The basketball program in the country is seriously challenged to motivate further development, at all levels.
What’s going on with the training aspect within the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF)? Is the officiating, generally appropriate? How is the national basketball fraternity adapting to the ongoing NCAA and international rule changes? Indeed, what is the federation doing about heightening the development process of the sport at all levels, beyond the focus on competition?
Today, in this column, officiating is the key subject. In the words of the long-time basketball stalwart Sharon “The General “ Storr, basketball officiating in the country is in a deplorable state.
“Personally, officiating (of basketball in The Bahamas), is at the worst stage it has ever been. The point is that while we do have people who can train officials properly, if you put all of the technical aspects and theories in place, you will turn a lot of people off. I can tell you, that many are just not prepared to go through the important phases and the tests. They just don’t want to deal with the real and full process. So we have ended up with a a lot of those who just want to put on an official’s outfit and blow a whistle. That is the extent of their desire it seems,” Storr lamented when we had a recent chat about the game that is synonymous with him.
Indeed, it’s now a culture, according to Storr, of “settling for mediocrity.”
This is an indictment of the game that the federation oversees on behalf of the International Basketball Federation and the Bahamian sporting landscape. Efforts made by the federation to upgrade officiating have not manifested the anticipated expansion of quality officials. Storr informed that the federation has paved the way for at least two officials to be internationally certified and they have the authority to accredit other Bahamian referees.
Obviously, at that point there is a breakdown within the basketball system. Apparently the attitude of those who are coming forward to be trained is such that the result is, in Storr’s words “an upside down situation.” He did take the federation to task and accused the directorate of looking through “very narrow lens” regarding the overall development of basketball in the country.
“In how many Family Islands are the basic aspects of the game passed on to those who are interested? Where and when are clinics held in these islands. In how many islands is there an emphasis on the refereeing aspect? What about the recruitment drive for referees? It looks like just a big boys club to me,” said Storr.
The veteran sports associate who is a member of the National Sports Hall of Fame, was locally certified to referee almost three decades ago. He would love to get the opportunity to be internationally classified, but requires a special dispensation because of being over 60. Perhaps the federation should move around the “personality issues” and embrace dedicated basketball proponents such as Storr and Tony Williams, etc. and bring them into the fold to assist with the national officiating program.
It is the federation that has the jurisdiction from which it can apply for special age dispensations for Storr, Williams and all others who demonstrate the interest in enhancing basketball officiating in the country.
“Officiating is difficult. A lot goes into it if you are going to do the job properly, a lot of research and keeping up with the game worldwide. There has to be also, full acceptance of wanting to contribute to the development of the game, rather that being involved just for the show,” said Storr.
I compliment Storr for having the courage to publicly address the issue of officiating. He will be seen by some as a critic, but “the General” has offered words of wisdom, in my view.
On Wednesday morning, I reached BBF President Charlie Robins. He was in Florida securing materials for hurricane preparation. Robins promised to engage in a basketball discussion upon his return.
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