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BBF preparing to send two teams to Centrobasket

  • ON COURT: An under-17 girls national basketball team is expected to travel to the Centrobasket Under-17 Championships for girls in San Salvador, El Salvador, from August 28-September 1. The BBF will also send an under-17 boys team to Centrobasket this summer. TNG FILE PHOTO

Guardian Sports Reporter

Published: Jun 21, 2013

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Days after a seventh place finish by the country’s junior men at a major international tournament, the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) is preparing to send two more squads off to battle.

An under-17 boys national basketball team will compete in the Centrobasket Under-17 Championships, August 13-19, in Puerto Rico, and an under-17 girls national basketball team is expected to participate in the Centrobasket Under-17 Championships for girls in San Salvador, El Salvador, August 28-September 1. Both championships are qualifiers for the FIBA Americas Championships, otherwise known as the Tournament of the Americas.

“We will definitely be able to field two very strong teams,” said BBF 1st Vice President Mario Bowleg. “We are pleased with the coaching staff that is in place, and we will put together two great teams that will be able to compete at a high level. I am really hoping that this female’s team will be able to do something that they haven’t done in a while, and that is to qualify out of Centro and get to the Tournament of the Americas. That will be the first time for the girls, the boys usually do it.

“It is going to be a tough time for the girls though, seeing it is Varel’s first time as head coach. However, she was a national team player and a good basketball coach on the high school level so I think she will adapt. The fact that she is pairing up with Charlene Smith, who is also a former national team player and an outstanding head coach for many teams, makes them a great duo. They should be able to put together a strong team. I went to a few of the practices and the team is looking really good. They have sufficient time to do what is needed and put together a strong team. They have what it takes to head the team.”

Varel Davis will head the coaching staff inclusive of Charlene Smith, Stovette Cleare and Donavon Johnson. The men’s head coach is Kevin Johnson and he will be assisted by Daryl Sears, Wade Adderley and Mark Hanna.

Johnson is expected to name his squad in the upcoming days, giving the 12 members enough time to gel. Bowleg said a lot of pressure is on the junior boys, noting the accomplishment of the under-16 boys. The under-16 boys recently placed seventh at the Tournament of Americas in Punta Del Este, Uruguay.

Bowleg said: “There are always high expectations for the boys, especially since they’ve been there before. Coming from the under-16 tournament that was in Uruguay, some of those members are expected to try out for the team but that doesn’t mean that they will make the under-17 team. We know that we will have a much stronger team in the under-17 division than we had in the under-16 division. I expect them to do well and finish no lower than second, so they can get to the Tournament of the Americas.”

The BBF will also host a number of collegiate teams at this year’s 5th Annual BTC Summer of Thunder Classic. The 12 teams coming to participate in the classic are all under the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division I umbrella, but play in different conferences. Some of the squads are Manhattan University, the University of Mississippi, Maryland University, South Carolina State, Canisius College, Bradley University, Kent State University, the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and the Mickey’s All Stars.


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