The Bahamas will get to see several top college prospects in action this weekend as the first Caribbean Tip-Off Classic takes place at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium. Action gets underway tomorrow and ends on Sunday.
In action in the tournament will be Bahamians Kai Jones and Samuel “Sammy” Hunter. Jones, who plays for Brewster Academy out of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, committed to the University of Texas at Austin early last month. Hunter plays for British Columbia (BC) Christian Academy in British Columbia, Canada, and he committed to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels two weeks after Jones committed.
Also playing for British Columbia Christian Academy are two other Bahamians, Leroy Adderley and D’Ante Dean.
Helsinki Basketball Academy (Finland), Redemption Basketball Academy (United States), British Colombia Christian Preparatory (Canada), Putnam Science Academy (United States), Brewster Academy (United States), Ridley College Preparatory (Canada), Tabernacle Christian Academy (Grand Bahama, The Bahamas), Anatol Rodgers Senior High School (Nassau, The Bahamas), St. Thomas More (United States), Crestwood College Preparatory (Canada), St. Augustine’s College (Nassau, The Bahamas), Rise Preparatory (Canada), St. Georges High School (Grand Bahama, The Bahamas) and C.I. Gibson Senior High School (Nassau, The Bahamas) will all be participating.
There is a lot of interest in the showcase from basketball scouts and media from all over the United States.
Managing Partner of Netscouts Basketball Carl Berman, who is one of the organizers of the tournament, said that the interest in the players is high.
“There is a lot of interest. Part of an event like this is getting American college coaches here recruiting. It’s a nice environment, and local interest is going to be good. Based on the publicity of the tournament we have we will have SLAM Magazine here and ESPN,” Berman said.
He hopes that the local players garner college interests.
Besides Jones, Brewster Academy has four other players who have committed to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I schools.
Forward Alonzo Gaffney committed to play with the Ohio State University Buckeyes and combo guard Jalen Lecque has committed to play with the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Point guard Joel Brown has committed to play with the University of California Golden Bears and 6’ 9” forward Anthony Walker has committed to play with the University of Miami Hurricanes.
Brewster Academy also has Jamal Mashburn Jr., son of former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Jamal Mashburn, who is a top 100 player in the 2020 recruiting class. Rounding out the Brewster Academy top prospects list is Terrence Clarke. He is ranked number two in the Class of 2021 by ESPN.
Other than Hunter, BC Christian Academy features Victor Radocaj who is a junior. He is being highly sought after by a number of top schools.
Helsinki Basketball Academy out of Finland has forward Mikael Jantunen who committed to the University of Utah. Another commit is Ville Tahvanainen. He committed to play with the Bradley University Braves.
Ridley College out of Ontario has Canada’s number one 2019 rated player in forward Jaden Bediako. He is undecided.
Rise Preparatory out of Ontario has senior guard Miguel Tomley who committed to play with the Santa Clara University Broncos.
Also receiving NCAA DI offers are Rahmir Moore, Thomas Chilton and Asare Octhere.
Crestwood Preparatory will feature 6’ 5” 13-year old phenom Elijah Fisher. He is in the Class of 2023 but is already drawing comparisons to NBA player with the Minnesota Timberwolves Andrew Wiggins and Duke sensational freshman R.J. Barrett.
Another player to look at in the showcase, from Crestwood, is senior point guard Jahcobi Neath.
St. Thomas More features Joel Soriano who committed to play with the Fordham University Rams. They also have Eddie Turner, their point guard, who is drawing the interest of a number of NCAA DI schools.
Putnam Science Academy out of Putnam, Connecticut will have ESPN Top 100 number 39 ranked player Akok Akok who has not decided on a school as yet but has offers from the University of Connecticut Huskies, the Syracuse University Orange and the University of Georgetown Hoyas.
Along with him at Putnam is Tyson Etienne, Justin Winston, Mohamed Sylla, Kareem Reid and Abou Ousmane. Winston has committed to play with the St. Bonaventure University Bonnies.
Tony Goodwin, who played in the Drew League over the summer, will be declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft. He is on the Redemption Basketball Academy team. The Drew League is one of the top pro-am summer leagues in the United States, and Redemption is located in Northfield, Massachusetts.
Steve Barnes, the director of the tournament showcase, is encouraging persons to come out and have fun while watching the future professional prospects in action.
“It is going to be fun. You are going to see unbelievable basketball and amazing players who each have a great chance of being in the NBA in the next few years. There are a few things happening this weekend but nothing that really tops what we got,” Barnes said.
The opening game is tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. when Hunter and his BC Christian Academy team goes up against Putnam Academy.
Jones and his Brewster Academy team will be in action in the afternoon session, at 1 p.m. against Ridley College Prep.
As for the local based teams, Tabernacle will meet Anatol Rodgers at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.
The last game tomorrow will be at 9:30 p.m. when St. Georges out of Grand Bahama take on C.I. Gibson.
Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students. The weekend package is $25.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism
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