By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WHILE coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin will be returning home next weekend to complete the 12-member list for the women’s team to the Central Basketball Championships, the Bahamas Basketball Federation has decided that it will be more feasible to send the 19 players off to Colorado where coach Larry Eustachy is stationed before their final selection is made.
Both teams will be representing the Bahamas at the CBC in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The men are slated to compete July 1-5 and the women are set for action July 8-12.
Federation first vice president Mario Bowleg, who will be assisting Eustachy, said they will be sending the male players to Colorado on Thursday before the final 12 will be selected by June 23. The women, on the other hand, will be selected by June 23 when McPhee-McCuin holds their final trials.
“More of the players who showed interest are in the United States and the time frame that they would have been able to come home, it would have been too late for us to get together,” Bowleg said. “It only costs the federation about $100 odd dollars for some of these guys to travel in the US like Houston to Colorado to practice than what it would have cost to bring them to Nassau.
“That just didn’t make sense because with Larry Eustachy already in the US where the majority of the players are and we could use his facilities at Colorado State University without any interruption, the federation decided that economically, it would be best to allow the men’s team to practice in Colorado. With the women, the majority of the players are here, so it’s best to fly their coaches in.”
The federation will be looking at the following players to make their final selection to travel to the tournament:
CJ Hines, 6’0 (2-1); Marvin Grey, 6’0 (1); LJ Rose, 6’3 (1); Mychel Thompson, 6’7 (2-3); Mitchell Johnson, 6’4 (1-3); Kadeem Colby, 6’9 (5); Bennet Davis, 6’9 (4); Chicken Knowles, 6’10 (3-4); Magnum Rolle, 6’11 (4-5); Anwar Ferguson, 7’0 (4-5); Ray Rose, 6’1 (2); Archie Rose, 6’4 (2-3); Eugene Bain, 6’6 (3-4); Michael Carey, 6’5 (2-3); Dwight Colby, 6’9 (4-5); Kentwan Smith, 6’8 (3-4); Scottie Ferguson, 6’7 (4); Rony Cadot 6’4 (3) and Nathan Bain, 6’6 (3).
Note: Numbers 1 = point guard; 2 = shooting guard; 3 = small forward; 4 = power forward and 5 = center.
“We have sufficient shooters, an inside game and ball handlers, which should make this one of the best teams that we will be able to put together in a long time,” Bowleg said. “The cut for this team is going to be extremely tough, especially at the number two guard. Even though Buddy Hield will not make the first trip, he is in the list of 24. He has something to do, but when you look at the players on the list, it’s going to be extremely tough.
“The federation feels as if we can put the best 12 together right now to advance to the CentroBasket and then compete for a spot at the Tournament of America.”
Once the coaches make the final selection for the team, Bowleg said the players will remain in Colorado where they will continue to work out in preparation to travel to the British Virgin Islands on June 28 to continue to prepare for the tournament.
“We are trying to take the national team to the next level. Far too long, people have been saying that we have not been able to get the best team on the floor,” Bowleg said. “We are trying now to get to the point where we are sacrificing to do things that will enhance our environment and make them feel as if they are a part of the programme.
“Michael Thompson Sr has made the effort to ensure that Michael Jr is playing, Lynden Rose is making the effort to push for Lynden Jr to play and so we are making every effort to make sure that we put the best team together and comfortable in representing the Bahamas as we try to qualify for the Olympics.”
The Bahamas will be placed in Group A with Cuba, Antigua & Barbuda and St Vincent & the Grenadines. Group B will comprise of the Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Guyana and Barbados. The top two teams in both groups will advance to play against each other to determine who will play for the title and in the third place game.
The remainder of the teams will compete for positions from 5th to 8th place.
At the end of the tournament, the top three teams, both men and women, will earn berths to participate in the Centro Basket Championship where they compete for spots in the FIBA Americas Championship that will enable the teams to qualify for the FIBA World Cup or the Olympics.