Friday, May 24, 2019
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Bahamian basketball more marketable than ever before

Yolett McPhee-McCuin, the motivating czar of women’s basketball, has taken her brand from the University of Jacksonville to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and has the Ole Miss Lady Rebels off to a 3-4 win-loss record at the start of this season.

DeAndre Ayton, a 7’1” center with the Phoenix Suns in the National Basketball Association (NBA), is at the beginning of his rookie year. He joined Mychal Thompson in the special category of being a No.1 NBA Draft selection. Thompson attained that historic milestone in 1978 and this was the year for Ayton. In the rookie class, the greatest expectations are on his shoulders.

Jonquel Jones won the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Best Sixth Woman Award this past season. She was the league’s most improved player the season before. The 6’6” center/forward was the No. 6 WNBA Draft selection by the Los Angeles Sparks and then was traded to her present team, the Connecticut Sun. On top of that, she proved in consecutive offseasons, while playing outside of the United States, to be the best player respectively, in South Korea and China.

Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield is into his third year of NBA play. He is with the Sacramento Kings for a second season and the shooting guard is evolving into an authentic performer who looks to be a mainstay in the NBA for years to come.

Like Jones, Hield was selected number six overall, three years ago by the New Orleans Pelicans and then traded to Sacramento in 2017.

The four extremely qualified basketball individuals are all Bahamians and they represent a moment in time whereby this country is at its highest ever marketing peak in basketball.

Indeed, being able to claim a direct association with McPhee-McCuin, Ayton, Jones and Hield is extremely gratifying, and Bahamians, particularly those directly connected to the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF), should be in a full recognition mode of what’s in our hands.

The minister of tourism, Dionisio D’Aguilar, would be wise to direct his marketing associates to look into the process of utilizing them to promote The Bahamas.

The BBF is in a very good place. The BBF leaders are positioned to interact with the aforementioned, noted Bahamians of basketball fame, so that their expertise and presence, on occasions mutually arranged, could galvanize the sport for thousands of young boys and girls from communities across our archipelago, from Grand Bahama, Bimini and Abaco in the north all the way down south to Inagua and Mayaguana.

I just wished to provide a bit of food for thought about Bahamian basketball today.

Let’s seize the moment!

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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