Friday, June 14, 2013

Deondre Vilmer: My FIBA Experience Entry #1

8th Grade Deondre Vilmer is currently representing the Bahamas at the FIBA U16 America's Championships in  Maldonado, Uruguay and Basketball Spotlight has asked him to share this experience with us.

My journey to Uruguay started on June 7th which was the day after my 8th Grade Graduation. My mom, dad, uncle and I began driving at 4 am in the morning from Delaware to make a 9 am flight from JFK in New York. I had to go to Nassau Bahamas to try-out for the Bahamas U16 Team. The traffic was so backed up that we didn’t make it to the airport until 8 o’clock. Therefore we had to hustle hard through the airport to make the flight. While on the flight I'm having mixed emotions, excited but at the same time nervous and overwhelmed at the opportunity that awaits me. 

We arrived in Nassau at 12:45 and I had to head to the Kendal Isaac gymnasium for a practice session with my future team. I was nervous at first coming into Nassau knowing I would be playing with older guys but I soon gained my confidence even though I was the youngest player on the court. I felt a little jet lag but I also could see the other players watching me to see what kind of skills I could bring to the team. I remember thinking that hard work pays off and it’s just an honor to represent my country. The coaches were impressed with my performance and after practice I got a chance to chill with my new teammates. 

On Sunday June 10th we headed to the airport to take our flight to Uruguay. Putting on the Bahamas uniform and wearing my country colors felt great. I never thought I would be in this position but I know God and hard work can make anything possible. The flight was very long, I fell the sleep and woke up again about five times and realized I was still on the plane. In Uruguay the first thing I noticed was the different temperature. It was actually cold over here. Then most of the people speak Spanish and they don’t use American currency instead they use Pesos. 

We played Argentina first and they had more size than us but we fought hard before letting the game slip away in the 4th quarter. I finished 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists but I was disappointed that we lost. During the games I noticed that most of the teams set a least eight screens each possession which makes it difficult to get out on the shooters. They next day we bounced back to beat Mexico by double digits. This experience has been great playing against older players and learning new things about the game. I see improvements already while adding the tips from my teammates. Off the court has also been fun hanging with my teammates and the fans. The fans love the players and I signed over 30 autographs already. 

I just want to thank God again for this opportunity.