By RENALDO DORSETT

AFTER the senior men’s and women’s basketball teams performed admirably on the regional stage and qualified for future FIBA events, attention now shifts to the juniors as they look to do the same.

The Bahamas is set to field a pair of under-17 teams in the respective Centrobasket tournaments this summer.

The under-17 boys’ team will be coached by Darrel Sears out of Grand Bahama, assisted by Wayde Adderley from Abaco and Harcourt McCoy from New Providence. They are scheduled to travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the Centrobasket August 4-8.

Sears has risen to prominence with the NCAA Division I products he has produced at the helm of the St George’s Jaguars and his annual showcase he hosts in Grand Bahama.

At the 2013 Centrobasket, the Bahamas finished fifth at the tournament with a 71-49 win over El Salvador, but failed to earn a qualifying spot for the 2014 Tournament of the Americas as one of the top three finishers.

The under-17 girls’ team will be led by Varel Clarke-Davis in her second consecutive stint as Centrobasket coach. She will be assisted by Charlene ‘Swish’ Smith and Anthony ‘Papa’ Pinder and Anastacia Sands-Moultrie. They are scheduled to travel July 14-18 to compete in their Centrobasket Tournament in Mexico City, Mexico.

At the 2013 under-17 Centrobasket, the Bahamas finished in eight place, in 2011 they finished in fourth place and also finished sixth in 2009.

Bahamas Basketball Federation president Charlie ‘Softly’ Robins previously spoke on the tenure each coach will have at the helm.

“If you would notice, this year there are some changes in our national coaches and the reason being, we have decided that from now on from this day forward, no one will have the rights to be the national coach in this country for four and five and six, seven, eight, nine and 10 years.

“We know that there are other coaches that go to coaches’ clinics and they always ask when are they going to get a chance to be a national coach,” he said. “We have decided that the coaches will coach for two years at the most. Going forward, if your team would win, then you will get another year. But each junior national coach, you can’t tell the senior coaches that because they want to be the coaches for years, we are making the changes. They will coach for two years and then their assistant will get a chance. The coach will not be fired. That coach will also be an advisor on the board. We have a whole lot of coaches out there, especially high school coaches and everybody believes they can coach national teams. The only way we can spread this wealth is to give them a chance.”

Centrobasket is a FIBA-sponsored basketball tournament where national teams from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean compete. The top three or four teams typically earn berths to the FIBA Americas Championship, from which they can qualify for the FIBA World Championship or Olympics.

The top three teams from the Centrobasket Under-17 will qualify for the 2016 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship to be hosted next year.

Teams qualify for these tournaments by finishing high (usually first or second place) in the previous Centrobasket or by placing high at the FIBA COCABA Championship for Mexico and the seven Central American countries and at the FIBA CBC Championship for the 24 Caribbean countries.

In total, 32 countries have an opportunity to qualify their national teams for the Centrobasket.

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