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Joined: Oct 1999
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A few weeks ago we told you about the Belize Junior team that went to the King James AAU tournament in Akron, Ohio. The whole idea behind the trip was to get exposure for some of Belize's best young talent and to get them in front of basketball scouts from US colleges - who would hopefully recruit them for college programs - giving them a chance at an education - and boosting Belize's stock of players with international training and exposure.

Well, the plan worked - because today a student from St. John's College signed a letter of intent with Lake Superior State University in Michigan for a full athletic scholarship.

It's a huge, rare event - and it was properly observed at Devin Daly's School, St. John's College - Monica Bodden was there and she has this report:..

Monica Bodden reporting
The Fordyce Chapel at St Johns College was filled to capacity -as the entire high school gathered to support and cheer on one of their very own.

Seated at the head table was 17 year old Devin Daly a fourth form honor student of the High School. Daly was one of the 15 best young basketball players to represent Belize at the King James Amateur Athletic Union Classic.

With a spectacular performance on the court among some of the best young talents in the United States, the 6 foot,3 inch rising star was recruited by a top University in Michigan.

And so this morning his proud St Johns family - witnessed the signing of his letter of intent to attend Lake Superior State University on a full athletic scholarship to play basketball.

Devin Daly
"Last night it was something unofficial but from then I knew that I was going to get the scholarship."

Monica Bodden
"What was the feeling like for you when for you when you got the news?"

Devin Daly
"I was speechless and shock at the same time. Most of all I was happy and thankful."

Monica Bodden
"Now, I understand that you were a part of the group that went out to represent Belize at the LeBron James Tournament. How was that experience for you playing out there with other players?"

Devin Daly
"That experience really opened my eyes because I found out how many basketball players are in in Cleveland and are attending one tournament to get a scholarship. It really showed me that you really need to work harder."

"At first when we arrived at the tournament everyone looked at us like we were the underdogs. But we were the underdogs because we came from a foreign country but like everyone didn't take us seriously and the first game we played everyone said that they guys can play, so we really blew them away."

Daly says one of his secrets to his success is humility which he carries with him on and off the court.

Devin Daly
"The balance really came from my family because they really give me a lot of support and they are the ones that drives me not only in my basketball endeavors but in my academic ones too and the thing that I think makes me succeed or made me get this offer of a scholarship is my humility and the fact that I listen and I respect everyone."

Bernie Tarr, Technical Officer for Basketball in Belize, spoke about the first time he came in contact with 17 year old Daly.

Bernie Tarr - Basketball Technical Officer
"When I first met Devin back in July, he was part of the U-17 national team with that Matthew Smiling and Fred Garcia were coaching, they ask me to come along to assist a little bit. I got a chance to watch him play and it was after that tournament I met with Paul Thompson, the president of the federation and he said that we have enough talent here to get our basketball players to get scholarship in the US. The next question was how do we expose our players to the colleges coaches and it's to attend U tournaments in the United States and the LeBron James/King James tournament is one of the biggest ones in the United States and we got a chance to go and this is the first one that got the scholarship offer. That was our number one goal - to get one because the last one was Richard Troyer who came out of high school about 8 years ago. It's been a little of a drought there of getting kids to the next level. The talent has always been here. This is the first step, we reach goal one and now we want to go to two."

And the Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State responsible for Sports pledged his support in the continuous work set out ahead - in helping to create sporting opportunities for young people.

Hon. Herman Longsworth - Minister of State, Responsible for Sports
"I can't explain to you how ecstatic I am. This is something that as a boy playing sports we all wanted to see happen and to see it happening in this fashion today - I can't words to explain it - this is so long overdue and it is something that I feel, now that it's started, it something that we must find a way to sustain. We must be able to harness the talent that we have and be able to give them these kinds opportunities - give the children this kind of opportunities in order that they may move themselves out of where they are. It is critical that we do this; so we must find ways."

There were expressions of interest in other players who went to King James as well - and those are being worked on.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Academic and baller gets a Jesuit basketball scholarship

St John's College was in a celebratory mood today. One of its own, a seventeen year old fourth former, has landed himself a scholarship at a US university. Devin Daly is not only a sound academic student; he is also excellent on the basketball court. Those skills have earned him a spot at the Lake Superior State University. Devin was ecstatic today when he signed an athletic contract. News Five's Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The entire St. John's College family today celebrated the success of fourth form student, Devin Daly. Daly was one of four SJC athletes that participated in the King James Classic Basketball Tournament in Ohio last month and his game has earned him a scholarship to attend Lake Superior State University in Michigan.

Devin Daly

Devin Daly, Lake Superior State University Scholarship Recipient

"Well, I’m very excited but at the same time I’m humbled by this opportunity. I’m still right now in shock and I’m trying to understand what’s going on but by the end of today I'll be stable and calm."

Delahnie Bain

"So when did you get the news?"

Devin Daly

"That I will be getting a scholarship? Just last night; we had a meeting at my house and the coach told me what the university has to offer and we discussed it there and decided to do the signing today."

Jorge Espat, President, St. John's College

"Devin Daley signs an athletic contract to play basketball at Lake Superior State University. Lake Superior State university offers our young Jesuit scholar, Devin, a full scholarship to pursue his bachelor's degree´┐Ż [Applause] LSSU is a university distinguished for its engineering, environmental science, teaching education, nursing, business management, law and criminal justice."

Devin Daly

"I'd like to study marine biology because I’m thinking about Belize and the state that our natural resources are in and I'd like to come back and help my country."

Paul Thompson, president of the Belize Basketball Federation, says Daly is very much deserving of the scholarship since he is both a star student and a star pupil.

Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson, President, Belize Basketball Federation

"We, in the basketball community believe that this could not have happened to a better individual. He is, in basketball in Belize, he is a beast, a monster. Off the court, he is exemplary. He conducts himself properly, he represents this school properly, and he represents our nation properly. So this couldn't have happened to a better person."

Devin Daly

"That balance comes from my mother because with the academics, she's the one who always reminds me do this, do that, do your homework and with the basketball part of it, it's my coaches so I try to share myself."

Bernie Tarr

Coach Bernie Tarr, who was with Daly and the other fourteen athletes for the tournament, passed on the props to the coaches who came before him; but his contribution was not lost on Minister of State with responsibility for sports, Herman Longsworth.

Coach Bernie Tarr, Basketball Technical Officer, National Sports Council

"Devin is definitely a reflection of all the people that's touched his life. Coach mentioned all the coaches from the Belize Bank Bulldogs to the High School coaches and the national team coaches, you all had part of this. I've had just a small part of this I've only known Devin for less than ten months so all this goes out to you guys. You coaches have spent time, you laid this foundation for him."

Herman Longsworth, Min. of State, Ministry of Education, Sports & Youth

Herman Longsworth

"I found this program in place when I came and I want to congratulate all who have been involved. But I've worked very closely with coach Tarr and I feel that he brings the kind of energy to this kind of a program that we need to see. I need to find ten more coach Tarr's… [Applause]"

Daly says the tournament has shown him the level of talent that's out there and that has encouraged him to work even harder.

Devin Daly

"The experience really opened my eyes because I didn't know that there were so many basketball players in the world and that was just one single tournament and it really showed me that I really need to work harder. It opened my eyes about the level that I’m at."

Herman Longsworth

"This is something I promise you here that as long as I sit in that seat, we will maintain. We will send children to tournaments like this every single year. We must do it."

Devin Daly

"I would just like to say to my other athletes and teammates to just keep focused, stay in school, have a positive attitude and be coachable because-and always have humility cause that will take you a long way."

He leaves for Lake Superior State University in Michigan at the end of August. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

This year is the first time Belize participated in the King James Classic.

Channel 5

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