Coach Newell's Majuro visit ends on high note

Coach Tom Newell wrapped up his week-long visit to Majuro Wednesday on a high-note: He led a two-hour program and clinic at the MIHS gym for hundreds of Majuro Middle School and Marshall Islands High School students, gave a talk to Majuro Cooperative High School students, and opened the first 3-on-3 basketball tournament of 2013 — a 16-team shootout at the CMI court with over $500 in cash prizes.

During the Majuro visit from January 3-9, Coach Newell delivered the first Level 2 Coaches' Clinic in the Micronesia area — a four-day clinic that combined classroom and court work. Coach Newell certified 13 Majuro and Ebeye coaches in the FIBA Oceania-endorsed training program. The coaches were presented certificates by Coach Newell, US Ambassador Tom Armbruster, National Olympic Committee President Kenneth Kramer, and Marshall Islands Basketball Federation President Thomas Heine in a ceremony at the Marshall Islands Resort Tuesday evening, January 8. This event was also attended by Internal Affairs Minister Wilbur Heine and Secretary Daisy Alik-Momotaro, as well as sponsor representatives James Myazoe (Trust Company of the Marshall Islands), Kosuke Sato and Naoki Nishimura (MJCC), Jerry and Mercy Kramer (PII/Matson), and Arlington Tibon (Bank of Marshall Islands).

Shortly after completing the Level 2 training on January 8, Coach Newell was interviewed live on V7AB radio, the national AM radio station, by DJ Dial Menjin and former MIBF board member Giff Johnson. V7AB played the interview repeatedly the same day and again on January 9.

At the Nitijela (parliament) Wednesday morning, Minister Wilbur Heine made extended remarks broadcast to the nation on V7AB about Coach Newell's visit, praising the US Embassy and US Ambassdor Armbruster for arranging the visit, and recognizing the NOC and MIBF for coordinating the programs involving Coach Newell. He also spoke about the significance of the Level 2 training for local coaches, emphasizing its groundbreaking nature for the Marshall Islands. He then announced that the 3-on-3 basketball tournament would kick off in the at 1:30pm the same day to be broadcast. The Nitijela later recessed for the day at 12:30pm, allowing the live broadcast of the 3-on-3 competition to move forward as scheduled.

The 3-on-3 was limited to 16 teams because of the time constraints of needing to finish the same afternoon. The single-elimination tourney resulted in  Jetang (Mokku Lamille, Melu Wase, Junior Anuntak and Carlwin) taking on Team Majuro (Lajji Maddison, Baby Lometo, Keoki Pinho and Dexter Jikit) in the championship Wednesday late afternoon at CMI. In the closely contested championship, Team Majuro prevailed 17-15 to win the $200 first prize. Team Jetang went home with $150 for second place. Team Spanky won third place and $100 by defeating Team Lokjab, which received $75 for their efforts. During the tournament four players won three-point shooting contests, taking home new MP3 players donated by MJCC.

At an evening dinner in honor of Coach Newell at Ambassador Armbruster's home, Minister Dennis Momotaro and Secretary Daisy Alik-Momotaro presented Coach Newell with a large, custom made mat (jaki) from Mejit Island with the words "Komol Tata Coach Newell" woven into the mat. 

Coach Newell departs Majuro for Kwajalein and Ebeye Thursday January 10 to conduct player, coach and referee clinics at Ebeye from Thursday through Saturday. He will do clinics at the US Army base at Kwajalein High School on Monday morning and a Kwajalein-Ebeye high school game is scheduled for the afternoon before he departs back to the US.

Photo: Daisy and Dennis Momotaro present Coach Tom with a custom-made Mejit mat.




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