The Scottish Phoenix Honda Record Rocks widen the reach of their community work again this weekend. After a recent visit to the Western location of Islay, the professional basketball franchise is preparing to depart for the even more distant shores of Skye and Lochalsh.
Both visits are part of a recent health initiative funded by Rocks' sponsor Scotland Against Drugs. The programme is designed to offer youngsters a unique opportunity to engage with professional athletes. Using their sport and life experiences Rocks basketball players and coaches can deliver powerful messages promoting healthy eating, regular exercise and ambition as more attractive alternatives to smoking, drinking and substance abuse.
Presenting positive and inspirational role models is an effective and proven method for encouraging young people to make healthy lifestyle choices. LaMont McIntosh (pictured), Rookie point guard for the Rocks, has spearheaded the campaign and will travel to Skye for the two day visit. At the young age of 22 the American born athlete already has 14 years playing and 5 years coaching experience under his belt. More than most LaMont is aware of the importance of looking after his body and taking regular exercise.
The first coaching session will take place at Portree Primary School on Mon 21st February. Pupils attending will be taught the basic skills of basketball, learn the importance of team work and fitness, and have the chance to discuss health topics outside the classroom.
George Hall spokesman for Scotland Against Drugs, "Scotland Against Drugs is delighted to be working in partnership with the Scottish Phoenix Honda Record Rocks, encouraging young people to adopt positive and healthy lifestyles. We believe the more young people participate in healthy activities, the less likely they are to become involved in anti social behaviour and drug misuse."
Completing the two day session in Auchtertyre the Rocks will work with over 150 young people in the course of their stay on the island. After his first experience of the Scottish Western coast LaMont commented on his trip to Islay, "It was indeed, a great experience and I would embrace another opportunity to travel in order to promote health, basketball, and the Scottish Rocks."
The Rocks are excited about the potential of the "Rolling Rocks" role modelling campaign and hope to extend the initiative to include an additional 6 island locations.
With two home games this week LaMont and Rocks assistant Coach Ross Hutton, both of whom make the 4.5 hour journey to Skye on Sunday, will certainly put their own fitness to the test. The Scottish side play the Leicester Riders, on Thursday 17th Feb, tip-off 7.30pm a side they met in Leicester just 6 days ago. The Rocks came home with a victory and the Riders will be looking for revenge. Less than 3 days later the club take on their northern rivals the on-form Newcastle Eagles. Both matches take place at the Braehead Arena.
Rocks Director Ian Reid will be looking for success both on and off the court, "The Rocks are moving into a tough stage of their playing season and we need to keep focused to hold on to that all important play-off spot. Just as important is the clubs input into community programmes such as the "Rolling Rocks" role modelling campaign which will bring greater rewards for us all."