White shoots for local participation in Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic

Friday, November 23, 2018

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ROSE HALL, St James — If Director of Tourism Donovan White gets his wish, local teams, including the national senior team as well as top high school players, could be part of next year's Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic basketball tournament by playing in exhibition games.

Loyola Marymount University won last weekend's second staging of the event that saw eight NCAA men's teams take part in the event held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, and included Georgetown University with head coach Patrick Ewing and the University of South Florida.

“The games have been top notch and what is going through my mind is how we can use this kind of influence to enable the sport of basketball in Jamaica to take hold and to develop again,” White told the Jamaica Observer on Sunday's final day of competition.

“We have played good basketball in Jamaica in the past, but we have not consistently and one of things I have said to Jacob Ridenhour and the organisers is that next year they should work closer with the Jamaica Basketball Association to have a national team here to play exhibition games or to bring another national team in to play between games,” White said.

Young local-basedplayers could also be involved, White said: “We could also work with the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association to have schoolboy exhibition games. That way we infuse the Jamaican talent into a weekend like this and give the high school kids a chance to be seen by college coaches so that there is opportunity being passed to them.”

The government, White said, was firmly behind the event and is committed to its success.

“We have to begin to put our money where our mouths are in this country... I believe that the leaders of both the sports and tourism ministries have given this event their full endorsements and they understand what we are trying to do to stimulate demand in faraway marketplaces to bring people to Jamaica, not just for sun, sand and beach, but to show off their talents,” White said.


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