Bahamas boys bonding ahead of FIBA Americas
Guardian Sports Reporter
Published: May 21, 2013
The Bahamas’ under-17 boys national basketball team has just about three weeks to prepare for one of the biggest qualifying tournaments in the region.
The FIBA Americas Championships for Under-17 Boys, otherwise known as the Tournament of Americas, will be held June 11-15 in Maldonado, Uruguay. Team Bahamas needs to finish in the top four to advance to the 2014 FIBA World Championships, which is set for June 26-July 6, next year. The team qualified for the Tournament of the Americas after finishing among the top two at Centrobasket last year.
In this round, The Bahamas will play out of Group ‘A’ along with Argentina, Mexico and the United States of America (USA). In Group ‘B’ are Puerto Rico, Canada, Chile and host country Uruguay. The tentative schedule has Team Bahamas opening up against Argentina on Tuesday, June 11. On that Wednesday, Team Bahamas will play Mexico, and then the United States the following day.
The draw for the tournament was conducted by Sports Director of FIBA Americas Anibal Garcia who confirmed that the top four teams will advance to the 2014 FIBA World Championships for Under-17 Boys.
Members of Team Bahamas are working hard, training on Sundays and holidays. The team continued practice on Monday over at the D.W. Davis Gymnasium. Mario Bowleg, first vice president in the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) and national teams coordinator, said he likes what he sees so far. He is counting down the days to the arrival in New Providence of the other national team prospects. So far, the BBF has released the names of 12 persons.
"I have recently gotten involved in the whole process now that the final selection is getting near," said Bowleg. "The team is well-rounded. Originally, it should be about 15 players in the pipelines before a final decision made, but we have 12 now and they are all young, talented players. You can say that the core of the team that played in Centrobasket will be returning.
"That was a well-rounded team with a lot of depth and chemistry. The coaches’ expectations are very high. They know and can relate to the players more than I can. I don't know most of the guys like that, but the ones who I do know, I can say are strong and ready to play when called upon."
According to Bowleg, about three or four players will be returning home in a couple of days to work out with the team. The other members are inclusive of Sebastian Grey, Daejour Adderley, Shamar Burrows, Livingston Bromwell, Shamal Allen, Qyemah Gibson, DeAndre Vilmar, Traves Barnett, Oswald Parker, Kevin Cooper, Birthel Lightfoot and Raymon Smith, in San Salvador, El Salvador
Quentin Hall is the head coach of the team and he will be assisted by Chevy Simmons, Neville “Manny” Adderley and Stephen Brown. Players on the national squad hail from different islands in the country including New Providence, Grand Bahama, San Salvador and Eleuthera. Bowleg said he is proud of the route taken by the coaches to ensure that almost every island is represented. He also thanked them for doing a remarkable job on scouting the talent in the country and encouraged them to continue to build the national program.