by SHAYNE STUBBS
Scores of young Bahamian basketball talent will be on full display once again at the upcoming 14th Annual Darrell Sears Basketball Showcase, set for Friday, April 22-24.
The invitation only event, staged at the St. George’s Gymnasium in Grand Bahama, has been one of the major starting points for Bahamian basketball athletes who have gone off to play hoops at the next level. Players such as John R. Wooden Award Winner Chavanno “Buddy” Hield, Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn, Dwight Coleby, Magnum Rolle and a host of others have graced the Showcase’s stage.
Hield’s stellar performances during his senior year as an Oklahoma Sooner, that earned him a number of individual accolades, put the Bahamas under a larger microscope and begs the question “Who is next?”
Sears and a group of committee members for the Showcase made the announcement from the St. George’s Gym where 25 coaches are expected to convene with keen interest. Oklahoma University, Baylor University, Kansas University, Stetson University, Wyoming University, Washington State, several other junior colleges and high schools will look to see what the Bahamas has to offer.
“We’re excited about what we think, Buddy Hield has brought attention to our event. As you know, this is where he got discovered. We’re very proud of that and basically our theme more so than anything else is who is going to be next,” said Sears. “He’s brought so much attention to the Bahamas and more so to our event everybody thinks now they want to find the next Buddy Hield and we just have to figure out who’s going to be next.”
The age bracket for the showcase runs from ninth grade to unattached. Sears also introduced that current Bahamian junior college players will be coming back and will hopefully give the division one coaches a little bit more to look at.
The Showcase was a “dream and belief” that has now turned into something meaningful that gives the athletes all around the Bahamas something to look forward to. Sears compared the Showcase’s beginnings to that of Buddy’s.
“We’re all talking about Buddy Hield and his name has been coming up a lot. He started with a dream and a belief and a faith. And our Showcase believe it or not started the same way. Fourteen years ago we started with a belief and a faith. We didn’t wait on the government to help us. We started with a belief and started to work and decided this is what we’re going to do. And 14 years later we’ve got something that I think is a gold mind.”
Committee member Keila Wildgoose touched on the fact that throughout the years the program has help almost 150 kids go on to get a tertiary level education.
“We’re not just focusing on basketball per se but also providing the opportunity for our young Bahamians to get college degrees and become productive citizens of the Bahamas.”
The City of Freeport Council has jumped on as a title sponsor for the Showcase and Chief Councilor Chervita Campbell added her take on what makes this event special.
“As we know fundamental skills in terms of basketball develops one’s ability. Not to mention the academic skills behind it. And with this it gives students the opportunity to see exactly their potential and how they can blossom into something that is very productive for the country.”
Other title sponsors include Dominoes, Caribbean Bottling Company (Coca-Cola) and Nesbitt’s Rentals.
Players are asked to register early at the St. George’s Gym Thursday at 4:30p.m.
The schedule for the three-day event is as follows:
Friday – 6pm – 10pm
Saturday – 10am – 4pm
Sunday – 10am – 2pm.