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Jamaica Classic organisers confirm participation of ACC's Wake Forest

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer

Monday, December 02, 2019

ROSE HALL, St James — At least one other big-name American college basketball team will play in Jamaica at next year's Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic after organisers confirmed that Wake Forest of the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) have accepted an invitation to take part.

Wake Forest would be the second ACC team to play in the event in four years after Florida State University (FSU) participated in the first staging in 2017.

This year, Utah State University, who were ranked number 15 in the NCAA Men's Division One, took part as well as South Eastern Conference (SEC) powerhouse Louisiana State University (LSU).

Jacob Ridenhour, the chief organiser of the event, told the Jamaica Observer on the final day of the third staging just over a week ago that while it was always tough to get top teams to attend events they had secured a commitment from the school that NBA Superstars such as Tim Duncan and Chris Paul both played.

“It is difficult to sign teams as most of them have signed for next year already,” Ridenhour said. “We have a contract with Wake Forest, an ACC team, Chris Paul and Tim Duncan went there,” he said, while adding he was also in talks with seven other schools to fill out the tournament that is played over a three-day weekend.

The organiser said his team was working with a year-to-year contract and that was hindering their abilities to lock up teams years in advance.

“We need to get seven more teams and its hard to get people when you can't give them the entire story... everybody ask who is the sponsor, but sponsors wont come until we get teams and I can't get teams without commitment (from Jamaican partners),” noted Ridenhour.

This, he said, has led to uncertainties with planning.

“It has been a stressful last three years, playing Russian roulette about getting teams but I have faith in what I have heard from Minister Bartlett, Minister Grange, the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Sports Development Foundation; if every one is singing from the same hymnal then we are all in great shape because they are saying the right stuff,” stated Ridenhour.