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Apr 20, 2012

15 youths head to King James Classic

A Belizean contingent of junior basketball players is heading to Ohio on Saturday for the King James Classic AAU Tournament. Fifteen students from across the country are one step closer to making their dream of playing at the NBA level. On this trip they have the opportunity to secure a college scholarship to study and play basketball in the U.S.  Coach Bernie Tarr, who has been working with the boys says they will have a tight schedule of activities and he is confident that one of the local boys will get a shot at his dream.


Bernie Tarr, Basketball Technical Officer, National Sports Council

“We have a really loaded time schedule here for us. We’re gonna be practicing two days a week, but we also will be attending/visiting colleges, universities. We are going to tour the universities; get a chance to see the basketball facilities, and not just for basketball, but the soccer fields and get a chance to meet the soccer coaches. We are also gonna shadow with students at my old high school, St. Peters High School. So they are actually going to be students at St. Peters High School in Cleveland, Ohio and get a chance to see what it is like to attend high school in the states. And we have a little special surprise. I actually just got off the phone with a representative from the Cleveland Cavaliers and we will be attending the Cleveland Cavaliers/Washington Wizards game and they told me that they are going to take care of us in a nice fashion and they have some surprises for us there too. So we are going to be very busy.”


Andrea Polanco

Bernie Tarr

“So how many students from Belize traveling?”


Bernie Tarr

“We have fifteen players from all across the country—eight are here form Belize City and seven from across the country that will be making the trip.”


Andrea Polanco

“How were they selected to be a part of this tournament?”


Bernie Tarr

“Back a while ago, we put together a national tryout. Minister John Saldivar was the Minister of Sports at that time and he really pushed to do a national tryout. We went to all the districts, I’d say over two hundred athletes tried out, we narrowed the list down to fifty, invited them to Belmopan where they participated in a two-day booth camp. that number was cut down to twenty-one. We came to Belize City and came up with our Final number of fifteen.”


Andrea Polanco

“What do you hope that these young students will take away from that experience?”


Bernie Tarr

“Well the number one goal that we have is for one of these athletes to get a basketball scholarship at one of the universities in United States.  Right now there is no Belizean graduate from high school from here in Belize that is playing college basketball at any level. And the talent here, there should be; we should have players participating in the NCA for colleges because the talent is here. So that’s my goal, that’s Paul Thompson and the Minister of Sports, Mister Longsworth and John Saldivar; that’s our number one goal is to get one athlete and then two and then three and then four.”


Tariq Middleton

Tariq Middleton, 16 Years Old, St. John’s College

“It’s truly a special feeling all the players workout for this team. I feel really special to be on this team and really excited to be there.”


Andrea Polanco

“What do you expect to achieve? What experience would you like to bring back?”


Tariq Middleton

“Just play against international players. I know lotta players here respect the players in United States; so just to come back and tell about the experience.”


Andrea Polanco

“After your return of course, you are going to keep on playing ball. Are you one of the students who’s interested in maybe getting a scholarship over there?”


Tariq Middleton

“Yes. Definitely I am interested in getting a scholarship. That’s our main goal right now. Lotta players here want to go to the NBA, go to college—that’s what I’m seeking.”


Devin Daley

Devin Daley, 17 Years Old, St. John’s College

“Well, Coach Tarr knew me from my previous coach, Mister Matthew Smiling, and they basically conversed about my talent, my skills and through word-of-mouth, I got to try out on the team. I consider that I am very prepared. Coach Tarr and the other coaches prepared me for this and I’m very versatile and I think that I am ready for everything.”


The games will be held on the twenty-seventh through to the twenty-ninth of April. The Belizean contingent will return on April 30th.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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