By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
The inclusion of the Nigeria men’s national team and the Georgetown Hoyas, coached by Hall of Fame NBA centre Patrick Ewing, and the introduction of the ladies’ division will make the 2019 edition of the Summer of Thunder one of the most exciting to watch.
Bahamas Basketball Federation first vice president Eugene Horton revealed yesterday that the tournament will run from Augusty 3-26 with games being played at both the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium and the Baha Mar ballroom that will be transformed into a gymnasium when they host games being played by the Memphis State University Tigers.
The Nigerian national A & B teams, en route to the FIBA World Cup in China from August 31 to September 15, will use the tournament to prepare for the competition. They will also be joined by the University of Kaduna out of Nigeria.
Joining Georgetown Hoyas on the collegiate side are the Furman University Paladins, McNeese State University Cowboys, University of Tennessee Chattanooga Mocs, University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens, Duquesne University Dukes, Murray State University Racers, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Maryville University Saints and the York University Lions women’s basketball teams.
They will take on some local teams that include the Commonwealth national champions Commonwealth Bank Giants, IBA Elite, which is made up of some of the best division II players from the New Providence Basketball Association, a team put together by pro player Keno Burrows and a division II team from Abaco.
The Abaco Elite team will make their debut as a Family Island gets to participate for the first time.
“This is going to be a competitive tournament this year, especially with the Nigerian national team participating,” Horton said. “They are bringing their national A and B teams and a team from one of their universities.
“So what we have done is to pair them up against some of the top college teams competing in the tournament. We wanted to make sure that they get some good competition while they are here.”
Horton said the federation will also be using the tournament to look at the players who will be considered for selection to the national team that will represent the Bahamas at the upcoming FIBA tournament in November.
The Nigerian team was scheduled to arrive in the Bahamas on July 20 and depart on August 3, but Horton said they convinced them to prolong their visit so that it can coincide with the Summer of Thunder to ensure that they can get in some quality competition.
Memphis State, who will be playing their games at Baha Mar, where they are putting down a floor for them to play,” Horton said. “Texas Tech, Georgetown and the Nigerian teams will play all of their games at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.”
While the tournament will kick off on August 3 with the Commonwealth Bank Giants taking on Temple University in the opener at 1pm, followed by IBA Elite versus Furman University at 3pm, the Nigerian teams will be in action from August 5-9.
The Nigerians will depart on August 10.
Memphis State will play four games at Baha Mar starting on August 14 against Commonwealth Bank, August 15 against IBA Elite, August 17 against the Bahamas national team and August 18 against the Raw Talent Elite. All their games are slated to begin at 5pm.
York University will close out this year’s tournament at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium when they take on the Bahamas All-Star ladies team at 7pm.
It’s estimated that fans will be charged $5 for children and $10 for adults, who will get to watch at least three games per session each day.