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U.S. Virgin Islands Internationally

David Edole

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Brazil vs. ISV History - Feb 18, 2019

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The Virgin Islands is set to host Brasil in a FIBA World Cup qualifier. The team from Americas Paradise has been searching for a win against the South American team since 1979. 40 years ago! That day was miraculous and was taken from the V.I. history archives.

The Virgin Islands was selected for its second Pan-American Games in 1979, when the Male National Team competed in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Some of the members of the Men National Team included Arthur 'Gutu' Solomon (UTEP-Morgan State), Ronald 'Ranche' Charles (Michigan State), Steven 'Smokey' Frett, Will 'Pee Wee' Petersen (St. Andrews), Kennard 'Kirby' Callendar, Wayne 'Dibango' Harrison and Clayton 'Slim Jim' Miller. The Head Coach was Glen 'Kimble' Williams, who was assisted by Myron 'Buddy' Henneman. The team lost a close game the USA National Team that included players like Kevin McHale, Isiah Thomas and Ralph Sampson, and won an overtime thriller against the Brazil National Team, 98-92.

However, the fist contest didn't go as plan. In 1975 at the Pan American games in Mexico City, Brazil blew away the islanders, 129-80, and we finished the tournament without a win, 0-9. Stats have been hard to come by but we do know earlier in the year, Paagett Bell, Roy Christian, Gerald Johns, Irving Mulcare, Lois Davis, and Atmore 'Cornflakes' Fredericks got the team qualified at Centro Basket.

In 1987, the two teams met in Indianapolis, Indiana with Brazil holding on for a 103-98 win. Current Milwaukee Bucks assistant General Manager Milt Newton scored his career high in international games with 32. Brazil had the unconscious shooter and NBA/FIBA Hall of famer Oscar Schmidt, but held him to just 23 points. Sylvester Charles (Wake Forest-Old Dominion), Richie Welsh (Auburn) and Elvin Brown (Tennessee) were some of the members.

In 2007, the teams met twice, first at the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro followed the Tournament of Americas (Las Vegas). US Virgin Islands playing the home team on opening night is one of the toughest things to do in basketball and it showed in Virgin Islands loss to Brazil 86-81. Brazil dominated the game early on and drove to a 32-21 lead after the opening frame but the V.I. cut the deficit to eight points by halftime 51-43. The V.I. found their rhythm and came as close as five points after three quarters 67-62 before concluding the game at the same margin. Frank Elegar had a game-high 21 points with Cuthbert Victor and Kevin Sheppard producing 12 points apiece.

At FIBA Americas, the Virgin Islands got closer but not close enough falling 93-89. Cuthbert Victor was his usual self with 25 points, Jameel Heywood had 16, Jason Edwin added 17 and Kevin Sheppard tagged in 12. Oliver Taylor, Leon Trimmingham, JaJa Richards, Leroy 'Mr. Biggs' Blyden, Gracen Averil , Raja Bell, Andy Chelcher were the other members with Head Coach: Anderson Tevester and Assistant: Isley Nelson. Note: Raja Bell didn't play in the tournament.

At our first Tournament of Americas in 2001 in Neuquen, Argentina, The Virgin Islands lost its steam losing, 92-69. Brazil was filled with a frontline of NBA prospects featuring Nene (Houston), Tiagao Splitter (San Antonio), Anderson Verajao (Cleveland) and shooting guard Marcelinho. The Virgin Islands had four players in double digits. US Virgin Islands - Brazil 69-92 (Marcus Oliver 10, Carl Thomas 7, Calvert White 12, JaJa Richards 14, Jameel Heywood 15, Jason Edwin 9, Leroy Blyden 2, Andy Chelcher, Gracen Averil. Coach: Tevester Anderson - Demetrius 7, 0, Vanderlei 10, Nene 7, Sandro 7, Alex 12, Helinho 19, Tiagao 2, Guilherme 12, Estevam 5, Marcio 2, Anderson 9. Coach: Helio Rubens

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