The Bahamas men’s national basketball team took one huge step for the country on Sunday as they defeated Argentina 82-75 to earn a spot in one of next summer’s qualifying tournaments for the Paris Olympic Games.
The Bahamas have never in history been to the Olympics for basketball and NBA stars Buddy Hield, Deandre Ayton and Eric Gordon are motivated to get them there.
The Bahamas head coach and Warriors assistant Chris DeMarco has been the team’s coach since 2019 and is so proud of the efforts of his side, especially since they had to play Argentina twice in a matter of five days on their home court.
“This is something that’s been years in the making,” DeMarco told ESPN. “I’m so proud of our players for focusing on basketball and staying together and the sacrifices they made. I mean, this isn’t easy. This is everyone’s offseason. They’re not coming home. Argentina hosted this thing. We had to beat them on their home court twice. The effort from everyone involved, players, staff, support staff … it’s incredible.
“I have no other words for it.”
In their final FIBA pre-qualifying game against Argentina, Gordon was without a doubt Bahamas’ best player after recording 27 points on 8-13 shooting from the field and 6-7 from deep.
Ayton and Hield had a mixed night as the former grabbed ten points and 21 rebounds on 5-14 shooting from the field, while the latter finished with 15 points but had a pretty forgettable shooting night – 5-17 from the floor and 2-11 from deep.
A year from now, the Bahamas, along with 23 other teams will be split into four groups of six and the winner of each of those will earn the four wild card places to get to Paris Olympic Games.
The other eights spots will go to France as the host country, plus the seven teams that will qualify via the FIBA World Cup.
The FIBA World Cup begins on Friday and will take place in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.