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Belize’s basketball future

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. May 27, 2021– With no current basketball competition in Belize due to Covid-19 restrictions, the recent visit of Tony Wright’s grandson, Marques “Ques” Warrick to Belize did not ignite a whole lot of interest despite his stellar achievements on the college basketball scene in the U.S.; but his participation in scrimmages with some of coach Clinton “Pulu” Lightburn’s Future Shock players has at least served to validate what Pulu has been saying for some time, that we do have some outstanding young talents here in Belize, that if given the opportunity can go much farther in the sport and thereby access educational opportunities abroad, even if they don’t make it to the top echlons of the highly competitive sport in the U.S. Ques was impressed by the youngsters that Pulu has been working with for a few years.

“Many are called” but not all are chosen; and Pulu himself has admitted that he has on occasion had to cut a few players from his Future Shock camp due to their refusal to accept the discipline required to compete at the highest level in a team environment. But those who stuck it out and maintained their grades in school have grown in their skill and knowledge of basketball, what Ques referred to as their basketball “I.Q.”, and that spells good news for the future Belize National Basketball Team.

Ques and Pulu

Among the young men in Pulu’s camp at Bird’s Isle on Tuesday, May 18, were 19-year-old SJC Sixth Form student, Alexander Ariola, who is 6 feet 5 inches tall. Alexander is in his first year with Future Shock. He attended Belize Elementary and then SJC high school, where he was the regional MVP in his senior year. Alexander is a Business Administration major, and has already secured a scholarship to Briercrest College in Saskatchewan, Canada, where he is headed to this “summer.”

Just turned 16 years old, Nisani Mendez is already 6 feet 2 inches tall, and attends Quality School International of Belize in Belmopan.

17-year-old Kentrell Marshall is a 6 feet 1 inch 3rd Form student at Nazarene High School, who has been with Future Shock for two years now. He attended St. Martin’s Primary, where he holds the primary school record of 56 points in a competition game.

16-year-old Kyle Castillo stands 5 feet 11 inches and is a 3rd Form student at SJC, now in his fourth year with Future Shock.

16-year-old Evan Welch is 6 feet 2 inches tall. He is a 3rd Form student at Gwen Lizarraga High School, and is a 7-year veteran of Pulu’s Future Shock program.

16-year-old Shane Pratt is 6 feet 3 inches, a 3rd Form ACC student, and he has been a Future Shock member for three years now.

16-year-old Jahzani Lightburn (Pulu’s grandson) is 6 feet 1 inch tall, a 3rd Form SJC student, and has been with Future Shock for five years.

17-year-old Jaheim Ciego stands 6 feet 5 inches and is a 2020 graduate of Ecumenical High School in Dangriga. He is in his first year with Future Shock.

And 17-year-old Brandon Vasquez, who is 5 feet 10 inches tall, is a 4th Form student at SJC, and is now in his sixth year as a member of Future Shock.

In his occasional Facebook posts, Pulu Lightburn has highlighted the spectacular accomplishments on the Mexican basketball scene of his young Future Shock basketball teams, much like the legendary Harlem Globetrotters. We no longer have to take Pulu’s word for it, since we have now received the acknowledgement and thumbs-up from a young man who has already experienced basketball at the highest collegiate levels in the U.S.

Who knows? Time flies, and it may not be too long before Ques is reunited on a Belize National Basketball Team with a few of these same youngsters featured here.

(top row l-r) Alexander Ariola, 6-5″, Brandon Vasquez, 5’10″, Evan Welch, 6’2″, Jaheim Ciego, 6’5″, Jahzani Lightburn, 6’1″ (bottom row l-r) Kentrell Marshall, 6’1″, Kyle Castillo, 5’11″, Nisani Mendez, 6’2″, Shane Pratt, 6’3″

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