FIBA: Kai jones to play for the bahamas again


Senior Sports Reporter



Kai Jones

BAHAMAS Basketball Federation executive Moses Johnson said they’re excited that Kai Jones will be the centrepiece for the men’s national basketball team when they play in the first window of the FIBA AmeriCup 2025 Qualifier.

Jones, a free agent in the National Basketball Association, is one the 18 players who are shortlisted for the team that will play in a home-and-away series against Puerto Rico.

The first match will be played on Thursday, February 22 at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan at 7:10pm before the two teams come to the Bahamas to play on Sunday, February 25 at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium at 8:10 pm.

Also on the shortlist are Kentwan Smith, Rashad Davis, Tavario Miller Sr, Travis Munnings, Domnick Bridgewater, David Nesbitt, Jaraun Burrows, Godfrey Rolle III, Danrad Knowles, Aaron Levarity, Emmanuel Newsome, Eron Gordon, Kemsy Sylvestre, Jonathan McFall, Dylan Musgrove, Jean Rony Cadot and Qyemah Gibson.

According to Johnson, who will serve as the head coach for this window, they were not able to assemble all of the top players, who are still playing in the NBA, in Europe or college.

But he noted that the coaching staff, when finally put together, will assemble a solid team of 12 as they go out to avenge their last loss to Puerto Rico, who won 102-97 in February 2021.

“This is just a preliminary list and then we will narrow it down to get our 12 players for this window,” Johnson said. “Most of these players are actively playing in Europe because the NBA and college players can’t attend.

“We’ve chosen the best and like we always do, we include some of the local talent that we feel are best suited for the exposure to make up a strong 12 for the team.”

As for having Jones available to play again for the Bahamas after he missed the Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament last year in Argentina, Johnson said he will be the focus of their interior lineup on both ends of the court, defensively and offensively.

“Having him on the defensive end and adding him to our offensive attack, will definitely be a plus,” Johnson said.

“It’s something we didn’t have for these windows for some time, so we’re look- ing forward to having him on the team.”

While Jones did not play, Smith, Davis, Munnings, Bridgewater and Burrows were all a part of Team Bahamas that defeated Argentina in the finals of the pre-Olympic Qualifier to become the first team from the Bahamas to advance to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

The 2025 AmeriCup Tournament will be played in Nicaragua.

It will determine the best team in the region and allow for team rankings according to how they finish.

The Americas sits in FIBA alongside Asia, Africa and Europe.

There will be three sets of pool play, which will have dual games in each section, starting in February when the Bahamas plays Puerto Rico.

The next round will be in November when the Bahamas plays the United States and Cuba on the road.

They will wrap up in February 2025 by hosting Cuba and the United States.

“The Bahamas has never made the AmeriCup Tournament so this is a great opportunity for us to move up the rankings and also to make history by securing a seat at the table in the AmeriCup Tournament in 2025 in Nicaragua,” Johnson stated.

Johnson is encouraging the public to come out and support the federation in the game against Puerto Rico.

He said the funds generated will help the men’s team as they continue their historic trek to the

Olympics. “We have a big summer ahead of us with the Olympic qualifier and this is a fundraiser, so we are asking the public to come out and also to be the sixth man to give that added boost of energy when we need to hear that cheer, cowbells, whistle or goatskin drum in the back- ground urging us along,” Johnson said. “So we’re looking for a full house. We expect that everybody would get their tickets. Tickets are now available and so we’re asking every- body to go ahead and book their tickets.”

Tickets are priced at $30 for general admission and $125 for VIP.


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