Earl Matthew's Passion for Basketball
Jump Ball No. 115.(Part II).By Arlington James
Part I of the article presented on Earl Matthew's formative years in basketball, his playing subsequently in the national, off-season and university leagues, and his representing Dominica and his club. The article concludes below.
His Highest Personal Score: Elroy' 35 Pts in a School League match was presented earlier, but he recalls that his highest personal score ever was a mammoth 63 Pts scored in the Paix Bouche League in 2001, while playing with Hawks.
That may just be the biggest player-score ever in a 40-minute basketball game in Dominica to date, just outscoring Etzol Andrew's 62 points scored with Dominica Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School in the Schools League in 2000.
The scoring record set by Etzol, who is also from Portsmouth, was included in Jump Ball article No. 112, "You Set It… We Break It!" which was published in The Sun newspaper on 27th September 2022. Hence, Etzol can consider his record to have been short-lived, having been broken the season after it was established.
Awarded For His Efforts: With several years of playing basketball under his belt, Earl has built up a small but impressive collection of awards and accolades. These were acquired from the schools', community and national leagues.
- Highest Individual Scorer – while with PSS, in Schools League, 1994
- Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Scorer of Most Points (aggregate) – while with CDCC, in Schools League, 1995
- Most Valuable Player (MVP), Highest Individual Scorer and Scorer of Most Points (aggregate) – while playing in Paix Bouche Basketball League, 2001
- Playoff MVP Award – while with Blazers, in DABA Premier Division, 2009
Mr. Matthew, Coach & Referee: Earl, who holds a Diploma in Coaching from the Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary has spent many hours coaching basketball teams locally. He has so far employed his coaching skills in the national league, in a community league, in the schools' league, and with the national youth team and representative team.
He began as a player-coach with Raiders, performing that double role for a few years before the left the state to pursue studies overseas.
Further, he served as Head Coach for the Dominica (Males) Team in the Windward Islands Schools Games (WISG) staged in St. Vincent in 2001, Grenada in 2001, and St. Lucia in 2003, directing the team to win the basketball segment of the Games in St. Lucia and for the Dominica squad to emerge overall WISG champions.
In the Schools League organized by the Sports Division, Earl coached the Portsmouth Secondary Schools Under-20 (Boys) annually from 2000 to 2009, directing the team to reach the semi-finals yearly over those ten years and capturing five or six championships during that period. He also coached the PSS Girls and Under-15 Boys teams to a few championships.
Earl was also coach of the Dominica National Youth Team for an engagement versus their St. Kitts counterparts.
But in Mr. Matthew's assessment, his "most memorable" coaching stint was with the Possie Vibrations Lightning Under 15 team, taking them "from grassroots to champions."
Apart from playing, Earl also officiated in the National and Portsmouth Leagues.
Basketball Administrator: Earl also extended his skills to basketball administration when he served on the Executive of the DABA as a Committee Member. Currently, he serves as President and League Coordinator of the Portsmouth Basketball League.
Earl disclosed that he is working very hard "to make the Portsmouth Basketball League the best league on the island." He disclosed further that earlier in 2022, at the conclusion of Portsmouth's first post-Hurricane Maria league, each member of the champion team received his championship ring, a first for Dominica.
Looking Back: Reminiscing a bit with a sparkle in his eye Earl, now 46 years old and standing at 6ft 2in tall thinks that 2009 and 2010 were his most memorable years in basketball. For one, he was a member of Blazers when they captured consecutive "Battle of the Fittest" championships in St. Maarten in 2009 and 2010.
2009 was also the year that he helped Blazers win the national Premier Division Play-off Championship and in his own words, in 2010 he "carried Paix Bouche Eagles to the playoff finals vs X-Men."
Looking back further he noted that in the past he "was everything for Raiders: coach, manager, player and that took a toll (on him). But in 2009 with Blazers all I had to do was attend practice and just play basketball. I really delivered."
Remarks: Jump Ball commends Earl for his vision for Portsmouth basketball and wishes him all the bast in his aendeavours. Go for it, Elroy!