Entornointeligente.com / Jamaica’s senior men’s basketball team head into the Central American and Caribbean (CENTRO) pre-qualifiers for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup in El Salvador from April 15 to 19 with an under-strength squad and limited training sessions together.
Nevertheless, coach Rick Turner is confident that the 12-man squad named on Wednesday can compete at the highest level.
Turner said despite the shortcomings, the squad is very experienced and he has no doubt they will represent well.
“There is a lot of experience in this group, a lot of the guys have extensive G-league experience, specifically Omari Johnson, with the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers, and Kevin Foster with the Orlando Magic G-League team.
“One of the challenges we have is that we haven’t been able to get together, other than on Zoom conferences. So we will have to take the first two days we get in El Salvador and really spend some time together to know who we are and get it figured out,” he shared.
“This is not the optimal situation and we wish we had a training camp or a few days together to work some things out, but much of that will be taken on enthusiasm,” Turner added. “But my expectation is that we will show up and compete at the highest level we can and give our effort at the highest level.
“And I have no question in my mind that these guys can do that because their hearts are in the right place,” he stated.
LIMITED SELECTION Turner did not have the full complement of players available to choose from because Jamaica was invited to the tournament at the 11th hour, and some players have team commitments, while others were hindered by coronavirus travel issues.
“It is going to be a unique look for us. This group that we are bringing to El Salvador is lighter on big men and heavier in the guard position, and I think that will change some of the things we do defensively. We don’t have the real big seven-foot carriers but we think we will be able to get after ball handlers, disrupt play and get into the passing lanes.
“We will be able to stretch a floor with this group because it is a group that can shoot well from the outside,” he assessed.
He further added that whatever the outcome at the tournament, the most important thing is getting the chance to compete again internationally after four years.
The squad includes four local players in Tommy McDonald, Nic Brown (Urban Knights), Jerome Thomas (Rae Town Raptors) and Michael Rogers (St George’s Slayers).
The other players are: Warren Williams (Manhattan College), Joel Bailey (Nyack College), Adrian Mike (CB Cantaires), Romaine Thomas (Clarke Atlanta University), Marcel Robinson (CD Udea Algecircas), Stefan Whittingham (Sunrise Jewels), Kevin Foster (Paulistano), and Omari Johnson (Fort Wayne).
LINK ORIGINAL: Jamaica Gleaner