It was a clean sweep for James Price and his “Team Next Level” as they were elected to run the New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) for the next four years at their annual general meeting. The elections took place at the Ministry of Youth on Wednesday night.
It was a second run at the elections after it was pushed back from the initial date that was set for May 25.
Along with Price, 11 other officers were voted in to take over various positions including Kevin “KJ” Johnson as first vice president, Donnie Culmer as second vice president, Kevin “Island” McPhee as third vice president and Ryan Turnquest as fourth vice president. The others include Sophia Hunter as the treasurer, Rochelle Kemp as secretary, Rhodnia Johnson as the assistant secretary, Perry Thompson as assistant treasurer, Moses Johnson as public relations officer, Anthony Rolle as commissioner and Terrance McSweeney as assistant commissioner.
Price defeated Ricardo Smith and his “One Team One Dream” team. He was elated that the elections are over and ready to get to work.
“It was knocking around for a while but thank God it came to an end and we were successful. If you notice, our slate won every position and we are thankful for that and the people have the confidence in us. We can now start working to make the league better,” Price said.
Overseeing the elections was Mario Bowleg, president of the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF). According to him, it was a smooth election.
“It was smooth. It was a clean competition. We had to vote for the president twice. It came back twice tied and on the third round someone broke the tie and we had a new president. All the other positions were cleanly contested and the clubs have made their minds up as to who they would like to see lead them in the next four years. It’s up to that team and the federation to assist them to ensure that basketball is on an upward movement,” Bowleg said.
One of the things that the new president wants to do is to increase fan base and ensure that there is a relationship between the referees, coaches and players.
“We have to increase the fan base. Before that, we need to get a good working relationship with referees, coaches and players. We had a little challenge with that this year but we have to make sure that everybody is on the same page in order to move forward,” Price said.
He continued: “We just need to have good dialogue between players and coaches. It all comes with respect and if you respect me then I respect you, it comes along with good working relationship.”
Kevin Johnson said that one of his goals and objectives is to try and get some scouts in to look at the younger players.
“My goal and objective especially for the division II guys is to try and bring in some scouts. Even though they are 19 and 20, and finished school, they still have an opportunity to go to college once they have the grades and are inspired to go to school, we always bring them down to see the young men and give them the opportunity,” Johnson said.
Eugene Horton, immediate past president of the NPBA and now first vice-president of the BBF, said that it is a good team. Price was his first vice-president and knows how hard he worked. Horton also said that it will be a smooth transition from his team to this new team.
Bowleg added that he is looking to have an elite program put in place where select players will have a chance to play in France.
“The federation has an elite program that we are getting ready to put in place. This summer will be the first stage of that elite program that will be led by some of our professional players like Jaraun ‘Kino’ Burrows. Right now, we have a connection with France where we are going to be able to send some of these young guys who play in division II or recently out of high school. Dominic Bridgewater is one of the first to go. We now open that door where we are going to try and get some of our players over there to play professional ball and improve their skills and come back home and represent their countries. Some of these guys who are playing in the league now will be invited to those camps that will be held by Burrows. Those guys can show him they have the skills – he will definitely ensure that those tapes of them are seen for clubs in France and give them an opportunity. The higher level they play the better they will be to play locally or to represent the country,” Bowleg said.
This new team will be leading the NPBA until 2023 and will look to advance the sport of basketball in New Providence through its league play.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism