Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Jamaica looking to leave mark at International Cup basketball

Published:Saturday | September 30, 2023 | 12:08 AMOrane Buchanan/Staff Reporter
National basketball head coach Rick Turner
National basketball head coach Rick Turner

A four-member team is set to represent Jamaica at the 2023 International Cup in Sacramento, with action set to tip off tomorrow. Rick Turner, head coach of Jamaica’s senior men’s basketball team, believes preparation has been good and the four players should complement each other very well.

“Preparation has been going great. We have two experienced players in Romaine Thomas and Kevin Foster, who have played in a number of these tournaments. And then we are bringing in two new players in Marcus Patterson and Marcus Lewis. So, we are going to give them a shot at the 3x3 and I’m excited to have them,” he stated.

Coach Turner explained that the International Cup will give himself and his coaching staff a good measure of Jamaica’s current status in the world of 3x3 basketball. He added that the tournament is also of high importance in getting valuable points to aid their chances of getting to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“I think there’s still a window for us at the 2024 Olympics for 3x3, and the way the qualifying works for the 3x3 is different compared to that of the 5v5. Part of the qualifying has to do with accumulating points, ranking system and winning games. So, all the opportunity that we get to play in these tournaments will boost our profile and also, the fact that we’re playing in this tournament against Team USA, who are one of the top teams in the world, will be a great measuring stick for us,” Turner explained.

The highly experienced Turner shared that he has become a fan of the 3x3 game overtime, as he initially thought the game was ‘gimmicky’.

“The 3x3 game is so different compared to the 5x5 game. It’s really a fun game to watch and, truth be told, I was a little hesitant at first as I’m a purist with the 5x5 and I thought it was kind of gimmicky. It’s now an Olympic sport and, because FIBA (International Basketball Federation) has put so many resources into it, that label has turned,” he said.

Turner added that having the experienced duo of Foster and Thomas will be a solid boost for the Jamaican team.

“It’s a fast-paced and physical game and it takes a certain type of player to be able to have success. First of all, you have to be in outstanding condition and great shape to play. Secondly, experience is very important and having played in it and knowing what to expect helps a lot. So having (Kevin) Foster and (Romaine) Thomas with this group will help,” Turner said.