By Neto Baptiste
A number of young basketball players set for a one-month tour of the USA could gain more than just the experience it offers.
This is according to head of the Wadadli Elite Basketball, Byron Andrew, who said in a recent interview that a number of coaches from colleges and high schools will be scouting for talent during the June 24 to July 17 initiative.
“Every game that we have, high schools are going to be there, colleges are going to be there to be watching them, so it is an opportunity for them now to get to a D1, D2 school and it’s an opportunity for the younger player, the 14s, 15s and 16-year-olds to get into a high school programme because we want them to have this high school experience to be able to start getting into the whole routine of playing like professionals,” he said.
A total of 21 young players will make the trip being spearheaded by the Wadadli Elite programme in conjunction with the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA). While in the US, the players will compete against a number of high schools and colleges.
“We have been training, I’d say, over the past six or seven years to be honest and one of the mantras we have is to try to develop elite players in order to have a possibility of playing high school basketball. We’ve seen over the years where people have left here from Antigua and gone to play college basketball and the transition wasn’t easy for them because it’s not an easy feat to leave here and go up there [USA] in a system where somebody has been playing for the past three or four years in one system, knowing how to do their schoolwork on the road so it’s not easy. These guys have an opportunity now to play in the high school circuit, AAU basketball, meeting talented players from all around the world, the game is at a different level,” Andrew said.
One junior national player in Jaden Andrew, who went to college in the US, shared his experience with the others while on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show.
“We used to wake up at five in the mornings and we would go and lift [weights], get back home around 6:30 or 6:45 and then go to school at 7:30. We would leave school at around 12:30 and go home for about an hour where we would sleep a bit, eat and then we had practice from around 1:45 to around 5. We would then go back in the night and lift again after which we would do our school work and stuff and this was every day,” he said.
A telethon held on Tuesday raised over EC $20,000 as the body sought to raise funds for the pending trip.