YBG to host Developmental Circuit League and Student Pathway Conference this year

By Timothy Jaikarran

Youth Basketball Guyana (YBG) has continued to strengthen its roots in and around Guyana as it pursues its ambition to make the sport inclusive to everyone. YBG Cofounder Chris Bowman has noted that, outside of the Titan Bowl and Tertiary Knockout competition slated for December, at some time later this year, YBG would be seeking to host a Developmental Circuit League and a Student Pathway Conference.

YBG Cofounder Chris Bowman

Bowman explained that the league would consist of emerging teams which are not yet at the level of being competitive in the National Schools Basketball Festival. He explained that, as seen during the festival, some of the scores were lopsided as a result of new teams coming into the competition and having to compete against more seasoned opponents. Thus, Bowman clarified, in October or November, YBG is looking to organise a circuit league which would cater just for the developmental schools.
In an interview with this publication, Bowman disclosed, “The league will be about eight girls’ basketball teams, girls who are now getting into the game and getting their feet wet. It will give them the opportunity to (experience) what a good league format looks like, and give them mileage on the court. We will also have 14-16 age group teams. So, all in all, we will try to accommodate and approach all the areas in this last quarter. So, not only our under-18 and senior male and female (teams) will get a chance to play later this year, but before that, we will concentrate on really giving those new players an opportunity to get some playing time.”
Bowman divulged that he expects the Development League, Titan Bowl and the Tertiary Knockout tournament to be a good way of finishing 2022. He relayed that one advantage of doing these programmes is that teams and schools would be better organised by the end of the year, so when the new year commences, they would be in a better position to succeed on the basketball court.
He also shared that one other major programme on the agenda would be the Student Athlete Pathway Conference, which would open the pathway for athletes in fourth, fifth and sixth forms to come together and get guidance. He explained that a number of facilitators would come in and deal with topics such as mental health, financial management, and pursuing college applications, among other things, as students prepare to graduate from high school.
Stressing on the importance of the YBG reach, Bowman commented, “Out of that, we are able to replenish our national programme later this year. The Government of Guyana, Ministry of Sports, and the National Federation, they will host the Inter Guiana Games, but many of the players who you will see representing basketball in the male and female categories, they are products, they have been shaped by school basketball, so there is a great, tremendous value in ensuring that we can adequately organise and give opportunities to youngsters in terms of continuing to improve and develop.”
Bowman touted that the YBG programme is on track, and even boasted that the organisation is not events- based, but is more a year-round youth development organisation. He said the YBG focuses on helping students to be better on and off the court, as it stands by its core values, which are leadership, scholarship and progress.