Classic’s return given a ministerial welcome
Sports minister Lovitta Foggo has hailed the importance of tournaments such as the Bermuda Thanksgiving Basketball Classic for its positive impact on the island's youth.
Chris Crumpler, the director of player development at the Bermuda Basketball Youth Federation, welcomed back the tournament last night for its fourth instalment after a five-year absence, with the exciting addition of three international schools.
Representing Bermuda, Wolfpack Elite, coached by national team player Jason Lowe, are facing two teams from the United States in the form of Crossroads Christian High School, from Chicago, and Boca Raton Christian High School, from Florida, with Jamaica's Camperdown High School completing the line-up of the two-day spectacle.
Witnessing the tournament first-hand, Foggo hailed its success and spoke of the need for such sporting initiatives for young people in Bermuda.
“Sport is of massive importance and anything we can do to ensure that our young sportspeople get the encouragement to develop and reach their potential, we have to do it,” she said.
“I've spoken with the coaches from the overseas teams and they have said that this is an amazing tournament and they hope it is something that can continue in the future.
“Through sport, young people can develop proper social skills on top of athletic skills, and it creates all important avenues for young people to explore.
“Sport opens so many doors and we want to ensure that we give our youngsters all the opportunities that we can in order to develop socially, academically and as a person.
“Growing all of those skills are key and sport, through events such as this are imperative to that development in Bermuda.
“You see how important sport can be in saving young people from going down the wrong avenues and so I am delighted to see events such as this being promoted in Bermuda.
“I have seen Chris Crumpler in various institutions, and he is such a motivator who does so much for young people.
“He has been able to influence so many young sportspeople through the Wolfpack Elite Basketball Programme and tournaments such as this. It is fantastic to see.”
Meanwhile, after waiting so long for the return of the tournament, which is in association with the Wolfpack Elite Basketball Programme, Crumpler spoke of his pride at seeing his vision come back to life, while reaffirming the beneficial impact of the tournament on the community.
“It is very rewarding and exciting to see this event back again,” said Crumpler, who is the co-founder of the Wolfpack Elite Basketball Programme. “It is great to see Bermuda host and build on something like this because the country certainly needs it.
“It is also not just about the tournament itself. The guest teams will be putting on a free clinic and that will help keep people engaged and allow us to give back to the community.
“I think that is certainly a step in the right direction for this tournament and it is amazing to see how well it has been welcomed by everyone.”
The round-robin stage of the tournament started yesterday and will conclude today with each of the sides facing each other once. After placings have been determined, a third-place play-off will take place at 3.30pm before the showpiece final at 4.45pm to determine the champions.