By NAN Sports Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 21, 2017: Here are the stories making headlines in sports from the Caribbean and its Diaspora for this week ending April 21, 2017.
Caribbean-Born Player To Watch In The NBA
He is still considered a “rookie” but Caribbean-born NBA Player Skal Labissiere is starting to make waves this season.
Labissiere, 21, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and is currently part of the Sacramento Kings team in the NBA. He recently accumulated 25 points (10-12 FG, 5-6 FT), six rebounds, three assists and two steals across 31 minutes during the April 9th game against the Rockets.
His basketball career began at the Collège Canado-Haïtien, a junior-senior high school in Port-au-
Prince, which participated in school championships organized by the Comité Interscolaire de Basket-ball Amateur (CIBA), and the Association de Basket-ball Interscolaire (ASI). During the 2010 Haiti earthquake, his family’s home collapsed with Labissière, his mother and his brother inside. All three survived, but were trapped under the debris for three hours. Labissière’s legs were trapped, causing them to go numb and he was unable to walk for a few weeks after. A few months after the earthquake, Labissière moved to the United States in Memphis, Tennessee, to live with Gerald Hamilton, who ran the Reach Your Dream Foundation, which brought international prospects to the United States.
Labissière attended Evangelical Christian School in Memphis and started to play varsity basketball as an eighth-grader. In 2014, he left the school his senior year and enrolled at Lausanne Collegiate School, also located in Memphis, but played for Gerald Hamilton’s Reach Your Dream Prep Academy team, where he averaged 26 points, 12 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game. He was rated as a five-star recruit, and was considered among the best players in his class. Labissière later committed to the University of Kentucky to play college basketball. On April 5, 2016, Labissière declared for the NBA draft, forgoing his final three years of college eligibility.
On June 23, 2016, Labissière was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 28th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, becoming the highest drafted Haitian player since Samuel Dalembert (26th, 2001). His rights were later traded to the Sacramento Kings on draft night and in July 2016, he joined the Kings for the 2016 NBA Summer League. On July 15, 2016, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Kings and made his NBA debut on November 5, 2016, recording eight points and three rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench in a 117–91 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Labissiere has been excellent since the end of February 2017 with averages of 11.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 22.5 minutes per game while shooting 55.3 percent from the floor. Look for Labissiere to achieve big success in the NBA.
British Olympian Dies In Jamaica
Jamaican-born British Olympian Germaine Mason, is dead at age 34, after crashing his bike on a Jamaica highway. Jamaicans police reported that the crash took place on Sir Florizel Glasspole Boulevard but eyewitnesses said it happened in the vicinity of the Jamaica Gypsum Quarry on Norman Manley Highway in Kingston. Some reports claim that Mason was leading a convoy of riders including other friends Jamaican Olympians Usain Bolt and Michael Frater when he lost control. Bolt and Frater were at the scene of the accident almost immediately after. The Jamaican-born athlete, who switched to represent Great Britain in 2006, won a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics and retains the Jamaican national high jump record. UK Athletics CEO Niels de Vos released a statement on behalf governing body, saying: “Our staff and colleagues who worked with Germaine are naturally saddened to hear this awful news. Our deepest sympathies go to Germaine’s friends, family and the athletics community at this difficult time.” Mason was very close to Bolt and was with him on the private jet he rented to party in Trinidad at carnival 2017.
World Relays Bahamas
This is it! It’s the weekend of the IAAF/BTC World Relays in the Bahamas. The Relays opens tomorrow, April 22 and will run through April 23, 2017. Running for host team Bahamas will be Olympic 400-m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo plus the four men who struck gold in the 4x400m at the 2012 Olympic Games: Chris Brown, Ramon Miller, Demetrius Pinder and Michael Mathieu. Twenty-year-old Jamaican-born athlete Julian Jrummi Walsh will represent Japan in the 4x400m relays. Walsh is the son of reggae drummer Emanuel Walsh, who married a Japanese woman and has lived in Japan for almost 20 years.
The event will feature athletes from 40 countries compete across the two days to win the coveted Golden Baton and guaranteed qualification for the 4x100m and 4x400m relays at this August’s IAAF World Championships London 2017.
Cricket In Jamaica
The West Indies cricket squad will face-off against Pakistan again today in Jamaica. The two sides will clash in the first test match at Sabina Park, Jamaica. Pakistan has so far won both the One Day International series and the T20 matches. Nevis-born Keiran Powell has been recalled to the test side. He will join the uncapped batting pair of Vishaul Singh and Shimron Hetmyer in the 13-man squad, after all three batsmen made runs in the warm-up game against Pakistan. The second will be played from April 30-May 4th at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados while the final test match is set for May 10-14th at Windsor Park, Roseau, Dominica.
Jamaica Reigns At CARIFTA
Jamaican athletes once again underlined their dominance of track and field, topping the medal count as the curtains came down on the 46th staging of the FLOW CARIFTA Games in Curacao over the Easter weekend. Team Jamaica amassed a whopping 86 medals – including 39 gold, 28 silver and 19 bronze – at the end of the three-day competition held from April 15-17.
The Bahamas finished second with 31 medals while Trinidad & Tobago had 22; Barbados 12; Guyana 8 and the Cayman Island 6. The British Virgin Islands athletes bagged 6 medals while Antigua and Barbuda and Martinique finished with 5 each; Guadeloupe and Curaçao with 4; Turks and Caicos Islands with 3; Grenada and Bermuda with 2 apiece and Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis and French Guyana rounded out the tally with one each.
Countdown Is On To Team Jamaica Bickle At The Penn Relays
The countdown is on to the annual Penn Relays in Philadelphia from April 27-29th and Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB) is actively gearing up to feed and support many Caribbean athletes who will be participating at the event.
Now in its 123rd year, The Penn Relay Carnival is the oldest and most recognized annual track meet draws athletes from across the Caribbean and crowds of up to 100,000 to the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field each April.
Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB), which provides three hot meals daily and provides ground transportation, chiropractic and medical services as well as assistance with hotel accommodation to Caribbean athletes participating at the Philadelphia relays, will hold its annual fundraising Breakfast tomorrow, Saturday, April 22, 2017, at the St Lukes’ Episcopal Church Hall, located at 777 E. 222nd Street, Bronx, New York from 9-11 a.m. The menuincludes Ackee & Saltfish, (Jamaica’s national dish), as well as liver and banana; callaloo, fried dumpling, varieties of porridge and a whole lot more to satisfy the gastronomical craving of lovers of Caribbean food. This year a special effort is being made to add menu items for vegans who want to support the event.
For more information on Team Jamaica Bickle or to lend your support, please call 718.523.2861 or email [email protected]. Information may also be found at www.teamjamaicabickle.org; facebook.com/teamjamaicabickle or on twitter, @teamjambickle.