#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#THE hard work is certainly paying off for talented Bahamian national team point guard Domnick ‘Nardo’ Bridgewater.
#The 22-year-old Bridgewater, who stands at 5-feet, 11-inches, inked his name on a contract last week to play for the US Avignon/ Pontet Basket, the top division II team in the France Basketball League.
#“I feel pretty good about it. It’s a great opportunity,” Bridgewater told The Tribune Sports before he left for France over the weekend.
#This is Bridgewater’s second year since professional basketball player Jaruan ‘Kino’ burrows, also an agent, completed the recruitment process through his organisation called Raw Talent Sports to head to France to further his basketball skills.
#“I’ve had some ups and downs, but it was a solid experience. It’s been nice so far,” said Bridgewater about his transformation to playing at the professional level overseas.
#“It’s also nice to get to experience the different culture.”
#Since he went to France, Bridgewater said his game has improved tremendously and he’s now seen a vast improvement in his personal commitment to being a young man. “It’s been a big change for me,” Bridgewater said.
#“I only hope that I can learn from the performance as I attempt to become a better individual on and off the basketball court.”
#If there’s any disappointment so far for Bridgewater, it would have been the fact that the team he played for last year didn’t get to advance to the league’s championship.
#“I got hurt in my last four games of the regular season and I couldn’t play to help my team,” Bridgewater said.
#“I think that was my biggest downfall.”
#With his new team this year, Bridgewater said he’s excited to move to the next level in France.
#“I’m excited about what’s going on,” he said.
#“I believe the hard work that I put in over the summer is finally paying off. So I’m pretty pleased about it.”
#Just like he did when he stepped in to play on the men’s national team, Bridgewater said he’s looking to step in and make a contribution to US Avignon/Pontet Basket.
#“It was an awesome experience,” said Bridgewater about wearing the national colours as a member of the men’s national basketball team this summer. “Anytime you can represent your country, it’s an awesome experience. It was a lot of fun for me. I’m looking forward now to helping my team win the championship.
#“I know I have a lot of them to improve on like my jump shot, but in time, I know I will get them. I see myself improving every day. Playing with the national team will definitely help me as well.”
#While he would like to be one of the Bahamians playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Bridgewater said he’s still pleased to be in the position that he is in right now.
#“God has placed me in this route, so I’m pretty pleased about it,” he said. “I’m enjoying it because my ultimate goal is to get to the highest level that I can get, whether it’s here in France or wherever I end up playing.”
#Bridgewater expressed his gratitude to God for giving him the ability to play, his mother Natalie Roker for instilling in him the virtues of being a young man and Burrows for opening the door for him to play in France.
#Despite his height, Bridgewater said he makes the most of his ability to move around the court, which has been the strength of his game. He hopes to start playing with US Avignon/Pontet Basket as soon as he arrives in France.
#“That’s one of the many challenges that I’m faced with,” Bridgewater said. “I have to learn the plays and get used to the guys on the team. I’m confident that I will be able to step right in and make my presence felt.”
#Just as he did with the men’s national team this summer.