New York high school basketballers visit Naas

Local link: Coach is Naas’ John Burke

Paul O'Meara

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Paul O'Meara

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New York high school basketballers visit Naas

St Mary's College

The St. Mary’s College Naas basketball club are hosting a group of teenage girls from Truman High School in The Bronx, New York.

The girls took part in basketball and soccer activities during the week-long trip and are accompanied by teaching and coaching staff headed by Naas man John Burke, who is originally from Ashgrove and who has been PE teacher in the school for the past 15 years.

John is a past pupil of Naas CBS, and a former Irish International Basketball Player. This is the fourth trip to Naas by Truman High School. They hosted a basketball camp for Naas children in St. Mary’s, Naas, on Saturday from 10.30am until 2 pm with an exhibition game against DCU Mercy

They will also have an exhibition tomorrow (Wednesday) against a Naas All-Stars selection in St. Mary’s College gym at 3pm.

Mr. Burke thanked the host families who welcomed the girls into their homes for the week and the Naas Lions Club for sponsorship.

The THS girls come from tough neighbourhoods, and most of them have never left the Bronx. They are all of African or Caribbean descent. Coach Burke works rhard with his teams, and they must achieve academically to maintain their place on his roster. His goal is to get all his players to go on to third level education, and every player to graduate from his programme has achieved this. Many of his graduates have received full sports scholarships.

Kaydine Bent, who was part of the first visit to Naas, was the first female in the history of Truman High to be recruited to a Division 1 college. Krystal Pearson, who was on the last trip has now become the second player to receive a Division 1 scholarship. On their last trip in 2015 they had a young player called Dyona ‘DD’ Davis, who is now captain and has just signed papers for a full Division 1 scholarship.

Coach Burke sees this trip as an important part of his team’s education. He feels it is important to show the girls that there is a whole world outside what they know in the Bronx. They work very hard to fundraise for the trip and he feels this demonstrates that hard work gets results.

The team also visited Glendalough, Kilkenny and the Irish National Stud.

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