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Over 70 athletes sign up for Skills Challenge tryouts

July 24, 2020

Simba French


The Bahamas Basketball Federation’s (BBF) Under-17 (U17) Skills Challenge tryouts is set to see over 70 junior athletes try out for spots on the team at the Kendal G.L Isaacs National Gymnasium, and virtually for those in the Family Islands, this weekend.

There are 71 athletes who are registered – 53 male and 18 female players – as of yesterday afternoon, and more were expected to sign up before the deadline at 11:59 p.m. last night. Three male athletes are from the Family Islands, with two from Bimini and one from Inagua. All the female athletes signed up are from New Providence.

Marvin Henfield, head coach for both the male and female teams, said they are sending out notifications to those athletes about their schedule and as they prepare for the tryouts.

“We do have a plethora of athletes, sufficient on the male and female side,” Henfield said. “FIBA (International Basketball Federation) has given us the opportunity to select a team at a maximum of 24 athletes. Our intent was to cut a team of 24 then cut down to 10 athletes… Our teams are sending out e-mail notifications to those athletes, outlining all of the particulars concerning the trials pending any changes or notification by the government.”

The national teams will participate virtually in the FIBA Americas U17 Skills Challenge competition that will be held the week of August 10-16. All the competitions are recorded, and the videos are submitted to FIBA one hour after the end of each competition. FIBA will evaluate the scores, then determine a winner.

The FIBA U17 World Cup Skills Finals will be held the week of August 17-23.

Henfield is very confident that The Bahamas will do well in the competition, possibly winning.

“I am excited. As I have said before, I think that this event is right up The Bahamas’ alley. Unfortunately, from time, you never had the privilege because other countries’ populations are larger and Bahamians don’t typically grow to be 6’10”. This basically is a small man’s game so this is entirely up our alley. We have strategically come up with some plans, which I will not outline at this particular time, that can possibly help us to win this competition. This event is primarily predicated on time more than anything else. All we have is speed in this country and we’ll be mixing that with the skillsets that we have,” Henfield said.

At the time the registration began on July 16, Grand Bahama was included, but since then, they are on a national lockdown, dating from yesterday at 7 p.m. until August 7 at 5 a.m. The lockdown includes no flights or boats in or out of that island.

“As for Grand Bahama, we have no athletes who are registered,” Henfield said. “Unfortunately, as we know with Grand Bahama being [on] lockdown with no flights in or out and with the timing of this event, all of the Grand Bahama athletes are excluded from this process, much to our dismay. We know that there is a whole lot of talent in Grand Bahama and we were looking forward to accessing that talent pool to be a part of this event.”

The criteria for Family Islanders’ videos of the skills challenge were sent out and includes full court speed dribble down and back; dribble down with the right hand; dribble back with the left hand, dribbling as fast as the athlete can both ways; full court speed lay-up, down and back; dribble down with the right hand and attempt a lay-up; dribble back with the left hand and attempt a lay-up; jump shots at the elbow; top of the key three-point shots; and some ball-handling.

Those athletes will send in unedited videos with no music.

The tryouts will adhere to COVID-19 protocols such as sanitizing equipment, temperature checks and a questionnaire.

Tryouts are set to start on Saturday and may end on Monday. Based on the numbers they had at press time, Henfield said they may use only this Saturday with three 90-minute trial blocks starting at 10 a.m. If more athletes register by the end of the deadline, the tryout blocks may spill over to Monday at 10 a.m.

Apart from Henfield, the other coach 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 are the events managers.

Jump Line – Tryouts are set to start on Saturday and may end on Monday

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