Can St. Lucia elevate its basketball game to a more professional level- comparable to at least the National Basketball Association (NBA) standard?
The sport of basketball on the island is in for a fillip with implementation of an initiative to help develop the game.
At a recent meeting, Vice President the Organisation, Culture and Inclusion of the Toronto Raptors, John Wiggins met with local sports officials to assess the project.
Wiggins, who has Saint Lucian parentage said the discussion was a follow up to an initiative started five years ago to see how young enthusiasts can get more interested in the sport and to bring more basketball exposure, teaching and development to the island.
Toward this end, physical infrastructure inclusive of proper playing facilities’ is seen as crucial to this development. Consequently, it is anticipated that the possible covering of the Vigie Multi-Purpose Sports Complex- to bring it up to National Basketball Association (NBA) standards is one of the essentials to assist with further development of the game.
“ The purpose of the meeting was to find out where we are with the groundwork and to figure out a way forward and how people are going to come together : the Ministry, the Federation, myself, how we can set the foundation for the NBA to come in here and bring programming and enhance the infrastructure of Basketball,” Wiggins explained .
He added: “It is a great sport, the kids love it here and Saint Lucia and the Caribbean are being targeted as the next hub for Basketball to grow throughout the world, especially by the NBA, so this was a follow up to see where we are at and how do we move forward.”
Kofi Dovor, Director of Tropical Design Architects noted that it is quite possible to cover the courts at the Vigie Multi-Purpose Sports Complex but admitted there will be a challenge to meet NBA standards.
“Based on what the Vice President Mr. John Wiggins discussed in the meeting …it may not necessarily meet the standards of the NBA so now what we want to do is to revisit and look at how we can create a more desirable setting that will be OK with the NBA,” he said. “And it’s a process that cannot be done in one go. It has to be a phased approach. So what we are going to do, is go back to the drawing board and look at how we can phase that and make it possible.”
Taking in account the resultant issues, Dovor said, the covering of the courts can be completed within eight to 12 months from commencement of works.