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Boys basketball team to play AAU before Centrobasket

  • BONDING: The Bahamas’ Under-17 Boys National Basketball Team hopes to develop some chemistry ahead of the Centrobasket Championships by playing in an AAU tournament this week in Orlando, Florida. The tournament tips off today. FILE

Guardian Sports Reporter

Published: Aug 01, 2013

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Basketball coach Kevin ‘KJ’ Johnson will get to see first hand how some of the members vying for spots on the under-17 boys national basketball team, stack-up against competition.

A select team will play in an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) tournament, which will tip-off today in Orlando, Florida. Johnson, along with executives in the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF), will ratify the national team on Tuesday. The 12 players will travel to Puerto Rico to compete in the Centrobasket Under-17 Championships, August 13-19.

According to Mario Bowleg, first vice president in the BBF, this is a perfect test for players. He said the level of play at any AAU tournament is very high and it can work in the county’s favor.

“This is the best test and competition for these young men,” said Bowleg.

“AAU is a top level basketball so Coach KJ will get to see these young men in action, incorporate plays and players in certain situations. This is the kind of competition all of our players need, ahead of going to regional and international tournaments.

“The players who went with Coach Johnson are a great group of guys, one of the better teams I have seen in a while. I think they will fare very well in Orlando. The level of play there will boost their confidence heading into Puerto Rico. One thing for sure, this team will be very well prepared. Over the last month or so, I have seen a number of the players grow. They are much stronger and are working as a cohesive unit.”

Bowleg described the team in Orlando as being a diverse and well-rounded one. At past tournaments, The Bahamas had a problem with defending the paint, but Bowleg said that should change now that a number of the players are well over six feet.

Bowleg said: “When you have bigger, taller players who can play any position, your chances are much better. This is the best shooting team in the last five years at this age level. We have a few players who can take it strong to the bucket, step out and shoot the jumper as well as dribble. That team in Orlando has an excellent guard, so I think it is one of the best teams that we will put together at this age level, in a while. They are very well coached and ready to face the competition.”

The under-17 girls national basketball team is expected to travel before leaving for the Centrobasket Championships as well. Those championships for that age division is set for August 28-September 1, in San Salvador, El Salvador.

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