Small, quick line-up
THE TEAM aren’t finalised yet but Nigel Lloyd already has a good idea what they will look like.
Small and fast.
Barbados’ men’s basketball head coach said he plans to emphasise his players’ speed and athleticism during this weekend’s three-game series with Guyana as the squad prepare for life without twin towers Akeem Marsh and John Jones.
Rely on athleticism
“We don’t have many big guys now so we’re going to have to run up and down and rely on our athleticism going forward no matter who makes the team,” said Lloyd ahead of tomorrow’s start to the series at the Wildey Gymnasium.
“I have a vague idea what the team will end up looking like but actual game time allows for some surprises that you can’t anticipate without seeing players on the floor competing so we just have to see who fits into what roles because we’re definitely going to be small and quick.
“The games won’t be the end all for us choosing the final team but I’m still trying to find a way that everyone gets playing time. Of course we’re not trying to lose in front of our home crowd but this is a great opportunity to expose all of our younger guys to international competition,” he added.
Shift in focus
It’s been a necessary shift in focus for a squad that will be without its two starting “big men”, who’ve both played professionally overseas but are currently unavailable for this month’s FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Caribbean Pre-Qualifier in Suriname.
As a result former NCAA Division I forward Kregg Jones is currently the only legitimate post player on a20-man trials squad that is also short on experience in the absence of national players Ramon Simmons and Rahiim Gibbons.
But George Haynes’ long awaited return may help to fill the void at both ends considering thesix-foot-nine pogo stick was once a dominant force at both ends as an athletic shot-blocking big man with post moves down low.
“I’ve never seen him but I have spoken to a lot of people who all have good things to say about him and the reality is we’re down on size so it will be great to have him around,”said Lloyd.
Hasn’t played in a while
“Unfortunately he’s not going to be here for the games and he hasn’t played competitively in quite a while, so he’s going to have to compete for his spot like anyone else because that won’t be fair to the other guys.
It will be a lost opportunity for Lloyd to gauge Haynes against a regional rival that is also using the series to fine tune for the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 CaribbeanPre-Qualifier.
Different Guyana squad
But this isn’t the same Guyana team that Barbados split two head-to-head matchups with four years ago as the visitors haven’t returned any of their overseas-based pros such as Rawle Marshall, Gordon Klaiber, Andrew Ifill and Shaine Webster.
The South Americans’ youthful transition is such that the unit is being captained by a teenager in 18-year-old point guard sensation Stanton Rose.
“It seems they’re going through something similar to us because our team is undergoing a lot of change and we don’t have many overseas players to rely on outside of [Andre] Lockhart and Kregg Jones,” Lloyd said.
“They have a couple of good young guards from what I have seen and one of them that can’t really shoot it so they’ve gone small and quick too.
“This series will show them how much their domestic basketball has improved but it’s not about them for us as we have to focus on what we’re going to be doing.
“We’re finally going to get a chance to compete and gauge our skills against someone else to see where we are before the tournament.” (JM)