Gordon: 40 basketball scholarships lost
President of the Jamaica Basketball Association (JABA), Paulton Gordon, estimates that over 40 basketball scholarships have been lost because of the year-long inactivity caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Gordon said the association is deeply concerned that their young athletes might not be able to access local and overseas scholarships, for yet another year, and will be pushing for their annual summer scouting camps, Jump Ball and Star Search, to be held this year.
“One of the views that most people share is the fallout in lack of opportunities for our athletes in terms of a scholastic standpoint. This is the second cycle that they haven’t been able to access those opportunities. We estimate that about 40 to 50 athletes would have got scholarships to go to local and international institutions. So we are very concerned about that and we have to find a way to showcase these youngsters,” Gordon said.
With the school league, which is also one of the main sources of spotting young local talent, cancelled for the second consecutive year, Gordon said having the camps this year is a priority for the association.
“The summer camps is what we want to have, so this summer we want to ensure that we can showcase some of our players. We want to have the Star Search and Jump Ball camps, so the scouts can come and see them,” he added.
Jump Ball and Star Search, which were called off last year due to the pandemic, are the island’s two most prominent summer basketball camps, where overseas scouts come yearly in search of talent for US colleges and universities.
PLAYERS MAKING THEIR MARK
Some of the players who came through the camp and are currently making a mark in US colleges are Kofi Cockburn of the University of Illinois in the NCAA’s first division, Nick Richards of University of Kentucky, Warren Williams with Manhattan College and Romaro Gill, formerly of Vincennes University.
Other notables in the past are the likes of Jerome Jordan, who was drafted to the New York Knicks and Samardo Samuels, who was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Meanwhile, Gordon said his association has made numerous protocol submissions to the Ministry of Sport for basketball to be staged locally, but that they are yet to get a favourable response.
“We did create and submitted our protocol document, but they (Government) wanted a more generic approach, which we couldn’t provide for them. So we had to change and switch a few things and we were back and forth with the ministry,” he revealed
However, instead of the customary 7 versus 7 competition, his association suggested reopening local competitions with a three-on-three version of the game.
However, the surge in COVID-19 cases since January have curtailed progress in these discussions.