10 elite NCAA division I programmes in Junkanoo Jam


Sports Reporter


THE Bahamas has become a proving ground for elite NCAA division I programmes and that trend will continue with this year’s field in the Junkanoo Jam.

The 13th edition of the event will take place over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Freeport, Grand Bahama, with the field expanding to now include 10 teams.

Basketball Travelers, Inc. announced the field which includes the Baylor Bears, Boston College Eagles, Cincinnati Bearcats, University of Denver Pioneers, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Michigan State Spartans, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Oklahoma Sooners, UCLA Bruins and Utah Utes.

Five of the 10 teams will be making a return trip to Freeport. Baylor won the Lucaya Division in 2006, Boston College topped the Lucaya Division in 2010, Michigan State also won the Lucaya Division in 2009, Notre Dame snapped the Freeport Division crown in 2011, and Oklahoma placed second in 2004.

The talented field will be led by the Fighting Irish who finished as national runners-up Tuesday night to defending champions, the UConnn Huskies.

“We are very excited to be part of the 2015 Junkanoo Jam. Our team had a truly memorable experience during our last visit to the tournament in 2011, thanks in no small part to all of the hard-working people at Basketball Travelers who put on such a great event year after year.

“We are looking forward to returning to the Bahamas next season for what should be another outstanding tournament,” said Irish head coach Muffet McGraw.

Louisiana Tech will be led by Tyler Summit, son of coaching legend Pat Summit.

“We are excited to be a part of this event. It will be an incredibly competitive field with some of the top teams in the country,” he said. “This will be a great opportunity for us to showcase our programme and challenge our young team against some great competition.”

Since the tournament’s inception in 2002, many of the nation’s top women’s programmes have converged on Grand Bahama to test their skills in meaningful regular season competition.

Local favourite Jonquel Jones returned to Grand Bahama at the 2014 Junkanoo Jam.

Jones delivered an MVP performance and led her George Washington Colonials to the Freeport Division title at the St George’s Gymnasium.

The junior forward posted a double double in the title game - 14 points all in the second half and 14 rebounds - in the 79-59 win over the Purdue Boilermakers.

In the Lucaya division, the No.1 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks showed why they are the top NCAA women’s basketball programme with the tournament title.

In the finale, they topped the Syracuse Orange 67-63 in the championship game.


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