By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
What they lack in height, head coach Quinton ‘Three Ounce’ Hall is hoping that his national team will make up with their speed when they compete in the 2013 FIBA Americas Under-16 Boys Championships in Punta Del Este, Uraguay, this week.
Hall, assisted by Albert “Chevvy” Simmons, Neville “Manny” Adderley and Stephen “S” Brown, left town over the weekend to compete in the tournament that is slated to get started on Tuesday. The Bahamas has been placed in pool A with Argentina, United States and Mexico, whom they will play in their respective games during the first three days.
Named to the team, which was announced on Thursday at a press conference at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, are the following:
Daejour Adderley - 6’-2 guard
Shamar Burrows - 6-2 point guard
Travis Barnet - 6-0 guard
Livingston Bromwell - 6-4 small forward
Kevin Cooper - 6’-6 power forward
Qyemah Gibson - 6-’6 forward
Sebastian Gray - 6-’6 forward
Marcian Higgins - 6-’2 guard
Birthel Lightfoot - 5-10 point guard
Oswald Parker - 6-4 small forward
Deondre Vilmar - 6-2 point guard
Shamaal Miller - 6-3 guard
Also travelling on the team are members of the technical staff who are D’andra Mills, the trainer, Anton Francis, manager; Christian Morley, team official and Mario Bowleg, the federation executive member.
The team has a cross-section of players from throughout the Bahamas and if there is any consolation in meshing their talent together, Hall said it’s the fact that they still have the core team from last year’s 15-under team that finished third to qualify for this year’s tournament intact.
“I think that was a big part in plans moving forward,” he said. “The strength is defending the guard. Our size has always been our downfall, but hey, we just have to make up with our quickness and try to be as clever as we could.”
The one good thing about the Bahamas going into the tournament is the element of surprise, according to Hall.
“They don’t know us and we don’t know them,” he said. “I hope that is positive for us.”
This will mark just the fourth time that any team from the Bahamas has qualified for the Tournament of Americas, the third for a junior team, and Bowleg said it speaks well for the future of the federation.
“To be able to say that you are in the top eight in the region in the Americas speaks a lot because this is the best region in the world,” he said. “For us to go at this level and be able to defeat just one of them and have an opportunity to go to Junior Worlds is all the federation wants.
“We just want these guys to go there and do their best and try to qualify for the Junior Worlds, which will be the first time that the Bahamas has ever fielded a team at that level. At this level, this is the level of the Pan American Games when we look at it from the senior level.”
The Bahamas will need to win at least two of their games in their pool play in order to have a chance to qualify for the Junior World Championships that will be held next year in the under-27 division.
Some of the players were on hand for the press conference and they noted their pleasure in making the trip to represent the country.
Lightfoot, who hails from San Salvador, said he expects for them to “go over there, give our best and come back with the victory. It feels great, knowing that as a player from San Salvador, anybody can do it, if you just put in the work. We are all humans.”
Miller, a resident of Grand Bahama, said he too is hoping that “we will come back with the victory.
“I just hope that we develop the team chemistry and we play with a lot of energy and we come back with the victory.”
Burrows, a player from New Providence, said he would like nothing better than to help the team before the first to qualify for the World Championships and make history as “we make an impact on the country and show that these young men can actually make something positive out of ourselves.
“I’m very inspired by the way we trained and this year, I actually think that the team is even better than last year and I think this is a good chance for us to make it to the World Championships.”
Burrows said their big men are much better than the team last year and they are versatile, so as long as they step up and do what is required of them, they should have a very good chance of advancing.
Brown said as coaches they are going to do their part to make sure that the players stay motivated by hosting their daily devotions re-emphasising the importance of putting God first in everything that they do.
“We are just as strong as they are. They might have more talent, but if you play with more togetherness, the hope is better,” he said. “We just have to talk, communicate and do the basic things.”
Director of Sports Timothy Munnings gave the team a send off.
“We’re very proud of you as young men as you go on to represent the country,” he said. “You’re wearing the national colours, so that’s a big deal. When you go out there, you must realise that the country is looking forward to do well, behave well and represent us.
“You’re going to a major competition. Your first vice president and the executives have a lot of confidence in you and by extension, we have a lot of confidence in you. We want you to do well. you represent what the ministry’s focus is going to be in these coming years and that is the focus on young people like yourselves. You are the future. We wish you all the success in moving forward.”