The Bahamas shines during Nike All-Stars game
The Bahamas continues to be a major destination for American basketball games in the region.
The 2nd Annual Nike EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League) All-Stars game took place on August 20, and it was a big hit among locals and visitors.
The exhibition game took place between the top high school and junior college players from The Bahamas and the United States at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
Former National Basketball Association (NBA) legends Brian Shaw and Rasheed Wallace coached the U.S. team and Quentin “Three Ounce” Hall, along with help from Chavano “Buddy” Hield, coached the Bahamian team. Shaw said after attending the first match last year that he made it a point to return to The Bahamas.
“This year the Bahamian team was much improved,” Shaw said. “The team had a lot better shooters, more athleticism and they always play hard. It’s fun. It’s the last thing the kids have before they start high school. Most of these guys have school on Monday. This is the last leg of it all.”
Asked about his time in The Bahamas, Shaw said, “It’s been good.”
He added: “I’ve been sipping on some nice drinks around the pool. I was able to bring my family so I got to spend a lot of family time out here soaking up the sun.”
Hield said he was having fun coaching young up-and-coming Bahamian basketball players. He said competition between The Bahamas and the U.S. was fierce this year.
“Coaching those guys, I let them know that I started just like them,” he said. “You can be the next one here coaching. It’s a learning curve for these guys. Last year they got beat by 60, this year they progressed.”
Hield had a spectacular collegiate season with the Oklahoma Sooners in his senior year. He was drafted sixth overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in June’s NBA Draft.
American high school players Mendel Carter, 17, and Tre Young, 17, said they had a great time in The Bahamas.
“This is my second time here,” said Carter, who is from Atlanta, Georgia. “We’re staying at Atlantis and there are lots of things to do over there.”
Young, who is from Norman, Oklahoma, the same place where Hield played his collegiate basketball, said he was impressed by the Bahamian fans.
“Nike did a great job of giving us the opportunity to come out here,” he said. “The fans out here are so loyal. It was fun for ‘Buddy’ to come out here and I feel that we gave the fans a show.”
The game took place during the Bahamas Basketball Federation’s (BBF) Summer of Thunder series. The Ministry of Tourism is a major sponsor of the BBF’s Summer of Thunder.
A total of 19 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball teams were in The Bahamas to take part in a series of exhibition matches meant to improve team synergy before their respective seasons start.