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Men’s Basketball Into Final Olympic Qualifier

Bahamas National Men's Basketball Team celebrate victory at the FIBA 2024 Olympic Pre-Qualifying tournament in Argentina_

By Gerrino J. Saunders
Journal Staff Writer

The Bahamas Senior Men’s National Basketball Team has done the unthinkable;
competing at the FIBA Americas Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Argentina on
Sunday. Team Bahamas ranked 60 th defeated the world’s fourth ranked team and
host Argentina in the championship game 82-75 to win the tournament and earn a
coveted berth in the 2024 Olympic Games qualifying tournament in July 2024 just a
couple weeks before the start of the Paris Olympic Games.
Argentina has a rich history in World Cup and Olympic Basketball and the home fans
were in full support at the National Sports stadium. It was the second time in the
tournament that Team Bahamas defeated Argentina, beating them in their second
game during pool play in Group-A 101-89 on Wednesday, Aug. 16. The performance
is The Bahamas’ biggest accomplishment in international basketball competition.
After the victory, Team Bahamas led on the sidelines by Coach Chris DeMarco was
literally given its boarding pass to the final 2024 Olympic Games Qualifying
tournament where 12 out of 24 teams will qualify for the Paris Games. DeMarco is
an assistant coach with the NBA Golden State Warriors; he was joined by a number
of assistant coaches including Moses Johnson and Mikhail McLean. Mario Bowleg,
the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, and a national coach was also with the team
in Argentina.
Leading on the court in the championship victory was Eric Gordon Jr. with a game
high 27 points, including three huge three-pointers late in the fourth quarter to give
Team Bahamas a lead and then increase that lead in the final minute of play. Travis
Munnings, who plays professionally in Europe finished with 16 point, Indiana Pacers’
guard Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield had to deal with foul trouble and finished with 15 points
with five rebounds and three steals and Phoenix Suns centre DeAndre Ayton
anchored the defense finishing with 10 points and 21 rebounds.
Collegian Franco Miller Jr. contributed nine points and two rebounds off the bench,
while fellow Grand Bahamian Kentwan Smith, who also plays professionally in
Europe, had five points.
In the semi-final game on Saturday, Aug. 19, Team Bahamas used a balanced
scoring attack to defeat Uruguay 78-62, led by Hield, with 17 points, three steals;
Gordon had 13 points and Miller Jr. came off the bench and finished with 13 points.
In the blowout victory, Ayton played limited minutes and had nine points and nine
rebounds and Juraun ‘Kino’ Burrows came off the bench with nine points.

In the opening game of the tournament on Monday, Aug. 14, Team Bahamas
dominated Cuba 109-68, led by Ayton with 22 points 10 rebounds, Hield had 24
points and Gordon Jr. finished with 17 points.
Now that Team Bahamas has advanced to the next phase of Olympic qualifying,
there are unconfirmed reports that The Bahamas Basketball Federation is looking at
avenues that would allow Golden State Warriors sharp shooter Klay Thompson to join
the national team if he so desires. Klay’s older brother Mychel already plays forward
for Team Bahamas and has been an intricate part of the team for the past few years.

The Bahamas Men’s National Basketball Team wins the FIBA Americas Olympic Pre-
Qualifying Tournament in Argentina to advance to the

Written by Jones Bahamas

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