Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
The national senior men's basketball team has been invited by the Canadian Basketball Association to participate in a four-team warm-up tournament next year.
President of the Jamaica Basketball Association (JaBA), Ajani Williams, told The Gleaner on Thursday that the Jamaicans will play against the likes of Ukraine, Israel and Canada. He said that the tournament, to be played August 9-12, 2013, will be excellent preparation for the Jamaicans, who are set to compete in the FIBA World Championships qualifiers two weeks later.
"They have reached out to us for this four-day tournament, with pretty much all expenses paid by Canada," Williams said.
"This is excellent preparation for our team, because you are talking about Canada, and they have a top-notch squad and they have made it to the Olympics a couple of times," he said.
"They are also led by their general manager Steve Nash, who plays for the LA Lakers in the NBA, and so he knows his basketball stuff," Williams said. "Ukraine are traditionally a basketball powerhouse, and Israel are always a tough team to beat because they have one of the best basketball leagues in the world.
"We have never played against any of these before and so it is going to be really good preparation for us."
He added that the national team was down to travel to Puerto Rico for a three-team tournament, but they changed plans as soon as they received the offer from Canada.
"We were committed to a warm-up tournament in the Puerto Rico, but for us I think that Canada is more appealing because there is the cost that was removed from us," Williams said. "They are also going to assist us in hosting some fund-raising events because, as you know, there is a big Jamaican audience in Canada," he added.