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“It’s all about the Kids!” - Basketball Clinic a Success
Mar 21, 2012 - 3:13:27 PM

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High Rock, Grand Bahama - Last Saturday, the 17th March, 2012, between the hours of 9a.m. and 2p.m. in the quiet Settlement of High Rock, the First Annual East Grand Bahama Basketball Clinic for Youth was held.  With the island’s turquoise waters as a backdrop, over one hundred Primary and Secondary School students, male and female, from twenty-three of the island’s schools converged on the High Rock Primary School grounds to participate in the Clinic.
    
Former Philadelphia 76er and Talent Scout, Mr. Walter “Wali” Jones, led the day’s activities.  After greeting the Participants, Jones’ first order of business was to erect brand new nets on the basketball rims and to ensure that five brand new Miami Heat basketballs were properly inflated.
              
The Clinic began with a Prayer and the singing of the Bahamian National Anthem, after which, the children were separated into groups according to age and made to perform various drills and “suicides” on the basketball court and on the surrounding field.

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As a result of the overwhelming student turnout, local Coaches and Veteran Athletes who attended in support of the Youth were called on to assist with the drills.  With grace and skill, Coach “Moon” McPhee, Founder of the “Hoyte’s” Program, local basketball great, Charlie “Softly” Robins, Mr. Wayne Carey, Coach Steve Wright, Mr. Bradley Forbes, Mrs. Carolyn Forbes and Mr. Kenny Dixon lent their expertise to the day’s events, leading groups of students in various drills.
              
Throughout the day, Mr. Jones, who worked with the Miami Heat Organization for over twenty years and who has a background in Human Development, found opportunities to emphasize to the children the importance of hard work both on and off the Court and the importance of setting high goals.  He stressed the necessity of a good education pointing out the words “Read to Achieve” embossed on his shirt.  “As a ballplayer, if you can’t read and memorize the plays, you can’t play!”  He also stressed the importance of building one’s character.  “Basketball doesn’t give you character, it gives you the opportunity to show what character you have!”
    
For a brief stint during the Clinic, the Participants retreated to the School’s Hall where they were entertained with a DVD containing footage of Jones when he sported a massive afro and played for the Philadelphia 76ers.  The students were also shown footage of other basketball camps conducted by Jones and his business partner Mr. Wesley Frator in different parts of the world.  Frator’s organization, “Tournament of Champions”, is based in South Florida and holds an Annual All-Star Basketball Game where High School Seniors are given an opportunity to showcase their talent.
              
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Tanisha Tynes, PLP Candidate for East Grand Bahama and Sponsor of the East Grand Bahama Basketball Clinic, thanked the students and Coaches who participated.  She stated that she was impressed by the commitment shown by those who travelled from all over the island to attend, particularly the students of the Sweeting’s Cay All Age School and their Principal who caught a ferry from Sweeting’s Cay during the early morning hours then traveled by bus from McClean’s Town to attend the Clinic.  “Our children are committed and talented,” she said.  “All they need are opportunities and encouragement.”

Tynes also expressed gratitude to Mr. Jones, Mr. Frator, and to all the Coaches and Principals of the various Schools who helped to make the Clinic a success.  She noted that Mr. Kenny Dixon, who will be holding his Fourth Annual Basketball Camp this Summer, graciously assisted with organizing the Clinic, ensuring that no details were missed.
              
At the end of the Clinic, each Participant was presented with a Certificate signed by both Tynes and Jones in acknowledgement of outstanding participation.
              
Tynes and Jones expressed pleasure at the day’s events and a willingness to hold a similar event in the future.
              
“It’s all about the kids!” they concurred.

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