Belizean Americans join national team

There is big news in basketball tonight and that’s because some stars are in town tonight to join the National Basketball Team. Belize will participate in the first of a four year basketball qualifying competition to the Olympic Games. That’s in 2012. But earlier, from August fourth to the ninth this year, Belize will compete in the Central American Basketball Competition against seven other countries in Cancun in the hopes to win gold and a spot in the Centro-Basketball Competition. The twelve local players have already been selected and News Five met with the Belizean American players and coach, Kevin Siroki, who says they are more than prepared for the upcoming competition.

Kevin Siroki, Coach, Belize National Basketball Team

“In 1998 we won a gold medal here. 2001 we won a gold medal in Guatemala, 2002 we won a bronze medal and 2006 we won a silver medal and then again in 2006 we played against Mexico here in a qualifier and Mexico put it on us. Same with Costa Rica so we got a revenge or price to pay back some of those countries so that’s what I’m very excited about because we have some new faces and we got some old faces too. We have some faces from the past like Milt Palacio and Alex Carcamo will be coming in and players like that and Sammy Watson. These new guys—I’m very excited and it’s a new breed of basketball.”

Clinton Fuller, Player, Belize National Basketball Team
“The guys that were put together by Kev and Paul, I mean it seems like it’s the right pieces and like I said before, all we gotta do is just find what we can do to bring the team to make the team win and just play our part and play to the best of our ability, I don’t see how we won't win the gold. I mean I can’t guarantee it but knowing the talent we have on this team, we can definitely bring the goal back to Belize.”

Charlie Burgess, Player, Belize National Basketball Team
“We’re all gonna get here and try to put everything together because we haven’t played together before, we don’t know each other; different personalities, different game styles but we are going to get everything situated and get together and get an understanding for each other so when we go out here and play we play as a unit.”

Herbie Allen, Player, Belize National Basketball Team
“It is a privilege to come and play for Belize. Hopefully, we all can contribute something to make the team better and put Belize on the map and hopefully make it a good experience for everybody.”

Duane Moody
“What kind of dedication does it take to do something like this; do what you guys do because I certainly can’t do it.”

Darwin Leslie, Player, Belize National Basketball Team
“Well, di dedication; yoh have to got a strong mind number one and you have to make you’re in the weights gym and you have to make sure that you are constantly doing your personal drills and personal workout because it’s up to you. When you play basketball, it’s a personal sport until you go on the team so you have to make sure that yourself is ready mentally and physically.”

Kevin Siroki
“We start practice tonight and then we’re gonna pick the team within the next week or so and then we’ll go to Guatemala and go to Cancun, fly out on the fourth and play the fifth and hopefully and bring back a medal to Belize.”

The Basketball Federation is awaiting the arrival of six other Belizean Americans who are yet to arrive to the jewel. Belize will play Guatemala first, followed by Nicaragua then Panama. In 1998, Belize brought home gold for Belize.
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