Rick Patel demonstrates to a developing player basic ball skills training drills during last Wednesday’s programme (photo: Robertson S. Henry)

KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES; FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 07, 2018 – The Sunshine Basketball Academy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, headed by Wayne Williams is continuing to implement programmes and strategies, aimed at the development of the sport on the island.

Last Wednesday September 04, 2018 at the Montrose Basketball Facility, in an attempt to promote the development of girls’ basketball in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Basketball Federation teamed up with the Sunshine Basketball Academy in hosting a Girls after School Basketball Program.

According to Wayne Williams, “The program is for girls who wish to learn the game of basketball and those who want to improve their game.”

Rock City Hoops Coach Mike Patel who was the lead coach on that day’s programme, played college basketball in the U.S.A., ran his own basketball programmes for the past twenty years, did a bit of officiating, and coached at the college level.

Rick Patel gives beginner tips to this 12-year-old aspiring player, seeking to follow in the footsteps of her mother (photo: Robertson S. Henry)

Patel has a friend in Curacao with whom he does plenty of basketball work with, and who had not seen Williams in twenty years. Last year, seeking to fulfil a promise to “look Wayne up” Patel and Williams crossed paths when they accidentally met at VJ’s restaurant.

The two started a WhatsApp chat group with basketball coaches from Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and a number of other Caribbean countries, with the aim “of everyone getting together to try to play each other and exchange some ideas.

Patel who has Vincentian family roots, came to the island for some rest and relaxation, and during his stay, although he has not seen enough of the talent to make a definite assessment, Patel is pleased with what he have seen to date.

The game in the Caribbean according to Patel “is very intense form what I have seen. Many people are not aware of that. Many people may not know that basketball is pretty big especially in some of the bigger countries where they have more facilities. Obviously the facilities promote the game.”

When asked of his opinion of the level of the game in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Patel told portcaraibe.com, “I have not seen enough to give that opinion. I have seen the Men’s team, the national team play, but I have not seen the Women team play. The Men team is very talented. I saw them this summer. Very talented.”

Patel like Wayne Williams and many others, see sports as “part of the fabric of society of sports. If you can integrate that with everything else, everything else benefits.”

Wayne Williams keeps a close watch on this developing player as she goes through the ball-handling skill development drills (photo: Robertson S. Henry)

Patel is looking forward to returning to continuing the programme in the very near future, the arrangements of which will be made after having discussions with Williams. The Sunshine Basketball Academy “will continue doing all that is possible to further the development of the game in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and give the young people an opportunity to recognise and develop their talent.”

In addition, Williams told sportcaraibe.com that he is prepared and always is to do everything to develop the sport of basketball in the country. “There are immense benefits to the country on a whole when basketball and sports is developed. Take the young people and place them into a proper programme, and you give them direction and something to aspire to, something to be part of, something to be proud of.”