Aug. 26, 2005 — Fans of Tim Duncan don't have to leave the territory to see him do what he does best. Soon the San Antonio Spurs star player will be coming home — with teammates in tow — to begin training at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center for the upcoming NBA season.
"This is a very exciting event for everyone in the Virgin Islands," Peter Sauer, UVI's athletic director said. "We are thrilled that an NBA team is coming to our community. The fact that it is the San Antonio Spurs makes it even sweeter. For the last 10 years the Spurs have served as the model franchise in the NBA not only do they win on the court, but they do everything the right way, from their ownership to their basketball staff to their players."
Sauer added that he has been trying to get the Spurs to hold its training camp in the Virgin Islands for the last five years, negotiating with everyone from the team's management staff to Duncan himself. "Tim has also been a big player in getting this set up I know it's really important to him. He's always been involved with the V.I., always working quietly behind the scenes, and I know this is something that he's wanted to do for awhile," Sauer said. "His longtime friend from St. Croix, Rashidi Clenance, has also been right in there, helping us."
According to a press release from UVI, the team will be arriving in St. Thomas on Oct. 3, with practices starting the very next day. "It's been kind of hectic getting everything ready," Patrice K. Johnson, UVI's public relations director, said. "We do have a state-of-the-art sports facility, but we still had to make some adjustments."
The width of the gym's basketball floor, for example, had to be extended in order for the team to play. "Antilles School actually gave us some of their basketball flooring so we could have that taken care of," Johnson said, adding, "Louis Willis, director of the Internal Revenue Bureau, also helped us out a lot as well, and was also part of putting everything together I've heard that he was once quite the basketball player himself back in the day."
Calls made to Willis to talk about the training camp were not returned.
While the team's practices will be closed to the public, Johnson did add that there will be a few media opportunities organized. "The events will definitely be announced, but I do believe that the public will have the chance to watch a team scrimmage."
The Spurs will remain in the territory until Oct. 13, when they depart for Charleston, S.C., for a preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 14.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.