by Amajahl Knowles
The Bahamas Basketball Federation is set to host its annual Summer of Thunder Exhibition beginning August 1st at the Sir Kendal G.L. Issacs Gymnasium.
The showcase is designed to expose local talent to an international style of basketball, as well as give Bahamian players a chance to compete against some of the best collegiate basketball players the NCAA has to offer.
The exhibition also allows young Bahamian athletes to familiarize themselves with potential tertiary level institutions in which they could possibly attend.
This year there are 14 Division I programs that are expected to participate in this year’s event, including: The University of North Florida, Ball State University, Eastern Illinois University, Georgia Tech, Saint Louis University, Southern Utah University, Youngstown State University, University of Central Florida, University of North Dakota, Middle Tennessee St. University, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Bethune-Cookman University, West Virginia University and the University of Texas Arlington.
BBF first vice president, and event organiser, Mario Bowleg, said that the event is growing in recognition and is making a name for itself on the international scene.
“The tournament is only getting bigger and expanding and even though we have 14 teams here, there are more that wanted to participate, Wichita State who was a Sweet 16 team in the tournament wanted to participate this year and said if they don’t make it this year, they definitely will next year” said Bowleg.
The field lacks the star power of last year’s field, which boasted the Number 1. Ranked team in the country in The University of Kentucky who featured several potential NBA prospects.
Despite the fact there are no teams ranked in the top 20 in any preseason polls, the teams participating in this year’s event should provide tough competition for our local players as two teams (WVU, UNF) were among the 64 selected to compete in this year’s NCAA tournament.
“There are about nine local teams that are set to play including The Asue Draw Regulators, PJ Stingers, The Bahamas Select Team, Elite Ballers, Real Deal Shockers and the College Of The Bahamas has also confirmed that they will be playing and we’re still waiting on conformation from the other two teams” said Bowleg.
Bowleg also noted that he expects a good turnout from the public and that he expects the 9th to be the biggest draw of the event.
“August 9 which is a Sunday we expect to have about five games that day. Everybody loves playing the Sunday games and the crowd is normally at it’s best on that day” said Bowleg.
Bowleg also noted the limiting of local teams in he event to have those participating to be better conditioned and make for more competitive games.