Mar 28, 2014 Sports
By Edison Jefford
From number four seed in Georgetown to National Champions, Dyna’s Ravens Basketball Club have credited their success on hard work and a team ethos that is founded on trusting each other, and more so, the Coach, former national point guard, Darcel Harris.
“We train hard; no team trains as hard as us; we train every day, even before competitions,” the Ravens Coach told Kaieteur Sport yesterday. Ravens won the National Club Championships on Sunday, earning them the right to be labelled
the ‘best club in Guyana’.
But it was not always dandy for Ravens. They had to battle from slipping to the fourth ranking in Georgetown, following the 2013 League, after dropping games to Pepsi Sonics and Colts and the two-point heartbreak against Colts in the League Playoffs.
The series of defeats for Ravens last year prompted the then avid team official, Seiriah Clarke to admit “we (Ravens) are in a slump”. Clarke is not actively around the team currently, but his remark represented pitiable results from an otherwise quality team.
Hence, Harris began a journey to rebuild the superstructure of one of Guyana’s oldest basketball dynasties; the journey did not last as long as some expected since within months Ravens returned to its culture of winning. The awakening was a rather swift process.
“It was three loses in two or three months, before then, we did not know much about losing, so I went back to the boards, changed up some routines, rebuilt our work ethics and most of all added some youngsters for fresh legs,” Harris told this newspaper.
He said that the addition of Dominic Vincente and Darian Lewis to their Division I line-up gave them some energy. Harris said that he must admit that his senior players, Ryan Stephney, Akeem Kanhai and Ryan Gullen have also matured during their apparent transition.
“We had to learn how to trust the Coach and players; the discipline to execute plays and stick to the game plan, which is what got us going again,” the diminutive for national point guard, known for his sharp passes and long range three-pointers, indicated.
Ravens had won the first Phillip George Memorial title late in 2012 then went on to win a second accolade in two weeks with the Albert Bentick prize; the team then won the Pepsi Series for their third title to close 2012 before their “slump” early last year.
Since that time, Ravens have gone on to win the Brusche’s Classic in Linden, beating the number one ranked, Pacesetters to advance to the finals. They also won another Phillip George title while finishing just short of beating Suriname’s top club in an exchange programme.
The upsurge for Ravens continued with an unblemished record on their way to winning the 2014 Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) National Club Championships. It is an assertion that suggested that the club is back on its proverbial pinnacle.
“They (players) had a chance to expose and think through games. Being a former national point guard, a lot of thinking goes into my coaching. Things like different game plans, sound strategies and building players’ confidence are key elements,” Harris said.
According to the Ravens Coach, full credit must be given to his players for understanding their roles in a major assignment, which was to rebuild the Ravens brand. Harris said that most players struggled with some sort of injury at some time, but managed to win.
Asked what is next for Ravens, Harris informed that the rebuilding process will continue with the injection of three more youth players to the Division I team “because we have to continue to look at our future”. In addition, the Ravens Coach said that he will look at ways in which he could get further exposure for his club within the Caribbean.
Harris took the opportunity to pay tribute to the former Ravens shooting guard, Kevin Lawrence, who passed away on March 27, 2010 following an accident.
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