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New JBA boss looks to revamp the NBL
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Ajani Williams, the new president of the Jamaica Basketball Association (JBA), has promised to revamp the national league.
He said he would be looking at broadening the (National Basketball League) because currently, it operates more like a Kingston league. He said he wants to create an islandwide competition that includes teams from all the conferences.
"It will be like a semi-NBL format where you have the west coast, east coast, north and south. And this will allow everyone across the island to get involved in basketball."
Williams was elected president of the JBA following a 16-6 victory over Captain Clifton Lumsden at the association's annual general meeting, held at the Alhambra Inn Hotel on Sunday.
Williams took over the post from Marland Nattie, who had served for the maximum two terms, which accumulated to four years.
A man who had stints in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Orlando Magics in 2005 and the Atlanta Hawks in 2006, and also the European professional leagues where he was an all-star power forward, Williams indicated that the first item on his agenda would be to develop a good working relationship with Independence Park Limited, which is in charge of the National Indoor Sports Complex where a host of matches are played.
"Basketball cannot be developed in this country without an indoor facility and if everybody is serious about the development of the sport, we have to have the use of the indoor arena," said Williams.
He says he would be holding discussions with former Charlotte Bobcats head coach, Sam Vincent and current Boston Celtics assistant coach, Clifford Roy, to coach the national team.
"We have some excellent talents locally and internationally and we are going to be looking at who we move forward with as the coach of the national team," he said.
Williams also mentioned that he had turned down a head-office job in New York with the NBA in player development, so that he could assist with the development of basketball in Jamaica.
"My country needs the help and needs that expertise and it didn't make sense for love or money to turn my back on Jamaica and go to the NBA to take a cozy NBA job," said Williams.
Other members elected to the new executive include deputy-presidents Paulton Gordon, Richard Polack and Pete Mattews. Winston Harvey was named honorary secretary, Carol Black assistant secretary, Reuben Brown honorary treasurer and Kevin Alexander assistant treasurer.
The committee members are Oberon Pitterson, Pat Gillings, Roger Goldson, Luke Ducille Irons and Wayne Stewart.