The first edition of the Caribbean Tipoff Classic begins today at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
Scheduled for November 2-4, the inaugural tournament features teams from The Bahamas, the United States and Canada.
Steve Barnes, who serves as the event’s organizer, said that Caribbean Sports Travel, a group he brought to The Bahamas, said he is excited to see the opportunities that local players will gain from the showcase this year, and in the near future.
“I’m working with The Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) over the years as the technical director and helping to assist with Bahamas basketball. What I have learned over the last 5-6 years is that the community could really use somebody to organize for the community.
“I know so much complaints of groups coming from outside and they do their business and make a home. Our group believes in being homegrown, development of the youth, development of the community, development of tourism, so our goal is to start off this showcase and let people see that we are doing top notch first class events.”
Barnes added that a major selling point of this year’s event will be that Bahamians will get to see two of the top local high school prospects in action. University of Texas commit Kai Jones will represent the Brewster Academy out of New Hampshire, while Ole Miss commit Samuel Hunter represents BC Christian Academy.
Along with Jones and Hunter, several other Bahamians playing abroad will also be competing in the event. Deante Dean also competes for BC Christian, Romad Dean plays for Crestwood Prep out of Canada, and Deangelo Mackey and Makarious Russell play for Redemption Christian Academy out of New York.
“It’s not about bringing these teams in so everyone can see how good they are. It’s important to get the best players playing abroad back home to be seen by their friends and family and the local players get to play and they get seen in front of these dozens of scouts and coaches,” Barnes said.
“One of the highlights is having the teams from Freeport and from Nassau team up to play against the visiting team, so we really have a situation where we have the best of the best. What we really need is for this to be successful is to have community backing, not only this year but in years to come.”
Local teams competing include St George’s, Tabernacle Baptist, Anatol Rodgers, St. Augustine’s College and C.I. Gibson.