BBF ratifies 12-member team for Mexico matchup

The Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) ratified a 12-member team that will face Mexico in the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers on Thursday, February 20 at the Arena Astros in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The announcement was made at a press conference by the BBF on Thursday.

Representing Team Bahamas is Jaron Cornish, Dominic Bridgewater, Michael Bain Jr., Michael Carey, D’Shon Taylor, Michael Thompson, David Nesbitt, Willis Mackey, Jaraun Burrows, Tavario Miller, Travis Munnings and Shaquille Cleare.

The head coach is Norris Bain. He will be assisted by Steve Barnes and Perry Thompson Jr.

Moses Johnson will be the assistant coach, operations. Chris Demarco will be aiding the team’s practice sessions.

The head of delegation is BBF President Mario Bowleg. The therapist will be Eugena Patton. The team managers are Rodney Wilson and Elvardo Kemp. John Marc-Nutt will be handling the public relations.

The team departs today.

“I don’t think we have much weaknesses,” said Bowleg.

“We know that over the years our weakness is our ability to shoot the ball. When you look at us adding D’Shon Taylor to the roster, Michael Thompson Jr. who haven’t been able to play for the last two years, both of these guys and Travis Munnings and Michael Carey can shoot the ball pretty well. I think we have improved in that area.”

Bowleg also said that based on what he has seen with Mexico’s team of 24, he thinks The Bahamas matches up well with them.

The team will host its first practice session tomorrow morning and will practice twice a day leading up to game day on Thursday. Bowleg doesn’t think that it is a short time to get the team chemistry together because he said the core of the team and the coaching staff haven’t changed much from the World Cup Qualifiers.

Team Bahamas will also have two scrimmage games against two Mexican professional teams.

“I know for a fact that this team is a much better defensive team on paper than I have seen in a while. I think that is something that we want to live on to. We believe that once we defend very well that our chances will be great,” Bowleg said.

Following this game, Team Bahamas returns home to play against Mexico at the Atlantis Imperial Ballroom on Sunday, February 23 at 8 p.m.

“I think we are going to go out there and be competitive and I think we have the right mix of guys with savvy veterans and young athletic players to go out there and be competitive,” Taylor said.

“We have a good crew of guys. It looks like one of our stronger teams this year,” said Bain. “It’s a lot of work to get chemistry and try get this win.”

Bain asked for the Bahamian public to come and support the team on February 23.

Baha Mar has been the major sponsor of the national team as well as the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.

“Baha Mar lends its continuous support to the development of basketball in The Bahamas,” said Robert “Sandy” Sands, vice-president of external affairs at Baha Mar. “All sports are good vehicles for development of the youth.”

Sands added: “We are hoping that the team will come back victorious in this particular match held in Mexico and then certainly be victorious when they play in The Bahamas on February 23. We are proud to be a sponsor of Bahamas basketball and we wish them much success.”

Director of Sports at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Timothy Munnings said the ministry wants the athletes to perform on their home floor.

“The Ministry is very pleased that we have been able to come on at such notice to give our Bahamian athletes the best opportunity to perform on home court. We know that home court advantage at the level of play these athletes are competing at – any advantage and benefit you can get we’d like to take advantage of,” Munnings said.

Munnings added that the ministry is very confident in the athletes.

The Bahamas is in a very tough Group D with Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States of America.

According to Bowleg, The Bahamas needs to win at least two or three games to move on to the next round and he thinks there is a great opportunity for that to happen.

This is the road to Olympics 2024 in Paris, France.

Tickets are available at the Atlantis Box Office or at Sunshine Auto.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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