By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WITH this coming to the end of his four-year term in office as president, Eugene Horton said he's pleased to see the New Providence Basketball Association heading in the right direction.
From the time he took office, Horton said it was his intention to get the association realigned with a division II league that would allow the teams to complement division one.
When the 2018-19 season opens tonight at the AF Adderley Gymnasium, Horton said it would have a total of nine teams in both division II and one participating.
"We have a few new teams with some of the division one teams bringing in division II teams," Horton revealed.
"So it's shaping up the way we really wanted it to go with division one teams bringing division II teams so we can try to get back to the club system.
"It looks like we are on the way there, but unfortunately this is going to be my last season as the NPBA president. Elections are in May and I probably won't be coming back for re-election. It's just time for me to move on and let someone else take it to the next level."
In his dialogue with the coaches, Horton has pressed upon them the urgency to identify a possible successor and allow the potential candidates to work with him this season so they can be familiar with the ins and outs of the association.
Over his tenure in office, Horton has helped to transform the NPBA into one of the role model associations in the country with the live statistics provided after every game.
"We still have a way to go with it, but most of the leagues in New Providence are using the concept that we implemented," Horton said.
"We are trying to see if we can get the Family Islands up to speed with the system. We also want to put that system into the high schools as well."
The season will begin with two games on tap tonight. Thereafter, Horton revealed that they will be playing double headers nightly on Mondays and Wednesdays and triple headers on Fridays and Saturdays.
There will only be one division, instead of splitting the teams into conferences, which will allow each team to play each other twice before the playoffs are tentatively set to get underway on March 4.
The two teams will get a bye in the playoffs and the teams that finish third, fourth, fifth and sixth will play for the third and four spots in the first round.
"In this way, I think it will be a lot more exciting because we have a lot of player movement and sometimes when you set the divisions, they are unbalanced," he said. "So this way, the top six teams will be eligible for the playoffs."
Horton, however, said they have a challenge in that they have to complete a total of 144 games by April 11 when the Bahamas Basketball Federation hosts its national round robin in Bimini.
"The nationals is being moved this year to the week before Easter because the federation wants to make allowances for Exuma to participate because after Easter, it's regatta time in Exuma," said Horton, who also serves as the public relations officer for the BBF.
"So we have decided to move it up to the week before Easter because we want Exuma to be able to participate. So the challenge for the NPBA is to fill all our games in during that period."
During the nationals in Bimini, the federation will hold its election of officers and Horton said there's a possibility that he will be contesting the position of first vice president. "I will still be around basketball doing my thing, but probably not with the NPBA," he stated.
Prior to the completion of their season, the NPBA will also have to vacate the AF Adderley Gymnasium from February 4 and until the completion of the prestigious Huge Campbell Basketball Classic.
During that time, he noted that they have applied to play games at the CI Gibson Gymnasium. There are also plans to play at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium when the UB Mingoes host their home games.
Teams entered are as follows:
Division II teams
Breezes High Flyers, Triple K Stampers, Basden Elevators Elite, Caro Contractors Resistance, Sun Oil Rockets, Caro Contractors Titans, Your Essential Store (YES) Giants and Leno Eagles Nest.
Division I teams
Caro Contractors Pirates, Commonwealth Bank Giants, Fort Charlotte Defenders, Discount Distributors Rockets, PJ Stingers, JD's Seafood Shockers, University of Bahamas Mingoes, the Pros and Leno Regulators.
• Here's a look at the schedule:
7pm - YES Giants vs Leno Eagles Nest
8pm - JD's Seafood Shockers vs Leno Regulators
7pm - PJ Stingers vs Fort Charlotte Defenders
8pm - Breezes High Flyers vs Aliv Buckets
9pm - Commonwealth Bank Giants vs Discount Distributors Rockets