In this file photo, Team Bahamas player Jaraun “Keno” Burrows dunks the ball against the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) in their FIBA World Cup qualifying game last year
One of the more popular names on The Bahamas’ senior men’s national basketball team, a former team captain Jaraun ‘Kino’ Burrows, has retired from national team play. After 15 years of service to his country, he said he felt it was the right decision to make.
“It wasn’t easy but I feel it is the right time for me. It has been a long 15 years,” said Burrows. “A lot has gone into it, going back from when the program definitely wasn’t what it is today. I had a chance to see it grow and the program is headed in the right direction. One reason is that the corporate world is coming in and good things are happening.”
Burrows has been playing professionally in Europe. He said it was getting tough, leaving in the middle of the season at times to come to this side of the world and play.
“It was tough for me these last rounds, coming across to this side of the world and adjusting. There was also the jetlag. I struggled a lot with my sleeping and my eating, and it affected my game.”
Burrows said that it would have been tough for him to commit to the next few rounds because he wants to focus on his last few years of his professional career. According to him, it was time to let the young players continue what he and the ones before him started.
Burrows, a proud Bahamian, said it was always a sense of pride for him when he donned the jersey with The Bahamas on his chest. He said it was emotional for him to step away from the team because he had goals of playing in the Olympics and the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup. He still believes that The Bahamas has a chance to get there some day.
For Burrows, one of the biggest rivals for The Bahamas over the years has been the U.S. Virgin Islands. He said there are a few other teams that he enjoyed playing against.
“Defeating Mexico at home this year was my favorite,” Burrows said. “Our biggest rival has always been the (U.S.) Virgin Islands starting back to 2011, when they beat us at home for the gold medal. A lot of these guys I’ve known since junior nationals, so I have a great relationship with them. I like to play Puerto Rico. I was there the first time we beat Cuba. There was also the time we beat the Dominican Republic on their home floor.”
The 6’6” forward/center said he has many stories with the national team but Team Bahamas’ 76-59 home victory against Mexico in February in the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers was his favorite experience. He finished that game shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from the field and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe to finish with eight points, and added two rebounds, two assists and one block in 17 minutes of play.
“That last game against Mexico, in front of my family, coaches and the country was one of the best experiences of my career. Mexico is an Olympic team with 126 million people and we The Bahamas had an opportunity to play them at home and we definitely took care of business,” Burrows said.
The tall and lanky player said he was happy to see young players such as Dominick Bridgewater blossom. The youngster was a part of Burrows’ Raw Talent program whom he took under his wings in France.
“That is a wonderful foundation,” Burrows said. “I believe fully in Travis (Munnings), Mike (Carey), Dominick (Bridgewater), Jaron Cornish and the other young talent because with the system that FIBA has now, leaving in the middle of the season leaves out the NBA (National Basketball Association) guys. The teams are consistent with the local guys and the professional guys – not the NBA and top EuroLeague players. I think we have a great core to fight. The whole goal to put together that team with (Chavano) ‘Buddy’ Hield, DeAndre (Ayton), Kai Jones, Sammy Hunter, Dominick and Travis, they will be OK. These young guys with the high-level talent that we have, I think that everybody would agree that we have top five talent in the world.”
As for what’s next for him in the realm of Bahamian basketball, Burrows was very cryptic but said that it will be in the realm of youth development. He will still be running his Raw Talent program and helping to create opportunities for other young players.
The 35-year-old just signed a contract to return to FOS Providence Basket in Fos-sur-Mer, France, after playing for Aix-Maurienne in Aix-les-Bains, Savoie, France. Both teams play in France’s Pro-B League. His goal at FOS Providence Basket is to take the team back to the Pro-A League. He is comfortable playing for the coach and management of the club.
Burrows spent the early COVID-19 pandemic in France around a lot of speculations that included questions around salaries, and when the season was going to resume. Before those answers came, the borders were closed and he was stuck in France.
“The confinement was rough because in France there was a 24-hour confinement but you were allowed to leave for groceries and essential business. We did about two months of quarantine. After that, things got a little better and the country opened up slowly,” Burrows said.
He, along with a few other Bahamian players such as Bridgewater, are looking to be home in The Bahamas by the middle of July, after being in Europe during the pandemic, looking to reunite with family and friends. Burrows said he will be working out when he returns home, preparing for the season ahead.