Downtown Community Blues Basketball program showcases the talent of  about 135 players guided by 21 coaches

Egbert Gaye

It’s going on four decades since the Downtown Community Blues Basketball organization has been helping young Montrealers play out their basketball dreams.
Over the years the program, which started as the Dawson Community Blues, under the guidance of Joel Tyrrell, a well respected coach and mentor, has helped hundreds of student athletes take their game to another level, while encouraging them to pursue a college education and set themselves on a path to rewarding careers.
Today, the program is still going strong with over 135 players and 21 coaches and participating in the Montreal Basketball League and tournaments in and around the province with seven teams made up of boys between the ages of eight to 18-years-old as Tyrrell hands over the mantle to Shawn Alleyne, a former player who honed his skills with the DCB program during the 90s.
Alleyne says the goal remains the same.
“Our mission is to expose these young players to an elite level of basketball training while encouraging them to maintain a focus on education… all about balancing school and personal life.”
He acknowledges that in addition to having a tough act to follow in the work done by Tyrrell, the conditions facing the program as it positions itself for the future, is a little more challenging.
“Fundraising is our biggest challenge, especially now that we’re no longer connected to Dawson College,” he told the CONTACT in a recent telephone interview. “It’s not as easy to ask people to donate to our program since we no longer have charitable status to provide them with a tax deduction. However, we’re in the process of acquiring our charitable status and hope that it will be easier to raise funds in the future, but right now, it’s very difficult finding the resources we need to go into the 2018 season, which starts in a few weeks.”
Alleyne says DCB has an annual operating budget of well over $60,000, most of which he says goes toward gym rental fees, equipment, tournaments in and out of town and special events.
This past year was a good one for him as head coach of the Quebec Under 15 provincial team, which won the Silver Medal at the Canada Basketball National 15U Championships in Regina, Saskatchewan in July. One of his DCB players, Harrison Maurovich was on the team.
Five other DCB players, John Dayo and Rico Tonario, Sheldon Waithe, Christian Payawal and Kajante Lynch also made it to the provincial Under 14 team.
The program also has an illustrious line-up of former players with outstanding college and university careers, including Jordan Tyrrell at St. Francis Xavier University and John Abbott College, Kasheem Thomas at Cleveland State University and James Tyrrell at Concordia University.
Challenges aside, Alleyne is now looking forward to a successful season in 2018 for the players and staff of DCB.
It gets underway on Saturday, September 9, at Dawson College with annual tryouts.
Interested players can find information on the DCB website, or by calling Alleyne at 514- 825-2268, or Joel Tyrrell at (514) 931-8731 ext. 5032.