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The Bahamas to compete in skills challenge

The Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) has opted to participate in the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Under-17 (U17) Skills Challenge competition that gets underway the week of August 10 to 16, virtually.

Marvin Henfield has been selected by the BBF as the head coach for both The Bahamas’ boys and girls teams. The announcement was made at a BBF press conference held yesterday at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.

The U17 skills challenge is a new competition that FIBA has brought about during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose is to have national federations like the BBF bring their teams together for a training camp and allow players to enjoy a competitive activity without traveling internationally.

Players must be born after January 1, 2003 to participate.

The number of participating teams in the competition is set to increase from 16 to 20, with four additional spots qualifying from each FIBA region.

The Bahamas will be participating in the Americas region where one spot is up for grabs. The competition is a qualifier for the FIBA World Cup Skills Challenge, and it is similar to the NBA Skills

Challenge competition except there is a points system. The World Cup finals will be held the week of August 17 to 23.

Henfield said he is very competitive and very hopeful that The Bahamas teams will be in the finals.

There are 24 spots available on the team, but Henfield said they are looking at selecting 20 athletes.

All the competitions are recorded and the videos are submitted to FIBA one hour after the end of each competition. FIBA will evaluate the scores, then determine a winner.

Registration for athletes opens today and closes on Thursday, July 23. Athletes and parents will have to visit www.bbfbasketball.com to register. Once registration is closed, they will notify the athletes on Friday, July 24, for the order of the trials.

The first phase of the trials gets underway on Saturday, July 25 through Monday, July 27 at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium. The second phase of the trials will be on Wednesday, July 29 and Thursday, July 30. The trial blocks will be determined by an athlete’s last name.

The final selection will be made on Friday, July 31. The roster will be ratified and submitted to the BBF, who will make the final submission to FIBA on Monday, August 3.

The trials are also opened to Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.

“We have also comprised a format that we will submit on Friday, July 17, that we will submit to the federation. It will comprise the format for virtual tryouts for the Family Islands. I will be the first to admit that this process, in order for us to be entirely inclusive, requires us to be far more exhaustive than we are, given with the timeframe that we have. We intend to access all of the best athletes that we could in the timeframe that we have allotted to us,” said Henfield. “The format will entail a three to four skills point aspect that we would submit to the federation and then they have the responsibility in connecting with the local coaches on the island.”

The federation is asking all the islands, with the exception of Grand Bahama, to submit their top three male and female athletes. Grand Bahama will submit their top six male and female athletes. Grand Bahama and Family Island participants will have their trials recorded. Henfield and his team will make a decision by July 27.

If the athletes from those islands are selected, they will travel to New Providence for the official practices that are scheduled to begin August 3.

The challenge will see an athlete advance the ball up the court 15 feet through a passing hole in three attempts, and if successful they will receive a point. They will then go and make a layup on the same side of the basket, then take the basketball dribble around five cones and go to the opposite end of the court. They will then attempt a two-point jump shot behind the free throw line and if successful on their first attempt, they will be awarded two points. If they miss, they will have to get their rebound, make a layup and then dribble the full length of the court to the three-point line. If they make the three-point shot on their first attempt, they will be awarded three points. If they miss, they will have to get their rebound and pass the ball to their next team member and the other four members will continue with the process.

The highest score that can be obtained by an individual is six points. A team of five could achieve a total maximum of 30 points. The total score will be subtracted from the team’s total time in seconds, and at the end of it, the team with the lowest time wins.

Henfield is no stranger to the local basketball scene, having started his coaching career back in 1996. He has served as the director of mini basketball for the federation, is a FIBA instructor and is a skills instructor for The Bahamas’ national teams, to name a few of his responsibilities. He runs the Caribbean Sports Academy (CSA) on New Providence.

Filling out the coaching staff for the boys team is assistant coach Sanchez Moss. Francis Delva and Garvin Clarke are the team managers.

Moss will also assist Henfield on the girls team. The managers for that team will be Jabari Wilmott and Maleah Henfield.

Henfield said he and his team will abide by COVID-19 guidelines.

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