By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
FOLLOWING their women’s counterparts, the Bahamas’ under-17 men are set to compete against the top teams in the region at the 2019 Centrobasket Championships.
The tournament is scheduled to be hosted July 24-28 at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Bahamas was placed in Group A alongside the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and El Salvador. Group B includes Mexico, Panama, the The Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
Team Bahamas includes Tyler Pinder, Deyton Albury, Joshua Burrows, Isiah Brennen, Oswald Meadows, Reagan Roberts, Jaden Smith, Malik Joseph, Denardo Adderley, Deante Dean, Romad Dean and Chester McPhee.
“I am proud to announce that these players will be representing the Bahamas. This team has been put together well, has been practicing and working hard together since training has started and will represent the Bahamas very well,” said Mario Bowleg, president of the Bahamas Basketball Federation. “I am very confident with this team that has gone through the selection process by the coaches. We have to thank the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for their financial support to make it possible for this team to make this trip.”
Head coach Quentin Hall said this may be one of the better shooting junior national teams the programme has produced in recent years.
“For the first in a long time I am really excited about the shooting of this team. I think that is going to be a big difference in how we progress so that is going to be a big plus for us right now. Teams in the past have sat in a zone and dared us to shoot, but right now I’m looking forward for them to dare us right now,” he said. “Unlike any other year, we have a wide range of kids from all over the islands. We have a kid from Abaco, kid from Bimini, we also have two kids playing in Canada, and another in Oklahoma. It wasn’t easy to get this together but at this stage it looks pretty good.”
The Bahamas will open competition against Puerto Rico at 8pm on Wednesday.
“We know what they bring to the table,” Hall said.
“The strength of the Bahamas is always quickness. If we can get into them defensively and understand where we need to be. We’re not that big but our heart will be a determining factor. I see us pressing and doing a lot of trapping.”
Albury recently participated in the 10th Basketball Without Borders camp in Medellin, Colombia, featuring 64 boys and girls from 18 countries around the world.
“The competition is going to be good. We expect that, but we also expect to play hard and come out with a lot of wins,” he said.
“I think we’re ready. The way we practiced, I think we’re ready. Chemistry was the biggest problem whenever you bring a team together, but we’ve been working on that.”
Hall will be assisted by Mark Hanna, Kevin Clarke and Denycko Bowles. Delva Francis will serve as the team manager.
“It’s a privilege to represent the county in doing something I love. It’s a very difficult job picking this team because many good players were left out. We went with the players that we feel will help the system,” Hanna said.
“Facing the Spanish speaking Caribbean countries are always tough but I feel like we are prepared and ready to go. We should medal and be able to go on to the next level next year.
At the 2017 U-17 men’s Centrobasket Championships, Team Bahamas ended Centrobasket the way it began with a lopsided win over Guyana, but ultimately a disappointing seventh place finish.
The Bahamas scored the 91-63 win to conclude their five-game stretch in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic.
Dominick Bridgewater led the team with 24.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.6 assists per game. Raschard Greene averaged a double double with 10.2 points and a team leading 10.8 rebounds per game, Sammy Hunter averaged 14.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, Grevaughn Goodman also averaged 14.6 points per game and was the team’s leading three-point shooter at 42 per cent.
The top three teams in the tournament will qualify for the FIBA U-18 Americas Championship 2020.
“We are pleased to support the BBF in their effort for youth development, said sports director Tim Munnings. “We just saw our girls compete in this same tournament and they gave a valiant effort. We know the competition is going to be stiff but we gave the confidence that the coaching staff has prepared you to do the best you can. The Bahamas is watching and cheering for you and we hope that the team does their best.”