Local players that will make up the Bahamas Select squad that is scheduled to play an exhibition game against the Nike EYBL All-Stars on Saturday have been working tirelessly to ensure they have a better showing this year than they did at last year’s inaugural Nike EYBL Youth Basketball League Camp.
For the second time, the footwear and apparel giant is hosting 12 of the top high school junior and senior players for a brief training camp in The Bahamas, followed by an exhibition game against the Bahamian select squad at Kendal Isaacs National Gymnasium.
Last year the EYBL team made quick work of Team Bahamas with a 125-65 win. This time, knowing what kind of competition they’ll be up against, Team Bahamas head coach Denycko Bowles said they’re working to make sure things don’t get out of hand like they did last year.
“We’ve just been going over some quick stuff with them; some stuff that they can adjust to pretty quickly, some things that they are comfortable with. We’re not going too far away from what they already know how to do, so they just have to be focused,” he said. “All of the kids are pretty much the same age. So I think this game will serve as a great measuring stick for our kids to see what they need to do to improve their games. “The kids coming down are exceptional players. Most will play one year in college and move on to the NBA, but that’s exceptional talent and you can’t really take that away from them. Our kids know it’s not going to be easy making it to the next level, but they just have to remain patient and focus on what they have to do.”
Although most of the players on Team Bahamas played in the game last year, they’re expecting a major boost this year, with the addition of No.1 prospect in the 2017 recruiting class Deandre Ayton to the team.
The New Providence native dominated the Nike circuit this summer and was named one of the top performers of the Nike Peach Jam last month. The 7-foot-1 center will add much needed size and rim protection to the team.
Another player that will look to give Team Bahamas a boost on the wing is Livingston Bromwell. The 6-foot-4 guard helped the Ridley Tigers capture a national title last season and will be relied on as a consistent scorer for this team.
“I think this is just a great opportunity for us to get out and run with the some of the best players in the world,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for us to get noticed and I hope that everyone comes out and supports us on game day.”
Former Prince William Falcons players Adam Johnson and Jefferson Oliver will also be asked to do a lot for the team. Both consider it an honor to be named to the team and plan to give the EYBL All-Stars a run for their money.
“We just have to play simple basketball. We can’t afford to make too many turnovers because they’ll take advantage and it would be a blow out,” said Oliver.
Johnson added: “This is a talented team we have here. We know each other from playing in school, so the chemistry is good. We just have to go out, play hard and have fun.”
The camp was designed to compete with the Under Armour Elite 24 game, which has been able to attract some of the biggest names in high school basketball for the past several years.
Last year’s camp featured some of the top players in this year’s recruiting class including Malik Monk, Harry Giles, Miles Bridges De’Aron Fox and Jayson Tatum.