The '80s Eagles Soared, Then…
Jump Ball No. 46 (Part III. By Arlington James
Part II of the article presented on the introduction of Eagles II, the exploits of the Eagles teams from 1985 to 1987 and the dissolution of the Eagles. The article concludes below:
Eagles in Tournaments & Friendlies: Eagles was one of two teams which represented Dominica in the inaugural (1987) OECS Basketball Champion Clubs Tournament in Roseau. They placed 4th, but blew out Ball Hawks of St. Lucia (64-36) and Strikers of St Vincent (118-26).
Eagles also engaged teams from other Caribbean islands in friendlies. They first travelled with Flames to Martinique where they toured jointly in that Kwéyòl-speaking island. Eagles later hosted the Martiniquans.
Subsequently, Eagles took on Harmonites Hitters of St. Kitts in a home-and-away mini-series.
Eagles' Change of Plumage: Although the 1980s Eagles I remained on the rosters for only five seasons, they changed uniforms twice during their life time.
Eagles debuted wearing red uniforms, and in their second season they changed to black with orange-and-white trimmings. Subsequently they acquired a third set of outfits, strutting in orange with white-and-black trimmings.
On the other hand, Eagles Intermediates first appeared in black uniforms then changed to orange during the same season as their seniors.
Eagles on National Basketball Team: During their existence Eagles I boasted a wealth of skilled, talented players several of whom represented Dominica on the Senior National Basketball Team.
Those high-flying Eagles who wore The Nature Island's colours included Derek Alexander, Carlton Bernard, Franklyn Charles, Lennox Jervier, John Joseph, Mario Murphy, Marcellus Lee and Eusebe Roberts.
Eusebe subsequently played with Black Hills State College Yellow Jackets in South Dakota, USA on a basketball scholarship; he debuted in the Fall semester of 1987.
Eagles as Coaches: During Eagles days Lennox Jervier (then "Xavier") served as player-coach on Eagles I and coach of Eagles II.
Marcellus Lee and Derek Alexander later coached at national level. Firstly, Marcellus formed and coached Hoyas I in the late 1980's. He then served as Assistant Coach to Dominica's Senior National Team in 1989 and 1990, and from 1992 through 1996 he was Head Coach of the team.
Derek on the other hand served as Head Coach of Cardinals Division I and Blazers Premier Division team for a while, and Dominica's Team in the 2016 Caribbean Basketball Confederation Under-16 Championships held in Guyana. He also performed three stints as Assistant Coach of Dominica's Senior National Basketball Team.
Eagles As Basketball Referees: Several players who wore Eagles uniforms later went on to officiate in the national basketball league, either individually or as members of the Dominica Basketball Officials Association.
Marcellus was a senior referee for a few seasons, and we also saw both Rolands, Green, John, Derek and others officiating in different divisions in the national league. Perry and Russell were still officiating well past 2010, having started to contribute in that aspect of the game from the mid-1990's.
Sponsorship of The Eagles: The 1980's Eagles teams were sponsored by American businessman John Keller.
It must be noted that by the end of the first year of Eagles existence, the sponsor had decided to terminate the sponsorship of the team on account of damaging statements that were being made about him, not by members of the team, but damaging nonetheless.
Thereafter, a four-man sub-grouping from the Eagles decided to approach Mr. Keller in order to negotiate the continuation of the sponsorship of the team. And their efforts produced good fruit.
The sponsorship received over the five years met the cost of uniforms, full warm-ups, shoes, balls, registration fees, etc. for the two teams.
Eagles Sports Club: The Eagles were probably the first grouping of basketballers in Dominica to form themselves into a club, which was named the Eagles Sports Club. The latter was formed during the Eagles' second season (1984).
Eagles Sports Club was launched with a grand dinner and their activities included exchanges with overseas basketball teams, participating in Mas Domnik (Carnival) 1986, organizing a Health Talk delivered by prominent surgeon Dr. Hendricks Paul, and implementing a cross-country run.
It should be noted that in addition to the sponsor providing $1,000 monthly to the club to run its affairs, team members also received free 'dentals', free medicals (annually and as needed), and emergency personal assistance from the sponsor. Their club house was located on Kennedy Avenue.
Remarks: Since the 1980s Eagles departed from the basketball scene, three other aeries of Eagles have participated in the national league. However, none have ruffled feathers as J.K Eagles of the '80s did. Enjoy your retirement guys.
Special Thanks to Perry, 'Tico' and 'Tee-Ling' for providing information for producing this article. Statistical information sourced from archived newspapers at the National Archives and The Chronicle Office.