Bahamas 'can qualify' for the Olympics in basketball




Sports Reporter


National basketball team stalwart Juraun “Kino” Burrows believes that the Bahamas is on the path for his sport’s first ever Olympic qualification in 2020.

Appearing as a guest on the 10th Year Seniors podcast, Burrows said that while the talent pool is strong enough with players like Buddy Hield and DeAndre Ayton, achieving the unprecedented goal of an Olympic berth will take a full commitment from all stakeholders.

“The young talent in the Bahamas right now is unbelievable, it’s amazing. We just dominated college basketball with Buddy and now we are doing the same thing in high school right now with DeAndre Ayton. It’s almost scary where our national team has a chance to go in the future if we focus on 2020.

“If we put it all together and focus on 2020 - the government, the federation, the players like we should, the country, if we all focus on that goal we can make this happen,” he said.

“We have to be serious. Look what happened to the US, things were unorganised, they couldn’t put things together and the teams started losing, but they were able to turn things around. They put the right people in charge, they contracted the guys, everybody was committed and that’s what it will take from us. We’re going to have to go to Buddy, go to Magnum [Rolle], go to Kadeem [Coleby] and it’s going to take a commitment to this four-year process for us to make it happen.”

Burrows recently completed play with the national team that finished 7th at this summer’s FIBA Centrobasket tournament in Panama. They earned qualification for the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games.

Burrows continues his professional career this fall when he heads to Israel to join Hapoel Haifa BC, a powerhouse of the Liga Leumit, the second tier level league in the country.

Burrows saw his stock rise after a dominant season last year with LF Basket in the Swedish Pro League.

The 6’8”, 220-pound forward  had the second best scoring average in the league at 20.1 points per game and also averaged 9.2 rebounds per game.

His pro career has also included stops in Finland, Eastern Europe and South America.

He spoke on the rigours of a pro career on the move but also credited his time in Finland for the growth of his game.

“As an import player, there is pressure and they don’t hide it. They will bring you in if you lose a game to a lower team and they will tell you in front of the local guys ‘we brought you, we’re paying you this and that much and we have expectations.’ After that it’s a flight home or you put up and shut up. It’s serious and you have to learn to play through that kind of pressure.

“Some guys get that, they’re not able to find the basket and that was the end of them,” he said. “I think I learned the most in Finland. It’s an up and coming league, if you watch the national team they have been making a lot of noise in Europe. It’s more so their style of ball and their system. I learned a lot playing in that league. They play a real organised read and react game. It was tough at first but when you get it, it makes basketball alot easier.”

Burrows, 30, offered some insight into his plans to assist the local development of the game in several capacities.

“I have so many contacts, guys that I’ve played with in Europe, South America from different countries. Maybe one day when it’s all said and done and I put all of this together maybe I can help some guys out with college with that next step,” he said.

“That’s one thing I feel we lack here. We have a lot of trainers coming up now, but how many consultants and mentors do we have now? You see the NBA is turning down 50 per cent of Visa applications now, basically crushing dreams. So, maybe there’s a place for some consultancy.”


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