Among the scores of elite level prep talent at the Basketball Without Borders Americas Camp this week, Bahamian players are looking to stand out and make an impact at home.
Players took to the court for the first time together as the camp opened yesterday for positional skill development and evaluation scrimmages.
Six local basketball standouts will be afforded the opportunity to compete at the event. The group of student-athletes athletes includes four boys – Dominic Bridgewater (Anatol Rodgers Timberwolves), Samuel Hunter (British Colombia Prep Panthers), Kai Jones and Derryn Johnson (St Anne’s Blue Waves) and two girls – Briontae Riley (Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins) and Diondrea Nixon (Tabernacle Baptist Falcons).
The evaluation scrimmages gave camp personnel an opportunity to scout the players ahead of last night’s draft which will determine their teams for the remainder of the week.
A former student at St John’s College, Hunter, a 6’8” 214-pound forward, recently completed his sophomore year at British Colombia Prep in Canada.
“It was sort of the same for me playing against unfamiliar players on the court. I play in Canada and I play prep basketball so I know some of the guys who were here from Canada and I know they play at a high level, but I’m glad I was able to get exposed to this level of competition.
“It’s way tougher than we usually get here in Nassau so it’s better for us,” he said. [This week] I’m trying to be a sponge and take in every little detail, even if it’s footwork, a new move, anything I can take it to get better, I think it’ll help me a lot.
Jones is a raw 6’8” wing who projects to the next level while Johnson – a 6’3” guard – was the leading scorer for the St Anne’s Blue Waves last season.
Riley was also one of the leading forces behind the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins’ success the past two seasons, which led to numerous tournament titles, including two GSSSA Championships and one national title. Nixon’s Falcons also claimed the GBSSAA title in Grand Bahama this past season.
Bridgewater is also a member of the BBF’s junior national team programme and will compete on the men’s Centrobasket Under-17 team in Santo Domingo, July 26-30. He played alongside Hunter at the Caribbean Basketball Confederation’s Under-16 Tournament last July where Bridgewater won MVP en route to leading the Bahamas to the gold medal.
“It was normal, it was fun, we still had to play hard and put your all into it because they’re coming to compete hard as well,” he said. “I’m looking to take away a lot, getting information from them to increase my game to make me better.”
Basketball Without Borders features the top 66 boys and girls from 16 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Players and coaches will lead the campers through a variety of activities on and off the court, including movement efficiency, positional skill development, 5-on-5 games and daily life skills seminars focusing on health, leadership and communication.
There will also be a 3-Point Shootout and All-Star Game before the camp concludes in an awards ceremony.
One boy and one girl will be named BWB Americas Camp MVPs at the conclusion of the camp.