HOYTES starts Saturday with bigger plans for the future
By Andrew Coakley
FN Sports Editor
It was a short summer break (a little over a month), but HOYTES Basketball will be back in full swing this Saturday at the Gladstone "Moon" McPhee Park.
The program, which is held every Saturday morning for a few hours, runs from September to August and offers youngsters the fundamentals of the sport of basketball.
"I know it sounds like a short break, but we're ready to go back to work with the program and ready to take it all the way to next year September," said McPhee.
Organiser of the program, Gladstone "Moon"?McPhee himself said that last season was a banner year as they had a number of players receive scholarships to schools within the United States. ?
Three female players and one male play got scholarships as a result of what they learned in the program, an indication of just how effective the HOYTES program has been for young players down through the years.
Jonquel Jones received a Division One Scholarship, Leah Green, Rhea Forbes and Phil Jones all are benefactors of a college education through the HOYTES program.
"Our focus has always been on the girls and the younger players," said McPhee.
When the new season starts this Saturday, "Moon" said that they have plans of introducing a junior program within the HOYTES program.
That program would be specifically for players 12 and under (Mini League) and from 14-16 (Junior League).
The whole idea, according to "Moon", will be to take the fundamentals of basketball to the much younger players, in an effort to give them a more sound foundation.
"It was this approach in the past that helped to make the sport of basketball a powerhouse in Grand Bahama," remembers McPhee.
"We will run it the same way we did 30 years ago, where we play in Freeport one week, then we will play in West End, then one week, we will play in Lewis Yard and then go down to East End and play there.
"So, what we will have is teams travelling throughout the island, playing against each other.
"This approach will mean that the kids will get to play more and it will give them the kind of experience that will help to improve their game."
While HOYTES will be restarting this Saturday, the mini and junior leagues will not begin until the end of October. "Moon" said that although HOYTES is held each Saturday morning, games for the mini and junior league will be played each afternoon, once the time changes and the days get longer, allowing more daylight.
"We want to try and keep our kids busy, while teaching them the fundamentals of the game," said McPhee.
"We are also hoping to get the corporate community involved with the sponsoring of the T-shirts and stuff like that.
"We want the different communities to get involved with this development league. We will be in need of coaches for the teams from these various communities, and we will also be in need of basketball officials. So, we really will need the support of the entire island to make this program successful."
"Moon" said that the number of kids taking part in HOYTES each?Saturday morning has gro-wn over the years.
While the majority of the participants are boys, "Moon" said that many girls have benefitted from HOYTES.
He's aware of the fact that when it comes to girl's basketball in schools, the fundamentals have been lacking.
Therefore, he has made it his mission to take on as many girls as possible, who are willing to come into the program and give them the basics of the sport of basketball.
"I?know that once the program begins again on Saturday, there will be even more kids showing up," said McPhee.
"That means we will need more sponsors to assist us with the equipment to deal with all of the kids who will be showing up at the park as this new season of HOYTES begins."
The HOYTES program has been running since the 1970s, although that was not the orignal name of the program.
The name HOYTES did not come about until the 80s. The name came about when public school teachers refused to hold after school sporting programs.
That's when "Moon", who was also a teacher at the time, implemented the sporting program he was hosting on weekends, for students every day after school.
HOYTES is an acronym for Helping Our Youths Through Education and Sports.
© 2012 The Freeport News