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USVI Boys Are Among Final 32 Teams in Global Skills Challenge

From left, Coach Keith Swanston, Tremaine Seales III, Zamouy Swanston, Jared Brown, Joshua Rodgers and Micaiah Jones represent the USVI in FIBA U15 Skills Challenge. (Photo provided by Jamal Samuel, USVIBF)

A team of youth from the U.S. Virgin Islands was one of 32 finalists in the International Basketball Federation’s U15 Skills Challenge out of 55 taking part in the contest, which was held virtually this year.

This global competition focused on fundamental skills commonly used in basketball. The skills challenge was introduced in 2020 on the U17 level – meaning the competitors are from 15 to17 years – but this is the first time it is being held in the under 15 division.

To make the contest virtual, FIBA-certified officials set up and verified the course in a facility selected by the team. Each team is made up of five players who, independently, go through the challenge. The clock starts once the first player dribbles past the baseline on their way to Position 1, where they have three tries to throw a ball through a stationary target. The player then dribbles to the first basket and makes a shot, retrieves the ball and dribbles around five cones, making sure both feet go around each cone. Each player then heads to the second basket and takes a shot from the free-throw line. If they miss, the player must rebound the ball and make a shot. Then they dribble back to the first basket and take a shot from the top of the key. If their initial shot is unsuccessful, the player must rebound the ball, make the shot and pass the ball to their teammate standing at the starting line. The teammates all go through the same course.

Everything is timed and filmed. Bonus points are awarded once skills are successfully executed in the initial attempt. Once any player at the starting line receives the pass from the final player, the clock stops. The points earned by all five players are subtracted from the official time to arrive at the final score. The team with the lowest score is declared the winner.

“Each federation is responsible for filming and submitting the information and video to FIBA,” explained David Edole, general secretary of the V.I. Basketball Federation.

Once submitted, FIBA matches up the competitions and we see results several days later. There were 55 U15 boys’ teams and 51 U15 girls’ teams and each had to prove themselves in regional competition. The top thirty-two teams qualified for the Global Skills Challenge that concluded on Oct. 27.

The Americas Qualifier was held May 5 through 9. USVI girls played in Group A with Argentina, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Suriname. The girls finished 5th in the six-team pool and did not qualify for the final round. Here were the results of their games.

May 5 – DOM 183 – USVI 226

May 6 – SUR 209 – USVI 225

May 7 – ARG 138 – USVI 241

May 8 – ESA 161 – USVI 231

May 9 – USVI 222 – JAM 224

Elisha Ramirez, A’Nesha Deterville, Uniqua Williams, Antonissa Williams and Keziah Paul were the girls that made up the Virgin Islands team.

USVI boys finished second in their pool, stamping their ticket with 31 other boys’ teams to participate in the U15 Global Skills Challenge 2021. The Virgin Island boys were paired with Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Aruba. Here are their results:

May 5, 2021 – USVI 142 – ARU 166

May 6, 2021 – USVI 149 – ESA 157

May 7, 2021 – DOM 135 – USVI 151

In the first round of the U15 Global Skills Challenge 2021, ISV found itself in Group D along with Estonia, Iran and Spain. They finished third in this pool, knocking them out of the competition.

October 14, 2021 – USVI 133 – Iran 156

October 16, 2021 – ESP 134 – USVI 144

October 18, 2021 – EST 113 – USVI 136

The US Virgin Islands team was comprised of Tremaine Seales III, Zamouy Swanston, Jared Brown, Joshua Rodgers and Micah Jones. The team was coached by Donald Bough during the Americas Qualifier. Keith Swanston took over the coaching duties for the final leg of the event.

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