More than 20 Marines and Sailors around the island have been proving themselves to get their shot at representing MCBH at the Men’s West Coast Regional Basketball Tournament at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, scheduled for April 13-17.
Sgt. Maj. James Roberts, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Headquarters and Service Battalion Sergeant Major, and an assistant coach will select 12 to 15 players to participate in the event, pending approval from their commands.
Roberts, the head coach, has been observing prospective players and is looking for Marines and sailors who are willing to put forth maximum effort and work as a team.
“The players we have coming out are those who stay out of trouble and want to work hard. That is what I am looking for in the players,” said Roberts.
This annual event will give the service members a unique opportunity to travel and showcase their talent, as there will be scouts from the All-Marine Basketball Team seeking talent.
“Last year we had one sailor selected to go on to make the All-Marine team,” explained Roberts. “We have a smaller group here in Hawaii, but big talent. This is just one way to show how well Marines and sailors work together.”
Those selected will be assigned to Temporary Additional Duty for the MCCS-sponsored event to take on teams from Camp Pendleton, MCAS Yuma, and MCAS Miramar.
“This is an outlet for some of the Marines and Sailors. It gives them a break from their jobs and a chance to represent their base and the Navy and Marine Corps,” said Roberts.
The players coming out and giving it a shot have their own reasons for participating, but one is typical among most of them -- a passion for basketball.
“I heard from another Marine about this opportunity and decided to go with it. I love playing basketball and it’s a chance to get out of the barracks and get some extra PT,” said Lance Cpl. Cornelius Powell, who is trying out for the team.
Another prospective team member, Lance Cpl. Timothy Johnson, has been playing since he was 6 and is hoping to get to show off his talent in California.
“I’ve been playing since my father put a ball in my hands and it’s something I’m good at,” said Johnson. “Hopefully I can get to California and represent the Marines out here in Hawaii.”
Roberts acknowledged the support he has received from the different commands for the players trying out. It has helped him significantly in the process of putting a team together.
“I would like to thank the units for allowing their Marines and sailors to come out and play,” Roberts said. “I look forward to their continued support through the tournament.”
As the date nears and as selections are made, Roberts emphasized the most important elements for success in the tournament.
“We aren’t as big as the other teams coming from bigger bases, but we’re going to play hard, play together, have some fun and go for the win,” said Roberts. “We’ll be bringing great talent with us.”