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Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Knicks camp opens eyes for T&T coaches
“Hinds and the Knicks gave us a most fulfilling and eye-opening experience.”
That was how co-founder of local touring basketball club, Millennium Basketball Academy (MBA), Albert Lee Young described his and fellow founder Joseph Lenny Guy’s exposure at a five-day pre-season NBA training camp hosted by New York Knicks, earlier this month.
Lee Young, describing the experience upon his return, said he grasped at the opportunity offered by T&T-born Knicks’ head athletic trainer Roger Hinds to witness first hand the preparation which goes into the hectic season of one of the USA’s most popular basketball clubs.
“It was an expensive trip,” said Lee Young, expressing gratitude to the Ministry of Sports, the Maxi Taxi Association and former MBA and current NCAA coach Leary Sandy, all of whom aided in covering expenses. He made the trip with long-time friend, Guy, a certified coach and former standout forward for the national team in the 1970s and 80s.
In their stay, Lee Young and Guy watched under the guidance of some of the most popular names in NBA, including Hinds, son of former T&T national footballer Carlton “Squeakie” Hinds. Hinds (Roger) played an instrumental part in the USA’s gold medal win at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, as the team’s strength and conditioning coach.
Hinds also attended a conditioning seminar hosted by MBA a couple years back, and in turn offered the MBA founders an experience of a lifetime, which according to Lee Young, would aide if he was to one day rejoin the national basketball team as a co-ordinator.
Lee Young was a coordinator for T&T’s senior men’s basketball team during a successful period between 2009-2010. Since then, there has been no senior national basketball team. Lee Young preferred not to speculate as to why this may be the case, saying a lack of funding may be a serious factor. “However,” he said, “It is a very serious matter.”
Despite being pleased with his input during his period with the national team, Lee Young said he wish he could have had the “notes”, which he jotted down in New York.
“If I ever became involved in the national team again, I can extend my knowledge on how a team should be prepared; The human resource aspect of it, etcetera.”
The long-serving administrator said he may still be open to a return to the national set-up once the local governing body for basketball (NBFTT) was to take the team seriously. It would have to be worth his and his team’s time, and the resources would need to be available.
Lee Young made his point indicating the difference between the preparation for some national teams, including T&T’s former senior team which was administered by no more than three coaches, in contrast to a professional club, which employs at least a dozen coaches.
“You would think, the resources to needed to prepare a national team in comparison to a professional team is the same or higher,” said Lee Young.
Guy and Lee Young both enjoyed being at the centre of Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks’ home arena.
Lee Young said they also met with the head coach Mike Woodson, along with star forward Carmelo Anthony and centre Ramond Felton.
“We were explained the classroom setting in the facility. We got a tour of the weight room and conditioning area. The modern scientific training monitors. Information processed during training would determine the intensity of training, individual work rate, conditional levels,” noted an impressed Lee Young.
He acknowledged that some of the resources made available to the professional teams in the USA would be extremely difficult and expensive to implement in T&T, but said development needed to start somewhere.
Asked further how the experience benefitted him, Lee Young said, “Personally, it will help in a more holistic way. My expertise is in designing and coordinating basketball events. Most of my activity at Millennium is organising camps, clinics, identifying tournaments. In that area, we have had some tremendous success.”
MBA, he said, produced some of the most noticeable talents on show in T&T, some of which include a host of players who have qualified to represent Maloney at the star of the Hoop of Life Basketball League finals, which starts this weekend. Shaun Lawrence, Michael Jerome and Patrick Scipio, three stand-outs for Maloney, all passed through MBA’s ranks.
Apart from the technological advancement of the NBA’s club and the finances and flow of coaches, Lee Young said there were areas of training that does not require big money or top coaches.
“The training I experienced gave me a better insight into the preparation of players. Its amazing that you go to something like that, and the same thing we do at our academy, is the same thing NBA players do! They just work harder.”
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