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Interview with FIBA Oceania's Steve Smith - Aug 5, 2005

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FIBA Oceania secretary general Steve Smith gave an interview to the Saipan Tribune newspaper. He answered questions about how he ranks basketball development in the Commonwealth, his views on "importing" basketball talents from off-island, the state of basketball in the world, and the rise and fall of USA Basketball.


Saipan Tribune: What is your impression of basketball in the CNMI? Could you comment on the officials, facilities, and interest on the sport in general?
Steve Smith: I was very pleased that I had the chance to visit Saipan recently. It is unfortunate that my trip was so short and I was not able to visit outside Saipan. Even my time on Saipan-less than two days-was too short to pretend that I am an expert. Nevertheless, I was very encouraged by the potential I saw for the growth and development of our sport. For a nation of your size, good progress has been made in recent years in developing basketball facilities. The gyms at Marianas High School and Northern Marianas College are very good. The Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium is also good but as the oldest and hardest working of the gyms on the island, is in need of some "tender loving care"-a bit of a "facelift"-to bring it up to the standard that the people of Saipan deserves. I believe there are future plans to build a gym at Saipan Southern High School. During my meeting with Gov. Juan N. Babauta, he advised that if he were elected for a second term, he would construct three community gyms in the north, center, and south of Saipan. If all these things do happen, Saipan would have an excellent supply of basketball facilities. With respect to basketball officials, everyone should respect the people within BANMI (Basketball Association of the Northern Mariana Islands) who have put themselves forward and volunteered their time to provide leadership for our sport and to devote time on a volunteer basis. They get few thanks and little reward-only joy in the hearts when things come together, they achieve some success, or they put a smile on a child's face. So I have great admiration for your BANMI officials and thank them for helping us to grow basketball. I think you presently have on the BANMI board a good mix of talents to help our sport. Ex-players, coaches, referees, people with connections to business and to government. People with international experience, people with administrative, legal, and accounting experience. So you have the ingredients for a successful BANMI. With respect to the interest in the sport, it seems the CNMI is very lucky-it was clear to me from my brief stay that interest is very high. Young people, adults, masters are all keen on the game and it is pleasing to me to learn that over recent years, the game is holding more appeal to girls and a few more opportunities have been created to allow them to play the game.


ST: How does the CNMI rank in basketball development in the region?
SS: The biggest problem it seems to me for CNMI Basketball is consistency-or rather the lack of it. If BANMI can help in the delivery of a more consistent program, our sport will benefit tremendously. When I talk of consistency, I am really thinking of a regular competition calendar, which has a designated start and finish time for leagues for adults, for youth, for women and for girls. There also should be a regular, "calendarized" all-star game between the best of the leagues BANMI organizes and the Filipino league-just to stir some interest in our sport. We also need regular participation in international events. Don't tell me it can't be done, because if baseball can succeed, why can't basketball?


ST: What does CNMI Basketball need to improve on?
SS: Well, it seems to me to achieve the things I have just talked about requires some planning and that is  

Banmi brings back bigger Settsu tournament - 4 Years ago
According to tournament director and coordinator Gabriel White, the Settsu Red Impulse Basketball Club is bringing in two U18 teams (girls and boys) for the sixth edition of the tournament that will run from March 26 to 28 at the Marianas High School Gymnasium. This years event is expected to draw more teams, as BANMI has also extended its invitation to Guam's Notre Dame Royals and George Washington High School, along with private and public schools on Saipan   [read more]
Northern Mariana Islands tame Palau - 8 Years ago
Northern Mariana Islands - Palau 67:61 Northern Mariana Islands posted the first win at the 2010 Micronesian Games. They rebounded after a bitter loss to Pohnpei in the opener. Northern Mariana Islands held off hosting Palau to improve at 1-1 record. Palau slipped at 0-2 record at the tournament. CNMI quickly gained the lead in this one. They stayed in charge throughout the opening quarter and posted an 18:11 lead ten minutes into the encounter   [read more]
Northern Mariana Islands lose Micronesian Games opener - 8 Years ago
CNMI - Pohnpei 67:71 Northern Mariana Islands got to a slow start of the 7th Micronesian Games in Palau. They lost the opener to Pohnpei. Northern Mariana Islands got to a slow start. They were down by 7 points 11:18 at the first break. But the strong second quarter helped them take a 34:29 advantage at the interval. Pohnpei stressed the game inside the paint and it paid off. They went on an 8:2 run to surge ahead. Pohnpei maintained the lead throughout the third term   [read more]

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