Mississippi business leaders assisting HOYTES/GBSPA with ‘travel camps’
HOYTES (Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports), founded by Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee, and the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association (GBSPA), which is headed by this columnist, have joined together to organize a ‘Travel Camps’ project.
Recently, the principals of the two aforementioned organizations, were in Oxford, Mississippi, in part, to meet with business persons who are linked to the University of Mississippi. They responded positively to the pitch of an annual venture which entails selecting aspiring young female and male basketball players to travel to Oxford each year to participate in camps and games with clubs from the surrounding areas, namely Jackson City and Memphis.
It was emphasized that presently, other than University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Women’s Basketball Head Coach Yolett ‘Coach Yo’ McPhee-McCuin, the Bahamian flavor extends to Franco Miller who is now on the men’s varsity team; and Valerie Nesbitt who is to join the Lady Rebels under ‘Coach Yo’ next season.
The connection being made between HOYTES/GBPSA and the university and nearby cities affords an opportunity for a feeder system of Bahamians.
Director of Athletics at Mississippi Ross Bjork has indicated his appreciation for a relationship between the University and The Bahamas (UB), and especially the birthplace of ‘Coach Yo’. He expressed the desire to visit and believes “having a bond and relationship with The Bahamas is unique.” The HOYTES/GBSPA ‘Travel Camps’ will provide a platform for exposure and advanced competition.
Oxford businessman Smitty Smith was definite from the outset about his decision to contribute to the success of the ‘Travel Camps’ and called the venture something quite notable.
“I certainly am impressed with what is proposed and I see the value on all ends. I see the project as something quite notable in strengthening the relationship that has Coach Yolett as the anchor piece. I think, getting young boys and girls involved in this way, opens up opportunities for them and definitely I will be supportive. Good luck with the project,” said Smith.
HOYTES/GBSPA has determined that the initial trip will take place during the summer, June 21 to July 2. A panel has been selected to monitor the upcoming (February 20-23) HOYTES Geneva Rutherford Female Basketball Invitational, slated for St. George’s Gymnasium in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Those selected to the all-tournament first team will automatically be invited. Several additional young ladies will be selected by the panel.
As for the boys, locally-based high school coaches have been asked to present names, from which will come a short list of players who will get the nod to travel to Mississippi. The ‘Travel Camps’ project will cover 12 days including travel from Grand Bahama and back. Players selected who do not live in Grand Bahama, would be responsible for being available on that island to travel to Oxford.
The ‘Travel Camps’ will also serve as a way to enhance the legacy at Ole Miss of Coach McPhee-McCuin. She started a foundation while at Jacksonville University. However, the workload at Ole Miss limits a capacity to expand her foundation with outreach programs that aid Bahamian young boys and girls, as she had planned.
With the ‘Travel Camps’ HOYTES/GBPSA in a way fulfills a role Coach Yolett favors. She has “wholeheartedly” endorsed the project.
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