Coach McPhee-McCuin makes her presence felt
YOLETT McPhee-McCuin and Mikhael McLean.
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#SHE made history as the first Bahamian female to serve as a coach on the men’s national basketball team. But Grand Bahamian Yolett McPhee-McCuin has assured the females that she won’t abandon them as the team’s head coach.
#McPhee-McCuin, the head coach of the Ole Miss women’s basketball team, was added to the men’s coaching staff headed by Golden State Warriors’ assistant coach Chris DeMarco as an assistant for the past two windows of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers.
#She was on the team on Friday, July 1 when the Bahamas defeated the US Virgin Islands 97-80 in the Virgin Islands to qualify for the next round of the World Cup, even though the team came home on Monday night and lost 88-80 to the Dominican Republic.
#“It’s incredible, I hate that we didn’t make our shots in the beginning, but I was really proud of how I was able to sit down and take it all in, just taking it all in as this team fought back and the crowd really got behind us,” said McPhee-McCuin, who joined University of Houston men’s assistant director of player development Mikhael McLean as an assistant on the team.
#Compared to the women’s programme, McPhee-McCuin said it is totally different and she’s just glad that she got the opportunity to gain the experience under coach DeMarco.
#“I just wanted to embrace the guys and to just be a part of them,” she said. “I really felt so proud to be on the bench with them.”
#DeMarco, welcoming McPhee-McCuin, said her addition to the team was all that he expected and more.
#“She’s a fabulous coach. She has helped me tremendously,” he said. “She’s great with players. She knows her stuff. She’s been beneficial to the team.”
#And fellow Grand Bahamian Buddy Hield, who led the team as the captain and top performer, said it was a pleasure to play with McPhee-McCuin.
#“When you have a coach with her personality, who gels with the players, it’s always a plus,” Hield said. “Her spirit has kept the guys up. She’s positive and to have a coach you like to be around is a lot of fun too. The guys love her. Even though she’s a female on the team, she keeps everyone grounded. She’s funny.”
#McPhee-McCuin, however, said at some point, she will return to the women’s programme.
#“I just feel like God has me in this place for this time with the men, but I want the ladies and the Bahamas to know that I am in no way abandoning the ladies.”
#With the ladies’ team preparing to head off to Cuba for the Centrobasket on Monday, McPhee-McCuin said she took the opportunity to address the team, which will be coached by Donnie Culmer, during one of their practice sessions at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
#“We had a heart-to-heart talk. They understand how I feel. I want them to do well,” she said. “They know what they’re up against. They’ve been at it for a long time, so I just want to wish them all the best.”
#McPhee-McCuin, however, said it was just an honour for her to come back home and to coach the men’s team in front of the Bahamian people.
#“As the game was going on I was taking it all in,” she said. “From the singing of the national anthem to the final whistle, it was just a lot of pride for me.”
#McPhee-McCuin said she hopes to be back for the next round of the qualifier against Venezuela in Venezuela on Thursday, August 25 and against Argentina back here in the Bahamas on Monday, August 29, before she resumes her coaching chores at Ole Miss.