May 27, 2022
Belize Basketball Athletes Prepare for Grassroots Sports Recruitment
Baseline Sports in the United States hosts an annual basketball event where young athletes from around the world converge for the opportunity to be scouted by basketball clubs and universities. Last year, six Belizean athletes traveled to Las Vegas for the event and two were spotted. Unfortunately the athletes did not sign up for various reasons, but this year a group of fourteen are planning to attend the June 2022 event held again in Las Vegas. News Five’s Duane Moody caught up with the group as they practiced at the Mexico Sports Center on Thursday night.
Duane Moody, Reporting
For the past three weeks, a talented group of players from Belize City have been training at the Mexico Sports Center – honing their basketball skills and techniques as they prepare to participate in the grassroots sports recruiting program of this year in Las Vegas at the end of June. Rodvell Gladden, who represents the organization here in Belize, prepares athletes for a selection opportunity.
Rodvell Gladden, Coach
“We have people from overseas – coaches and owners from overseas – who come to these guys and give them opportunities if they think they’re good enough to play on their team.”
“Now this isn’t the first time Belize has been to one of these pro camps. Let’s talk about it.”
“We did it last year. It was somewhat successful because one of the guys was offered a contract. Unfortunately, he didn’t go to his destination, but we hope that more contracts will come out this year.
Gladden says this year the number has grown from six to fourteen athletes making the trip. The training has been intense, but it’s all about getting the basketball players in top shape to compete against others who will be in the pro camp. Gabriel Taylor was among the athletes present once again. He shares his experience.
Gabriel Taylor, basketball athlete
“The level of basketball is definitely different there. The way you can see the players being raised differently, the way dehn eats, the way dehn talks about the game – the whole experience is different.
“So how did you prepare for this?”
“Based on the experience we had last time, we kind of had a conversation with the guys, pick their minds, probe them a bit more to try to prepare ourselves and kind of take what we learn from them and apply it to what we have already had.
For Belize City’s Justin Bailey, this is his first experience and he plans to make the most of it.
Justin Bailey, basketball athlete
“My trainer made us do intense work on an unusual job. I have never experienced this kind of work before. So the bush man got us to the best conditions and so it was in a short time that we pushed ourselves.
“Is it something you are passionate about? How long have you been playing basketball?
“Yes, I have been playing basketball for a long time, since high school. But back when I was in high school, I didn’t get the opportunity to play on a basketball team, so I didn’t get the exposure that I wanted from a young age. .
Taylor and Bailey are looking for similar opportunities.
“We are going to look for a wah plus opportunity in the sense that we could benefit in terms of language, food, culture weh dah something similar to weh that we have going rather than having a new experience.”
“Right now it’s a new experience for me because it’s my first time going out. And by the invitation I got, I was excited because I finally got exposure under the wind. So now, crossing, I look for opportunities and I could possibly go far.
Duane Moody for News Five.