As great as he is at his job, we’re not going to let Zach Lowe have the monopoly in listing things in 10s. It’s in our name, so it seems as if we’re almost contractually obligated to do it.
Excitement for The Bahamas’ senior men’s national basketball team has reached a fever pitch. How many times have we ever seen any of our Prime Ministers live tweet (I’m still calling it that) a basketball game? We love a frontrunner, we love to fully immerse ourselves in the hype, and we love the attention that comes with people acknowledging how great we are.
This team provides all of that.
The collection of talent for Team Bahamas has garnered not only local attention but also from the international basketball community. One eye is on the FIBA World Cup but the other is trained on Argentina to see this team play together for the first time.
A 41-point blowout win over Cuba in their debut followed by the most important win in Bahamian basketball history has prompted a top 10.
That Was Exactly What We Expected It To Look Like
“I think a lot of us know when it’s our time. No matter what profession you’re in, you get a feeling. If you worked on it long enough, you know when it’s ready.” – Nas
Buddy has led by example, DA has been dominant, EG has been a stabilizing force … and it all flowed seamlessly.
Our version of the Big 3 combined for 63 points and nearly outscored Cuba (68) on their own and fought back against the 4th-ranked team in the world in their own gym.
What jumped out at the screen was the manner that they did it.
Buddy has four Sr MNT appearances and he’s been the leading scorer every time (‘14 Centrobasket – 19.8 ppg, WC 2019 Americas Qualifiers – 21ppg, WC 2023 Americas Qualifiers – 24 ppg, and has started the Olympic Pre-Qualifiers the same way. You don’t often say this about a player with a 91 3-point rating in 2K, but the intangibles were probably the things I liked the most about him in these games. The versatility that’s been on display since he was traded to the Pacers is always on display in his FIBA appearances. He’s dunked, he’s dished assists, and most importantly, he’s let Tyrese Haliburton know about it.
Career FIBA splits: 21.6 ppg, 6.7 ppg, 3.3 asts per game
vs Cuba: 24 pts, 6 rebs, 5 asts
vs Argentina: 23 pts, 6 rebs, 3 asts
For DA, this was stop one on the “change the narrative” tour. Double-doubles in both games 22 pts, 10 rebs, over 70% shooting against Cuba followed by 22 pts, 15 rebs, 3 blks on 69% shooting against Argentina.
The full offensive arsenal was on display. We saw the middy, we saw the quickness to blow by a slower defender and finish with authority, and we saw him being the anchor on defense.
Several sequences encapsulated what the entire Bahamas basketball why we’re all so geeked about following this:
After hitting a middy, DA head faked his defender in the same spot and drove down the middle of the lane for a dunk. Bahamas then steals the inbound pass and the ball finds its way to Buddy for a 3.
EG scored so easily on the first possession against Cuba, it felt like he was going for 40. Early in the fourth quarter, we had a bad possession where the offense was stagnant for nearly the whole shot clock until Tum Tum found Gordon on the wing and he made a deep three to put us up 33.
Against Argentina, we all know what the big play was. Dunks are worth extra points in Bahamian culture and this may have been the biggest one ever. EG’s poster capped an 18-point comeback that put The Bahamas ahead for good and eventually led to a 12-point win.
This is going to be fun guys.
Different Types of Leadership
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch
Buddy is a vocal 7-year NBA vet everyone in The Bahamas feels like they grew up with juxtaposed with EGm a 14-year vet new to the national team program with a reserved “lead by example” demeanor.
Ostensibly, these are your leaders.
But, you also have the OGs that have really been the backbone behind Bahamas Basketball for over a decade now and have been a huge factor in the transition to get to this point. These are the people that oversee the locker rooms and team vibes. These are the people that have been there before.
Kentwan Smith has 38 Sr MNT games under his belt (debuted in 2012) and came off the bench to drop 10 against Cuba, David Nesbitt has played in 27 Sr MNT games since 2015 and The OG of all OGs – Kino Burrows made his Sr MNT debut in 2007. To place Kino’s longevity and production into perspective, one of his teammates on that 2007 team – Franco Miller Sr, and one of his teammates now on this 2023 Olympic Pre-Qualifying team – Franco Miller Jr. So much of this recent success and the transition toward this path has to be credited to them.
Tum Tum is an actual “coach on the floor” archetype that people tend to label all pass-first point guards…except in this case, he’s an actual coach on the sidelines moonlighting as a player. He also just happens to averaging a career high 7 assists per game this tournament.
Devil is in the Defensive Details
“I’ve learned that I’m most powerful when I’m doing my art.” – Andre 3000
The counting numbers looked great against Cuba. We forced 18 turnovers and scored 21 points off those turnovers.
The Argentina game completely turned on the defensive end. It’s like we faced a blitzkrieg in the first quarter (get it?…You got it). In real life, the blitzkrieg was unsustainable logistically due in large part to the fact that the Allied Forces had sheer numbers and a strategy to withstand the surprise of the initial onslaught.
So did we.
Argentina built an 18-point lead…IN THE FIRST QUARTER. I can’t tell you the amount of depressing conversations we’ve had in the 10YS studios about these exact moments in Bahamas basketball when this game would have been over. Then for the next two quarters, we locked in defensively and completely erased that deficit by halftime. They limited Argentina to 16 points in the second and just 14 points in the third, outsourcing them 57-30 over that time period. Travis Munnings hounded Facundo Campazzo and Carlos Delfino on the perimeter while Ayton was the anchor behind that defensive effort to lead the comeback.
“We’re Building Something, Here, Detective, We’re Building It From Scratch. All The Pieces Matter.” – Det. Lester Freamon
Video games and social media have created a generation of team builders. So naturally, the first question anyone asks whenever you assemble a team centered around several great talents is “How do you flesh out the remainder of the roster?” Who compliments those pieces well? Who can contribute?
Franco dropped 18 against Cuba and Travis was one missed free throw away from a perfect night against Argentina with 20 pts on 8-8 fg, 3-3 3pt fg.
We’re finding the answers.
“f you don’t f–k with me, don’t do what I do. Think he the one, but he really the two, Better get low when I hit at your crew, I’m sendin’ the cleaners through” – Gunna
Law-abiding citizen rap is topping the charts right now and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you’re in a social setting and you don’t hear “Fawkumean,” “Bread and Butter”, or “Back to the Moon” you should leave immediately and question certain life choices. Those aren’t the spaces that deserve your time.
We could have posted a practice reel at any point, but the “a Gift & a Curse” segment of practice set the tone. Cuba was done before it even started.
The Bahamas Hoops IG Page
“Y’all be talking crazy under them IG pictures” – Hov
New media is crushing this. Admittingly, this is someone speaking through a particular prism because I don’t consume my news through any sort of traditional media. There’s no added context, there’s nothing new they provide…they’re not even in Argentina.
10YS is, but so is Bahamas Hoops…and the content production has been elite. So many of these events happen in a vacuum if nobody is there to document them in as close to real-time as possible. When Mitch was out there dropping 40 plus on Nicaragua, it happened in silence.
The culture has shifted.
“We got shooters, big shooters. Let’s go!” – Hassan Whiteside
A common trope of Bahamian basketball has always been that we fit into a very specific archetype – quick, athletic, hard-nosed defensively but raw. The profile rarely, if ever, included prolific shooting. Not on this level.
The shooting has become contagious
This was largely before Buddy became one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. This was before we got EG – consistently one of the best shooters in the league for over a decade.
vs Cuba: 50%, 17-34 3pt fg, 5 diff players made at least 2 3pt fg
vs Argentina: 48%, 10-21 3pt fg, 5 diff players made a 3 pt fg
Pace and Space
“You know its real when you are who you think you are” – Drake
This team is averaging 105 points per game on 56% shooting from the field, 49% from 3, and 84% from the free throw line.
It’s a legitimately beautiful game we’re watching now.
Winter is Coming, and So are the Reinforcements
“Job’s not finished” – Kobe
We’re only two games in, there’s still a tournament to win to get out of the pre-qualifiers. To plan for anything beyond that would be irresponsible and getting ahead of ourselves…which is exactly the foundation of everything we do here at 10YS.
The road to Paris 2024 only gets more difficult and we absolutely need every resource at our disposal to continue advancing. What’s better than having 3 NBA players on your roster? Having 4 NBA players on your roster. This team won’t be at full strength until Kai Jones is there. In his lone national team appearance, Jones averaged 18 pts and 8 rebs in the ‘23 World Cup Qualifiers. We need to see what that looks like next to DA.
What’s better than 3 NBA players?
Speaking of reinforcements, I think we need to decide as a collective that we’re going to leave Klay Thompson alone on social media. It takes one simple Google search to figure out why he’s not playing and while it will be difficult to ever make that happen. It’s not a Klay issue – it’s a FIBA rules issue, then it’s a USA Basketball issue. We’ve been doing extensive research into the “Get Klay To Play” campaign for years, he wants it just as the rest of us do.
The Most Self-Involved Sports Media Platform There Is
“If you aint talkin bout my n—-s then what you talkin bout” – Meek Mill
When we played Argentina at home in ’23 World Cup Qualifiers, the cupboard was so bare that John joined Moses on the bench as his Assistant Coach. This is a considerably different situation this week in Argentina. Beating Cuba is one thing, but when go on to beat a powerhouse like Argentina in their home gym…the basketball world stands up and takes notice.
Also, take note of the fact that the good vibes headed into the Argentina win began with one shot.