Later start to Premier basketball
PREMIER LEAGUE BASKETBALL won’t be first in anything other than name this season.
For the first time in decades, first division action won’t be bouncing off the basketball calendar, as news of the leagues’ schedules was released two days ago via an email outlining the team and player registration process.
The move is among innovations brought in by the newly elected Derrick Garrett regime, which is looking at improving the sport’s public outlook.
“We felt that a lot of the teams at the Premier level were not ready at the early part of the season, so we’re giving them an additional month in hopes of getting a better competition,” said the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association president.
“But we also want to accommodate the overseas-based players who usually come back in the May/June period so in a lot of cases they are only here for a few games. With them, we should have a higher level of competition and that will also help to boost our gate receipts,” Garrett added.
Overall, this year’s March 27 opening ceremony represents a late start to the basketball season, which customarily begins one week after the running of horse racing’s Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup.
That opening ceremony typically climaxed with the Lomer Alleyne Trophy game between Premier League’s knockout and league champs, before the season commenced a couple days later with two regular season games.
However, the Intermediate and Third Divisions are the ones scheduled to commence first, on Thursday, March 31, before the Women’s League follows on April 15.
The Premier League won’t begin until the end of April. And it won’t end before everything else is finished either.
“We want our premier event to be the final event,” said Garrett, who believes his association can cash in on the anticipated build-up to the Premier League finals.
“In the past, the Premier League would finish around August and then we would still be struggling with trying to wrap up the Intermediate and Third Division. But this year we will build up with a sponsored Game of the Week and Game of the Month broadcast over the radio.
“We also want to have some of our games videotaped for the purpose of having these games shown on television and then climax with the Premier League finals,” he added.
An organising secretary on two previous executives, Garrett is well aware of the dangers moving back the Premier League presents, as the availability of indoor venues could prove problematic in the summer months.
The upcoming Caribbean Basketball Championships, slated for late June, could also provide a slight hiccup in organising the schedule.
“That would’ve been the case even if we started early,” said Garrett of the regional tournament possibly forcing the Premier League to take a week-long break.
“And in terms of the weather, we’ve already been given a schedule from the Gymnasium for June and July and it is a very favourable one.
“Obviously it will change if there is a paying event because the Gymnasium has to look after its own revenue, but we’ve been given quite a bit of dates so I don’t think the impact of the weather will be that significant.”
The opening ceremony is scheduled for the Wildey Gymnasium but an opening game has yet to be arranged.
Garrett’s executive is expected to meet with the clubs tomorrow at the Barbados Olympic Association’s headquarters to update the members on particulars of the upcoming season.