Category: BASKETBALL

Welcome to the Valley of the Suns

Simba French

 Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22). AP

Bahamian seven-foot center DeAndre Ayton said he wanted to do a backflip, a near impossible task for a man that height, when he got confirmation that his team, the Phoenix Suns, acquired veteran point guard Chris Paul (CP3) in a trade this past abbreviated offseason in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Paul was one of several new pieces that the Suns added to their roster. Another one of the Suns’ key pickups was defensive specialist Jae Crowder.

In Paul, they get a seven-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member and two-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team player. Not to mention, they get a 10-time NBA All-Star. Crowder is known around the league as a tough defensive player who can add tenacity and depth to a contender. He is coming off an improbable run with the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals last season. Ayton is looking forward to being on the court with the duo and feed off the defensive knowledge that they bring to the team.

“Knowing that we have to compete every day – that competitive spirit that they got is a norm. Being on defensive teams is not a given, that is somebody going out there competing every day on both ends of the floor. That is all those dudes do – we are going to have to do it. They have already stamped in this league that they are known for that,” Ayton said. “Me and Book (Devin Booker) are known for offense but we need that defense. I want to be that presence at the rim. Just them being defensive players already and knowing that they are going to be vocal and tell us young guys how to do this – not that we don’t do it, but them just giving us constructive criticism, is going to help us so much.”

The Suns finished in the middle of the pack in defensive ratings in the league last season with a rating of 110.8. With a locked-in Ayton on defense along with Paul and Crowder, the Suns are expected to finish higher this season. Last season, Ayton averaged 1.5 blocks per game, an improvement from 0.9 in his rookie season.

The third-year center was in the NBA bubble restart in the summer, helping the Suns finish with a perfect 8-0 record during that time. Ayton said that he and Booker spoke when they were playing in the bubble and that he told him what they can do in the league, and that they can compete in this league. After the bubble experience, he said he is willing to put in the required work.

“Coming out of the bubble did something to me – working every day, having this professionalism and being this professional that I am, and embracing that and actually approaching my craft seriously where it is like ‘Dude if you’re not with this then get out of here’,” Ayton said. “I worked so hard coming out of the bubble that I am not worried about what’s next. I know that these results will make their way, that is how hard I am working every day. I thought I was working hard during the suspension and my injuries, but no.”

The 2018 number one overall draft pick in the NBA said the two new acquisitions can help him develop and he is willing to learn more from their winning mindset.

“They are winners -– that is the biggest difference, they win,” Ayton said. “Being around a winner who probably won more than 10 games or like 14 games in a month – that is the type of people who I am going to be around. What that immediately does is when you win about five games and the hype is on you, those dudes handle that type of hype. Being in the bubble, we only had eight games. What about when its 72 games and we won eight in a row? We have more to go and to have those teammates who are going to say, ‘We ain’t do anything bro, like relax we ain’t do anything’. We are going to have that maturity on the team to tell players that we are not there yet and that is what we need.”

The Suns get their 2020-2021 regular season underway on Wednesday, December 23 when play the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The game will tip off at 10:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN.

They tip off their four preseason games on Saturday night when they take on the Utah Jazz in an away matchup at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. That game will tip off at 9 p.m. and will be aired on NBATV.

Radshad Davis Cans Career High 28 Points In Victory

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

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RADSHAD Davis scored a career high 28 points to lead the FIU Panthers to an 82-75 win over the Division II Flagler Saints.

#By RENALDO DORSETT

#Tribune Sports Reporter

#rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

#RADSHAD Davis joined the Florida International University Panthers as a graduate transfer expected to have an immediate impact on the programme with his experience.

#Through two games he has done just that and has already produced a career high scoring effort on the opening weekend.

#Davis scored a career high 28 points to lead FIU to an 82-75 win over the Division II Flagler Saints, in the second matchup between the schools across a three-day span.

#In the best shooting night of the career, he shot 10-12 from the field and was 7-9 from three-point range.

#He also added nine rebounds, five steals and two assists in 27 minutes.

#“In the second half I just stuck with what we practiced and did what we do, go out there, compete and let everything else handle itself,” Davis said.

#“I just want to come here and do what I do which is go out there and compete everyday, play hard and make my teammates better.”

#In the two games against Flagler, Davis averaged 21.5 points, eight rebounds and four steals per game. He shot 62.5 percent from the field and 58.8 from three-point range.

#Panthers leading scorer Antonio Daye Jr said Davis has been a welcomed addition to the programme.

#“Radshad hit some big shots. I kept telling him during the game and on the bench that he’s a baller,” he said. “This is my first year playing with him obviously and I love it. He makes my job so much easier coming off screens and just him being there I know he will hit shots, play hard and rebound the ball, so I love it.”

#FIU is scheduled to continue their five-game homestand tonight at 7pm when they host the Central Michigan Chippewas.

#Davis transferred to the Panthers in Conference – USA after a two-year stint with the Texas – Arlington Mavericks in the Sun Belt Conference.

#Ahmard Harvey is currently a sophomore for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the Sun Belt. He made his season debut with six points and two rebounds in just eight minutes of his team’s 117-68 win over North Carolina Wesleyan.

#“We played very well from start to finish, and we knocked down shots from the inside and outside,” said Coastal head coach Cliff Ellis.

#“I was pleased with what I saw. We are a deeper team than we were last year.”

#Coastal’s next contest will be December 3 at home against Columbia International.

#Harvey has played sparingly in his freshman season with the Chanticleers. He averaged 1.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in 17 appearances.

#He posted a season high seven points in a November 30 matchup against Delaware State.

Jones Posts Double In Foxes’ Victory

Jonquel Jones

Jonquel Jones

friday, December 4, 2020

#By RENALDO DORSETT

#Tribune Sports Reporter

#rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

#FOLLOWING a break in competition for national team play at the FIBA Eurobasket 2021 Qualifiers, Jonquel Jones and her UMMC Ekaterinburg Foxes began FIBA Euroleague play this week and continued their dominance in the region.

#Jones’ double double led Ekaterinburg to a 94-67 win over Spar Girona of the Euroleague Group C league play in Girona, Spain. She finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds on 8-12 shooting from the field and 5-7 on three-point attempts.

#Ekaterinburg opened Euroleague play with an 83-61 win over Beretta Familia Schio on Monday.

#Jones finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 8-10 from the field, and made her only three-point attempt.

#Group D also includes TTTRiga (0-2) who the Foxes will face tomorrow to complete the first round of group stage play.

#UMMC has won five Euroleague titles (2003, 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2019) and are perennial Final Four competitors.

#Last season, Jones’ first with the club, Ekaterinburg captured their second consecutive and fifth EuroLeague title with a 91-67 win over Dynamo Kursk in Sopron, Hungary. She appeared in eight games averaging 19.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

#Back in the Russian Premier League, the Foxes remain in second place at 7-0, one half game behind undefeated Dynamo at 8-0. She has averaged 22 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.

#At the national team level Jones has led Bosnia and Herzegovina to the brink of FIBA EuroBasket 2021 qualification after another pair of dominant performances in the latest window.

Betty Cole Dies At 92

f Monday, December 7, 2020

#By BRENT STUBBS

#Senior Sports Reporter

#bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

#BETTY Cole, remembered as a phenomenal leader with a keen knack for discipline, who left her mark as a pioneering basketball player, swimming coach and Girl Guides leader, passed away on Saturday.

#She was 92 years old and reportedly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

#One of her top swimmers David Morley, who went on to represent the Bahamas at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California, called her a phenomenal woman, whom he started swimming for at the age of seven to 20 in the 1970s.

#“She was remarkable. I wouldn’t want to call her a mentor because she was really like a parent to me,” he said. “She made me become a better person.

#“She always made sure you knew right from wrong and when it was time to swim, she sent everybody in the pool and believe it or not, when she said get into the pool, everybody got into the pool. Nobody lingered, nobody jerked around or anything. It was like game time.”

#Those practice sessions transcended to the swim meets where Morley said when Cole instructed them to “swim hard,” everybody went out and did just that.

#“You couldn’t do anything but swim hard,” he said.

#While the Dolphins Swim Club was based at Xavier’s, Morley said Cole also took a group of swimmers to train at St Augustine’s College in the mornings.

#“She would actually come and pick me up for the morning practices and dropped me back home,” he recalled. “I had one of my fond memories sitting down in the front of the father’s house.

#“In the winter days, it was dead cold and you really didn’t want to go to practice. But I could literally hear her car turning the corner from Shirley Street onto East Bay Street. I was like ‘oh, she’s here, I have to go.”

#Morley shared some of those early morning sessions with swimmers like Don and Jeff Waugh, Jimmy Lightbourn, Jimmy Blake and Owen and Chad Shepherd.

#“In those days when the Dolphins had a swim meet, we had an intermission for about an hour and it was almost like it was a whole family event because you had someone barbecuing burgers,” Morley said.

#“The meals were phenomenal. Everybody had a great experience. She had a way of getting the parents involved. Everybody knew exactly what they had to do and they did it.”

#Morley said Cole was a “phenomenal leader,” who demanded “the respect” of everyone. “It was one of those things where no one wanted to do anything to displease her because we had so much respect for her.”

#After competing in the Olympics, Morley had a chance to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland, but unfortunately, the Bahamas Government boycotted the night before the team was scheduled to travel because of South Africa’s participation.

#“I was in my prime. If I had done my time in the 100m backstroke, I could have won a silver medal,” Morley said.

#“If I had beaten my time by two tenths of a second, I could have won the gold medal.”

#Morley left St Andrew’s School after grade eight to attend Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts, before he went on to swim for Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

#His daughter, Laura Morley, is currently in Indiana training for the postponed 2020 Olympics next year in Tokyo, Japan. She graduated from Indiana University and is now training with the pro team. Andy Knowles, a 1976 Olympic swimmer who went on to coach the Bahamas team at six Olympics from 1983 to 2008, recalled the days he started working with Cole for about 40 years.

#“I never did swim for her, but coached alongside her. I have pleasant memories of her coaching days,” said Knowles, who eventually went on to form the Swift Swimming Club, which included his son, Jeremy, whom he coached at the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

#Knowles noted how after the Nassau Yacht Club programme stopped at the end of the 1960s, which involved his early competitive swim days, Cole alongside David Sumner and others started the Dolphin Swim club, which is now the oldest swim club in the Bahamas.

#“Betty loved coaching children and was a strong disciplinarian, who taught her swimmers to be upright students as well as good swimmers,” Knowles said. “She developed many of the country’s top swimmers who represented the Bahamas well, all the way to the Olympic level, swimmers like Bruce Knowles, David Morley, Garvin Ferguson, and Tim Eneas. She was a great patriot to our country and sport and will be missed.”

#The Bahamas Government eventually renamed the basketball court at Malcolm Park, the Betty Cole Basketball Park to honour her achievements as one of the first female basketball players in the country.

#Having grown up in the Sears Road area, Cole helped to form the Sweet Sears Association, which was responsible for developing the park.

#For a long time as a teacher at Xavier’s Roman Catholic School, Cole operated the Dolphins Swim Club where she was responsible for developing a number of local and international swimmers. May her soul rest in peace.

‘Buddy’ Hield And Kings ‘Are All On The Same Page’

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield.

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

#By RENALDO DORSETT

#Tribune Sports Reporter

#rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

#THE growing speculation continues to mount about Chavano “Buddy” Hield’s future with the Sacramento Kings organisation after different messages emerged from the franchise’s head coach and top ranking executive.

#New Kings General Manager Monte McNair expressed his excitement to see Hield “let free” in the team’s system, but head coach Luke Walton would not commit to Hield as a full time starter despite the departure of Bogdan Bogdanovic in free agency.

#Hield was the team’s leading scorer in 2018-19 and its second leading scorer in 2019-20, but started just 44 of 72 games before he was relegated to a reserve role off the bench in favour of Bogdanovic.

#“I think I’ve said in the past Buddy’s such an incredible talent, and especially his shooting at an elite level is something that we saw this offseason was at a premium. I think we’re really excited to see him in this system,” McNair said in his pre-training camp media availability. “I think Buddy is going to look really good in [the offence], excited to see him in training camp and how he can progress there. I have the utmost confidence Buddy will continue to play hard every night, like he always has.”

#While reports have emerged this offseason that Hield has not spoken with Walton, McNair said the organisation and the fifth year shooting guard are on “the same page” with each other.

#“I’ve talked with Buddy as well as his agent, I think we’re all on the same page,” McNair said. “I think we’re really excited to see Buddy kind of let free in this system. I think he’s going to be fantastic.”

#Despite coming off the bench for 28 games, Hield was second on the team in scoring at 19.2 points per game. Hield was removed from the starting lineup in favour of Bogdanovic in January and continued to see inconsistent minutes for the duration of the season, culminating in season low minutes when the NBA resumed play at the “bubble” in Orlando, Florida. Bogdanovic signed with the Atlanta Hawks this offseason and most NBA pundits interpreted that as a sign the organisation would move forward with Hield as the team’s starting shooting guard.

#Walton addressed Hield’s role during a Zoom conference call in his media availability ahead of training camp.

#“We’ve got a lot of new faces here, so we have to continue to look at what’s going to be best for our team. Even last season, Buddy started more than half of the season, and when he didn’t start, he played a huge role for us coming in off the bench and being a dynamic 20-point-a-night scorer,” Walton said.

#“Every decision is always based on what I feel is best for the group and best for the team, and with this training camp, this is part of what we have to see: what do we have? What groups are playing well together? Who complements who? And at the end of the day, every decision that gets made will come down to what I feel as the head coach is best for this team and giving us the best chance of winning.”

#Hield enters the first year of his new four-year $86 million extension that could reach as much as $106 million.

#“Buddy is a very talented player, I’ve always had a good relationship with him and we’re excited that he’s part of the group.”

#Following the Kings’ regular season finale, Hield spoke with reporters on several topics, most noteworthy was his reply when asked whether he would be content to continue his role off the bench next season.

#“Y’all know me, y’all know how I talk, y’all know how I feel with a lot of stuff, yall can read me well, so I’ll let y’all answer that for yourselves,” Hield said.

#McNair singled out Hield at his introductory press conference to the franchise and called him an “elite shooter” whose spacing is important for the team.

Bowleg: ‘I Still Want To Commend The Players Who Were Available. They Went Out There And Played Their Hearts Out’

MEN’s national basketball team members in the bubble at the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 Qualifiers in Indianapolis, Indiana.

MEN’s national basketball team members in the bubble at the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 Qualifiers in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

#By BRENT STUBBS

#Senior Sports Reporter

#bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

#BAHAMAS Basketball Federation President Mario Bowleg admitted that the men’s national team could have played better than they did against the United States of America and Puerto Rico in the bubble in Indianapolis, Indiana.

#After getting trounced 99-59 to the USA in game one of the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 Qualifiers on Sunday night at the Indiana Convention Center, Team Bahamas returned to the court Monday and lost 91-85 to Puerto Rico.

#On his return home after he and Moses Johnson assisted head coach Chris DeMarco of the Golden State Warriors, Bowleg said although they only had 10 players in uniform, they gave it a gallant effort in both games.

#“We felt that if we had Kentwan Smith and Willis Mackey Jr available to play against the USA, the team would have played much better,” he said.

#“But I still want to commend the players who were available. They went out there and played their hearts out.”

#Smith and Mackey, who play in Europe, were affected by the ruling of the USA government, which had tightened their restrictions on visitors from that area due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Bowleg expressed his gratitude to the Bahamas Consulate, who assisted in getting the players into the USA so that they could at least play in the final game.

#He noted that the other players they wanted to bring in would not have made the requirements in the bubble in time.

#The other members of Team Bahamas in Indiana were Godfrey Rolle III, Jaron Cornish, Ahmad Pratt, Mychel Thompson, Nashad Mackey, D’Shon Taylor, Eugene Bain and Robert Nortmann.

#With both Smith and Mackey in uniform after taking the four necessary COVID-19 tests before the game was played, Bowleg said it showed in their final outcome against Puerto Rico. “We just have to take care of the ball better at the end of the game,” Bowleg said. “We were actually leading this game against Puerto Rico, but we didn’t handle the ball the way we should down the stretch and it cost us the game. “As we prepare for the next window of the qualifying process in February, we have to try and find a way to get our better players available to play in those games.”

#Immediately, Bowleg said the federation will be contacting the various leagues that the Bahamian professional players participate in and to ensure that they are released in time so that they can compete for Team Bahamas.

#He noted that there are a list of 24 players who fit that criteria and once they can get their release, Bowleg said it will be incumbent upon the federation to get the team to play in at least two scrimmage games to develop the cohesiveness that they will need by the time the next window rolls around.

#It’s not certain yet as to where the next round will be played as countries have been invited by FIBA to bid on hosting a bubble, similar to what was done in Indiana.

#However, Bowleg said the federation doesn’t intend to put in another bid, as they were already turned down when they made a previous request to the Bahamas Government to host the first bubble that they just played in.

#“We’re just going to reach out to the 24 players available to play,” Bowleg said.

#“Once we can confirm the team, we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that they can get sufficient time to work out together as a unit.”

#The Bahamas will have to beat Puerto Rico by more than six points in order to finish in the top three to advance out of Group D to the FIBA AmeriCup 2022.

#The USA remains undefeated at 4-0, while Mexico is second at 2-2, Puerto Rico is third and Bahamas fourth, both at 1-3.

Bahamas Blows Late Lead, Loses To Puerto Rico 91-85

D’SHON TAYLOR (9) scored a game high 25 points. Photos courtesy of FIBA

D’SHON TAYLOR (9) scored a game high 25 points. Photos courtesy of FIBA

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

#By RENALDO DORSETT

#Tribune Sports Reporter

#rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

#A disastrous fourth quarter collapse saw Team Bahamas squander a late lead to Puerto Rico and finish winless in the second window of the FIBA Americup 2022 Qualifiers.

#The Bahamas went scoreless in the final 5:43 of the game and was outscored by 10 in the fourth quarter of a 91-85 loss to Puerto Rico yesterday at the Indiana Convention Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana.

#D’Shon Taylor scored a game high 25 points to lead four Bahamians in double figures. Kentwan Smith finished with a double double – 10 points and 12 rebounds – Willis Mackey posted 18 points and seven rebounds and Nashad Mackey scored 12. Godfrey Rolle also added nine points off the bench while Mychel Thompson scored seven.

#Jaysean Paige led Puerto Rico with 19 points while Gilberto Clavell scored 18 and Emmanuel Andujar scored 16.

#Taylor’s jumper gave the Bahamas an 85-76 lead with 5:43 left to play and the Bahamas appeared well on its way to a split after Sunday’s loss to the United States.

#What followed for The Bahamas was a series of miscues that allowed Puerto Rico to erase the eight-point deficit and close the game on a 15-0 run.

#The Bahamas’ final possessions of the fourth over the course of the final 5:43 featured six turnovers, including four on consecutive possessions, 0-5 shooting from the field and four missed free throws.

#In an evenly played first quarter, Puerto Rico opened the game on a 6-0 run before the Bahamas came back to tie the game at 12 on a Taylor three pointer.

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WILLIS MACKEY posted 18 points and seven rebounds.

#After a Paige layup, Rolle would give The Bahamas their first lead of the game with his three on the ensuing possession and the teams eventually took a 17-17 tie into the second.

#The Bahamas had its best scoring period in the second when they outscored Puerto Rico 30-24. Willis Mackey’s three gave the team a 32-25 lead with 5:31 left to play in the half. Jaron Cornish made a three as time expired and The Bahamas took a 47-41 lead at the break.

#The lead reached nine early in the third when Taylor made a trio of free throws for a 50-41 lead at the 9:45 mark.

#Puerto Rico answered with a 12-2 run capped by Andujar’s layup to take a 53-52 lead.

#The Bahamas still managed to take a 71-67 lead into the fourth. The lead reached as much as eight in the fourth quarter.

#Puerto Rico outscored The Bahamas 20-5 on fastbreak points, 24-11 on points from turnovers, 44-26 on points in the paint, and 32-13 on bench points.

#Mackey and Smith were both unavailable for Sunday’s game against the United States but made an immediate impact as the Bahamas’ roster increased to 10 players against Puerto Rico.

#“We just need to learn to stay with what we were doing. The whole game we were doing a lot of good things, running our sets pretty well, and I think at the end we just kind of forgot what were doing that was successful at the beginning,” Mackey said. “But I think that will be an easy adjustment for us in the next window – running our stuff and realising what’s working.”

#With the loss, The Bahamas dropped to 1-3 at the group stage of the qualifiers and moved into a tie with previously winless Puerto Rico.

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KENTWAN SMITH finished with a double double – 10 points and 12 rebounds.

#In the next window of qualifiers, The Bahamas faces The United States on February 18, followed by a February 21 matchup against Puerto Rico.

#The Bahamas would need a win over Puerto Rico or two losses from Mexico to have an opportunity to qualify. The Bahamas holds the tiebreaker over Mexico by the aggregate score of the first window last February.

#The top three teams from each group will qualify for the FIBA AmeriCup 2022. AmeriCup is the FIBA Americas championship. The US won the last edition of the event in 2017.

Kadeem Coleby Posts Double Double For Win On Birthday

Kadeem Coleby

Kadeem Coleby

By Brent Stubbs

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

#Birthday boy Kadeem Coleby helped the Akita Northern Happinets pick up their second straight victory in two nights over his celebrated weekend against the same team in the Japanese D1 professional basketball league.

#On his 31st birthday on Sunday, Coleby led four players in double figures with 15 points and 13 rebounds as the Akita NH, coached by Kenzo Maedo, pulled off a slim 73-72 decision over the Osaka E.

#In playing a total of 35 minutes, Coleby shot 6-for-11 from the field or 54.5 percent and 3-for-6 (50 percent) from the free throw line. Ten of his rebounds came from the defensive end. He also had three assists, three blocked shots and a steal.

#On Saturday night in the first of their double header in Akita, Coleby and Akita NH prevailed with an 80-72 rout over Osaka E as Coleby came up with 11 points and nine rebounds.

#Coleby, in 31 minutes, shot 5-for-7 from the field and 1-for-4 from the foul line. He had six of his rebounds on the defensive end. He also had two rebounds and a steal.

#With the two victories, Akita NH improved their win-loss record to 8-4 for fifth place in the East standings in the two-tier league.

#In their 12 games, Coleby is averaging 27.5 minutes per game. He was 71-for-99 (71.7) from the field and 36-for-64 (56.3) from the charity stripe. He is also averaging 8-0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 assists and 1-0 blocks.

#Since the season began on October 3, they went on a 4-game winning streak before losing three straight. After winning another two games, they went on two consecutive losses.

#Coleby and the Happinets close out the month of November with three games. They will play another home game against the front-running Tochigi B (11-1) on Wednesday night before they head on the road to take on Chiba on Saturday and Sunday.

#Coleby and Akita NH will gear up for a showdown on December 2 when they take on Niigata Albirex, featuring fellow Bahamian Mark St Fort, if they are both released to play for the Bahamas men’s national team in Puerto Rico for the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 Qualifiers from November 27-December 1.

#There are a total of 10 games on the schedule for Coleby and Akita NH through December 27. They will return on January 2 to start the new year and the road to the end of the regular season on May 2. The 6-foot, 9-inch, 250-pound power forward/centre is a 2012 graduate of Wichita State University where he has earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies-sociology and a major in ethnic studies.

#He is the son of Dwight Coleby and Annabell Mass and has a brother, Dwight Coleby, who also played pro basketball. The two brothers have also represented the Bahamas on the men’s national basketball team.

#St Fort and Niigata Albirex were also in action over the weekend, losing both of their games to Tochigi B as they dropped to eighth place in the East division with a 4-9 win-loss record.

#In Saturday’s opener, they lost 99-57. In 21 minutes, St Fort was 2-for-4 from the field and 4-for-5 from the foul line for nine points, one rebound, one assist, one steal and a block.

#In game two on Sunday, they dropped a 85-67 decision as St Fort played 31 minutes and came through with 24 points, five rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one steal. He shot 9-for-12 from the field and was 6-for-7 from the foul line.

#In the season after being promoted from the SeaHorses Mikawa of the Japanese B-League to the Niigata Albirex in September, St Fort has played in nine games and is averaging 13.6 minutes per game. He’s 26-for-39 (66.7) from the field, 4-for-12 (33.3) from the three-point arc and 29-for-32 (90.6) from the charity stripe. He is averaging 3.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.8 blocks. St Fort, who turned 32 on November 5, is a 6-7, 209 small forward who graduated from Wagner College in 2013 after transferring from Savannah State. He too played for the men’s national basketball team.

#On Wednesday, St Fort and Niigata Albirex will be back in action when they take on Alvark T. They close out the month with two games on the weekend against Hokkaido K on Saturday and Sunday.

#St Fort and Niigata Albirex won’t play again until December 2 when they face Coleby and Akita NH, depending on their participation in Puerto Rico for the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 Qualifiers from November 27-December 1 with the men’s national basketball team.

#Just like Coleby and Akita NH, St Fort and Niigata Albirex will have nine more games up to December 27 to end the year. They start the new year on January 2 with the regular season completed on May 2. 

‘Buddy’ Scorching Hot On His Return To Court

Sacramento Kings sharpshooter “Buddy” Hield scored 45 points, including 13 made three pointers, to lead his “Pink Parrot” team to an 82-72 win in the Skinz League Tournament at the Hive Sports Complex in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Sacramento Kings sharpshooter “Buddy” Hield scored 45 points, including 13 made three pointers, to lead his “Pink Parrot” team to an 82-72 win in the Skinz League Tournament at the Hive Sports Complex in Edmond, Oklahoma.

As of Friday, June 12, 2020

#By RENALDO DORSETT

#Tribune Sports Reporter

#rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

#Chavano Rainer ‘Buddy’ Hield returned to the basketball court for competitive play for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined the NBA.

#The Sacramento Kings sharpshooter participated in the Skinz League Tournament at the Hive Sports Complex in Edmond, Oklahoma, as the NBA nears its imminent return.

#Hield scored 45 points, including 13 made three pointers, and led his “Pink Parrot” team to an 82-72 win.

#Amateur basketball has resumed in several states that have progressed to their phased re-openings, therefore summer leagues like the Skinz League are off to an early start.

#League founder Chris Skinner began the tournament five years ago and he estimates that approximately 90 per cent of the league’s 160 players played college basketball.

#Around 25 per cent are professional players from overseas, the G League or the NBA. This year’s appearances from NBA players have been highlighted by Hield and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young. Both played collegiately for the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma City Thunder wing Darius Bazley also competed in this year’s tournament.

#“If you know anything about the basketball world, if one player’s doing it, the other players will do it,” he told Sports Illustrated. “So if I get one big-time player, it’s kind of like now, people see Trae [Young] playing, so now I’m getting calls all the time about this guy’s trying to play.”

#In just over a month, Hield and the Sacramento Kings will return to the court at the NBA level as the league prepares to return to its 2020 season on July 30.

#The league’s board of governors approved a proposal for the NBA to resume play in Orlando, Florida, featuring the 16 teams currently in playoff position and eight teams currently within six games of 8th place in the two conferences. All games will be hosted at the Walt Disney World Resort.

#Teams will officially begin training at team sites in July and will advance to full training camps in Orlando prior to regular season play. The Kings are 28-36 – No.10 in the Western Conference and 3.5 games behind the No.8 Memphis Grizzlies (32-33).

#The NBA has suspended its season since March 11, when Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert was the league’s first player to test positive for COVID-19.

#Through 64 games this season, Hield is averaging 19.8 points per game and is shooting 40 per cent from beyond the arc, making 3.8 three-point field goals in about 10 attempts per game. Hield also added 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

#Hield started 44 of those games and was moved to the bench on January 24 and has continued his production post-All-Star break after he won the Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest at NBA All-Star weekend last February.

#This season, Hield has 244 three-point field goals thus far.

#He was on track to surpass last year’s total of 278 and possibly become just the third player in NBA history to make 300 in a single season.

Happinets Re-Sign Kadeem Coleby In Japan B-League

As of Thursday, June 18, 2020

photo

Kadeem Coleby

#By RENALDO DORSETT

#Tribune Sports Reporter

#rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

#KADEEM Coleby will return to the Akita Northern Happinets for his fourth consecutive season of pro basketball in Japan.

#The club announced that it re-signed the veteran forward and extended his tenure with the team in the Japanese B-League following a COVID-19 shortened season.

#Through 34 games this season, Coleby averaged 10.6 points per game on 54 per cent shooting from the field. He also averaged 6.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in just over 26 minutes per game.

#Amid the pandemic, the B-League suspended play in February and attempted to return in March.

#Arenas were filled with players, essential personnel and television crews only, however, it was a brief return to action as the season was eventually cancelled in late March.

#Following the month-long layoff, Coleby finished with 12 points (6-7 from the field) and eight rebounds to lead the Happinets to an 87-83 win.

#In game two, he posted a double double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in an 84-79 loss. The league returned to confusion and mixed reactions from players and coaches, according to the Japan Times. The matchup between Coleby’s Happinets and the Sunrockers was one of few B-League games without incident as the league returned, according to “The Times.”

#Several players or referees from other games were diagnosed with fevers.

#Akita finished 19-22 on the season, fifth in the league standings.

#Last season, Coleby took home the trophy for the league lead in blocked shots (2.4 per game) in his second season with the Happinets.

#In 52 games, he averaged 12.8 points and 8.4 rebounds and his aforementioned league lead in blocks in 30 minutes per game. He shot 54 per cent from the field and also added 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Coleby completed his second season with the club after they were promoted from the B2 League last year.

#In 2017, his first campaign with the club, he posted averages of 11.9 points, 6.9 rebounds per game on 58 per cent shooting from the field and 1.6 blocks per game.