Rollers to train under Hawks program


In this file photo, a Rollers player goes up for a layup during a game in a youth league at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Saipan Tribune)[/caption8

The NMI Rollers Basketball Club now has the opportunity to train under the program of a National Basketball Association team.

Rollers co-founder and head coach Joe Diaz said they have been invited to Hawks at Home—a training program of Atlanta Hawks’ basketball academy.

“This is a huge opportunity, especially at this time when tournaments are on hold and there are restrictions on training due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Diaz.

The long-time coach added that they will be able to avail of the program for free because of their affiliation with the Panama-based United Nations of Basketball. UNB, according to its website, was formed this year to promote and maintain international peace through basketball, provide high level competition and sustainable sports development, and deliver humanitarian basketball aid. UNB is under the leadership of American coach and 2010 FIBA Children of the World Basketball Camp director Alan Walls.

“We would like to thank UNB and Alan Walls for extending the invitation for us to join their organization and for making it possible for the Rollers players and coaches to train under Hawks at Home. Any resources we could get to help develop the skills of our players and coaches are always a blessing to us,” Diaz said.

Initially, the program is offering live weekly online classes (every Thursday) via Every class is followed by a Q&A session with the designated Hawks Basketball Academy coach for better understanding. Invited players can also check the previous sessions, while the Hawks at Home will also provide participants a list of skills and drills that players can customized to build their own workout.

[caption id="attachment_330527" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The NMI Rollers Basketball Club players and officials pose with one of the group’s supporters, Joe Ayuyu Sr. of McDonald’s Saipan and Guam, during a courtesy call before competing in a Guam tournament last year. (Contributed Photo)

“This is a great option for your players to do some home workouts differently from what they have been doing for the past five to six months. New coaches, new drills, new learning,” Wall said in an email sent to Diaz.

Rollers players and coaches have been training at home for months due to the pandemic and Diaz said the suggested skills and drills coming for the Hawks Basketball Academy are definitely a great addition to their workout.

Besides its Hawks at Home, the Hawks Basketball Academy also offers players training camps, holds tournaments and coaching clinics, and supports the Special Olympics Georgia.

“We are very excited with the Hawks at Home and UNB programs and we look forward for more opportunities for our players and coaches in the future,” the Rollers coach said.

The NMI Rollers Basketball Club has over 100 players divided into different age groups and they compete in various youth leagues in the CNMI and have also played in tournaments in Guam and the Philippines. Rollers players also see action in interscholastic leagues, which won’t be kicking off anytime soon due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, interested Rollers players are required to register at to attend the virtual class.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
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