by JOHN-MARC NUTT
The trip to Panama was an eye opener to someone who was on the outside looking in. With the inner-workings of a national team programme you realise there is more to it than just watching basketball games. I was fortunate enough to have a relationship with both players and coaches where I was able to see the wide angle of everything that went on.
The first thing you realise is that in a tournament like this the mood swings pendulum goes from high to low in a matter of seconds. There’s legitimately no time for rest for these players and coaches as they prepare for five straight days of basketball.
The most noticeable thing is that the Bahamas is understaffed. Compared to the other federations, we take the least amount of people, so the coaches and staff who are there are forced to take on multiple positions in order to get everything done logistically.
The Bahamas Basketball Federation needs more support financially. There’s no reason why in 2016, the men’s senior national team should struggle to have money for these trips.
Every other team had multiple sponsors on the trip, with logos everywhere from their warm up gear, jerseys, to daily team apparel.
I know of one sponsor that the Bahamas Basketball Federation, has (BTC) but when a national team at any level in the basketball federation goes on a trip, there should be people knocking down the federation’s door to help the team Bahamas.
If you look at the daily presentation compared to the other basketball federations (minus USVI) the Bahamas would rank last. All the other basketball federations look the part. Every team has the proper equipment to make the team look uniformed though out the entire tournament.
The major powerhouse teams in the region Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama had multiple jersey sponsors, which helps their teams be able to prepare better for these major international events.
Another glaring issue I noticed was there needs to be more structure. That means from the beginning to the end of the tournament. Before major tournaments there should be a provisional list of 40 players who are being considered. There needs to be a deadline for each player on when they will commit to be playing so there can be a proper training camp instead of having some players in camp who will not make the team.
During the tournament, there should be a set schedule on what the player’s daily activities will be. I know that these are grown men and they will not enjoy everything on the schedule, but I feel that the team should always have breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. Bonding is important, and so is preparation. There should also be a video session block where they can watch the past game to see their mistakes, and then move on to the next team that they will play against. It shouldn’t be on the coaching staff to just watch the tape to prepare for the next opponent.
The government takes so much pride in sports tourism, but refuses to invest properly in their own in which will only enhance their sports tourism brand. In the two years they spent around 15 million dollars on Bahamas Carnival, and don’t get me wrong I enjoy the event, but let’s be real they have the budget to invest more into sports federations.
If the basketball federation had a bigger budget, I would guarantee that the Bahamas would have done better in the tournament, as they would have been able to have a real training camp and be able to provide the players with everything they need.
Then again, we’re all still waiting on this National Sports Academy, which was promised years ago.
But as Bahamians we only like to “lotion” successful people instead rather than turn toward development.
Now that Buddy Hield has been drafted to the New Orleans Pelicans, there is more support for that team, than there is for their own country’s national team.
This is a team that had Deandre Ayton, a 17-year-old phenom and projected number 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft was on this team. Sweden’s professional player of the year Kino Burrows, and rising college stars Michel Carey and Travis Munnings on the team.
The Bahamas has yet to assemble their best possible team, as players’ schedules never match up, but if a quick list was put together we see that – Tum Tum, Buddy, Kadeem, Dwight, Magnum, Carey, Munnings, Burrows, Ayton, Myke Thompson, LJ Rose, Chicken Knowles, David Nebitt have never played on the same team.
We can have a lineup that can compete with the powerhouses in the Americas region.
The 2020 Olympics is not a pipe dream, it is a reality that we can qualify for the tournament.
We don’t even know who is in the pipe line for the Bahamas in 2 – 3 years who can help make a difference for the national team.
But Despite a 7th place finish in the 2016 CentroBasket, the future of Bahamian basketball is bright as long as we have the entire Bahamas on board as the national team programme becomes bigger and better than ever.