During the course of the 2017 Central Basketball Association season, various league representatives had been diligently working behind the scenes to continue to grow the CBA brand on the international level in an effort to promote the CBA Global Opportunities Program.
One of this year’s networking opportunities led the CBA representatives to the Caribbean, specifically to the island of Saint Kitts & Nevis, located approximately 250 miles east of Puerto Rico, in the northern neck of the Leeward Islands.
Through multiple meetings with high-ranking government officials, a preliminary agreement was reached between the island of Saint Kitts and the CBA to engage in a bi-lateral partnership between the two entities. In exchange for providing a platform for players on the island of Saint Kitts to travel to the United States to either compete in the CBA season to earn international contracts or to earn college scholarship opportunities, Saint Kitts would provide the platform for CBA players to come to the island to develop basketball within the country.
For the citizens of Saint Kitts, the CBA serves as a means to not only develop their own skill set, but also a gateway to opportunities in the United States or across the globe. Through this partnership agreement, 6-foot-5 forward, Nashorn Maynard, became the first Saint Kitts player to travel to the United States to compete in the 2017 CBA season.
In five games this season with the Illinois Coal Miners, he averaged 7.8 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, and 1.2 steals per game. Maynard, who played collegiate basketball at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, posted his best performance of the regular season against the 2017 CBA Champions, Fort Wayne Flite, with a 11-point, 11-rebound, 3-assist, 1-steal, 1-block stat line, in his first double-double of the year.
By serving as the pioneer for this bi-lateral initiative, Maynard aims to utilize the services of the league by advancing his career to the next level and obtain an international contract in England later this summer. This also opens the doors for many athletes on the island of Saint Kitts, and ultimately other Caribbean islands, to utilize the services of the CBA to gain valuable experience, game film, statistics, and analytics to join a collegiate basketball roster or an international organization outside of the Caribbean.
As part of the preliminary agreement with Saint Kitts, CBA coaches and players will travel to the island to begin year-round youth development programs to improve the skill set and experience of aspiring basketball athletes on the island. Currently, the sports of cricket, soccer, and track & field dominate the headlines in the small nation; however, through the infusion of CBA coaches and players, the goal will be to rejuvenate the interest of basketball within the community.
Furthermore, as part of the partnership, the CBA will organize a Caribbean tournament on the island this October, to showcase athletes participating in the CBA Global Opportunities Program. The multi-nation week-long tournament will potentially feature the top athletes from the Leeward Islands, including representatives from the islands of Antigua, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, and Anguilla.
Finally, as part of the bilateral initiative, the CBA will begin laying the groundwork for the start of a CBA Saint Kitts season during the fall and winter months, to help continue the basketball development on the island from the summer programs. The CBA Saint Kitts season will feature six to eight local teams, similar to the CBA season in the United States, and will have similar amenities such as professional videography, statistics, and marketing of all participating athletes. It will further allow American CBA athletes to play with local teams during the CBA Saint Kitts season, while potentially allowing local athletes to earn opportunities to play in the CBA season in the United States next spring.
Based on the success level of the various bi-lateral initiatives with the island of Saint Kitts during the remaining portion of the 2017 calendar year, the CBA will look to expand its influence in the neighboring Leeward Islands nations for the 2018 season.
For registration information for the CBA Global Opportunities Program, visit http://www.playcba.com/global