Athletes were all set to take part in the Bahamas Basketball Federation’s (BBF) Under-17 (U17) Skills Challenge tryouts this past Saturday, and the national team would have been announced today, but due to the national lockdown this past weekend, that event was postponed. The new Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Orders were handed down on Friday, as the country continues to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic.
At this time, there is no definite date as to when the BBF will get the tryouts underway, but the federation sent out a notice stating to stay tuned to their social medial accounts for updates.
On Friday past, Prime Minster Dr. Hubert Minnis announced a lockdown for this past weekend for all islands except Grand Bahama which is already in a two-week lockdown period.
Head Coach for both the male and female national teams Marvin Henfield said he hopes to have some information as to how they will progress by Wednesday.
“I hope that no later than Wednesday we will know something as to what steps are to be taken. We are not canceled at this point; we are just suspended. It is possible that we could find ourselves in the gym to commence soon as well as it is very possible that we may be at the end of this juncture,” Henfield stated.
He added that the final decision will come from BBF President Mario Bowleg, as to the way forward.
The U17 skills challenge is a new competition that FIBA (International Basketball Federation) has brought about during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose is to have national federations, like the BBF, bring their teams together for a training camp and allow players to enjoy a competitive activity without traveling internationally.
The Bahamas will be participating in the Americas region, where one spot is up for grabs. The competition is a qualifier for the FIBA World Cup Skills Challenge, and it is similar to the NBA Skills Challenge.
The Americas region will hold its competition the week of August 10-16. The world cup finals will be held the week of August 17-23.
Registration for The Bahamas’ tryouts produced 116 applicants. Out of those applicants, 97 were young men and 19 were young women. There were eight Family Island male athletes and 89 from New Providence. The federation had submissions from those eight Family Island athletes who did virtual tryouts. They received those on Saturday and will evaluate them.
Henfield said that he and his coaching staff were looking forward to finishing the tryouts this past weekend.
“From a coaching perspective, we were excited to accomplish a couple of things,” Henfield said. “Obviously, as my time as the head coach, I was excited to meet some of the young prospects that we have both in the male and female category. I was looking to build that relationship and establishing that rapport with them. It was going to be my first time meeting them and the same for them. I was also hoping to see and evaluate the talent that we have in Nassau. I am definitely missing out on an opportunity to meet those athletes. If this does not happen, I would not say to you that I am the most upset man on earth because I know what we have already accomplished behind the scenes, but it will be disappointing. We are hopeful that this event will go on, but ultimately we will wait for the final decision from the competent authority.”
Henfield and his coaching team were hoping to show their capabilities and management skills that included an organizational chart and distinctive roles for each coach. They were excited to put their system into reality.
At the time when the registration began on July 16, Grand Bahama was included, but since then, they’re on a national lockdown, dating from last Thursday at 7 p.m. until August 7 at 5 a.m. The lockdown includes no flights or boats in or out of that island.
Also in his announcement on Friday, Minnis announced that beginning tomorrow, July 28 at 7 p.m., inter-island travel will be discontinued until further notice.
“We know now that the lockdown for the entire country, notwithstanding the length, is somewhat unknown. That challenge exists for the rest of the islands and our athletes being able to travel domestically from their island to New Providence. Some challenges are ahead, even if we were to go on, but we are still waiting on the fence as to what’s the next step and the way forward,” Henfield said.
An update will be given by the BBF at a later date, but for now, everything is on hold.
Apart from Henfield, the coaching and management staff includes Sanchez Moss, assistant coach; Jabari Wilmott, executive manager; Maleah Henfield, executive manager, assistant for the women’s team; Joette Fernander, executive manager, assistant for the men’s team; Garvin Clarke, team manager; Francis Delva, players evaluation manager; and La-Tondra Brown and David Capron, events managers.