Taking down basketball powerhouse Argentina twice, on their home floor, will garner some attention for Team Bahamas. The Bahamas senior men’s national basketball team finished with a perfect 4-0 win/loss record at the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, in August, winning that tournament and punching their ticket to FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in the summer of 2024.
The Bahamas won the gold medal game, 82-75, over Argentina led by Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield, Eric ‘EJ’ Gordon and DeAndre Ayton – three players out of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
One of the team officials courtside in Argentina was Moses Johnson who was an assistant under Head Coach Chris DeMarco and who was recently elected as the first vice president of the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF). Johnson said that the team is still celebrating, but is also preparing for the 2024 tournament.
“Preparation has already begun. The players have started to play in their respective leagues and the NBA players are getting ready. We are going to see how best we can add a few pieces. Information will come a little later. We will try to do some things. I think we are good where we are at. We have a good nucleus and putting one or two pieces in there can mean something special for the first time for The Bahamas by having a team sport in the Olympics,” Johnson said.
The Bahamas’ offense was led by Gordon who averaged 20.3 points per game. Hield was close behind at 19.8 points per game and Ayton averaged a double-double with 15.5 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. Travis Munnings averaged 11.5 points per game and Franco Miller Jr. averaged 10.8 points per game to round out the scorers with double digit averages for The Bahamas.
There has been other NBA names that have been thrown out there who can play for The Bahamas, including the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Evan and Isaiah Mobley, who are brothers, and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Naz Reid. DeMarco is an assistant coach with the Warriors and could be another voice in Thompson’s ear, along with Klay’s brother Mychel who has been a part of the national team program for quite some time now.
Without letting the cat out of the bag, Moses responded to the possibility of having any of those players available next summer.
“The realistic expectation is that we will not be able to get all of those guys,” Johnson said. “We will look at the expectation of trying to get a few of them based on circumstantial evidence of their ties here in The Bahamas such as being here in the summers and residences here. We will try to see how best we can get them. The realistic aspirations are that we will not be able to get everybody but the ones that we will get will be able to take us over the hump.”
Advancing to the Olympic qualifying tournament is the furthest the men’s basketball program has ever gone. Johnson is confident that the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France, could be a reality for Team Bahamas.