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Apr 24, 2018

U-18 ‘Ballers Off to Dru Joyce Classic

Belize’s Under-eighteen Boys Basketball team left the country today to compete in a tournament in Akron, Ohio. The Dru Joyce Classic runs from the twenty-seventh to the twenty-ninth of April and the all-star team is hoping to be scouted by college coaches so that they can get athletic scholarships.  The last time Belize participated in the tournament was in 2013, but today Coach Roscoe Rhys says it is time for the young players to showcase their talent and seize available opportunities. Andrea Polanco spoke with the team today and has more in the following report.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Eleven young Belizeans departed the country en route to Ohio, U.S.A.  These young boys will participate in the Dru Joyce Classic formerly called the King James Classic. The last time Belize participated was in 2013. Coach Roscoe Rhys says he saw the talent and decided to give these boys a shot at an athletic scholarship in the U.S.

 

Roscoe Rhys

Roscoe Rhys, Head Coach, U-18 Basketball National Team

“We are taking like an all star team from high school; boys from Dangriga, Belmopan and Belize City. It is an NCAA certified tournament. Yes we are going there to win but basically we are playing for scholarships. All these boys have registered in the NCAA which is a requirement for them to even play in this tournament. Myself and Coach Brown did a certification course specifically for this tournament. So, it is just an opportunity for us to give our Belizean high school basketball athletes exposure to try to earn a scholarship.”

 

Alexander Ariola, Llewellyn Gentle and John Kelly are three members of the U-eighteen basketball team. These all star players have been playing basketball most of their lives. They now hope that their talents on the court will help get them noticed by colleges in the U.S, which may one day be able to help them to play pro outside of Belize.

 

Alexander Ariola

Alexander Ariola, Team Member, U-18 Basketball National Team

“My goal when I go, I am just going to perform my best and hope for good results because whatever good you put in you supposed to put in good results, so that is what I am gonna do.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you have your eyes on any particular college in the U.S.?”

 

Alexander Ariola

“I would like for any division-one colleges to scout me or any division two. My goal – I started playing basketball from when I was like seven and my goal is always to play professional. It doesn’t have to be in the NBA but in any other country.”

 

Llewellyn Gentle

Llewellyn Gentle, Team Member, U-18 Basketball National Team

“My expectation of this tournament is to be scouted. Hopefully, a coach out there likes to see how I play and give me a scholarship to a school, whether it be a division one or division two, anyone. Because yes, I do love the sport but I see it as an avenue to get higher education because you know education here is expensive but I want to go as far as possible.”

 

John Kelly

John Kelly, Team Member, U-18 Basketball National Team

“Since yesterday and day before, I shoot three hundred shots, tek lotta free throws, and work on my post move.”

 

While Belize has never won the tournament before, several of the players have been scouted through this platform. Notably, Devin Daley played in this same tournament and was recruited by U.S. College. Today he is playing professional basketball in Europe. So, this three day weekend tournament holds a lot of opportunities for these boys.

 

Paul Flowers

Paul Flowers, Organizer, U-18 Boys Basketball National Team

“It is a weekend tournament – Friday, Saturday, Sunday and they can win a championship. There will be several games that that they will be playing in different tiers where they will either be eliminated or they move on. So, we have never won the classic, but we have had players who have excelled, Andrew Ortiz, Devin Daley, Akeem Watters, have excelled in this tournament.”

 

Coach Roscoe Rhys says he is confident in the talent of this all-star team.

 

Roscoe Rhys

“I feel like our chances are great. We have raw talent in Belize. It is more of the exposure, giving them an opportunity to play against high school boys from across the U.S.A. and to play in front of the scouts. So, definitely the scouts are gonna see some talent and I feel that a couple of these boys can get a scholarship.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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