Sports

The Nassau Guardian’s Senior Male Athlete of the Year

COVID-19 dealt sports a crushing blow in 2020, but athletes persevered and a number of Bahamian senior male athletes in particular, turned in exceptional performances in their respective sports disciplines.

No one stood out more than Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm who became an overnight sensation in the baseball world, and as a result, was unanimously voted as The Nassau Guardian’s Senior Male Athlete of the Year for 2020. Chisholm stood out in a year in which sports was marred by disruptions, postponements and cancellations. It was the most frustrating year in sports in recent memory, all because of the advent of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Chisholm became the seventh Bahamian to be called up to the majors and the first since Antoan Richardson received his first call-up in 2011. The talented Bahamian ball player, number four prospect of the Marlins and number 61 in all of Major League Baseball (MLB), made an appearance in 24 games for the Miami Marlins after getting called up to the big leagues on September 1, 2020.

Chisholm batted .161, going 9-for-56, with two home runs and six RBIs, and helped the Marlins get into the playoffs. He finished the season with eight runs scored, one triple, a double and two stolen bases, and in the season finale against the New York Yankees, he was 2-for-4 with a two-run double and a solo home run. On the double, he had a shot to right center field, nearly clearing the wall, which would have given him his first two-home-run games in the majors.

In the field, Chisholm was a gem. He started 11 games at second base and six at shortstop, and turned in a number of highlight reel plays defensively.

Chisholm had 25 putouts, 43 assists and just one error in 69 opportunities. He was a part of 13 double plays and had a fielding percentage of 1.000 at second base and .962 at shortstop.

Chisholm made one of the plays of the year, and certainly the play of the day, on September 6, against the Tampa Bay Rays. On a ball hit to shallow center field off the bat of Rays’ first baseman Nate Lowe, Chisholm left his shortstop position, sprinted toward center and made a leaping, over-the-shoulder grab that was highlighted as the top play spot on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays. It was one of his highlight plays of the season and helped the Marlins preserve a 3-3 tie with the Rays in the eighth inning of that game.

In the playoffs, Chisholm started once at second base for the Marlins and was 1-for-3 at the plate with a walk.

At just 22, the future is bright for the Bahamian baseball star. Just recently, he was listed by MLB.com as the top candidate for the Marlins to have a breakout season in 2021. The sky is the limit for Chisholm. He is expected to report to training camp for the Marlins at the end of February, and given his strong debut in the majors in the 60-game shortened season of 2020, it is quite likely that Chisholm will be on the Marlins’ opening day roster.

Chavano “Buddy” Hield.

Finishing second in voting for The Nassau Guardian’s Senior Male Athlete of the Year for 2020 was Chavano “Buddy” Hield, the sharp shooting two-guard of the Sacramento Kings in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Hield won the Mountain Dew Three-Point Competition on All-Star Saturday night, holding off Phoenix Suns star guard Devin Booker and Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans in the finals. Hield hit seven of his last eight shots including four out of five on the money rack to record the thrilling one-point victory over Booker.

During the season, Hield averaged 19.2 points per game while shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from distance despite being relegated to the bench just over the midway point of the season.

Hield averaged 3.8 made three-pointers per game – his highest average in his short NBA career, and finished with 271 made three-pointers, which was just seven short of the franchise record of 278 he had the previous season. Also, he became just the third player in NBA history to make at least 270 three-pointers in consecutive seasons, joining Stephen Curry (2014-17) and James Harden (2018-20).

In addition to the 19.2 points per game, Hield averaged 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. In the season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers, Hield finished with a game-high 28 points, helping the Kings beat the Lakers 136-122. He finished 8-for-14 from three-point territory in that game, helping the Kings record a record-tying 21 three-point shots in the game, and he’s now third on the Kings’ all-time list for made three-pointers with 784. His 271 made three-point shots this season came during a COVID-19 shortened season and was second only to Harden’s 299.

Hield had four games of at least eight made three-point shots last season.

Bahamian national record holder in the men’s 200m and 400m Steven Gardiner.

Finishing third in voting for The Nassau Guardian’s Senior Male Athlete of the Year for 2020 was World Champion Steven Gardiner who went undefeated in all six of his races last year. Making the best out of the shortened season, Gardiner set a new national record in the men’s 300 meters (m), ran a personal best time in the 100m and went sub-20 in the 200m again.

He finished 2020 as the world’s best sprinter in the 300 by almost half of a second and was number three in the 200m.

Gardiner goes into the 2021 Olympics with an opportunity to run both the 200 and 400m and is a contender for a medal in both. In the latter, he is the world champion, running to the world title in 2019 in Doha, Qatar, in a personal best time of 43.49 seconds to be come the sixth-fastest of all-time.

Gardiner is one of six Bahamians to qualify for the Olympics in athletics, and one of three to qualify in multiple events. He has qualified in the men’s 200 and 400m. Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo has qualified in the women’s 100, 200 and 400m and Tynia Gaither has qualified in the women’s 100 and 200m.

The Olympics is now set for July 23 to August 8, in Tokyo, Japan.

Bahamian professional basketball player Willis Mackey Jr., who was named as the EuroBasket Player of the Year in the Liga EBA (Española de Baloncesto Aficionado) in Spain, finished fourth in the voting process, and sprinter Samson Colebrooke and Phoenix Suns starting center DeAndre Ayton were tied for fifth.

The Nassau Guardian’s Team of the Year for 2020 will be revealed tomorrow.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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