BBF ratifies Centrobasket U17 boys team
The Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) has ratified a 12-member team to participate in the 2019 Centrobasket Under-17 (U17) Championships at the historic Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The event gets underway on Wednesday and will run until Sunday.
The team includes Tyler Pinder, Deyton Albury, Joshua Burrows, Isaiah Braynen, Oswald Meadows, Reagan Roberts, Jaydian Smith, Malik Joseph, Danardo Adderley, D’ante Dean, Ramad Dean and Chester McPhee.
Quinton Hall will serve as the head coach of the team, and he will be assisted by Mark Hanna, Kevin Clarke and Denykco Bowles. Stephen Brown will be the head of the delegation. George Burrows will be the athletic trainer. The team will be managed by Deleveaux Francis.
Hall said that he is excited about the team’s shooting.
“For the first time in a long time since I have been doing this, I am very excited about the shooting of this team. I think that is going to be a big difference in how we play. That is going to be a big plus for us. Over the years, I have always struggled with guys shooting, and meeting teams that will go into zones and dare us to shoot. Right now, I am looking forward to when they dare us,” Hall said.
Albury, who is coming off the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Basketball Without Borders Camp along with Dean, said he expects good competition and expects the team to play with plenty heart and come out with a lot of wins.
Albury, a combo guard, said: “We have been practicing for a little while. Chemistry is the biggest problem for us, but we have been working on that. We’ll be good.”
A lot of the local players played against each other throughout the school year and now must come together to play on the same team.
The team leaves for Puerto Rico today.
Team Bahamas is in a tough Group A that features the host nation Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and El Salvador.
Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica will be on the other side in Group B.
The Bahamas’ first game will be a test as they go up against the host in the late game on Wednesday. That game is set for 8 p.m.
“Puerto Rico is normally the strongest team in the region. We know what they bring to the table but, like I said, our shooting will be a key factor moving forward,” Hall said.
On Thursday, Team Bahamas plays El Salvador at 5.45 p.m. They close group play against the U.S. Virgin Islands on Friday at 5.45 p.m.
After group play, the semifinals and the reclassification rounds will be held. They will get underway on Saturday. The final will be played on Sunday.
On hand to throw the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s support behind the team at the official press conference on Friday was Director of Sports Tim Munnings. He told the players that he knows the competition is always stiff but added that they have confidence in the coaching staff.
“The department of sports is pleased to be here to support the efforts of the executives of the Bahamas Basketball Federation in their efforts to continue youth development. We just saw the girls team competing in the same tournament and they gave a valiant effort. These young men are headed off and we know the competition is going to be stiff, but we are confident that the coaching staff prepared you guys the best that they can. We would like to encourage you to do your best,” Munnings said.
Hall said the team consists of players not only from New Providence but players from Abaco, Bimini and Grand Bahama as well. A number of players are off in school. Hall acknowledged that the team doesn’t have much height but added that he has a lot of faith in the players on the team. He sees the team doing a lot of pressure defense, man-to-man defense and trapping to make up for a lack of height.
Hanna has been assisting with the under-17 team for the past three years and said the competition has always been tough.
“Over the years it has been very tough especially facing the Spanish-speaking teams, but I feel like we have been practicing hard and are prepared to go. We are going to have some fun and should medal, come back home and go to the next level next year,” Hanna said.
The Bahamas has to finish in the top three at this competition in order to qualify for the 2020 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Americas Under-18 (U18) Championships.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism