DEANDRE AYTON, BUDDY HIELD AND KAI JONES.
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#With National Basketball Association’s DeAndre Ayton and Eric Gordon all committed to joining Chavano “Buddy” Hield and Kai Jones, the Bahamas is expected to field its best team for the Pre-Olympic Qualifier in Santiago de Estero, Argentina.
#The Bahamas Basketball Federation over the weekend named a 15-man squad that will be reduced to 12 for the FIBA Americas tournament, scheduled for August 14-20 against teams from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Uruguay and the US Virgin Islands competing.
#Team Bahamas, ranked at number 56 in the world, will be placed in Group A with Cuba, who they are scheduled to play on Monday, August 14, Argentina on Wednesday, August 16 and Panama on Thursday, August 17.
#Group B will include Uruguay, Virgin Islands, Chile and Colombia.
#The tournament will be one of the requirements for teams seeking to qualify for the next Olympic Games in Paris, France, July 26 to August 11, 2024.
#The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 will produce seven directly qualified national teams for the Olympic Games, with hosts France receiving automatic qualification to the event. The seven spots will include two teams from Americas, two teams from Europe, one team from Africa, one team from Asia and one team from Oceania.
#The four remaining places in the 12-team Olympic field are reserved for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2024, with two rounds of Qualifying Tournaments for Paris 2024.
#The first round, the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments, will be played at the continental level in August 2023 and provides 40 countries that did not make it to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 hope of still reaching the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.
#The tournaments will produce five teams who will go through to the second round, the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2024.
#Twenty-four teams will be participating in four Olympic Qualifying Tournaments with the 3 highest placed teams from Africa, Americas, and Asia/Oceania will be selected before the 16 highest placed teams from the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, and five teams through the pre-qualifying tournaments. The winner of each tournament will qualify for the Men’s Olympic Basketball Tournament.
#As Team Bahamas gear up for their best chance of qualifying for the Olympics, for the first time, Ayton, still with the Phoenix Suns, has agreed to play with his new NBA team-mate Gordon.
#They are expected to join Hield of the Indiana Pacers and Jones of the Charlotte Hornets, who played together last year for Team Bahamas.
#The remainder of the squad, which will be coached by Golden State Warriors’ assistant coach Chris DeMarco, will include a number of players playing in Europe and in college.
#Jaraun ‘Kino’ Burrows is in Avignon, France; Domnick Bridgewater (Avigon, France); Rashad Davis (Challans, France); Willie Mackey (Lyon, France); Trtavis Munnings (Boulazac, France); David Nesbitt (UniFacisa, Brazil); Kentwan Smith (BC Lulea, Sweden); Garvin Clarke (IUP); Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn (Michigan State); Franco Miller Jr (Flporida Gulf Coast) and AJ Scott (Wisconsin).
#The general manager for the team is LJ Rose and the assistant coaches are Mikhail McClean, Moses Johnson, Charles Allen, MyKee Thompson and Addi Waiters,
#The head of Performance is Motoki, assisted by Alli Greene. Kellen Hutchinson and Crippie Wilson are a part of the team operations. John Marc Nutt will travel as the film/social media coordinator.
#The Bahamas is coming off a 88-66 loss to Panama on February 26 and 115-70 to Venezuela on February 23 to finish the last qualifying window of the FIBA World Cup with a 2-4 win-loss record and