Turner: Local basketball has a bit of catching up to do

October 06, 2021
Head coach Rick Turner (left) gives instructions to members of  the national basketball team during a training session at the National Stadium courts on Saturday, October 2.
Head coach Rick Turner (left) gives instructions to members of the national basketball team during a training session at the National Stadium courts on Saturday, October 2.

National basketball coach, Rick Turner, who recently conducted a two-day training exercise to select players for the upcoming AmeriCup Three on Three tournament, in Miami, Florida - in November, says the absence of competitive basketball for the past two years has stunted the progress of local players.

Turner is hoping domestic basketball can resume as quickly as possible because there is a lot of catching up to do.

"Unfortunately, like so many other players around the world, they are stuck in neutral," Turner said. "So there is a little bit of catching up to do, as there are guys overseas who have been playing and they are not."

Turner said the invitational training is the first indication they want to resume the sport locally, and once administrators can get the game going again that will be the first step in closing the gap.

"I want them to understand that basketball is back on a national level. This (training camp) is the start of it.

"Soon we will be getting out of this hole and the craziness of COVID-19 and basketball will start coming back slowly and the locals will close that gap.

"But we are behind right now, so it is extremely important (to get basketball playing again) but so is the health of the people in the country.

"JABA (Jamaican Basketball Association) is working with the health people to determine what is appropriate," Turner disclosed.

Nevertheless, he was pleased with the effort he saw despite the obvious lack of conditioning.

"The effort level is there. They are working hard and they want it. The condition isn't where you hope it would be, so we had a lot of tired guys on the first day but it is understandable.

"Ultimately we are trying to find the best four guys and girls, versatile players who can score and defend.

"As at the end of the day it will be the best four that we can find. It can be four locals, it can be two locals and two overseas-based but the combination will be the best four, so we will see how it works out," he continued.

"We are going there to win. We are not going to just show up. This is our first foray into it and there will be a little bit of a quick learning curve.

"But we expect to go to with a very competitive team and let the cards fall where they may," he said.

The local federation has, in recent months, been working with the Government to get approval for local three on three tournaments.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com

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