Team ‘held back by lack of funding’
Bermuda basketball has a “bright future” and with better funding can soar to further heights, according to Roderick Spencer, the men's national basketball head coach.
“Like many sports in Bermuda, basketball struggles with lack of funding,” Spencer said. “The men's national basketball team has travelled the world representing Bermuda with some very good results and on each trip the players pay out of pocket for their own expenses. At times the final roster is not the best team available but the best team that can afford to go.”
This month's HaiCo World Indigenous Basketball Challenge in British Columbia was another shining example of such adversities, with players Spencer had hoped to include in his roster that were denied the opportunity because of lack of funding.
“We had other youngsters we would have liked to have taken, but without any funding available for basketball this proved difficult this time,” he said. “A big thank you to Three Graces Day Spa for their support. Without it we would have had a roster of eight for these games.
“With all that, Bermuda basketball looks to have a bright future.”
Despite the setback, Bermuda did the island proud with an encouraging 2-2 record venturing into the unknown against formidable opposition boasting professional and former college players.
Bermuda beat Team Vancouver, the defending champions and hosts, and Alberta War Scouts, and lost against South Sudan National Team and Team Vancouver Island in a fifth place play-off at the Simon Fraser University.
“Because we knew nothing about the teams at this tournament we didn't set any expectations around how we would finish,” Spencer said. “But this team goes into every game looking for a win, and with a 2-2 record I would say we are at 100 per cent for meeting expectations.”
The tournament enabled the coach to experiment with his roster while exposing new players to a high level of competition.
“I would say that the new young guys are the biggest positives from this [tour],” Spencer said. “Mykal Glasgow, fresh out of high school, showed he is very much on the right path to becoming a mainstay on the men's team, Kieron Burgess showed he is physically ready, and last minute addition Kariim O'Connor provided some valuable minutes also.”
The coach was particularly pleased with Bermuda's defensive effort.
“Someone would say Chris Crumpler hitting seven three-pointers for his 35 points in our first game, and following that up with 25 in the next game was a standout performance,” Spencer said.
“For me personally, it would be the quality of defensive we played as a team at different times during all but the last game.
“As a group we confirmed and identified the areas we are strong at and the areas we need more work at as a team and as individuals. What we do with that knowledge will be the true measure of the tour's success.”