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#432246 - 03/06/12 09:01 AM Belize's Best Young Ballers Going To Ohio Tourney  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,362
Marty Offline
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Belize's Best Young Ballers Going To King James Tourney In Ohio

15 basketball players from around the country have been chosen to represent Belize at the King James amateur Athletic Union Classic.

The tournament is played in April in Ohio and its namesake is NBA Star Lebron James. It features some of the best young talent in the United States. But this time - for the first time - they'll be joined by Belize's finest.

The 15 players were selected from a much larger group from around the country who participated in a rigorous tryout process in Belmopan.

The Belize Basketball Federation held a press conference this morning at the Rogers Stadium to unveil the selection - and we were there:

Bernie Tarr - Techinical Officer, Basketball
"The AU tournament, held at the end of April, and it's the top players in the United States and parts of Canada that play in this. Last year, there were 99 teams. The whole goal for this is to get one or several of our players a college scholarship. That's the reason that kinds in the States play AU; it's to get a college scholarship. All the college scouts will be at this tournament, and this is the Mecca of college basketball. All the kids play AU basketball. What we did was we went through all the districts and held district tryouts. From the district tryouts, 48 players were invited to Belmopan last weekend, where they spent the night. We worked out on Saturday and Sunday - about 11 hours of basketball in 2 days. From that list, we narrowed it down to 21 players that we brought to Belize City yesterday. They had their final tryout, and we had the tough task of making that final selection down to 15."

Monica Bodden
"Is it Belize's first time taking part in the tournament?"

Bernie Tarr
"Of course, yes, it is the first time. I think this is the first time that any team other than a team from Canada that's going to be out of the United States. I talked to Dru Joyce, who was Lebron's high school coach, who runs the tournament, and he is really excited we're coming out for this tournament. He said that they are going to role out the red carpet for us."

Akeem Watters - Player
"I didn't know what to do. I was like, yes. I was jumping up and down. I'm getting an opportunity to meet my idol, Lebron James. So I was excited."

Monica Bodden
"How much work did you have to put in to actually come out successful in this tournament?"

Akeem Watters
"Me, I'm the type of player that thinks if I'm sitting down, there's someone out there working harder than me. So I work out every day. I don't rest. I work hard every day on my shooting, passing and the physical stuff."

Kachief Thomas - Player
"This was always my dream to go somewhere far to play ball. That's everybody's dream. This is just tryouts. Now this is the real thing. We have to go through the plays, hardworking, go to the gym - because you have to have body. It's height that we'll meet, so it'll be hard."

Akeem Watters
"I will give it my best. I will push everything I have, and hopefully, I get a scholarship to represent."

Bernie Tarr
"So what our players are going do is that we're going to face the best players in the United States. I think our guys are up for the challenge. The level of basketball at the tryouts - they really raised level from where we were at. The play yesterday was phenomenal, so we still have a lot of work to do. But in terms going there and winning the tournament, again, our number one goal is to get one kid a chance at a scholarship, and then two, three, and four. Because right now there is nobody here that when to high school here in Belize that is playing college basketball."

And despite the pre-election scenery - and they still have to hustle sponsorship which will be close to fifty thousand dollars.

Channel 7

#432253 - 03/06/12 09:13 AM Re: Belize's Best Young Ballers Going To Ohio Tourney [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,362
Marty Offline
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Talented Belizean youths headed to Lebron James AAU Tournament

The National Sports Council and Belize Basketball Federation earlier today announced the names of the contingent of junior basketball players who are heading to the King James Classic AAU Tournament being held by famous NBA player, Lebron James, in Ohio, USA. The ultimate prize is securing a scholarship. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The fifteen Belizean basketball players who will be heading to Ohio to compete in one of the largest international high school tournaments were announced today. According to the Basketball Technical Officer, Bernie Tarr, the athletes went through a tough selection process.

Bernie Tarr, Basketball Technical Officer, National Sports Council

“We’re taking a team to the Lebron James AAU Tournament called the King James Classic in Akron, Ohio—that’s right outside of Cleveland—and we had a countrywide tryout. We went to all the districts and held tryouts and we invited anywhere from three to eight players from each district to Belmopan last weekend. We saw over two hundred players throughout the country, we narrowed that list down to forty-eight, invited them to Belmopan last weekend. We stayed Saturday and Sunday; had eleven hours of basketball those two days and narrowed that list down to twenty-one. Then we invited them to Belize City yesterday and had the final tryout and narrowed that list down to the fifteen players.”

But the tournament is not about winning a trophy; instead the players have a chance to secure a college scholarship to play and study in the US. It’s an opportunity that the athletes have dreamt of for years and with the tryouts behind them, they are pumped and ready for the tournament.

Kashief Thomas

Kashief Thomas, Basketball Player, Sadie Vernon Technical High School

“Dat dah mi always my dream; coming up dah mi always my dream fi go somewhere far away and try get wah scholarship and fi seh like I made it you know and mek things happen.”

Delahnie Bain

“How long have you been playing basketball?”

Kashief Thomas

“Actually from Standard four, primary school. I attended St. Luke Methodist and from then, standard four, cause I was playing drums so I decide dis drum to big fi me so I have to start bounce di ball.”

Brian White

Brian White, Basketball Player, Wesley College

“The tryouts were not hard, the only thing that was kinda complicated for me was laying up with my left hand. That was the only hard part about it.”

Delahnie Bain

“Now, you will be going up against some tough players. You think you’re ready for that?”

Brian White

“Yes ma’am because I’m an aggressive player and I know how to play against other aggressive players.”

Akeem Walters

Akeem Walters, Basketball Player, Belmopan Comprehensive

“It was intense for me. It was intense; I had to work really hard.”

Delahnie Bain

“So what do you think of the opportunity you have now to compete against these international players and maybe get a scholarship?”

Akeem Walters

“I’m so happy. For me it’s a dream come true. I have it on a Bristol board in my room; that was one of the goals I wanted to accomplish. So it’s a dream come true for me.”

Bernie Tarr

“The number one goal that we have is to get one of these players or more a college scholarship through basketball of course. That’s what AAU basketball is all about; all the college coaches in the country are going be at this tournament. It’s one of the world’s largest tournaments. There were ninety-nine teams that participated in this tournament last year throughout the United States and a few from Canada. And right now there are no Belizeans that went to high school here that are now playing college basketball; there’s not one in the states. So my goal is to get at least one.”

Bernie Tarr

The games are from April twenty-seventh to the twenty-ninth so until then, it will be training, training and more training for the team.

Brian White

“We’re gonna play some exhibition games against different teams; teams from Mexico. We’re gonna play against UB and Galen and all different kind of teams to get in shape.”

Kashief Thomas

“Actually some stuff weh I do, I need fi drop dat and get serious and start workout hard; go to di gym cause I have to get body. Get dah hard work out so got dah energy cause yoh wah play against bigger bodies, heights, and dah hard work yoh have to put een.”

Akeem Walters

“Training, I have to start hit the road, run, get prepared and work hard because it’s all about hard work.”

As for the players who didn’t make the cut, Sadie Vernon athlete, Kashief Thomas, encourages them to consider programs like the Belize Bank Bulldogs team, which has been a stepping stone for him in basketball.

Kashief Thomas

“I want big up Belize Bank Bulldogs cause ih start from deh too because Rupert Brown, Roscoe Rhys and other coaches weh deh behind me, always give me good compliments. Belize Bank dah wah lee spot weh I usually go every Saturday go workout. So dehn players weh noh mek it, noh have to worry cause dehn always have Saturdays fi go dah Belize Bank fi have dehn workout. And Belize Bank even di start wah program fi travel. So who noh get pick wah still got wah chance fi go somewhere.”

There will be around one thousand, four hundred athletes in the tournament, but Tarr is confident in the level of talent he saw during the tryouts. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The team is made up of eight athletes from Belize City, two from Dangriga, and one each from Orange Walk, Punta Gorda, Belmopan, San Pedro and San Ignacio.

Channel 5

#432700 - 03/11/12 08:54 AM Re: Belize's Best Young Ballers Going To Ohio Tourney [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,362
Marty Offline
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San Pedro’s Michal Guan joins Belize Basketball selection to Ohio

Michal Guan

Try-outs began countrywide starting February 11th and end February 22nd in San Pedro. Interested young men at the high school level gave their all at the chance to be chosen to attend this prestigious tournament.

48 individuals were selected from the tryouts and invited to the University of Belize campus in Belmopan for the preliminary final tryouts on February 25th and 26th. From this group, 21 were selected to return for the final tryouts in Belize City on Sunday March 4th at the Civic Center. Making the cut were fifteen players, including Michal Guan from San Pedro.

A third year student at San Pedro High School, with over ten years residing in San Pedro, Michal Guan spoke with The San Pedro Sun. “It feels great. It’s a good opportunity to get a scholarship in the US and it’s a good chance to represent Belize and San Pedro High School. I’d just like to thank Mr. Kelly because without him none [of] us would have been out there. I’d also like to thank the school too and everyone that has supported and believed in us.” He ended his interview by stating, “I just want to really work hard and try to gain a scholarship when I go out there and try to do my best and properly represent.”

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

#436889 - 05/01/12 07:47 AM Re: Belize's Best Young Ballers Going To Ohio Tourney [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,362
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
15 of Belize's best young basketball players have returned home after representing Belize at the King James Amateur Athletic Union Classic.

Last Saturday the team travelled to Cleveland Ohio to take part in the tournament -where they represented Belize among 99 other teams. It's the first time a Belizean team has participated and in the end Team Belize came out shining in the top sixteen - not bad for their first time playing among some of the best young talent in the United States.

7news was there when the players touched down at the P.G.I.A this morning- here's how it went.

Brice Neal, Assistant Coach
"The team travelled there last Saturday and spent about 10 days in the Cleveland area and participated in some training programs in different colleges and universities."

"This past weekend Friday and Saturday we participated in 4 different games. On Friday we won the first game, Saturday morning we lost the second game and third game we won on Saturday. But the guys were too tired to participate in the fourth game. In every round the teams gets better. The experience was just awesome, the kids have learnt a lot. They got exposed to real organized basketball for the first time and it was just a tremendous trip for the young men."

"Our team actually was rank 16th out of 99. I mean that is just crazy. Because we lost the lost the first game on Saturday, it automatically went to the bronze medal category. We were in the elite 8 in the bronze medal category. I am just fluid, I can't believe we did that. It just shows that your natural ability is only going to take you so far. You have to get all the great stuff that you need to play the game at the next level. It's in the making. This experience is going to be great for us."

"We want to be thankful to all the sponsors; the federation, the people, the ministry of sports, that played a great role. Even the school, the parents that made this happen. We are grateful and thankful and hope that we can do this again real soon."

"I want to say that with even going out there we'd even thought that we could win a game and to win the first game of the tournament that we played is such a tremendous accomplishment. But to bounce back on Saturday and be the team ahead of division one all American going already signed to play with Michigan and we put them through physical torment. There was this guy after the game came to me and said that we gave him a good work-out today. That in itself is an accomplishment."

"The system that we played against was real structured and organized. These players have 10 years of just discipline of just playing basketball none of our players have ever experience before. That was what we really hope to accomplish and I think we did a great job doing that."

Akeem Watters, Player
"Over there was intense because we played against teams that are in the tournament year in and year out. It was our first and they just don't run up and down; they run a play for every possession. So it was a great experience."

Monica Bodden
"Now, just being over there and I understand that it was something way different from what you guys have ever experienced. How was it for you being up close? I also understand that you guys went to a NBA game."

Akeem Watters, Player
"Yes we went to that game. It was excited. We even get to go on the court and hi-5 some of the players and I got to talk to Anthony Parker from Cleveland Cavaliers, so it was great."

Kachief Thomas, Player
"It was very good. I can't complain. I saw different ballers, different players, everything is just different. All of us put in our work. Each one of us played our position. Everyone did well."

Marlon Andrewin, Player
"The experience over that side - those guys over there are ballin'. We went over there with a lot of confidence. We match up well with them although they are taller and stronger than us but went over there and fight. We went and represent Belize."

Monica Bodden
"You think that you guys gave it your best shot?"

Marlon Andrewin, Player
"I think so, we did a great job."

Monica Bodden
"How was the experience for you?"

Marlon Andrewin, Player
"The experience was great. I didn't know I would be in Cleveland playing basketball to represent Belize. I thought I would be a regular basketball player in San Ignacio playing basketball. But now I am up here."

The team went to watch a Cleveland Cavaliers game.

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