Talking hoops with Durall Adams veterans’ association president

23 Oct, 2021 - 13:10 0 Views
Talking hoops with Durall Adams veterans’ association president Durall Adams

The Sunday News

Simba Jemwa, Sports Correspondent

While the he grew up in both Harare and Bulawayo, Durall Adams’ basketball vision lies in the later. He and other members of the Bulawayo Basketball Veterans Association playing days came to an end, but it was definitely not the end of his basketball journey.

Adams grew up around the sport following his mother Vanessa Williams Adams herself a player for Barclays Bank Basketball Club in Harare as she played around the courts of the capital. The basketball bug bit and has been fueling his life ever since. Adams literary grew up with a basketball in his hands from an early age and his talents would eventually lead him to become a star player at Gifford High School.

Adams’s strong play garnered the interest of several clubs in the city but he landed at Highlanders Basketball Club’s B side thanks to the relentless recruitment of development-oriented coach, the late Jackson Nkau and Adams never looked back.

With the veteran association he spearheaded the formation of City Knights men’s team and Angels women’s team. He has also been at the forefront of developing the sport at primary school level and in the western suburbs.

Along the way, he has played for Highlanders B, Conquerors, Ghetto Boys, Hellenic and Bucs in Harare. As a coach, he formed City Knights and Angels and also had a spell coaching in Malawi. Sunday News spoke to him about his journey and his destination in basketball.

Sunday News (SN): What got you into basketball?

Durall Adams (DA): My involvement with basketball started when I was really young, quite possibly when I was about five or so. My mother Vanessa Williams Adams played base for Barclays Bank Basketball Club in Harare which allowed me to literary grow up on a basketball court and around the sport in general.

I grew up in the basketball fraternity and was privileged to watch great clubs like Sixers, Bucs, Knicks before I moved to Bulawayo and began to play at school when I got to Gifford High School. And while I was at Gifford, we would play our school league games at Founders High School on Saturday mornings until about midday. And while I was at Gifford, I joined Highlanders’ B side and began to play with legends like Basil West and Craig Garney. Here I rubbed shoulders with many greats who went on to represent the province and the country.

SN: Talk about growing up Mat’land basketball.

DA: When we were growing up, the Bulawayo Basketball Association was called the Matabeleland Amateur Basketball Association and ran two leagues: the A and the B league. The B league was mainly for talented school boys and girls who were being readied to play in the league by top clubs like Peking Stars, Highlanders, Conquerors, Memphis and Hellenics. Back then, B League games were almost always more entertaining than A League matches.

We would play our school league matches until midday on Saturdays and then rush to BCD to play for our B League clubs. In those days, Maba was very serious about promoting basketball development through the schools’ league and worked hand in glove with schools to identify talent. A lot of the B League players came from dominating schools like Northlea, Milton, CBC, Plumtree. I was captivated by the likes of Tiny Vas and took up basketball seriously.

After Highlanders B, I moved to Conquerors, then Hellenics before we formed Ghetto Boys which was coached by Ernie Noble I also played for Bucs in Harare.

SN: You have a very strong slant towards basketball development. Who drives this passion and where did the inspiration come from?

DA: My development vision is influenced by the late Jackson Nkau, Mr Esson who ran Peking Stars, Paul Vackos and many more who went out of their way to identify and nurture talent. These guys grew basketball to where it was in the yesteryear when everyone knew to head to BCD. What I learnt from these guys is that once we have retired or moved on in life, we have to plow back for the sport to keep growing.

It I with this in mind that we formed the Bulawayo Basketball Veterans Association some seven years ago primarily to promote basketball throughout the province whether it’s in the ghetto or to less privileged children who want to play. We have been building basketball courts in primary schools in the city like Coghlan and Masuku. We have been working with people like Earnie Noble who has been working tireless to promote basketball at primary schools like Henry Low.

We have been receiving funding from both the diaspora and from our personal pockets. We want to make the sport bigger and better in the western suburbs. As it is, we are looking towards building two courts in the townships, one in Nkulumane and another in Cowdray Park. This initiative is driven by the BBA youth development and veterans’ campaign that we are working on launching very soon

The veteran’s association of which I am president has two teams in the men’s and women’s leagues, City Knights and Angels, respectively. Our vision is growing the sport in the boy child and girl programs mainly in the western area.

SN: What is your vision for the veteran’s association?

DA: My vision for the association is that in the near future, we must own our own venue where we can run our youth development and coaching clinics. We also want to get players to understand that it’s not all about basketball but the academic aspect as well and so we always try and push on both sides of the fence: on and off the court. A lot talented basketballers fail to go to school so we try and fix this. Our main vision is to make sure that every person who wants to play has a chance to and a chance to get an education as well.

We know and understand that we still have a lot of work to do at grassroots level and to make matters worse, Covid-19 has pegged us back a lot, in fact in all sports.

SN: What’s your message to the corporate world?

DA: We would love the corporate world to support and help us build courts and sports clubs. We have been receiving a lot of support from the Basketball Union of Zimbabwe, the BBA and all other provincial bodies that run basketball in the country who have tried to bring coaches to help develop the game.

SN: Your pet project is Angels Basketball Club of which you are and BBA president, Sinda Mono are Trustees. How has that project been going?

DA: Angels Basketball Club was formed some eight or so years ago. In that time, I am pleased that a lot of talented young ladies have come through our ranks. We believe that we have been able to make a difference in the sport and this is evidenced when you look at coaches and referees, we have assisted to acquire Fiba qualifications over the years. Our brightest prospect is Fiba referee, Brie Ncube who we expect to do us proud at the USC Games in Lesotho in December. She has been selected by Fiba Africa to officiate at the youth games.

As a club we have been very active. We have toured and traveled to tournaments as far as Hwange, Harare and Zambia for our players to get a feel of competitive basketball and also to experience other cultures and make new friends. @simbajemwa

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