The VI Jaguars placed third in the 2016 Small Fry Puerto Rico Invitational. In game 1 against Torrimar, the Jaguars won 45-40. De'Shamoi Greaves was the lead scorer with 16 points, 4 steals, and 2 assists. Jafari Samuel added 12 points and 3 steals.
In the second game, the Jaguars defeated CIAPR 22-11, with 9 players scoring to work the victory on teamwork. The Jaguars lost to ABB Bayamon 50-17. After taking second place in pool play, the Jaguars went on to defeat Bucaplaa 40-35 in overtime. Jafari Samuel led the team with 13 points and 5 rebounds. De'Shamoi Greaves contributed 7 rebounds and 8 points. All travel expenses to and from Puerto Rico are paid by Caribbean Rose Inc. To make a contribution to Caribbean Rose in support of the VI Jaguars kindly click here.
2013 Puerto Rico Invitational
Back Row (left to right): Coach Fred Kopko, C'Kai Frett, Elijah Peltier, Tazhaun Donadelle, Darius Peets, K'Nard Callendar, and Assistant Coach Wayne Harvey.
Front Row (left to right): Kareem Pinney, Jamarr Robinson, Lorenz Penn, Jaden Dowe, and Nitsuh Williams.
The VI Jaguars competed in the 2014 Small Fry International Basketball tournament. Held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. The VI Jaguars competed against teams from Puerto Rico and Philadelphia, as well as St. Croix. The players exhibited strong character, determination, and sportsmanship throughout the entire tournament. The team represented St. Thomas and the United States Virgin Islands very well.
The team visited Walt Disney World and interacted with other players from the United States and Puerto Rico. The team gained invaluable game experience against some of the best talents in the game. The team worked hard over the last seven months. Learning game strategies and improved individual skills. Appreciation of the necessity of hard work, preparedness and execution were instilled in each participant. With five returning players expected on next year’s squad, the coaching staff is confident and excited about the team’s prospects in 2015.
ST. THOMAS — The Zero Tolerance Basketball Organization will have its 12th Annual Easter Ball-A-Rama this weekend at the Charlotte Amalie High School gym. The one-day tournament for 13 - 15-year olds begins at 10 a.m. Sunday, March 31, 2013. Admission is free.
Last year’s champions, the Jah Youths, finished the tournament with a 3-0 record and will be looking to repeat as they face Nuff Respect, Win It All, and the BVI Stars. The winner of the round-robin tournament will represent the Zero Tolerance organization in the Inter-Island Youth Basketball Championship.
The Zero Tolerance Basketball Organization was founded in 1996 by former senator Allison Petrus as a means to offer youths in the community an opportunity to showcase and enhance their basketball and interpersonal skills.
Its motto is, “Say ‘no’ to drugs, violence, negative behavior, bad attitudes and alcohol.” The event is sponsored by the V.I. Tourism department, West Indies Corp., Coca-Cola of the V.I., Pressure Buss Pipe, Bambu Station and Native Son Ferry Services.
For more information on the Zero Tolerance Organization or to donate, please contact Todman at 777-1229, Mark Daniels at 626-4515 or Shamal at 998-9310, or mail to9900 Oswald Harris Court Apt. 285, St. Thomas, V.I. 00802.
The VI Jaguars won the 2016 Small Fry tournament Sunday on St. Croix, knocking off the host Positive Guidance team in the finals. The tournament was held at the St. Croix's Central High School. The Jaguars went 3-0 in the tournament, topping Omega, 32-22, and then beat the Positive Guidance team, 35-15.
In the finals rematch, the Jaguars topped their St. Croix rivals, 30-17. The tournament's MVP Jah'Fari Samuel scored twenty points. Also for the Jaguars, D'shamoi Greaves had six rebounds in the finals. Khamani Olivacee and Nekwante Sprauve had four assists Sprauve had blocked shots. Willis Pinney Ill led the team with four steals and also six points.
Zero Tolerance's 12th Annual Easter Ball-A-Rama 3/31/2013
The VI Jaguars recently played a reunion game featuring past and present players. The Small Fry Reunion game took place at the Audie Henneman Gymnasium at the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School on Saturday, February 25, 2017.
Players in attendance are Jahfari Samuel, Tremoi Martin, Raekoi Evans, Jaleen Roberts, Jeremiah James, Kimmo Emmanuel, Jahseem Dawson, Andy Thompson, Jahsief Benjamin, Elijah McCoy, DeShamoi Bridgewater Greaves and Divyesh Gurnani.
The 2013 VI Jaguars Basketball Team
The 2018 VI Jaguars Basketball Team won the 2018 Paradise Showdown. Teams from the U.S.V.I., Puerto Rico, and St. Croix competed in the tournament. Neltjeberg Bay Enterprises paid for all teams to travel and compete in the tournament. Which included airfare, hotel accommodations, food, etc. After the tournament, a pig roast was held at Magens Bay Beach for all participants.
The 2018 VI Jaguars Basketball Team traveled to St. Croix on March 3, 2018, to compete in the 2018 Saint Croix Positive Guidance Tournament.
Daunte McFarlande scored 13 points with five rebounds and five steals as he led the St. Croix A team past Julius Sprauve School, 47-39, on Friday night in the Paradise Showdown youth basketball tournament.
St. Croix used a 12-5 second quarter to take a 28-17 lead at halftime. Zedy'kaya Lake was second on St.Croix with nine points, followed by Ronald Schjang Jr. with seven points and eight rebounds.
Miseal DeLaCruz led Sprauve School with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Patrick Henderson added eight points and five rebounds.
In the second game of the night, the VI Jaguars Small Fry team took a 17-4 lead into the second quarter and a 27-7 lead into the half as they cruised to a 51-24 win over the Puerto Rico-Caguas Small Fry team.
Isaiah Harvey led the Jaguars with 17 points and added five rebounds. Collins Joseph Jr. recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Vincent Cruz's nine points led the way for Caguas. Teammate Jau Paul added six points. Puerto Rico's Yega Baja Small Fry team closed the evening with a 30-26 win over the St. Thomas Rising Stars. Alexander Gonzales got 1O points to lead Yega Baja. The Rising Stars were led by Lenlli Lopez with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Play continues today at 8:30 a.m. and at 8 a.m. Sunday at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School's Digna Marie Wheatley Gymnasium.
2015 Small Fry Paradise Showdown March 13 - 15, 2015
The Marquette Best Small Fry Basketball team out of Chicago won the 2015 Small Fry Paradise Showdown. The team toppled Positive Guidance of St. Croix 47-45 on Sunday morning to wrap up the title. The Marquette Best’s Nick Owens scored 14 points for best in the finals. Darryl Thornton and Amir Matthew added eight points. Rayjon Ali scored 18 points, Kmani Bruce had eight points for Positive Guidance. DeMarco Minor earned tournament MVP Honors for Marquette Best, which finished 4-0 at the tournament.
Ahijaa Sweeney of Positive Guidance earned the Sportsmanship award. The tournament was hosted by the Caribbean Rose and the Virgin Islands Jaguars. After the Jaguars lost to Positive Guidance on Friday, the Jaguars obtained revenge on their VI counterparts on Sunday, winning 37-17. Jahsief Benjamin scored 15 points and Jourdyn Rawlins, for the VI Jaguars, had 9 points in the rematch. The Marquette Best topped the Jaguars 40-34 in Saturday's featured game with Minors and Carion Weathers scored 14 points each.
De’Shamoi Greaves, for the Jaguars, had 12 points leading the way. In Friday’s game, Positive Guidance won over the Jaguars 37-31. Jahmai Jones, for Positive Guidance, was the leading scorer with 13 points. Ali Scored 13 points Saturday in a 53-32 win over Tortola. The other teams to compete over the weekend were Bertha C. Boschulte and Tortola.
The 2014 VI Jaguars Basketball Team
48th Annual Small Fry International Basketball Tournament
Front Row (left to right): Tazhaun Donadelle, Jah'fari Samuel, Mackai Smith, Nekwante Sprauve, Rekai Pinney, Devante Callwood, Anthony Joseph, Khamani Olivacce.
Back Row (left to right): Coach Fred Kopko, De'Shamoi Greaves, Willis Pinney, Keith Gruel(EM), Roberto Tapia, Nykebo Warner, Jahkeem Sackey, Coach Wayne Harvey.
Isaiah Harvey scored 13 points and dished out five assists as the VI Jaguars defeated the Glenbrook Small Fry Basketball team, 59-31, to win the Consolation Championship at the 45th Annual International Small Fry Tournament in Orlando, Fla. The tournament is the year's biggest Small Fry tournament in the U.S. and hosts teams from across the world at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
Founded in 1968, International Small Fry Basketball provides development for shorter boys and girls, while promoting athletic talent and sportsmanship. Players must be no taller than 5-foot-1.
Collins Joseph Jr. scored 10 points and pulled in eight rebounds for the Jaguars, followed by Ky'Ode Walters with another 10 points, including going 2 for 3 from beyond the 3-point arc. LeQuan George had 11 rebounds and six steals.
The Jaguars finished the International Small Fry Tournament with a 4-1 record. The consolation championship is an improvement from last year in this tournament for the Jaguars when they finished third in their pool. The team was founded last year by head coach Fred Kopko and others. Coach Kopko was also given the tournament's Sportsmanship Award.
Front Row (left to right): Elijah Peltier, A'Jai Thomas, Devante Callwood, Khamani Olivacee, Vern C’Kai Frett, and Jermaine Sealey.
Middle Row (left to right): Tazhaun Donadelle, Tiquori Boatswain, K'Hani Turnbull, Imran Charles Jr., Nekwante Sprauve , Tasheem Fleming, Nykebo Warner, and David Rogers Jr.
Back Row (left to right): Assistant Coach Kieth Gruel, Deniece Turnbull, Head Coach Wayne Harvey, and Head Coach Fred Kopko.
The VI Jaguars Basketball team returned from the 49th Annual Small Fry Basketball Tournament held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex with some notable accomplishments.
The team won their first game against Florida to advance to the 24 team International Varsity bracket. Fifty teams arrived in Orlando for the 2017 tournament from across the United States, Puerto Rico and Columbia. The VI Jaguars completed the tournament with a 15th place finish and defeated a Chicago team along the way. Veterans Devonte Callwood, Khamani Olivacee, and Nekwante Sprauve led the way, with Elijah Peltiner being the standout on defense.
This year a VI player won the annual three-point trophy. Tazhaun Donadelle, advanced through to the finals with sharp shooting from the 3-pt stripe to beat all competitors from the other 50 teams.
The entire VI coaching staff is proud of the hard work and improvement of the team since it began practices in September of 2016. Commitment, teamwork, and understanding opposing offensive and defensive strategies were stressed to the players all season. In its sixth consecutive year, the program has provided instruction to close to 100 children from the territory. Read more.
Saint Croix Positive Guidance Tournament
The Chicago Marquette best Small Fry Basketball team won the 6th Annual Small Fry Paradise Showdown. They narrowly defeated the VI Jaguars for the title. The St. Croix/Tortola All-Stars took third place. Teams from Chicago, Tortola, and the US Virgin Islands competed in the tournament.
2017 Small Fry Paradise Showdown Schedule
Friday, March 24, 2017 - 6:00 pm
VI Jaguars vs St. Croix Positive Guidance
Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 10:00 am
St. Croix Positive Guidance vs Chicago Best
Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 1:00 pm
VI Jaguars vs Chicago Best
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Games to be announced.
2017 Positive Guidance Small Fry Invitational Tournament
March 03 - 04, 2017
The 2017 VI Jaguars Basketball Team
The 45th Annual Small Fry Basketball Tournament
The 2016 VI Jaguars Basketball Team
Click image to zoom in.
2013 Small Fry Paradise Showdown 3/08/2013 -3/10/2013
The VI Jaguars won the 2017 Positive Guidance Small Fry Invitational Tournament. The Jaguars were undefeated during they championship run. Leading the Jaguars were Khamani Olivacee with 25 points and Nekwante Sprauve with 24 points in the three games. Devante Callwood and Khani Turnbull contributed 10 and 9 rebounds respectively.
Caribbean Rose would like to congratulate the Marquette Best Small Fry Basketball team. They won the 2014 Small Fry Paradise Showdown. Jeramiah Washington was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP). The Sportsmanship Award went to Noah Trotman. He played for the Postive Guidance team.
2014 Small Fry Paradise Showdown March 28 - 30, 2014
2018 Small Fry International Basketball Tournament
VI Jaguars win 2016 Small Fry tournament on St. Croix
The 2015 VI Jaguars Basketball Team
The Jaguars advanced to the consolation championship after defeating Guaynabo GBA on Wednesday afternoon, 40-30. The Jaguars rallied from seven points down late in the game with help on defense from Jourdyn Rawlins and Dwayne Lynch.
Harvey again led the team in scoring with 18 points, 11 coming in the fourth quarter. Joseph added 13 points and five steals.
The Jaguars began Tuesday with their first loss of the tournament, a 52-40 loss to Marquette Park BEST (Chicago) in the International Sweet 16 round. Marquette Park BEST was the top-ranked team in the tournament, but the Jaguars still managed a 22-21 lead at halftime.
Marquette Park's Chase Adams, ranked the best middle school point guard prospect in the country by many outside services, led all scorers with 30 points.
Harvey led the Jaguars with nine points and six assists, followed by Joseph with eight points and four steals, George with two points and 11 rebounds, and Ky'Ode Walters with six points.
The Jaguars were able to pull out a win in their second game Tuesday as Jahjadey Hodge made a jump shot with seven seconds left to lift the Jaguars over the Robert Taylor Panthers, 54-53.
Joseph led the Jaguars with 18 points and eight rebounds. George added 10 points and six rebounds, while Harvey had nine points and five assists.
The 2018 VI Jaguars Basketball Team
2017 Small Fry Paradise Showdown
In a unique crosstown title matchup, Ponce Constancia won its fourth championship with a 42-39 decision over Ponce Lomas, as Sebastian Lezcano hit a trio of threes to lead the way with 15 points. Fernando Gonzalez topped Lomas with 14 points.
Marquette Best toppled Robert Taylor in an all-Windy City third-place matchup and Chi-Town NBN claimed the consolation championship. Longtime officer Moe Reed had his name attached to the Friendship Tournament (won by BNB Outlawz) and first-time participant Colombia, South America earned the Friendship Sportsmanship Award.
The VI Jaguars upset the solo Pirates from Chicago, 48-43, in their first international tournament game. The Pirates were last year's champions. The Jaguars lost to Ponce Lomas of Puerto Rico, who advanced to the championship. The Jaguars lost the game, 40-32, and lost to ABB from Puerto Rico, 63-59. In the seventh-place game, the Jaguars won the game with a 46-22 victory against Chicago Heights. Some of the younger players, such as Nekwante Sprauve and Khamani Olivacee, scored in the final game. Overall, team captain Jourdyn Rawlins scored 61 points and added 29 points, 20 steals, five blocked shots and 13 assists in the tournament.
Shakeem Sackey had 30 points and six steals while Jahsief Benjamin had 39 points, 22 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals. Zayd Brannigan had 26 points, 23 rebounds, eight assists, and eight assists, and De'Shamoi Greaves had 38 points and eight steals. The Tournament concludes today with the final games. Overall the VI Jaguars placed seventh at the tournament.
The tournament featured teams from the US, Caribbean, and Columbia. Meanwhile, the Positive Guidance team from St. Croix did not advance to the international tournament but instead played in a consolation bracket.
47th Annual Small Fry International Basketball Tournament Results
2017 VI Jaguars Basketball Team Reunion Game
The 2018 VI Jaguars Basketball Team
The 49th Annual Small Fry Basketball Tournament
NBE supports the VI Jaguars Small Fry Basketball Team. Small Fry Basketball is a developmental and extremely competitive basketball program, which provides participants the opportunity to develop basketball skills, travel and have fun. The Small Fry Basketball Association consists of teams from the United States and the Caribbean. All team and player expenses are paid by NBE. Expenses Include travel, league fees, uniforms, and equipment. To learn more about the VI Jaguars Small Fry Basketball Team and all other the programs that NBE supports in conjunction with Caribbean Rose go to the Caribbean Rose website here.
NBE would like to congratulate the VI Jaguars for winning the 2014 Puerto Rico Invitational. They walked away with an undefeated record of 4-0 which included the win in the championship game in overtime.
The VI Jaguars competed in the 48th Annual Small Fry International Basketball Tournament. Held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL.
NBE and Caribbean Rose would like to congratulate two VI Jaguars players: Anthony Joseph and Jah'Fari Samuel. Both displayed good performance and came in second place in the three-point shooting contest and in the free-throw shooting contest (respectively) at the 48th Annual Small Fry International Tournament on Thursday, April 7, 2016, taken place in Orlando Florida.
2018 Small Fry Paradise Showdown
2016 Small Fry Paradise Showdown March 18 - 20, 2016
2016 Puerto Rico Invitational
The VI Jaguars competed in the 2017 Puerto Rico Invitational January 13 - 16, 2017. They returned with a 4-1 record, losing only to Rexville BC by one point on a buzzer shot. The Jaguars defeated Bucapalaa 41-30, Naranjito 49-24, Caguas Libac 35-19 and CIAPR 35-28. Imran Charles led the Jaguars with 43 points and 30 rebounds for the tournament. Nekwante Sprauve contributed 25 points and Khamani Olivacee 26 points overall. The Jaguars will host the Virgin Island Paradise Showdown the weekend of March 24, 2017. Teams from Chicago, St. Croix and Puerto Rico will compete in the tournament.
The 2018 VI Jaguars Basketball Team
On September 6, 2017, category 5 Hurricane Irma devastated the United States Virgin Island and Puerto Rico. On September 20, 2017, another category 5 hurricane, Hurricane Maria, also hit both regions. Nonetheless, the VI Jaguars Basketball Team competed in several tournaments this season. The 2018 VI Jaguars Basketball Team competed in the 2018 Positive Guidance tournament, the 2018 Paradise Showdown, and the 50th Annual Small Fry International Tournament.
Unfortunately, the Puerto Rico Small Fry Invitational Tournament was canceled for the 2018 season. The Puerto Rico Invitational is hosted by the Puerto Rico Small Fry Basketball Team. As mentioned previously, Puerto Rico was devastated by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Puerto Rico Small Fry Basketball Team opened a Gofundme account to raise funds so they could travel and compete in the 50th Annual International Small Fry Tournament. Neltjeberg Bay Enterprises in conjunction with Caribbean Rose proudly supports their efforts and encouraged everyone to donate towards this worthwhile endeavor.
2015 St. Croix Small Fry Basketball Tournament Results
NBE would like to congratulate the VI Jaguars on there 4th place finish at the 44th Annual Small Fry International Tournament held at Walt Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.
This may have been the United States Virgin Islands' first attempt at Small Fry Basketball, but they proved their worth with their performance. The V.I. Jaguars, a group of 12 St. Thomas elementary and junior high school boys players, competed in the 44th International Small Fry Basketball Tournament this week in Orlando, Fla., and fell just short of third place in the Consolation Tournament.
Small Fry Basketball is a developmental program created in 1968 for shorter youths in the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico. Only players no taller than 5-foot-1 and not older than 12 are allowed t participate. Small Fry Basketball has clubs all over the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and this was the Virgin Islands' first Small Fry team.
The Jaguars began to play on Monday with a 50-23 loss to Chi-Town NBN as the team got six points each from Isaiah Harvey and Andy Thompson. That loss sent them to the Consolation Tournament, which was composed of eight teams.
The Jags won their first consolation game on Tuesday, 40-28, against the Highwood Hurricanes. Thompson led the team in scoring with 14 points, followed by Harvey with 9 points. Later that day, they suffered a 47-32 loss to Ponce Constancia as Thompson again led the team in scoring with 10 points.
2012 Small Fry International Basketball tournament
The Jaguars recovered on Wednesday by taking a 24-8 lead at halftime and holding on for a 27-26 win over Bucaplaa B. Johjadey Hodge led the Jaguars with 12 points as the team earned a berth in the third-place game later in the day. In the third-place game, Guayama dominated the third quarter, 17-6, to improve on a 20-17 halftime lead and beat the VI Jaguars, 55-45. Collins Joseph and Hodge led the Jaguars with seven points each as the Jags ended the tournament with a 2-3 record.
The 2018 VI Jaguars Basketball Team
The VI Jaguars won the 2015 Positive Guidance Tournament. The Jaguars won all five of its games. In game one, Jourdyn Rawlins scored 14 points, with 5 assists. His teammate, Jahsief Benjamin, scored 10 points. In the second game, Zayd Brannigan had 13 points and Jahsief Benjamin scored 8 points. By the third game, Jourdyn Rawlins scored 23 points, Jahsief Benjamin scored 9 points, and Jaalen Roberts scored 10 points. In game four, De'Shamoi Greaves had 16 points, with 6 steals. In the final game, Jahsheem Dawson had 18 points, JahFari Samuel had 12 points, and Khamani Olivacce had seven points.
46th Annual Small Fry International Basketball tournament
The 2012 VI Jaguars Basketball Team
The Paradise Showdown's defending champs, Chicago’s Marquette Best, once again took First Place, remaining undefeated in the six-team round robin event held this weekend at Ivanna Eudora Kean. The Virgin Islands Jaguars took Second Place. Other participating teams included St. Croix's Positive Guidance, and Toa Baja, Caguas Libac, and CIAPR from Puerto Rico.
The VI Jaguars charged the boards and applied a staunch defense to Puerto Rico's highest ranked team, Toa Baja. Forced turnovers and hot three-point shootings by Chicago's Best contributed to their victory over the Virgin Island's Jaguars. The Chicago team was led by Nick Owens' who took command of the floor, assists, and scoring. He was named the tournament's MVP for his outstanding performance.
The VI Jaguars had a resilient effort from JahFari Samuel and DeShamoi Greaves in both scoring and rebounding. Other teammates, K'hamani Olivacce and Nekwante Sprauve, broke down opposing defenses with their robust passing and penetration to aid in the Jaguars gaining second place.
Neltjeberg Bay Enterprises will like to congratulate the VI Jaguars Basketball Team for reaching the Consolation Championship at the 50th Annual International Small Fry Tournament. Mason Ross and Kaymen Robertson combined to hit eight fourth-quarter free throws, as the Homewood Vikings held off a comeback effort by the VI Jaguars Basketball Team to win their fifth Consolation Championship. Justin Nichols led the Vikings with 12 points and Ross added 10, as Homewood rebounded from a 20-11 halftime deficit. The VI Jaguars Basketball Team captured the 2013 Consolation Championship and improved to 7th place in 2015.
To reach the Consolation Championship the Jaguars played several games. On Monday, April 2, 2018, the VI Jaguars Basketball Team defeated the Vega Baja Small Fry Basketball Team 48-36. The Jaguars overcame a 27-11 halftime deficit by scoring 15 points in the fourth period. Leroy Blyden scored 15 points to lead the Jaguars and Elijah Peltier scored 12 points.
On Tuesday, April 3, 2018, the VI Jaguars Basketball Team played two games. The VI Jaguars Basketball Team was defeated by the Highwood Small Fry Basketball Team 45-39. The Heat used a balanced attack to prevail, as Brandon Rieger scored 12 points, Miles Cohan added 10 points and Alex Finger finished with eight markers. The Jaguars saw a late run fall short, as Elijah Pettier scored 11 points and Leroy Blyden finished with eight points.
In the second game of the day, the VI Jaguars Basketball Team defeated the Bucaplaa Small Fry Basketball Team 39-18. The Jaguars turned up the defense to advance to the consolation semifinals, limiting Bucaplaa to five first-half points before gaining a 14-4 scoring advantage in the third quarter. Elijah Pettier scored eight points and Vern Frett seven points to lead the Jaguars, while five points from Ernesto Ramon led Bucaplaa.
On Wednesday, April 4, 2018, the VI Jaguars Basketball Team defeated Chi-Town NBN 53-41. The Jaguars used a 21-8 fourth-quarter scoring margin to pull away and earn a spot in the consolation title game, behind scoring leaders Elijah Peltier (15 points), Leroy Blyden (10 points) and Tazhaun Donadelle (nine points). Chi-Town got twin 14-point efforts from Aminu Habib and Lavarus Bracey.
2014 Puerto Rico Invitational January 14, 2014
Chicago native Fred Kopko believes the Virgin Islands should have about five athletes getting NCAA Division I basketball scholarships each year. Kopko, a business consultant and lawyer who Lives on St. Thomas, knows a thing about Division I talent. His son, Tom Kopko, played for the University of Notre Dame from 2007 to 2011. Fred Kopko, 57, coached AAU basketball in Chicago - one of the hottest recruiting beds in the country. His Chicago Jaguars twice finished as national runners-up at the U-I7 national tournament and never lost to a rival learn led by Chicago Bull and NBA All-Star Derrick Rose.
Kopko sees Small Fry basketball as an initial step in getting more Virgin Islands basketball players to the top collegiate level. Founded in 1968, International Small Fry Basketball provides development for shorter boys and girls. Kopko will coach the Virgin Islands Jaguars, a team he started in late 2011, today through Sunday at a Small Fry Tournament in Puerto Rico.
"We'll put about 50 kids in the Division I level out of Chicago every year," Kopko said. "I think you gotta start young, and this is a great organization" The team of 12 boys from ages 9 to 13 will use the four-game tournament as a tune-up for the 45th International Small Fry Tournament in Orlando, Fla, in April. The year's biggest tournament hosts teams from across the world at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
Small Fry is most popular in Chicago, Wisconsin and along the east coast of the U.S., but Puerto Rico is fielding some of the best competition lately, Kopko said. "It's a serious Small Fry area up there," he said. "They've been dominating Small Fry as of late, so I figured I' d put them in the pressure cooker."
The Jaguars have to be 5-foot-1 or shorter by the Orlando tournament's measurement date of Jan. 23. Players are ineligible if 13 years of age before Sept. 1, 2012. This will be the Jaguars' first Small Fry experience in Puerto Rico. The program first competed at the Orlando tournament last year. The team placed third in its pool with wins over teams from Chicago and Puerto Rico.
Kopko became involved with Small Fry through his children and took the Chicago Jaguars to the international championship game in 2000. He and his wife, Mary, bought property on St. Thomas nearly 20 years ago. Kopko may eventually contribute at the AAU level in the VI., but has found coaching younger children more enjoyable. "To me, it's more important that they started playing basketball at a younger age, and that helps at both levels," he said. Mary Kopko said the Jaguars are planning to host a tournament in March and have invited teams from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
The Jaguars represent Addelita Cancryn Junior High, Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School, Joseph E. Gomez Elementary School, Leonard E. Dober Middle Elementary School, Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Calvary Christian Academy and
Yvonne Milliner Bowsky Elementary School. "Some of the student-athletes on this team are all-stars in their elementary and youth basketball leagues," assistant coach Wayne Harvey said. "They've been through six intense weeks of fundamentals. The trip is based on youth development and used as a cultural exchange." Harvey's son Isaiah is on the team.
The Jaguars are sponsored by Caribbean Rose, Inc., and Neltjcberg Bay Enterprises. All travel, uniforms, league and tournament fees are covered by the sponsorship. The organization also thanks, Boschulte Middle School for the use of their gym. For more information about the V]. Jaguars, contact the Kopkos at 773-590-4150, Harvey at 513-8740 or email Caribbean Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Game 13 of the tournament, the VI Jaguars defeated Columbia with the score 58-26. Eleven different scorers keyed the effort for the Jaguars, including double-digit leaders De'Shamoi Greaves (15 points), Jah’Fari Samuel (10 points), and Devante Callwood (10 points). Michael Ramirez tallied 10 points to lead Columbia.
In Game 19 of the tournament, the Jaguars Basketball Team defeated Bayamon B team, 52-33. The Jaguars secured down to allow just eight second half points. They were led by De'Shamoi Greaves with an outstanding 27 points and Khamani Olivacee with 11 points. To spark Bayamon B, Marcos Otero tallied 10 points and Paola Perez 9 points.
Unfortunately, Florida defeated the VI Jaguars, 58-46, in Game 3. Florida vaulted to a 34-14 halftime command and coasted behind 16 points from Joshy Blazquez and 10 markers by Sebastian Orama. Jah'Fari Samuel tallied 14 points and De'Shamoi Greaves added 11 points for the VI Jaguars.
The VI Jaguars bounced back from their loss and defeated the Avalon Runners, 60-36, in Game 7. The VI Jaguars limited the Runners to 12 fourth-quarter points and had three double-digit scorers in De'Shamoi Greaves (21), Jah'Fari Samuel (14), and Khamani Olivacee (10). The Runners got 12 points from Jherrone Jones and 11 points from Toryn Parks-Bay.
Front Row (left to right): Jourdyn Rawlins, Zayd Brannigan, De'Shamoi Greaves, Khamani Olivacee, JahFari Samuel, Nekwante Sprauve, Jaalen Roberts, and Jahsief Benjamin.
Back Row (left to right): Coach Wayne Harvey, Jahsheem Dawson, Dwanye Maduro, Kimmo Emmanuel Jr., Netsa Williams, Shakeem Sackey, and Coach Fred Kopko.