Regional

Second staging better than first…more to come

Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic NCAA men's basketball tournament growing well says Jacob Ridenhour

BY PAUL A REID
Observer West writer

Thursday, December 27, 2018

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ROSE HALL, St James — The second staging of the Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic NCAA men's basketball tournament surpassed the first staging “and is a good omen for what is to come” stated Jacob Ridenhour, the executive director of the three-day event held recently at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James.

Eight teams one more than the 2017 edition participated in the event, which included a clinic for local high school teams.

“It was a success,” Ridenhour stressed, adding, “We still have a lot of work to do to get it where we want it to be.”

He then added that: “There have been a whole lot of improvements in a lot of ways. As organisers, we have a whole lot of things to do to make it better every time. Last year we had no floor mops, but we brought some movers this time plus our VIP area is much better a lot of tweaks here and there. We had more support this year from major entities in Jamaica for various different reasons. The larger entities realised we are not just blowing smoke. They know that we are bringing something that Jamaica has never had before; we are bringing a world-class sporting event …there were 16 hours of basketball going into 60 million households in America and all they see all the time is the word 'Jamaica'.”

He noted that while no money was made from the staging of the event last year, “the big goal was to establish the event at a place where teams can go to play in the early season, when teams travelled away from the continental United States. We want this be one of the preferred destinations like Maui Invitational (in Hawaii), which is 40 years old. The Bahamas event is in double digits years, St Thomas (US Virgin Islands) is 26 years old… that's what we want here in Jamaica,” Ridenhour said.

Another big year in 2019, he said, would put the event firmly on the map.

“If we can get a jump next year as we got this year, it's going to be something else. There is a whole lot of little things getting better and some top teams are paying attention,” he informed.


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