Local basketballers have ‘stepped up their game’ – Agard

…as practice intensifies for CBC

National Men’s Basketball Coach Mark Agard says the Guyana players continue to give a good account of themselves which he attributes to the added momentum of having several overseas-based players on the team, as preparations move apace for the Caribbean Basketball Championship 2014.

“This is one of Guyana’s best teams and hopefully we can return with the championship. I anticipate that the team will be called over the weekend,” he told Stabroek Sport.

“The local game has improved with the introduction of the overseas players. Basketball can continue to reach to this level, what we don’t have is the corporate support…We have players that are well-suited to the open court game and going forward we will be working on the defensive end.”

At a press briefing held at the Windjammer Hotel yesterday, Guyana Amateur Basketball Fed-eration (GABF) President Nigel Hinds

GABF executives and overseas players at the Windjammer Hotel
GABF executives and overseas players at the Windjammer Hotel

said contributions have moved from a trickle to “an ebb and flow” to fund the team’s participation in the CBC set for July 1 -12 in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Echoing Agard’s observations, he said, “The knowledge that can be disseminated here by the players who have played at the highest level is a big upside…

What I have seen in the overseas players is a reduction in turnovers which had been a plague to Guyana’s Basketball.” Hinds, who is a former national ball player, appealed for more funds to enable the team to participate in the championships.

Regarding the ladies team which has come under scrutiny due to their lack of consistent competition as they prepare for the championships, Hinds said both teams could put in a good showing at the overseas games. “It was a challenge….some doubted we could…send both teams and I am fully confident we will cross that bridge,” he said.

Guyanese-born former NBA player Rawle Marshall said that he was “delighted and honoured” to be back in Guyana and is aiming to use all his expertise and skill in order to take his birth country to the top during the tourney. He also said that the team has been bonding well, with the local ballers having stepped up their game to match the competitive environment that the overseas players brought to the table.

However, he noted that intense training will start once the squad has been shortlisted and the full squad is identified. The other foreign players with Guyanese roots have also signalled their intention to put their best foot forward.

The squad is expected to be shortlisted to a 15-man batch shortly. Guyana will travel to the BVI on July 29 to compete in the same group with hosts BVI, United States Virgin Islands (UVI) and Barbados.

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