Michael Carey Jr. drives to the basket for The Bahamas in a game against the U.S. Virgin Islands in November.
FILE April 6, 2020
Bahamian senior national team players Michael Carey Jr. and Jaron Cornish are back home as their season in Europe halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both have no idea when they will be able to return. Carey, a shooting guard/small forward, plays with the Pully Lausanne Foxes in the Swiss Basketball League (SBL). Cornish, who plays point guard, suits up for Zornotza Saskibaloi Taleda in Spain’s LEB Silver League, the third highest basketball league in Spain.
Carey came back home on March 14 before the government ordered national curfew and before the borders were closed.
“It was not difficult getting out the country because the pandemic was not at its peak yet,” Carey said. “I think it was crazier for the Americans. When I came through, I left Switzerland, then went through Germany and on to Canada. I [stayed] overnight in Canada then came to The Bahamas. It was not bad for me.”
Cornish said he had a difficult time getting out of Spain but he is glad to be home rather than being stuck in a foreign country.
“Leaving Spain, it was hard to find tickets because the whole thing kind of happened rally fast. Everybody was trying to get back home. I went from Spain to Germany and then to Canada where they did a swab test on me,” Cornish said.
Carey signed with the Foxes a few days before his league cancelled its season. Financially, he and his team are working on his contract. He was expected to make his debut on March 18.
“With this pandemic, our team has been in and out talking about contract agreements and a buyout. The league is finished, our league got cancelled. It was confirmed about two weeks ago. The Swiss government is giving companies that are affected by the pandemic $32 billion francs (U.S. $33 billion) overall so we should not have a problem there,” Carey said.
Carey has played in Spain, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and France professionally.
Cornish, who hails from Abaco, said he is disappointed because Hurricane Dorian held him back last year and he was finally able to go to Spain in February. Now, he is being held back again.
“This was my first time playing pro. I was supposed to leave in September then Hurricane Dorian came, and I was not able to leave. I finally got there in February and now the season got cut short. It’s disappointing,” said Cornish.
The former Stony Brook University player said his team told him that they will be in contact with him about next season.
The two players recently played for The Bahamas senior men’s national basketball team in a two-game series against Mexico in the first window of the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers in February of this year. The Bahamas won one and lost one.
With the current national emergency orders in place, inclusive of a 24-hour curfew, and with limited movement and closure to gyms, both players said it is tough to stay active.
Cornish said that although he was not able to get on a court, he was able to do some workouts in his yard along with some ball handling drills. He said he runs the hill on the side of his house when he has a chance.
Carey said he takes care of his body and doesn’t go anywhere.
“I stay at home and enjoy time with my family. I am treating this like the offseason,” he said. “When this is lifted, I am going back to work – probably in a different country. I asked God for a break, so I think this is my break here.”
Both players will be looking forward to keeping their dreams of playing professionally alive when everything returns to a state of normalcy.
Cornish played in five games this season, averaging 19.8 minutes per game. He scored 3.2 points per game and added 1.7 assists per game.
With five COVID-19 related deaths in The Bahamas so far, Carey said that he hopes Bahamians take the situation more seriously and follow the guidelines as passed down by government and healthy officials. He appealed to the public to stay indoors.