Jamaica Basketball Association (JaBA) President Ajani Williams said the country's historic third-place finish at the Centrobasket tournament and its unprecedented qualification to the Tournament of the Americas for North, South and Central American teams have ushered in a new era for Jamaica.
Williams, who was speaking to the Jamaica Observer on the team's arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday, said this achievement has propelled Jamaica's basketball onto the global stage, and with the right resources they can make next year's World Championship.
WILLIAMS... I think were definitely on our way
"It may not happen immediately, but through time like our track and field we will, as this is the beginning of our phase and I think we are definitely on our way," he said.
"... The right people and are there; the right coaches; the right mentality, and the players are committed to advancing in this new frontier," he argued.
The JABA boss said it took sacrifice to achieve their objective. He was especially grateful to Tina Matalon and KFC for their ardent support of the programme.
"We knew it would take great sacrifice, but we do have some cash and great support from KFC... plus we got some really strong backing from the SDF (Sports Development Foundation), the sports minister and Grand Palladium (hotel)," he added.
"Samardo put on an all-star performance, Jerome was developing into himself, while Weyimi was unbelievable...
"And Coach Sam Vincent threw out so many plays that nobody else had seen and came out with totally new plays on the day. So the coaching staff was really great in their application, preparation and sacrifice," he beamed.
Williams said he will use this accomplishment to spearhead the nation's new basketball initiative.
"This is huge. I was getting tired but they have given me a lot more energy now and I'm going to create a pretty phenomenal marketing team," he pledged.
"We have a new team brand, a new team name and we intend to hit the entire diaspora... but we needed this moment to activate it," he added.
Williams believes that with their newfound fame, they will attract other players with Jamaican heritage and even convince Roy Hibbert Jr to reconsider switching allegiance from the United States.
"I think we can and should advance to the World Championship... but we have to recruit the best players and get them to come within that same year," he said.
"If we're going to make a real run at the World Championships, then Roy Hibbert is ultimately important... If we don't have him we can do without him, although it would be harder, but we'll definitely need Ryan Reid, especially for those rebounds," he noted.
Meanwhile, veteran Kimani Friend, who played only for limited periods in the tournament because of a broken nose, said the feat was overwhelming and called it "a very big accomplishment for Jamaica's basketball".
"This should now propel us to get more sponsorship and more people to support the team," he said.
"We made history... and I think this is one of the achievements for our 50th Anniversary," he added.
He pointed out that the success was achieved in a very short time and the local basketball administration should be commended.
"This has been achieved in a short amount of time with the new players, Ajani, and Coach Vincent... so in about three, four years we've really made a big achievement and I hope after this we continue to move forward," said Friend.
He added that the team will be stronger and more experienced next year and will attract newcomers.
"The fact that we made the Tournament of Americas means more guys will be coming out of the NBA or Europe with Jamaican parentage and they will want to use this as an excuse to play for Jamaica, and because of this, we will be very strong," he said. Courtesy of: http://www.caribbeanbasketball.com
Kimani Ffriend selected the top Jamaican playing abroad in last week's games - 2 days ago
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We bring you last week's top performances from Jamaicans who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level. Experienced Torin Francis (210-C-83) could not help La Union (9-27) in their last game. Despite his very good performance the seventh-placed La Union (9-27) was edged 71-69 on the road by the lower-ranked (#9) Hispano Americano de Rio Gallegos in the Norte group.
We bring you last week's top performances from Jamaicans who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level.
#1. This week's number one is an experienced former international center Kimani Ffriend (211-77, college: Nebraska, currently plays in Serbia). Ffriend could not help one of league's weakest teams Dynamic BG (1-1) in their last game on Saturday. Despite his good performance Dynamic BG was defeated 75-64 at home by the leading Borac.
Ffriend recorded 11 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
Ffriend has relatively good stats this season: 15.0ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.6apg, 1.4bpg, 2FGP: 55.8%(82-147) and FT: 68.9%.
He played for the Jamaican senior national team five years ago.
#2. Second place goes to former international power forward Samardo Samuels (206-89, college: Louisville, currently plays in Italy). He was not able to help Enel Brindisi in their game against Juvecaserta (11-17) in the Italian Serie A. Despite his good performance on Sunday night Samuels recorded 10 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.
There are only two games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
This season Samuels averages: 8.8ppg, 5.2rpg, 2FGP: 48.1%, 3FGP: 75.0% and FT: 75.0%.
He played for the Jamaican national team in 2014.
#3. The Jamaican player who performed third best last week abroad was former international power forward Ryan Reid (204-86, college: Florida St., currently plays in Japan). Reid contributed to an easy victory against the fourth-ranked Orange Vikings (27-29) crushing them 94-49 in the Japanese B League D2 last Sunday.
He recorded 6 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists.
Shimane Susanoo Magic (46-10) is placed first in West group.
It was his team's fourth consecutive victory in a row.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game is very crucial.
It's Reid's first season with the team.
Reid's overall stats this year are: 8.3ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.2apg, 2FGP: 50.4%, 3FGP: 21.6% and FT: 71.1%.
He is a naturalized American.
Reid played for the Jamaican national team six years ago.
#4. Center Jerome Jordan (215-86, college: Tulsa, currently plays in Spain) managed to help Divina Seguros Juventut Badalona in a victory against the ninth-ranked RETAbet BB (12-15) crushing them 82-55 in the Spanish Liga Endesa on Sunday night.
He scored only 4 points, had 4 rebounds and dished 4 assists in 24 minutes.
Divina Seguros Juventut Badalona (10-19) is placed 13th in the Liga Endesa.
There are only three games left until the end of the Regular Season.
This year Jordan has relatively solid stats: 10.1ppg and 5.5rpg in 23 games he played so far.
He used to play for the Jamaican national team
back in 2014.
#5. Former international power forward Adrian Forbes (211-88, agency: Haylett Sports, college: Auburn, currently plays in Japan) was not able to secure a victory for Kagawa FA (18-38) in their game against Dragonflies (43-13) in the Japanese B League D2.
He scored 5 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in 19 minutes.
The fifth-placed Kagawa FA (18-38) lost 81-89 on the road to the second-ranked Dragonflies in the West group.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season.
This year Forbes' overall stats are: 5.9ppg, 6.9rpg and 1.2bpg in 56 games.
He used to play for the Jamaican national team
three years ago.
The list of other players, who all have Jamaican passport but never been selected to any of Jamaican national teams:
#1. Experienced Torin Francis (210-C-83, college: Notre Dame, currently plays in Argentina) could not help La Union (9-27) in their last game. Despite his very good performance the seventh-placed La Union (9-27) was edged 71-69 on the road by the lower-ranked (#9) Hispano Americano de Rio Gallegos in the Norte group.
Francis had a double-double by scoring 19 points and getting 12 rebounds. He also added 3 blocks in 30 minutes.
It was La Union's fifth consecutive loss in a row.
There are only three games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
Francis has relatively good stats this year: 14.6ppg and 8.8rpg in 52 games he played so far.
He is a naturalized American.
#2.Ryan Martin (206-F-91, college: Tenn Tech, currently plays in France) was not able to help STB Le Havre (14-15) in their last game on Tuesday. Despite Martin's very good performance STB Le Havre was defeated 89-80 in Vichy by the league outsider JA Vichy (#18).
He was the top scorer with 25 points.
This season Martin averages: 6.6ppg and 3.9rpg.
He has a dual citizenship: Jamaican and British.
Despite Martin's Jamaican passport, he previously played for the British U20 national team and is probably not eligible to play for the Jamaican team.
#3.Sek Henry (193-G-87, college: Nebraska, currently plays in France) was not able to secure a victory for Gravelines-Dunkerque (15-14) in their last game. Despite Henry's very good performance Gravelines-Dunkerque lost 83-94 on the opponent's court to the higher-ranked (#4) Pau-Lacq-Orthez.
He scored 16 points in 29 minutes.
It was Gravelines-Dunkerque's third consecutive loss in a row.
Henry has relatively good stats this year: 12.5ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.2apg and 1.4spg in 22 games.
He is a naturalized American.
#4.Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson (178-PG-91, currently plays in Portugal) was the major contributor in Galitos-Barreiro's victory against the sixth-ranked Illiabum (13-18) 72-63 in the Portuguese LPB last Sunday.
Ogungbemi-Jackson scored 18 points, had 5 boards, passed 8 assists and added 4 steals in 34 minutes.
Galitos-Barreiro (18-13) is placed fifth in Places 1-6 group.
It was his team's third consecutive victory in a row.
They will play only one more game in the Second Stage. And now that game is very crucial.
Ogungbemi-Jackson has individually a very good year with high stats. He averages: 17.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.6apg and 1.3spg in 23 games.
Ogungbemi-Jackson is another player who holds two passports: Canadian and Jamaican.
Despite his Jamaican nationality, Ogungbemi-Jackson previously played for the Canadian university national team and probably cannot be called to the Jamaican team.
#5.Dane Johnson (208-C-86, college: Hofstra, currently plays in Venezuela) contributed to Toros' victory against the second-ranked Bucaneros (13-10) 94-83 in the Venezuelan LPB in Thursday night's game.
Johnson had a double-double by scoring 10 points and getting 13 rebounds. He also added 3 blocks in only 1 minutes.
Toros de Aragua (6-15) is placed fifth in Western Conference.
This year Johnson's overall stats are: 6.4ppg and 5.4rpg in five games.
He is a naturalized American.
#6.Khalid Mutakabbir (193-G-91, agency: Duran International, college: Presbyterian, currently plays in Spain) led Zornotza to an easy victory against the league outsider Gandia crushing them 82-59 in the Spanish LEB Silver (third division) in Saturday night's game.
Mutakabbir scored 18 points and added 4 passes.
This season Mutakabbir has very high stats. He averages: 15.4ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.9apg and 1.7spg.
Mutakabbir is a naturalized American.
#7.T.J. Sapp (190-G-92, also represented by Duran International, college: Murray St., currently plays in France) managed to help Boulazac Basket Dordogne to win against the closely-ranked Charleville-Mezieres 85-76 in the French ProB (second division) on Tuesday night.
Sapp scored 5 points.
Sapp's total stats this season are: 8.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.0apg and 1.2spg.
He is a naturalized American.
#8.Tyran De Lattibeaudiere (201-F-91, college: Lamar, currently plays in Spain) couldn't help CB Granada in their game against Blancos de Rueda in the Spanish LEB Silver (third division). De Lattibeaudiere cannot count Saturday's game as one of the best ones.
He scored only 3 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 17 minutes.
His team was crushed by 21 points 80-59.
De Lattibeaudiere has reliable stats this year: 11.7ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.2apg and 1.1bpg in 29 games.
#9.Aaron Redpath (193-G-92, agency: Interperformances, college: McMaster, currently plays in Spain) contributed to a 2-point Zamorano's victory against one of league's weakest teams Albacete 83-81 in the Spanish LEB Silver (third division) last Saturday.
He scored only 3 points.
Redpath's total stats this season are: 6.5ppg, 2.4rpg and 1.7apg.
He has both Canadian and Jamaican nationalities.
#10.Junior Cadougan (187-G-90, college: Marquette, currently plays in NBLCanada) contributed to a London Lightning's victory against the Island Storm 123-117 in the NBL Canada on Tuesday night.
Cadougan recorded 8 points and added 3 assists in 20 minutes.
This year Cadougan's total stats are: 6.5ppg, 2.4rpg and 1.7apg in 30 games.
He also holds two passports: Jamaican and Canadian.
Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket (ProA) agreed terms with experienced 34-year old Canadian ex-international point guard Jermaine Anderson (188-83, college: Fordham). It is actually his comeback to Chalons Reims as he has played here before. Anderson is a dual citizen owning also Jamaican passport. He just played at Mornar Bar in Montenegrin Erste Liga. But in 6 games he had only 1.7ppg, 1.3rpg and 1.3apg this season. Anderson also played earlier that season for Chalons Reims where in 12 Ers... [read more]
Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket (ProA) agreed terms with experienced 34-year old Canadian ex-international point guard Jermaine Anderson (188-83, college: Fordham). It is actually his comeback to Chalons Reims as he has played here before. Anderson is a dual citizen owning also Jamaican passport. He just played at Mornar Bar in Montenegrin Erste Liga. But in 6 games he had only 1.7ppg, 1.3rpg and 1.3apg this season. Anderson also played earlier that season for Chalons Reims where in 12 Erste Liga games he recorded 3.4ppg, 1.8rpg and 3.9apg. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Anderson won Montenegrin League championship title in 2012. He was also voted Eurobasket.com All-Croatian A1 League Honorable Mention back in 2010. Anderson represented Canada at the World Championships in Turkey seven years ago. His stats at that event were 5 games: 8.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 28.6%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 75.0%. Anderson is quite experienced player. He has played also professionally in Germany (Braunschweig, Gladiators and Walter Tigers), Greece (Panionios), Poland (Swiecie), Russia (Zenit), Spain (Sevilla), Croatia (Cibona and Cedevita) and Canada (Halifax_Rainmen). Anderson attended Fordham University until 2006 and it is his eleventh (!!!) season as a professional player.
Toros de Aragua (LPB) tabbed 31-year old American (has also Jamaican passport) center Dane Johnson (208-107kg-86, college: Hofstra). He started the season at Larre Borges in Uruguayan LUB league. In 8 games he averaged impressive 17.4ppg, 9.6rpg, 1.6spg and 1.8bpg this season. The last season Johnson played at White Wings in German ProA where in 20 games he had 6.5ppg and 5.3rpg. He is a very experienced player. And here thanks to pro basketball Johnson experienced life in ten different... [read more]
In 8 games he averaged impressive 17.4ppg, 9.6rpg, 1.6spg and 1.8bpg this season. The last season Johnson played at White Wings in German ProA where in 20 games he had 6.5ppg and 5.3rpg.
He is a very experienced player. And here thanks to pro basketball Johnson experienced life in ten different countries playing on five different continents. He is familiar with European, Asian, Latin American, African and of course North American leagues. Johnson has played previously professionally in Canada (Halifax_Rainmen), Lebanon (Anibal), Lithuania (Neptunas and Palanga), Morocco (Essaouira), Poland (AZS Koszalin), Portugal, Puerto Rico (Caciques and Atleticos), Spain (Fontedoso Carrefour), Turkey (Istanbul BBSK) and Ecuador (Mavort).
He attended Hofstra University until 2009 and it is his eighth season in pro basketball.
Let's have closer look into Johnson's outlook:
He's a natural center, who is very comfortable playing with his back to the basket. He's known for playing hard and being physical. Dane has good post moves and a good feel for maneuvering himself for a good
look around the basket (good footwork, good hands). He's got a soft touch on his jump hook, can finish with either hand around the basket and will get his share of dunks. Johnson is also a good shotblocker. Dane has a defensive prowess and he knows how to play helpside defense. He has long arms (7'3 wingspan),
good coordination, and his shot blocking will help clean up some of the defensive deficiencies of his teammates. Dane has a soft shooting touch and is improving his face-up perimeter shooting. In the post, he's got the moves (drop step, drop step counter,spins, fadeaways and turnarounds). He's got skills (he passes the ball fairly well too).
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