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Black Friday for b-ball


Justin Marville

Black Friday for b-ball

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So it comes to this.
Black Friday dawns upon basketball and the sport’s body is none the wiser of the impending doom.
Because when Derrick Garrett and his executive sit down today to decide that Barbados won’t be sending a team to this summer’s Caribbean Basketball Championships for the first time in the event’s history, it would’ve signalled the end.
Well, at least the start thereof.
To be fair, it’s not a decision for them to make more so than a mere declaration of fact, as the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association (BABA) truly doesn’t have the resources to send an email to the Bahamas, far less a men’s and women’s team.
But let’s not act like this is anything short of catastrophic, because to do such is just tantamount to being guilty of sabotage all the same.
Yes, believe me when I say there is a widespread notion held by those outside of Garrett’s council that our inability to attend a senior championships is almost like a blessing in disguise.
It’s as if they think Barbados basketball has to be burnt further to the ground in some fairytale “rise from the ashes” story.
However, the only things that need snuffing out are the two extremely flawed premises this delusional belief is based on.
The first is easy to dismiss, though, as any thought that the BABA is saving money from a cancelled tour clearly didn’t originate from anyone with knowledge of basketball’s finances.
A combination of the Barbados Olympic Association and the National Sports Council usually fund any travel of such nature, and the sums they were willing to allot simply couldn’t cover anywhere near the $90 000 figure.
And if they’re not giving that type of money to fund a national team, then it definitely wouldn’t be handed over to put safely in a bank somewhere. You just can’t save money that isn’t yours.
If only the next argument was so straightforward. You see, everyone in the sport is seemingly on this cult-like youth movement as if developing junior basketball were a teenage fad similar to wearing leg-ins and skinny jeans.
The whole idea now is to focus on sending both girls’ and boys’ under-15 teams to next year’s junior Caribbean tournament no matter the sacrifice. Only that the senior sides are the lambs being offered at the altar.
Don’t get me wrong. I more than anyone understand the need for the development of our junior product, having continually to bear witness to the farce that is now schools’ league basketball.
But the rebuilding of both junior and senior programmes can happen concurrently.
To argue otherwise is as irrational as someone coming up with the suggestion that something fruitful can come out of a pre-recorded interview with a head of state conducted by the employee of a state-owned media house.
Oh, wait. The real problem is that the cancellation of this tour and the disregard of our senior teams will result in the loss of our last good generation.
I mean, what else does basketball have to entice this group to stick around?
And what a talented group of individuals it is, with the likes of rangy and athletic forwards Akeem Marsh, George Haynes, Kregg Jones, John Jones, Andre Holder, Sean Parris, Mark Bridgeman, Dario Cumberbatch, Aamir Morris and Antonio Sealy.
Not that the guard pool of Tremaine Shaw, Stefan Yard, Keefe Birkett, Darren Hunte, Rahiim Gibbons, Daniel Lovell, Akeem Williams and Stefan Clarke is too shabby either.
Had Barbados been able to go on tour, eight of those under-23s could have been the nucleus of a team around “veterans” Jeremy Gill, Pearson Griffith, Andre Lockhart and Charles Vanderpool.
Think an 18-man pool sounds too big a group to lose all at once though?
How about a collection that includes Ramon Yarde, Darwin Downes, Alberto Ramsay, Terry Thompson, Nathaniel Sealy, Ramon Jordan, Marlon Aimey, Dwayne Holder, Richard Lynch, Charles Worrell, Robert MacGeoch, Andre Harvey and Matthew Fields?
If those names aren’t sounding familiar it just means you’re under the age of 25 and didn’t have the privilege to witness basketball’s first set of “lost boys”.
Need to see the by-product of losing a whole generation of talent?
Look no further than last season’s Premier League, where no team could even average 74 points per contest.
Better yet, try the last three men’s national teams that stumbled to a fifth and two successive sixth-place finishes in 2006, 2007 and 2009, respectively.
Or ask over-40s Andrew Alleyne, Brian Yarde, Nicholas King and Chris Holder why they were still playing significant Premier League minutes a season ago?
That’s what happens in the absence of your best players who would now be entering their primes.
And it will happen again when this next group of players figure that there’s nothing left in the sport if they can’t look forward to representing their country until 2013 or whenever next the opportunity arises.
But this time basketball won’t be able to rebound from their departure because the cupboard is awfully bare behind this lot.
Not that the BABA can do anything about it anyway, because it’s only meeting today to state that basketball is about to be burnt to the ground.
And nothing will rise from the ashes.

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