The NCBL and its wonderful dynamism
By Edison Jefford
The decision to impose as a rule that national players competing in the National Community Basketball League (NCBL) must return to represent their communities has changed the face of local basketball over the past few weeks of the competition.
If you have not been to the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall over the past weeks to support the tournament, you are missing the best of local basketball. It is the only tournament that combines all levels of the sport in Guyana and that has made the competition unique.
The senior national players, the junior national players and the emerging players akin to just street ball have all combined to form their various community teams. The NCBL has therefore emerged as a collage of true Guyanese basketball talents.
The Coordinators had decided to eliminate the ‘guest player’ feature of the tournament, which is a reformation of the Inter-Ward Competition, in an attempt to strengthen the communities of origin of Guyana’s best players at both the junior and senior levels. The decision is one of the best administrative moves of the NCBL; communities that would have otherwise been eliminated in the tournament have held their own in the competition as a result of the decision. It is a refreshing move that augurs well for the event.
Prior to the rebranding of the Inter-Ward under the NCBL, communities were allowed to go fishing, as they say in the NBA, for the best talents to strengthen their teams. What that rule did was to fortify some teams at the expense and elimination of others.
For instance, Albouystown/Charlestown would have normally shopped Kevin ‘Two Feet’ Joseph and Dwayne Roberts from Linden, Rodwell Fortune from the East Bank and about two others from other communities around the country.
They shopped position-specific players, who were extremely important to the success of their home community. That phenomenon was eliminated this year and sadly, Albouystown, who won the last Inter-Ward tournament, exposed their real quality or lack thereof.
Albouystown/Charlestown was booted from the tournament in the preliminary round of the event after the Coordinators imposed a ‘no-trade’ clause in the NCBL rules. It made it impossible for them to acquire the services of some of the best ‘ballers’ in Guyana. Familiar performers in the Inter-Ward, North Ruimveldt and Wortmanville/Werk-En-Rust got to the quarterfinals, but that was as far as they got in the competition. They both succumbed to the emergence of Plaisance/Vryheid’s Lust and Diamond/McDoom; two teams that both reached the Final Four in the competition for the very first time in its history.
The irony here is simple, when there was the ‘trade’ rule, communities that shopped players were dominant, but when the trade rule was eliminated for developmental reasons, those communities didn’t get very far in the tournament that has gotten better by the week.
Now if you still don’t have any plans on visiting the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall Saturday night when the NCBL continues with its first semi-final, you will be missing what has easily become the best of local basketball on show. Your community needs your support!