NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The second edition of the Caribbean Tipoff Classic was officially launched yesterday at The Breezes Beach Resort.
The Tip-Off Classic, which is put on by Caribbean Sports Travel and the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF), matches teams from around the world for three days of basketball. This year’s event is set for November 1-3 at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
Each participating program will play three games, highlighted with The Caribbean Tip-Off Classic All-Star Game on Saturday night.
“The teams that are coming here have a lot of scouts already watching them, which easily opens new doors and provides exposure to get our players to the next level,” said BBF president Mario Bowleg. “We have colleges already asking about players competing at Summer of Thunder and other events. Some guys may have had some bad breaks with school prior, but now they have advanced their game to the point that they are at a Division I level and college and pro teams are willing to give them a shot.”
Steve Barnes, who has served as technical director of the BBF for six years and heads Caribbean Sports Travel, said that more Bahamians have received opportunities to play abroad in the past two years than at any point in the program’s history. He added that a lot of that exposure has come from international events such as the Caribbean Tipoff.
“More and more, we have more guys playing pro and playing collegiately, which is great news for us,” Barnes said. “This game is going to be televised on Flow Hoops and if they play well enough they will get something out of this. Someone that’s here at home right now and probably wouldn’t have a similar opportunity otherwise. This also helps us when we need to find players to play in February in FIBA. Some guys that may not have gotten the same exposure. But I’m excited to know that someone will get a job or a scholarship from this.”
Teams from the United States, Canada, The Bahamas and Finland will headline the three-day event.
“We have a team from Arizona coming with about 12 future D-1 players on the roster. The Canadian talent is also good,” said logistics coordinator David Maron. “ESPN doesn’t rank teams outside of the United States, so you have some strong international teams coming as well. And then you have a school like the Sports Science Academy out of Ohio with a mix of Canadian and American players.
“Seeing that we have some international teams, there will also be some NBA scouts here at the games. We had a few come in last year and we expect to have some again this year as well.”
Participating teams in this year’s event include:
Nassau Select (Nassau, Bahamas)
Freeport Select (Nassau, Bahamas)
Orangeville Prep (Ontario, Canada)
Ridley College Prep (Ontario, Canada)
Crestwood College Prep (Ontario, Canada)
TRC Academy (Ontario, Canada)
International Sports Academy (Willoughby, Ohio, United States)
Putnam Science Academy (Putnam, Connecticut, United States)
Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Virginia, United States)
Northfield Mount Herman (Northfield, Massachusetts, United States)
NBA Basketball Latin America (Mexico City, Mexico)
Helsinki Basketball Academy (Helsinki, Finland)