After a tough 2020, Bahamian junior basketball player Frederick King Jr. has etched his name in the history books for the country as he became the first Bahamian student-athlete to be selected to attend the elite National Basketball Association (NBA) Academy Latin America in Mexico City, Mexico. The announcement came at a press conference held by Bahamas Elite Sports Academy on their campus on East Lane in Centerville yesterday morning. King leaves for Mexico today.
“It makes me feel good,” King said. “I am very confident to know that I am the first one to go. It shows that anything can be possible once you put your trust in God.”
King hopes to see more Bahamians go to the academy in the future.
“I just want to say thanks to everybody who helped me on this journey and showed me love,” he said. “I feel confident, I only have to pick up some more skills. I’ve never been there before so I just have to go there and continue to work.”
The 16-year-old added that the goal is to get better. He is look to be a hybrid player, using the attributes of a point guard and a big man as he works on his shot.
The 6’11” post player was a catalyst for Kevin ‘KJ’ Johnson’s C.I. Gibson Rattlers senior boys basketball team last year with his above-the-rim plays. He was instrumental in giving them rim protection they needed as they made it to the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) Senior Boys Basketball Championship against the eventual winner Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins. King scored 12 points in the fist game of the best-of-three series which his team won. However, the Marlins won the next two games. The Rattlers did not participate in the 2020 Hugh
Campbell Basketball Classic and the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in The Bahamas forced the cancellation of the Bahamas National High School Basketball Championships.
King’s stepfather, Carson Lundy, said King’s journey started back in Mangrove Cay, Andros. He said he sent him to New Providence to improve his skills and now he is grateful to the president of Bahamas Elite Sports Academy, Rodney Curry, for facilitating the move to the NBA Academy Latin America.
“The journey with my stepson started from Mangrove Cay with Coach Smith, a hard-working coach who saw his talent and she said to me, ‘I think you should further his skills’. I took her advice and sent him to D.W. Davis Junior High School under Coach Mark Hanna and then he went to C.I. Gibson under Coach ‘KJ’ Johnson. I then got a call from Curry of his interest in my stepson going to the NBA Academy, and so said so done. I am very thankful to him for his sportsmanship and leadership,” Lundy said.
Lundy stated that King’s mother, Pamela Lundy, and his Mangrove Cay family are proud of King. He thanked Fred Smith and his family for taking over the guardianship of the former C.I. Gibson player.
Curry hosts a basketball showcase every year, but last year its was done virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year, we had to take a different direction and had to do a cyber showcase, and not knowing that today the result of that showcase would have been the young man having this opportunity to further his studies and elevate his skills,” Curry said.
He noted that there are other students at Bahamas Elite Sports Academy who will be attending school abroad.
Also on hand at the press conference was the president of the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF), Mario Bowleg. The basketball chief said the federation is happy that King got an opportunity to further his skills.
“We are elated and proud of the Bahamas Elite Sports Academy for having the platform where Frederick King was able to showcase his talent and to be given an opportunity to be the first Bahamian student-athlete to attend the NBA Academy… I believe that this opportunity that will be presented to Frederick is going to allow us to have another Bahamian player in the pipelines who stands a great chance of making it into the NBA. It shows the great improvement in the development of the game of the players. I am happy that this day is here where Frederick can improve his skills at a high level, and given an opportunity to become a professional athlete in the future,” Bowleg said.
Curry and School Board Chairman at Bahamas Elite Sports Academy Peter Gilcud appealed for any financial assistance from Corporate Bahamas or the public to go toward assisting King in his development in Mexico. Persons can donate through the school’s website, www.bahamaselite.org.
King was given a long-sleeve shirt by Gilcud with the word ‘Andros’ on it, and with a crab so that he could remember where he came from.
NBA Academy Latin America is an elite basketball training center in Mexico City for the top male and female prospects from throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Canada and South America. The academy is a partnership between the NBA, CONADE (Mexico’s National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport) and the Mexican Basketball Federation (Asociacion Deportiva Mexicana de Baloncesto, A.C).
Currently, there are student-athletes from Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela and Canada at the academy.