Men getting ready for Centrobasket
Guardian Sports Reporter
Published: May 18, 2012
Executive members in the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) are hoping to have all hands on deck when the Centrobasket Championships tip off in June.
Calls were made by men’s head coach Mario Bowleg to quite a few professional and college players earlier this year. Local players were also put on notice for the start of national basketball training. When the gym doors were opened, on Monday, Bowleg said the large number of players who were on hand is a positive sign.
“We are very pleased with the turnout,” he said. “We weren’t too keen about having 100 guys in the gym because we are looking at the guys who played on the CBC (Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championships) team and some of the other players who are in college or playing on the professional level. We want those players come home and play. Right now, in practice, we have persons who have played professional ball like Mitch Johnson, Jeffrey Henfield and Aaron Eneas. The college players are also home right now and we anticipate them competing.
“I just got a word from Bennet Davis this morning, that he has wrapped up his season in Japan and will be heading home some time at the end of the month. That will give him about three weeks to work out with the team prior to departure, so we are looking to improve as far as the statistics are concerned, especially from the last tournament.”
The Centrobasket Championships, or the second leg of the qualifying round for Caribbean countries hoping to make it to the ultimate level, will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 18-24. The Bahamas will open up against Cuba on the first day of the tournament, June 18, at 3:30 p.m. Both teams are playing in Group A along with Puerto Rico, Panama and Nicaragua. Over in Group B are the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica.
If Team Bahamas is successful, they would head to the Tournament of Americas in July, which would bring them a step closer to Olympic qualification.
Bowleg said: “If we get all of the personnel that we want I am sure we will qualify. We are still looking at some of the young players like Michael Carey and Shaquille Cleare. We should get a word back from them in short order, as far as it relates to their availability. They should be available, but I think they have to do summer classes. If that is the case, then we hope that they can switch from the early summer classes and do the late summer classes so they can come home and represent their country.
“Some of the other guys, we are working on trying to bring them home but we have to wait on them. Rony Cadot phoned me, on Tuesday, and advised me that he has training camp with the Houston Rockets. He will be working out with the Chicago Bulls too, but he intends to come home when that is finished, so, we in the executive of the BBF and the coaching staff are going to do our endeavor best to put the best team possible together, based on who we have available.”
The team will have to use past experience when they head into competition in June since no warm-up tournaments are scheduled. However, Bowleg said a few scrimmage games will be played. Bowleg, who assisted Larry Brown in the last tournament, said the same system will be used but he intends to improve on it so it can fit the talent pool.
Practice sessions are held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30 pm, at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs national Gymnasium. It continues on Saturdays at 8 a.m.