COB Caribs men’s basketball team ‘will only get better’


Senior Sports Reporter


HIALEAH, Florida — Sean ‘Bass’ Bastian, the assistant athletic director, said the College of the Bahamas men’s basketball team will only get better as a result of their participation in the Florida National University’s Basketball Classic over the weekend.

The Caribs, who went into the tournament riding a three-game winning streak in the New Providence Basketball Association, returned home with three losses against the FNU Conquistadors and the University of the Virgin Islands Bucs at the Bucky Dent Gymnasium.

“The trip, as we continue to build the athletic department, we need games like this for our men’s basketball teams,” said Bastian, who served as the team manager for the trip.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t win any of the games, but I think Bacchus Rolle, the coach, can take some positive things from the three losses and build on it for the ending part of his season.”

Bastian, who coached the Caribs for more than a decade before Rolle took over last year, said he saw some positive effort where the team can get better as they learn from their mistakes.

“It’s not going to be an easy house to build, but as we go through this process, I think we will have a bright future ahead of us,” he said. “We just have to recruit and bring in better players and eventually we will get to where we want to be.”

The trip was the only one on the schedule for the Caribs, but Bastian said that they are hoping that once the College of the Bahamas becomes a university, they will begin to play more teams in and outside of the United States.

Despite sending COB back home winless, including a 91-82 victory in an overtime loss to the University of Virgin Islands Bucs on Thursday, Schmidt said it was a pleasure to entertain the Caribs.

“It was fun. I enjoyed having everybody over because it gave us an idea of developing something like this between the USA and the Caribbean and maybe even including the rest of the world.”

The Conquistadors play out of the division one of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association where they are currently 17-10. The Bucs play in the Liga Atletica Interuniversitaria Intercollegiate Athletic League of Puerto Rico.

Rolle, who was assisted by Lavar Johnson, said the tournament was a good learning lesson for his COB team as they now understand the importance of playing together.

“If we can have more confidence in our teammates, we will be a much better team,” said Rolle, who acknowledged after both games that the Conquistadors are not 30 points better than his Caribs, they just played that way.

Now as they prepare to return to the New Providence Basketball Association where they left with a three-game winning streak before travelling, Rolle is hoping that they can get back on track when they play the Real Deal Shockers 9pm Saturday at the DW Davis Gymnasium.

“I would like for this to be a boost, like a shot of insulin where we play like we are capable of playing,” he said. I can guarantee you one thing, we will play a lot more man-to-man as opposed to playing the zone. We just have to get ready for that consistency.”

As a young coach taking on a young programme at COB, Rolle said both Florida National University and the University of the Virgin Islands showed him some things that he can implement to make the College of the Bahamas that much better.

“The coach from Florida National showed me something about how we can get the ball up the floor with just two passes. Really, he didn’t even know he showed it to me, but he showed me something that I could really utilise with the personnel that we have,” Rolle said.

“Hopefully my guards will understand how to handle the ball in that situation We don’t see a whole lot of man-to-man, but as the tournament went on, we got better and better with it. So we really got to use this tournament as a yard stick to where we want to be to move COB Athletics to another level.”

Assistant coach Johnson said the team played very well under the circumstances.

“Back home we play a lot of zone, but seeing the man-to-man and running a lot of our plays against it, I think the guys learnt a lot from it and how to handle the pressure,” he said. “It’s a good learning experience and I think we will be better as a result of it.”

While the men’s basketball team is done with their travel, COB is now preparing to send their track coach, coached by Mark Humes, to a number of meets in the United States. They will going to the Embry Riddle University Meet in Daytona Beach, Florida, February 20-22, followed by the USF Bulls Invitational in Tampa March 20-22, the Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables April 10-11 and the prestigious Penn Relays, Philadelphia, April 23-25.

“I’m sure our team will be up for the meet and ready for the challenge,” he said. “They have done very well in the past and we are looking for them to do the same this year.”

As for the players, they all enjoyed the chance to be matched up against two different teams than they have been playing all season long in the NPBA, although they were a little disappointed in the final outcome.

“It was a good experience being here and playing at this level,” shooting guard Justin Smith said. “We just wish that we could play at this level all the time because I know we can compete at this level.”

Forward Alvano Laing said the games exposed their weaknesses more than it did their strengths.

“We need more of a structure. We have a system ball where we run up and down,” he said. “Even though they beat us, it showed that it ain’t all about talent, it’s about having a structure.”

Point guard Anthony Sands said they played well in spurts, but they needed to be consistent all through the games.

“I think if we did, we would have had a better outcome,” he said. “We learned some new things and hopefully we can use them to get better during the last portion of our season (in the NPBA).”


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