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Apr 27, 2006

Int?l ballers arrive to defend Bze. in Mexico match-up

Story PictureWith the clock counting down to next week’s big game against Mexico, this afternoon our News Five crew was part of the small welcoming committee waiting at the Phillip Goldson International Airport to greet two Belizean basketball players who will help to defend our national honour.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
Point guard Darwin Carter and forward Leboyce Gladden are two of three international players that will be the core of Belize?s National Team in international play against Mexico. But is five days enough time for these players to become a team.

Kevin Seroki, Head Coach, Belize National Team
?But the thing is all our guys know the game of basketball, so all I got to do is put my offence and defence in and they all know the game and they all love to play together. That?s what so great about them, they are so unselfish and the only thing they want to play for is the country of Belize, so the great part about it, they set aside all their differences. If there is any differences whichever semi-pro teams they are playing with, they come together and work as one unit to win for the country of Belize.?

Janelle Chanona
?How easy is that for you to adjust to totally different playing styles, different players than you are use to??

Darwin Carter, Point Guard, Team Belize
?Well we?ve always been in this situation where we have to come down and adjust to other team-mates, but it?s not, once everybody understand that we are on the same page we are all just together fine.?

Janelle Chanona?
?And what are you excited about the most??

Darwin Carter
?Just being back.?

Leboyce Gladden, Forward, Team Belize
?This is a new experience for me. This is my first time actually playing in something this big, so I?m just really excited in being down here.?

Janelle Chanona?
?Now who approached you or did you hear about??

Leboyce Gladden
?Through a friend of the family. One of my Dad?s old friends someone took a visit out here and they saw one of my pictures and just asked about me.?

Janelle Chanona?
?So what have you been told about Belize and Belizean Basketball??

Leboyce Gladden
?It?s pretty tough, it?s pretty tough. You know the guys are you know they can bring it, I am ready for it though.?

Janelle Chanona?
?So what is your specialty if you have one? What is the thing you like to do the most??

Leboyce Gladden
?Excite the crowd, I am a crowd pleaser. I like to get the crowd involve in a game and dunk and just have fun.?

Head coach Kevin Seroki has been checking out Mexico?s stats to come up with a winning strategy.

Kevin Seroki
?I know they are going to be big and strong. They are not going to be as athletic, so that?s where we are going be athletic, so we?re going trying to get up and down the floor and they are going to be big, strong guys who like to bang you around and shoot the basketball. So we are going to try and beat them on our athleticism.?

Local experts say this qualifying tournament could be the start of something big for Belizean ball.

Kevin Seroki
?As bigger tournaments come around, the guys who play in the N.B.A., Milt and Noel Felix, and Marlon Garnett, whose playing overseas in L.A. right now, they want to come back and represent the country. Speaking with Milt he?s played eighty-two games scheduled in the N.B.A. and he needs his body to rest a little bit, so that?s why he cannot come in for this tournament. But he is excited to come in July, so our guys, the team we have assembled here will get us to that next level.?

Brads Neal, Belize Basketball Federation
?The time span in practicing is impossible because it costs a lot of money to bring the guys down and house and feed them and to get the three to four week practices, so we have to do the best we can with the budget we have and I think the team will perform well come Tuesday.?

Janelle Chanona?
?Excellent. And this is a Central American qualifying game??

Brads Neal, Belize Basketball Federation
?It definitely is and this is only one phase of the qualifying tournament, you go to the next phase. This is just for the selection of brackets, once we get into that other phase we will have to play countries in the other brackets. And from that we have the championship round and a month after that we have to go to Central Basket, so there is a lot of international basketball. But fortunately what I love about this tournament is that we give the Belizean fans an opportunity to see the talent and see our athletes play at home.?

The third international player is Richard Troyer. A special committee has been formed to select six local players from a pool of sixteen. The final roster for Belize and Mexico will be posted tomorrow.

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