Photo Credit: Digicel
Local youth basketball stars and recent winners of the regional Digicel-NBA Basket Jumpstart Elite Camp, Mahkayla Pickering and Shauliqua Fahie have been invited by the NBA to attend its third annual Basketball Without Borders (BWB) global camp in New Orleans. The camp, which is slated for February 17-19, will see the participation of 67 boys and girls from 32 countries.
Both girls recently journeyed to New York in October 2016, where they had the ultimate NBA experience.
They expressed surprise when they got the invitations.
“I didn’t expect this,” Pickering said, adding that she thinks her talent stood out.
“I’m looking forward to being seen so I can get a scholarship, and also look forward to seeing the competition out there and what I’m really up against, and see how hard others are working even though I’m working hard.”
Fahie too expressed her shock.
“I didn’t expect anybody from anywhere selecting me from the Virgin Islands,” Fahie said.
Commenting on the opportunity, Digicel's Marketing Manager, Kareem Hull said, “The sequence of events leading up to Pickering and Fahie getting the nod almost didn’t happen.”
He pointed out, “For budgetary reasons, we considered not having the BVI leg of the Digicel NBA Jumpstart programme in September. When our group office offered for us to hold the NBA Elite Camp (in October), we knew it was not acceptable to bring so many persons from different countries here and not give Virgin Islanders a chance to compete on that level.”
He added, “Now we truly see the purpose of why Digicel gives back so much to the community because as we continue to give, our community gets so much more out of it. These young ladies promised from the first time I met them, that they were going to make it to the top two that were going to New York, and as they promised, they delivered.”
Hull noted that when players from nine Caribbean countries came in, they were great ambassadors and hosts. He added that when they went to New York, they carried the BVI flag on a shining display.
“We are proud of these young ladies and truly honoured to have been given the opportunity to unearth raw, untapped talent, abilities we knew existed and have now been recognized.”
Digicel's General Manager, Kevin Gordon said Pickering and Fahie have a unique opportunity that many basketball players crave.
"To have been selected to such a prestigious camp by the NBA shows that they have extraordinary talent. We are delighted that they have this opportunity which can open even more doors for them. We congratulate Mahkayla Pickering and Shauliqua Fahie, and we encourage them to embrace the opportunity with the same vigor they brought to the Digicel NBA Jumpstart programme and the Elite Camp.”