BBF team set
The Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) has selected a 12-man team that is mixed with overseas and local players for the AmeriCup 2021 Pre-Qualifiers to get underway next week at the Belize City Civic Center, Belize City, Belize, from Friday, February 22 to Sunday, February 24.
The announcement was made by the BBF at a press conference held at the Baha Mar resort.
Making the team are Domnick Bridgewater (Fos Provence, France), Michael Carey (Mexico), Michael Bain Jr. (Commonwealth Bank Giants), Eugene Bain (PJs Stingers), Jean Rony Cadot (Spain), Kentwan Smith (Denmark), David Nesbitt (Brazil), Winslo Barry (Spain), Shavanno Cooper (Philippines), Shaquille Cleare (Mexico), Lourawls Nairn (Phoenix Suns) and Torrington Cox (PJs Stingers).
The head coach is Norris Bain. Assisting him on the sidelines will be Mario Bowleg and Steve Barnes.
Notable players missing are Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings and DeAndre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns. The NBA is in season and they are unable to play along with a few other Bahamians who play professionally overseas.
Carey, Nairn, and Cleare are the three returning players that represented The Bahamas in Americas Qualifiers last summer.
The team will be training in Miami, Florida, for three days from Monday where they will be playing in two scrimmage games against local colleges to help with their preparations for the pre-qualifiers.
Bowleg said that he thinks this team is a very defensive team and the chances of moving on are great.
“I think we will move on, taking nothing from Antigua, Belize or Cuba. I think that this team is a very good defensive team and very athletic. In the World Cup, we had a lot of talent but we didn’t have guys that defended very well and from my past experience over the last year, I think that this team will defend very well. I think head coach Bain is very happy with the way we should defend and that is why we believe we are going to pressure the ball a lot and get in their face and force teams to play ‘helter-skelter’ basketball which will benefit us greatly,” Bowleg said.
The top two teams from each tournament will join Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela and the Virgin Islands for the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers in November of this year. They are in Group A.
Cuba is a very tall team but Bowleg said that The Bahamas’ guard play can combat that along with the 6’11” Cleare and 7’0” Barry who can match up with Cuba’s height.
Barnes said: “We are going to have a team that will extend the floor and pressure the floor with man-to-man pressing. I think that we are going to get up and down the court and use our athleticism to score. We are going to spread the court in the half court.”
On hand, representing the players, was Michael Carey. He said: “The key thing about this whole thing is going to be closing out. A bunch of guys have gotten better in their games. As for me, I shot the ball pretty well last window. We got some key guys coming back from the last time in the Dominican Republic. I’m ready to give this another shot.”
Derron Donaldson, secretary general of the Bahamas Olympic Committee, said he applauds corporate sponsors like Baha Mar that assist the BBF. He hopes the team makes it to the 2024 Olympics after not being able to make it to the 2020 Olympics.
Their first game of the tournament is on Friday, February 22, against a tough Cuba team at 6 p.m. They play Antigua and Barbuda the following day at 6 p.m. On the final day, Sunday, February 24, they will play the host in the marquee game at 8.30 p.m.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism