Many years before he became president of the Bahamas Basketball Federation, Arnold Bain played for a while, on a Batelco squad in the country’s premier league in New Providence.
On Thursday morning we went down memory lane a bit, due to the passing of Philip “Long John” Moncur. He died two Fridays ago, in his long-ago adopted home base city, Miami, Florida.
On that Batelco team was leader Andrew Pennerman, John “Only The Lonely” Bethel, John “Cong” Wallace and a young Freddie McKay. It was McKay who would develop into one of the all-time great Bahamian guards, particularly on the offensive side.
But during that adventurous era in Bahamian basketball, centered on the capital island of New Providence, Bain acknowledged that in most instances, the player considered not one of the best shooters, handled the ball mostly and passed off to others.
What being on the ball often, did for Moncur, was make him popular with the Masons Addition supporters. Moncur was colorful and a solid presence. He brought an element to that Batelco team that made it attractive even though it was challenged to consistently combat the top teams successfully.
For Moncur, Pennerman and the gang, it was not so much about winning. It was more about Pennerman getting a group of neighborhood boys considered to be outcasts, and molding them into an entity that brought attention of the positive kind to Masons Addition.
Bain encapsulated that unique community development of yesteryear.
“I remember Moncur quite well. You see, I was on the (Beck’s) Cougars’ bench and Andrew recruited me. Of course, I went because I wanted to get playing time. What I remember about that period and the players from Masons Addition was the perspective people had of them. People didn’t think anything good would come of them. But, Andrew got them to stick together on a team. That was good,” said Bain.
Moncur was thought by some to be more of a renegade than the rest. However, being a part of that era and associated with the wholesome environment league basketball presented, transformed him. He refined his character and moved to Miami decades ago.
Moncur, like some others got lost in the flow of newer generations of the nation’s basketball family and was forgotten by many. I can verify though that he represented the very essence of quality personal development through sports.
During his early years, growing up in Masons Addition, Moncur seemed destined for an adult life on the wrong side of the law. The association with league basketball made a wonderful difference for Phillip Tyrone “Long John” Moncur.
He was 66 at the time of his death.
I extend condolences to his family and friends, especially those who are connected in anyway to that adventurous era BATELCO team.
May his soul forever rest in peace!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Friday, April 21, 2017