Simons backs team to defend gold medal
Jason Simons believes Bermuda's basketball team that enjoyed gold medal success at the previous Island Games in Aaland two years ago, will be just as good when they travel to the Isle of Wight this summer providing the players stick to their game plan.
The team is currently training twice a week under coach Roderick Spencer and are determined to repeat their 2011 performance
Simons was a member of the all-conquering team that beat Menorca in a memorable final, and is pleased with how preparations are coming along.
“Training is going well at the moment, we have roughly 12 to 14 players out training and working out for the squad so we are optimistic,” he said.
“The team seems to be shaping up nicely, we have a few of the players that were on the squad for the last Island Games back again, while the remaining spots are being hotly contested.
“We are training two times a week at the moment but it will get more intense as the tournament nears. We know what it takes to make it in the Games so we will be looking to make a good account of ourselves.”
Winning a title is a feat in itself but to successfully defend it is a totally different ball game and that's something the returning players are well aware of.
Simons, along with brother Steven and big man Dean Jones, will form the nucleus of the team while the verdict is still out on whether or not scoring machine Chris Crumpler is going to make himself available for the trip.
Well aware of the importance of a good showing this time around, knowing the 2013 edition is on local soil, the team are looking to bring the title back home.
One team who will have their eyes squarely on Bermuda will be Menorca, the side that lost their title in the championship game 83-75 after Steven Simons hit a late three-pointer to send the game into overtime.
“Myself, Dean Jones, my brother Steven are in for the trip, but we aren't entirely sure about Chris who is hoping to make the trip as well,” said Simons. “We are expecting to have a hard time in defence of our title, we know the teams will be gunning for us and we just need to put in the work to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.
“This Games is especially important given the next one is in Bermuda so we need to try and retain our title.
“With the next Games on local soil, that give us added incentive rather than pressure to do well. It is a big competition and we are excited to see how we fare this time around.
“We lost in the final four years ago to the same team we beat last time out, Menorca, so it is like a mini rivalry going on at the moment.
“If we stick to what we know and listen to the coaching staff then we should be fine, we have the talent we just need to keep it simple.”