Jamaica’s male and female national basketball teams are presently in training for a shot at the 18th Senior Caribbean Basketball Championships which Jamaica will host June 12-18, 2006 at the National Indoor Sports Centre (NISC). Eight teams, including defending champions Cuba, will participate in the male division, and five teams, minus defending champions Cuba, will compete in the female division. The male team is being coached by former national player and University of Maine associate coach, Julian Dunkley and Ashley Howard, associate coach at La Salle University in Philadelphia; Rerita Essansson, John Johnson and Paulette King are at the helm for the females. King is also a former national player and former associate coach at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).
Training camp is being held at the University of the West Indies and each day the excitement grows as “D-day” get closer. Among the players in training are Damion Staples (Iowa State), Mugabe Thomas (Cedarville University), Kevin Young (University of Missouri), Richard Andrews (Cal State – Bakersfield), Jerome Jordan (University of Tulsa), Brian Lewin, and Ajani Williams. Local-based players Kali McCarthy, Andree Wilson, and Rohan Robinson (Slayers), as well as Nicholas Roomes (Rainbow Storms) are also with the squad. The females are led by Oberon Pitterson, Althea Byfield, Syreeta Bromfield, and Simone Edwards. They are expected to challenge for the title currently held by the absent Cuba.
Both teams will begin their quest for title on Tuesday, June 13, 2006. At 7:00 PM, the women will play the Virgin Islands and at 9:00 PM the men will face St. Kitts/Nevis.