By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
YOUTH Against Violence is getting ready to hold its 23rd annual Peace on da Street Basketball Classic July 16-20 at the Hope Centre with five competitive divisions to be contested.
Director Dr Carlos Reid is encouraging teams that haven't done so to register as only eight teams will be allowed to participate in the Browns Tree Cutting 13-and-under division, the Sky Bahamas 16-and-under division, the Clear Solutions Plus 19-and-under division, the Rubis Bahamas Church division and the KFC Open division.
To add to the excitement in the open division, Reid said there will be a cash prize of $2,000 for the winners.
Teams that are interested in participating, Reid said they are encouraging them to contact The Hope Center as soon as possible because they want to complete the brackets before the start of the tournament.
"We are not going to be taking teams in on the day of the tournament," Reid revealed. "Sign up early. Eight teams in each of the divisions. We have all of these divisions because we want to showcase everybody."
But Reid said it is mandatory for players participating in the 13-and-under, 16-and-under and 19-and-under to provide proof of their age or they won't be allowed to compete.
And he advised that it's their hope that the teams competing in the Church division will be true to themselves and only use players who are a part of their congregation as they try to keep the competition pure.
As they close out the tournament with the fun night on Saturday, July 21 at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium, players will get the opportunity to participate in the Sunshine Auto 3-point shootout and the Rubis Slam Dunk contest.
The slam dunk will offer cash prizes of $1,000 for the winner, $800 for runner-up and $200 for third place. The "Werm" is already confirmed to come in from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to defend his title.
And instead of the popular Ministers versus the Politicians game, Reid said they have changed it to a celebrity game where persons like Sawyer Boy and Julien Believe will get to match their skills against the Pastors.
Reid said they anticipate that Reach Out Ministries will be back from Grand Bahama to defend their titles in both the 16-and-under and 19-and-under divisions.
Another team from Grand Bahama is also due to participate this year and there are expected to be a number of Bahamian collegiate players home from school in the United States and Canada, who will be featured in the tournament.
"This event has become an elite basketball tournament in the Bahamas," Reid said. "Our classic has become the most highly anticipated summer event in New Providence.
"Over the past several years, we have attracted some college recruiting coaches from the United States, who come with the hopes of offering scholarships to some of our young players."
A number of sponsors are back and others have come on board this year, including Aliv, Island Foundation, Rubis Bahamas Limited, Sunshine Auto Sales, Clear Solutions and Sawfely Solutions, Negril Cafe, Wong's Rubber Stamp & Printing, Micronet, British Colonial Hilton, RBC, Commonwealth Bank, Jones Communication, Royal Star Assurance, JS Johnson, More 94 FM, The Sports Center, Original Patties, Lyford Cay Club, JMEL Group of Companies, Island FM, ZNS, The Tribune, Guardian Radio, Star Radio, Sky Bahamas, Tripoint, 100 Jamz, Gatorade, Consumer Choice, Mario's Bowling and Family Entertainment, First Caribbean, Bahamas Wholesale Agencies, Milo Butler, Purity Bakery, British Fidelity, Basil Ingraham & Co, 92.5 Beat, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Classic 98, Kiss FM, Security Depot and Love 97.
Jayme Pinder, the Marketing Director at Aliv, said as a telecommunication company, they are not just out to provide good communication service, but to sponsor and partner with community projects such as Peace on da Street to help do their part in creating meaningful and memorable experiences.
"We are again elated to be on board with The Hope Center and specifically Peace on da Street and we thank you so much for be an elite sponsor for the event," Pinder stressed.
For their part, representor Charles Kemp said Clear Solutions Plus are pleased to be a part of the tournament for the first time.
"We have followed this event for a number of years and we are so proud to see how much it has grown and what it is doing for the community," Kemp stated.
"We do s number of sponsorship for the community throughout the year. This is probably one of the premier events that we will sponsor for the year and we are proud to be a part of it."
He said they are just delighted to be able to assist with the young men in becoming positive role models in the community.
And Serene Seymour, representing Rubis Bahamas, said they are committed to supporting initiative that support the development of young people in the community where it is through sports, academics or any social projects.
"We just want to thank you Dr Reid for all of the sacrifices that you have made towards assisting the young people in our country, especially the young men because they are our leaders for tomorrow," Seymour stated.
"And so your sacrifices do not go unnoticed and the investment that you have made are truly appreciated by the Bahamian people. So we just want to wish all of the competitors good luck. We're looking forward to an exciting competition and may the best players win."