Deyton Albury and Romad Dean, two Bahamian high school basketball players, got a chance of their lifetime when they were invited to the 10th edition of the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Americas camp that began on Monday, June 24 and wraps up today at Ivan de Bedout Coliseo in Medellin, Colombia.
Dean just completed grade nine at Tabernacle Baptist Academy in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Albury finished grade 11 at Temple Christian School in Nassau, New Providence.
The camp is a collaborative effort between the National Basketball Association (NBA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Colombian Basketball Association (Federación Colombiana de Baloncesto). This is the first time the initiative was held in Colombia.
The two teenagers are part of more than 60 of the top high-school-age boys and girls from North and South America who are learning directly from NBA and FIBA players and coaches. They are competing against the best young players from the region.
Albury plays shooting guard and can switch to the point guard position depending on the situation. Dean is a small forward.
For Albury, he found out from his mother who received the invitation from Mario Bowleg, president of the Bahamas Basketball Federation. After finding out he was one of the invitees, he said he and his coach, Jamal Smith, began workouts in preparation for the camp. He was not nervous.
“I wasn’t nervous because I knew that this was all planned from God. I knew what he wanted me to do and that was to go out there, do my absolute best and to represent my country and family in the right way,” Albury said.
Dean said he was in team practice when he found out from his coach, Kevin Clarke, that he was invited to the prestigious camp. He was a little nervous but as he started to play, he got relaxed.
One of the highlights at the camp so far is the presence of Jamal Murray, a guard with the Denver Nuggets.
The diminutive and speedy guard got a few pointers from Murray.
“Murray’s advice was huge and had a big impact; it caused me to work harder everyday I enter the gym and the main thing that stood out to me what he said was – ‘There is always someone better than you but hard work ethic can make you the best player you can be.’ I will travel with those words through the rest of my career and put them into practice,” Albury said.
For Dean, he said, “The camp is going along great, I’m getting to meet NBA players, former players and coaches and learning from them. As I was doing drills, they said that I’m a great player but have to be patient with the ball. I hope that I can learn a lot and get better as a player on the court.”
In the game on day one, Albury had a stat line of 21 points, six assists and five steals. The humble guard said he uses his speed as an advantage to get good looks and feed his teammates. He wanted to work on his defense the most and those steals helped him to score some fast break points.
During the past season at Tabernacle, the forward said he felt like with every game that went by he got better with the ball and got more comfortable. He felt like he made a great impact on the team.
He hopes to get more college offers as he heads into grade 10.
The Temple Christian guard had a great season for his school. He said that he could not have done it without his parents, Michael and Genise Albury. He also thanked Coach Smith, his teammates and the school for their support.
He may be heading to Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas, if everything works out.
Along with Murray, Bruno Caboclo of the Memphis Grizzlies; Carlos Arroyo, former NBA player; Ruth Riley, former WNBA player; and Juan Palacios, a Colombian player, are among the coaches at the camp.
There are also NBA assistant coaches who are lending their expertise.
Players and coaches will lead the campers through a variety of activities, including movement efficiency, skill development stations, 5-on-5 games and daily life skills seminars focusing on health, leadership and communication.
One boy and girl will be named BWB Americas Camp Most Valuable Player at the end of the camp today.
BWB, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program, has reached more than 3,400 participants from 129 countries and territories since 2001, with more than 54 former campers drafted into the NBA and six signed as free agents. The NBA and FIBA have staged 57 Basketball Without Borders camps in 36 cities in 28 countries on six continents. More than 290 different current and former NBA/WNBA players have joined more than 230 NBA team personnel from all 30 NBA teams to support BWB across the world.