ON THE BALL: Sonic boom!
SO WE’VE got a new superpower. And at the expense of the last one too.
Gall Hill seems to be the place to be now following that Moses-like mass exodus to St John in another shocking off-season that no one outside of Charles Griffith could have seen coming.
I mean, who would have thought that Charles Vanderpool and Ramon Simmons, two players who made their careers as national players in The Pine, would leave a star-studded defending champion that appeared in the last four finals.
Well, I guess when you have a chance to play alongside arguably Barbados’ best player in Akeem Marsh and national swingman Stefan Clarke, then you don’t exactly turn that down.
And that’s not all they’ve got out in the east.
Pogo stick Ricardo Jemmott and talented guards Jamar King and Stefan Yard have also joined the fray, arguably giving St John’s nearly as much talent as Pinelands last year.
Sure, Sonics won’t have as many stars as Pinelands did, but they won’t be as top-heavy either, considering St John’s are now likely to have the league’s best bench of Jemmott/Vanderpool, King, Dwayne Kellman, Shane Whittaker, Philip Harewood, Decino Corbin, Kevin Robinson and Tyrel Clarke.
But that’s not all St John’s have, because with big names come even bigger egos and expectations.
And I can tell you those last two aren’t easy to manage.
So too can Pinelands.
Charles Vanderpool (right) has joined St John Sonics.
• I’m not sure how I feel about the creation of these teams any more.
But it certainly isn’t super.
Yeah, I know players pay to play, so they have the right to go wherever the feel like; but I’m now really starting to question their competitive nature with this constant stacking of star-studded sides aimed at winning titles.
So our senior national players aren’t comfortable enough facing lesser talent at home by themselves; yet they expect to suddenly raise their game to face higher competition at the regional level.
Tell me how that works again.
What’s even more worrying is that some of these same players have put themselves in a position to compete for playing time just to be on a loaded squad.
Take Charles Vanderpool’s case, for instance.
Of course it’s his prerogative to leave Pinelands, but why would Charlie go to a team where there are already two star-level players at his same position in Akeem Marsh and Ricardo Jemmott?
And don’t dare try to tell me how all three can play together.
Maybe it’s this generation’s need to have everything come easy. Maybe these players are all friends and just want to play together.
Or maybe it’s the teams that are super and not the players.
• There’s nothing I hate to see more than coaches blaming referees for losses.
Well, other than school coaches blaming referees for losses.
It was downright appalling to hear the tirade directed towards the on-court officials at the end of what was otherwise a great finish to the schools’ basketball semi-final.
And it was disgraceful on two accounts.
Firstly, that despicable behaviour has no place around impressionable young players, who will obviously feel it is acceptable to treat officials in such a disrespectful manner.
Secondly, and worst of all, the accusations were unjustified.
While that coach was busy blaming referees, his players were more occupied with missing four straight go-ahead free throws – all inside the final minute.
And then they blew three game-tying shots at the ring and a wide open game-winning triple at the buzzer.
Yeah, sure sounds like the refs made a mess of that.
But I really think the authorities will be making a mess of this by not disciplining the coach.
• Speaking of coaches, I think it’s high time the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association (BABA) starts to invest in some young ones. And they don’t need to look any further than that same school league.
Maybe you can debate that Dario McCollin’s success is inflated because of the level he coaches at, but you certainly can’t argue against his results at Harrison College.
If you aren’t counting that’s four straight finals for McCollin, who’s looking for title number three in his sixth final four appearance.
It’s not just that he’s winning moreso than the manner in which he has been doing it.
Surely, McCollin had some talented players along the way, but he has also lost them every year too. Yet Kolij is back in title contention without the likes of Anand Joseph-Thorne, Nikolai Burton, Joel Hunte and Runako Boyce.
Of course, I could be a bit biased, but then the BABA could also do a lot worse.