Young basketball stars get chance to compete overseas for first time since Covid
Tim Trott, the Bermuda under-17 basketball coach, is thrilled that the island’s junior players will showcase their budding talents overseas for the first time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trott and his players embarked this week on a development tour to IEM Basketball in Ontario, Canada, which is regarded as one of the largest and fastest growing leagues in the region.
“This is a big thing because it is the first time we are sending a team overseas since Covid,” Trott told The Royal Gazette.
“Last time we were able to send a team was in 2019 when we went up for a camp in Daytona, Florida, and we also took a team to Cayman Islands for a tournament.”
Bermuda are being represented by a team of 14 boys aged from 15 to 17 who will play eight games in four days during the whirlwind tour that concludes on Tuesday.
“We are playing eight games in four days, two games per day, so that’s a lot of basketball for these guys, which is also a first for the majority of them,” Trott said.
“The players are pumped just from the fact they are able to go overseas and play, and most of them haven’t done that. A couple have been away to a couple of basketball camps in the last year or so, but most of them have not played basketball since middle school two and a half years ago.
“This year is actually the first that basketball was being played at the high school and middle school level since 2020, so this is kind of big for us.”
Trott has tapered his expectations as the game’s near three-year hiatus has taken its toll on his players.
“Unfortunately, with basketball not being played for two and a half years, the level of play went down a little bit, so this is an opportunity for these guys to play at a higher level, and also a chance to see how they do overseas as a team,” he said.
“This is a team that was put together at the end of the season and basically we haven’t had a real opportunity to mould as a team because we had about three guys that were overseas in school playing.
“It’s one of those things where it’s just a process and each practice we are trying to get better, and I would like to think we have done that.
“Are we ready to play at that level of competition? I am sure but we e won’t know until we play.
“We have had a couple of scrimmages against older players, so that’s given them a chance to play at a level that’s a bit more physical than they are used to.
“So we hope that those scrimmages that they had willstrengthen them mentally and physically, and get them ready for this kind of competition.”
The national under 17 team consists of joint captains Cameron Basden and Tristan Currelly, DeNash Davis, Damitri Edwards, Matthew Henry, Jacob Hines, Quinton Husband, Kai Lowery, Jacinto Saints, Ralph Scott, Jonah Simmons, Rajan Simons, Lachlan Thompson and Szaine Williams.
Also accompanying the team are assistant coaches Gladstone Simons and Ralph Scott, and manager Glenda Thompson.
“To prepare for this upcoming tour, players had to commit to twice-weekly training as well as play on Saturdays in Bermuda Youth Basketball Youth Spring League, the BBA’s official youth programme partner,” the Bermuda Basketball Association said in a statement.
“The BBA wishes to thank our corporate sponsors, parents/family and members of the public who supported our fundraising events.”