The Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) ratified a 14-member senior men’s national basketball team on Tuesday, in continued preparation for the first round of the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Americas World Cup Qualifiers, set for November 28-29 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (DR).
This will be the first window of the qualifiers for the team. They will play out of Group C with Canada, the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands. On November 28 and 29, they will play a home-and-away format against Canada on neutral ground in the DR.
Representing The Bahamas are Michael Carey, Shakwon Lewis, Dominic Bridgewater, J.R. Cadot, Kemsy Sylvestre, Mychel Thompson, Travis Munnings, Willis Mackey Jr., Radshad Davis, David Nesbitt, Mark St. Fort, Kentwan Smith and Shaquillo Fritz.
The head coach of the team is Moses Johnson and he will be assisted by Dexter Cambridge. Elvardo Kemp is the team’s manager and Eugena Patton is the physio trainer. Eugene Bain will be the protocol officer.
Johnson said there are players who will be unavailable for this window because they are recovering from injuries, including players such as Danrad Knowles, Zane Knowles, and brothers Dwight and Kadeem Coleby.
Carey, who is a veteran on the team, said that he is happy to be representing his country once again.
“Everyone has played with each other… I have played with all these guys so we know each other’s games. We know each other likes and dislikes. We should do well,” Carey said.
He believes that the team can steal a game from Canada, who is ranked much higher in the FIBA World Rankings, presented by Nike. Canada is at number 18 while The Bahamas is ranked at number 59. The DR is at number 20 and the U.S. Virgin Islands is ranked at number 52. Although a lot of their “bigs” are not available, Carey feels that the wing players have the ability to step up and help out with rebounding.
“If you look at Davis, Munnings and Cadot, these are guys who average six or seven rebounds per game… these are big wings who can slide inside and get some rebounds,” Carey said.
On hand was Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg.
“As a former president of the BBF and one who understands the make-up of the coaching staff, I am quite confident that the team will perform to the best of its ability and compete to win,” Bowleg said.
He added that Johnson has been around the team so there is continuity in the system and style the team plays. It is not much of a change as Johnson has also been a familiar voice to the team members.
Cadot was present and said he was happy to be back representing The Bahamas and asked for the Bahamian public’s support.
In Group C are the exact four teams that were in Group D for the previous FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifiers. These teams are four of 16 teams to qualify for the first round. To get here, The Bahamas competed in the FIBA Americas World Cup Pre-Qualifiers in early July, and finished that competition with an unblemished 3-0 win/loss record in Group A, playing against Cuba, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
The top three teams from Group C will advance to the second round of the qualifiers. They will join other teams to create two six-team groups.
In the second round, each team will play home-and-away series against the three new teams in their group over three windows. The second round windows are scheduled for August 2022, November 2022, and February 2023. Each team will play two games in each window.
At the end of these additional six games per team, the top three teams in each group, plus the best fourth team, will qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 is set to be held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, August 25 to September 10, 2023.