By Neto Baptiste
Student athletes in Antigua and Barbuda are being told they must be mindful of the content they post, follow, like, or even share on social media if they intend to compete for athletic scholarships abroad or pursue a professional career upon leaving school.
The warning comes from Jonathan Weekes, a high school coach in New York and a professional basketball player agent who will be part of a three-day basketball camp put on by Wadadli Elite Basketball from June 24-26 at the JSC complex.
“When you are recruiting a kid you’re not only recruiting his basketball skills, you’re recruiting everything that comes along with them and as a coach you want to minimise any drama as much as possible. These kids today put everything on social media so, as coaches and recruiters, the first place we go is to social media and see what is important to that kid [because] everything that is important to them they are going to post on Instagram,” he said.
“If a kid is a basketball junkie then everything on his page is going to be related to basketball in some way, whether it is something negative or positive, they would post because it’s close to them. I think a lot of coaches today use that as a recruiting tool. Is it fair or unfair? Some would argue for either or but that’s the reality of it and kids should be mindful of it,” the coach added.
Weekes, who was speaking on the Good morning Jojo Sports Show at the time, added that in today’s technological world, once something gets onto any of the social media platforms, it is virtually impossible to remove completely.
His sentiments were echoed by head of the Wadadli Elite basketball organisation Byron Andrew, who said he constantly reminds athletes to be careful and mindful of their online activities.
“You tell a coach about a player and the first thing they do is type in your name to see what pops up. So I always tell my athletes they have to be careful what pictures you post, what you like and just be careful of what you’re doing because you’re not like an ordinary person anymore, eyes are on you, especially if your game has developed to that point where all persons would like to see more of you. So you just have to be careful with your surroundings, be careful what you post, be careful of the things you do and the friends you hang out with,” he said.
Jermelle Fraser who coaches college basketball in New York, will also help to conduct the basketball camp, which will cater for both male and female players and will run from 5pm to 9pm on all three days.