by RENALDO DORSETT
A group of young student athletes were afforded the opportunity to continue their educational and athletic careers in the United States based on their performances at the inaugural Top Elite Basketball Showcase.
Seven students; including Raschad Greene, Jaden Feaste, Charles Rahming, Kenneth Barry Jr, Eamon Collie, Raheem Nixon Garet Finlayson and Caleb Burrows, will attend St. Louis Christian Academy in St. Louis, Missouri, while Blaze Darling will attend Lake Mary Prep in Orlando, Florida.
The official announcement was made yesterday at the Bahamas Elite Sports Academy (BESA), Town Centre Mall before a group of parents, staff and executives from the Ministry of Education and the Bahamas Basketball Federation.
Both Green and Feaste were teammates at St. John’s College.
Greene said his goal was to perform motivated at the showcase.
“I was a bit nervous at the showcase but I just had to play my game and thankfully I stood out to at least one coach,” he said, “I know my goal and I used that as motivation to push myself and I played well. It earned me this opportunity and I know St. Louis Christian is a great school for education and sports.”
Feaste said he is looking forward to expanding his game with his new programme.
“At the showcase I knew I had to play well, I had to establish myself in the post. It was pretty nerve wrecking at first but I found myself getting more into it as the day went along,” he said, “I think I have to work on my shooting because that is where the game is going now and I have to work on my footwork. I had a few offers before this one, but this seemed like the right fight for me.”
Both Rahming and Collie were teammates at Teleos Christian Academy.
Rahming, who recently participated in the Buddy Hield Invitational Classic said this is another honour to add to what has been a great season.
“I looked at it as an achievement just to get picked, but I was thankful and greatful,” he said, “I just try to bring energy, defence and score where I could. Ever since I started playing seriously and I saw other guys get scholarships, I really looked at it and took it in and I said this year I really wanted this and it was a goal of mine.”
Collie said his strategy was to stand out based on the intagibles that may not show up on a stat sheet
“I was nervous when I first went to the showcase but I still had to do my part. I had to play aggressive and fit into the style of play, not just scoring but doing the little things a coach would notice,” he said.
Kenneth Barry Jr also played in the Bahamas Scholastic Association, for the Mt. Carmel Prepatory Cavaliers.
“There was a lot of talent there but Coach Curry just told me to work hard, be myself and play my game. I just thought I had to go hard to get any attention from coaches. I knew I put in a lot of work I just had to be the player I knew I could be and hoped someone saw me,” he said, “Moving forward, I just want to have a good work ethic toward my basketball career and in the classroom. There’s a lot I still to work on because I’m far from where I want to be, but I’m ready to work on those things.”
The first Top Elite Basketball Showcase took place April 28-29 at the AF Adderley Gymnasium, organised by Rodney Curry, Director of Bahamas Elite Sports Academy
The showcase featured both male and females from grades 9-12 along with graduate unattached players.
Several scouts and coaches from visiting US programmes were in attendance, including those representing Claflin University, Indian River College, St Thomas University, Missouri Valley College, St.Louis Christian, Lake Mary Prep, Gulliver Prep, Evelyn Mack Academy and others.
Casey Autenreith, head coach at St Louis Christian Academy, previously recruited Bahamian players including Anthony Pratt, Rayford Rigby and Nate Bethel.
Pratt is currently playing at the NCAA Division I level with the Eastern Kentucky Colonels, while Rigby is at Bethesda University and Bethel at Navarro Junior College.