By Neto Baptiste
Successful coach George Hughes has been appointed head coach of the senior men’s basketball team.
The Flyers Basketball coach confirmed his appointment to Observer media in a recent interview, revealing that he took charge of the position last month.
Hughes said his first priority would be to assess and work on the mental aspect of players.
“The main work is more mental in that you have to change the culture and create new habits and that’s even more important than the physical aspect because there are so many opportunities, pre-pandemic, for basketball and the athlete has to have the right mentality to be able to access those opportunities,” he said.
There has been no competitive basketball since March last year after the 2019/20 domestic league was first postponed and then cancelled by the national association because of the deadly coronavirus. There has also been no indication as to when the sport will resume while it is still unsure as to whether or not any national teams will compete this year.
Hughes said the downtime would give the coaching staff an opportunity to plan going forward.
“Look at it this way, it gives you time now to really and truly concentrate on the mental aspect of the game that I think is so important because since we don’t have the ability to play, it now puts the onus on the coach and the federation to create these bubble where we can do a lot more video analysis, we can do a lot more terminology and that sort of thing so in a kind of strange way, I think it might actually help,” he said.
Under George’s tenure, Antigua and Barbuda earned bronze at the Caribbean Basketball Championships in 2015 in Tortola.
The coach, however, left the role in 2016 citing a breakdown in communication with the previous executive which was headed at the time by Daryll Matthew the current sports minister.
“In terms of our communication, maybe it wasn’t the best in terms of me not being able to communicate properly to them what needed to be done, and then the association itself wanted some quick results to show that they were very buoyant and doing some stuff and so from my perspective and from theirs, it was not really coming together,” he said.
The head coach position was last held by American, John Spezia, with Jay Harrington as his assistant. They led the country to a silver medal at the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup Caribbean Qualifiers in Suriname.