Men’s national basketball team to be named today


Senior Sports Reporter


As promised, the New Providence Basketball Association brought home a number of pro basketball players and they spent the weekend trying to put all the pieces together before they announce today the men’s national team that will head to Canada on Wednesday.

The players returned home this weekend and are staying at the Breezes Resort in Cable Beach while they work out daily at both the DW Davis and Kendal Isaacs gymnasiums.

Also selected, the team will represent the Bahamas in the first round of qualification games in the FIBA World Cup and Olympic qualification, starting at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada on Wednesday before coming home to face the US Virgin Islands on Monday, November 27.

Although they had very little time to get prepared, most of the players trying out were excited about what they saw in practice.

“We are adjusting to everything. We have a bunch of new guys coming in, so we are just trying to mesh together,” said Andros native Shaquille Cleare, who is now playing in Switzerland. “We are trying to build our team chemistry.

“But from the looks of things, we have some very athletic players and so I think we can do it. We have a good chance of going to Canada and getting the “W” and come back here and pull off the other one. I’m confident in this team. Some guys are a little rusty, but once we put it all together, I’m sure we can get the job done.”

Lynden Rose Jr, who is now playing in the D-League of the NBA in Utah, also likes what he has seen in the team make up after returning home to play after a short hiatus overseas. “I think we have the team to beat Canada. We just have to do the little things like being disciplined and don’t give up the easy baskets,” he stressed. “We just have to play hard and be more disciplined. If we can do all of the little things and correct our mistakes, we will be okay.”

The federation also welcomed a few new players to the training squad, including Mark St Forte, who plays in Ireland.

“It’s been a good experience so far. We’ve been working hard trying to get the chemistry together,” stressed St Forte, who at 6-7 adds some height in the front court. “We’re coming from different players cross country so we have to get the chemistry together real quick. But it’s been a good experience so far and I’m looking forward to playing with these guys.”

It’s been a while since Christopher ‘Chicken’ Turnquest played on the national team, but he’s just as excited to be back in the mix of things.

“I’m more than happy to be back home and playing with the guys again,” said Turnquest, who plays professionally in both Canada and Peru. “I miss everybody and I miss home, but I’m really excited about getting this opportunity to play with the team again. I’m looking forward to the competition.

With the athleticism that he saw in practice, Turnquest said the Bahamas is on the verge of doing big things in the upcoming games. “I’ve the discipline, the hard work and the energy in the guys,” he said. “This is what we are looking for. We are doing this for our country. We have to come together as brothers. Other than that, I’m loving what I’m seeing in practice.”

Grand Bahamian native David Nesbitt is currently playing in Brazil but he said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to come home and try out for the team.

“It’s always an honour when they call on me. Right now, I’m just trying to get a feel for the guys again and some of the guys that I never played with,” he said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of time so the few days that we have, we have to come out and really show what we have.”

One of the things that Nesbitt said he was impressed with is the fact that the Bahamas is loaded with talent. It’s just a matter of putting it all together.

Able Joseph, one of the top players out of New Providence, is home after playing in Canada.

“I’m very excited, just to be back home among these guys and getting ready for the big games,” he stated. “We look good. Everybody looks like they are in shape. We just have to go there and do it. We could do it. We are going to bring it back.”

Wayde Watson, one of the assistant coaches, said the players trying out will make this team much better than the previous team that they worked out.

“We have a lot of veterans, but we also have some new people who are all looking extremely well,” Watson pointed out. “In terms of our experience, our size especially at the one, two and three, we have a lot more athletic and our bigs look extremely well. We are going to have a very good team to represent the country this year.”

Head coach Mario Bowleg, who is also the first vice president of the federation, is expected to announce the team today.


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