Jamaica courting NBA players
KINGSTON – Jamaica are looking to boost their basketball team for FIBA’s World Championship qualifiers with players from the National Basketball Association.
Ajani Williams, president of the Jamaica Basketball Association, said his administration would begin talks at the end of this month with a number of NBA players who have expressed interest in representing the island in final-round qualifiers.
Williams said his organisation would be holding talks with point guard Ben Gordon of Charlotte Bobcats, Indiana Pacers centre Roy Hibbert, who has already played for Jamaica, and Andr? Drummond of Detroit Pistons.
“We are going to make our best effort to get these players and then we will see how well things pan out,” said Williams.
“I think one of the good things is that all of these players will be surrounded by NBA and local staff. We will have a NBA team trainer and a former NBA coach and an international doctor,” Williams said.
“It will almost be like a mini NBA team. I think these are the most important things for us to have if we are going to pull it off,” he said.
The JaBA boss added that the acquisition of these players would be a major boost for the national team, which is set to face the likes of Spain, Argentina and Brazil in the FIBA World Championships qualifiers, which will be played in the final week of August.
“Andre Drummond is a fantastic player and we will be going out to get him. We have watched tapes of him talking about Jamaica, and his mother is a Jamaican. I know that he loves his rice and peas,” Williams said.
“However, I think we have a better chance of getting Roy because he has played for us before. He was registered with us. He has limited options of playing for the USA so I hope we can get him to play for us this year,” Williams said.
“Ben Gordon is an excellent point guard and we definitely need a point guard of his calibre going into this tournament in August,” he stated.
Jamaica, coached by former Boston Celtics head coach, Sam Vincent, are due to play against Ukraine, Israel and Canada in a four-team warm-up tournament in Canada from August 9-12.