with netball, as the sport is a tremendous training ground for important skills that are transferable to basketball.

“I think this outcome is the start of something very special for netball and basketball players.”

Peters was at pains to thank the coaches from the Bermuda Netball Association, Kimale Evans and Gina Benjamin, and Tim Trott, a basketball coach, who worked making the event a success.

“Wolfpack would like to thank coaches from the Bermuda Netball Association, Kimale Evans and Gina Benjamin, and basketball Coach Tim Trott for working with us on this event.”

Before the camp Peters experessed optimism that some players would be recruited, pointing to a visit by Tommy Brown, the Lee University coach who came to the Island and offered basketball scholarships to Kieron Burgess and Caelin Peters.

“Wolfpack has made a commitment to helping players achieve their goals both on and off the court, and we consider this another step,” Peters said.

Peters and Gray had also expressed the hope that a successful visit could lead to a greater relationship in the future between the NAIA Division II school with the potential for “scholarships in multiple sports.”

Island's best: the players who attended last week's skills camp

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Published December 23, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 22, 2015 at 8:54 pm)

Six camp starlets get recruited by school

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