Williams welcomes exposure for high school basketball teams at Jersey Mike Jamaica Classic
Action from the 2019 Jersey Mike Jamaica Classic between Eastern Michigan and University of Maryland- Baltimore County at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall is shown here. The event is scheduled to return in November after a two-year break. (Photo: Paul Reid)

ROSE HALL, St James — Coordinator for high schools basketball in western Jamaica Deon Williams has welcomed the initiative which will allow local high school teams to play a three-on-three tournament amongst themselves during the Jersey Mike Jamaica Classic, which returns to the Montego Bay Convention Centre in mid-November after a two-year break.

The Jamaica Classic will see eight American NCAA Division One basketball teams participate in a four-day tournament from November 17-20, and for the first time since inception, the organisers have decided to put in a competition for the local high schools.

Williams said the initiative is expected to get the endorsement of both the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) and the Jamaica Basketball Association (JaBA).

"The benefits to be derived for the players will include, but not be limited to, exposure to coaches from universities and colleges in the USA who will be here," he stressed.

WILLIAMS...the benefits to be derived for the players will include exposure to coaches from universities and colleges in the USA (Photo: Paul Reid)

Additionally, he said, the event, which will be played on a Saturday, "will be registered and Federations of International Basketball Association (Fiba) endorsed so the players will gain personal ranking points which will also contribute to the country's Under-23 Fiba ranking and the country's overall ranking", in three-on-three.

All eight schools that participate in basketball across western Jamaica, he said, were expected to take part in the tournament, in addition to a coaching seminar run by some of the visiting coaches.

Planning for the event that was not held in 2020 and 2021 because of the novel coronavirus pandemic is far advanced, and according to a release from the organisers, the Jamaica Classic has signed an extension for it to be staged in Jamaica up to 2026.

Georgetown University, led by Jamaican American head coach and former National Basketball Association star Patrick Ewing, will headline a list of eight Division One basketball teams and they along with another former NCAA Division One champions Loyola Marymount University are returning teams, while Wake Forest, Morgan State University, Queens, University of Wisconsin, Utah Valley, and LaSalle Universities will play for the first time in Montego Bay, according to the release from the organisers.

"In a strategic move, the event will be broadcast on national and regional television for fans in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, while basketball fans in the USA will be able to watch on CBS Sports," the release added.

BY PAUL A REID Observer West writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

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