National Community Basketball League back with renewed focus
By Avenash Ramzan
After an initial dabble in 2012, the National Community Basketball League (NCBL) is back with renewed focus and a more solid foundation, one the principals hope they can build on for long-term and sustainable development.
Overseas-based Guyanese Kwame Mentor, Rundell Ramsey and Marlon Thornton had returned home several years ago to kickstart the project, but despite their best efforts at executing an ambitious plan, the NCBL did not kick off as they anticipated.
Mentor, now one of six executive members of the Board of the NCBL, on Thursday spoke of the new and lofty goals and aspirations during a media launch at the SleepIn International Hotel and Casino in Georgetown.
“Now, we’re moving in a whole new direction. The NCBL is now a non-profit organisation, registered in the courts in Guyana and it’s now an incorporated body,” Mentor said.
Notably, representatives of the local governing body for the sport, the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF), and the Ministry of Sport were listed to offer remarks at the launch, but no official attended.
News Room Sport understands that the NCBL is not an affiliate of the GABF, as its membership application is still under review.
Mentor apart, the other executive board members are Ramsey, Thornton, Sport Coordinator Lavern Fraser-Thomas and Sport Journalists Treiston Joseph and Mark Bradford.
The Directors had been meeting every week since April 2020, discussing and fine-tuning ways of formulating a viable and sustainable programme.
“The foundation is strong. We have a single focus, and that is to develop the sport in the communities,” Mentor stressed.
The NCBL team has visited over 20 basketball courts around the country, and according to Mentor, those facilities are far from impressive.
Improving on the playing environment is something the NCBL will endeavour to undertake, hence the decision to focus on community basketball.
“We believe that’s where the greatest need lies. We believe that just from the infrastructure- backboards, balls, shoes for some kids- we can make a difference. We’ve set an annual goal and that is to refurbish a facility in the community,” Mentor explained.
He continued: “When we talk about refurbish or reconstruct or construct, we’re not talking about what you see around the place, we’re talking about a brand new surface.”
The all-weather outdoor surface is one just aspect of the development drive, Mentor highlighted, as bleachers, proper backboards and lights are also in the pipeline.
“It’s sad the way it is here (with facilities). We’re not blaming anybody. We just see the need to make a difference,” Mentor clarified.
Apart from infrastructural development, the NCBL also intends to host a League, conduct countrywide clinics, offer scholarships, promote 3×3 basketball, and King of the Court and Inter-corporation competitions.
Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer of the Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association, Rawle Toney, said the Association welcomes the revival of the NCBL and the comprehensive plans put forward for the development of the sport.
Toney urged corporate Guyana to buy-in to the initiative, as it “aligns perfectly” with the aim of attracting mass participation in the sport.
“And that could only be achieved through the communities, going back to the grassroots and playing on the courts you drive by every day.”
Bradford, commenting on the League, said it will touch six geographic locations, namely Regions Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven and 10.
The Logistics and Technical Director of the NCBL disclosed that a broad-based approach would be adopted as communities would be exposed to fundamental coaching, laws of the game and administrative and technical logistics.
The aim of the NCBL is to have all games streamed live, in an attempt to bring more visibility to local basketball.
General basketball information and updates on the NCBL will soon be uploaded to www.ncblguyana.com. The site is currently under construction.