NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS – In only its second year, “Baha Mar Hoops” will play host to the largest event in the sport of college basketball when 20 men’s and women’s teams play this Thanksgiving at Baha Mar, the leading resort destination in The Bahamas. The 10-day slate of games includes Oklahoma State, DePaul, UCF and Santa Clara playing in the men’s Baha Mar Hoops “Bahamas Championship” and five NCAA Tournament women’s teams participating in the Baha Mar Hoops “Pink Flamingo Championship.” In total, 24 games will be played across three events Nov. 18-27 at the Baha Mar Convention, Arts & Entertainment Center.
“We are thrilled to once again host Baha Mar Hoops and the tournament’s dedicated fans at Baha Mar for the second annual college basketball event,” said Graeme Davis, President of Baha Mar. “Last year’s event brought undeniable energy and excitement to the resort, and we look forward to introducing new experiences and amenities to the players and guests returning in 2022.”
The collection of teams hail from 16 states throughout the U.S., from Vermont to California. And for tourism, several teams hail from key markets such as Chicago, Dallas and Orlando.
“The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has identified sports as yet another segment in our suite of marketing products, and recognizes bdG Sports for its continuing support of our tourism industry,” said Latia Duncombe, Director General (Actg.) of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation. “Mr. Graeme Davis and his team at Baha Mar ought to be congratulated for their sporting accomplishments to date, in addition to their unwavering commitment as joint promoters of destination Bahamas. With excited anticipation, we look forward to welcoming teams with family and friends, enthusiasts, promoters, media and all spectators to The Islands of The Bahamas.”
A mere 55-minute flight from Florida, Baha Mar opened in 2017 and is home to three iconic brands: Grand Hyatt, SLS and Rosewood. Situated on 1,000 acres overlooking Nassau’s famous turquoise ocean waters, the resort destination features more than 2,300 rooms and an abundance of dynamic programming, activities, and amenities including the largest casino in the Caribbean, a state-of-the-art convention center, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, the Caribbean’s first and only flagship ESPA spa, a collection of more than 45 restaurants and lounges, and more. The $200 million luxury water park, Baha Bay, debuted in July 2021 as the latest addition to Baha Mar’s portfolio of spectacular guest offerings. Set on 15 beachfront acres, Baha Bay has introduced an exciting array of aquatic activities and experiences, alfresco dining, a gaming pavilion, beach club, and more.
The basketball action tips on Friday, Nov. 18 with the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship which crowned Louisville as its inaugural champions a year ago. The first-round match-ups on Friday feature Oklahoma State vs. UCF and DePaul vs. Santa Clara with the championship and consolation being played on Sunday, Nov. 20. The four games of the Bahamas Championship will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network with game times to be announced at a later date.
Oklahoma State returns the bulk of its team from last season including its top two scorers in Avery Anderson III (12.3 ppg) and Bryce Thompson (10.6). The Cowboys also add Quion Williams, a Top-100 prospect in the 247 Sports rankings. UCF coach Johnny Dawkins has also reloaded with transfers Ithiel Horton (Pittsburgh), Brandon Suggs (East Carolina), Lahat Thioune (Utah) and Michael Durr (Indiana) and signed the program’s highest rated recruit in its history in Top-60 freshman Taylor Hendricks.
DePaul looks primed to keep moving up in coach Tony Stubblefield’s second season at the helm. The Blue Demons add two Top-100 freshmen in Ahamad Bynum (Class of 2021 player that redshirted last season) and Zion Cruz (No. 69 ranked player in the 247 Sports Composite rankings) as well as transfers Umoja Gibson (Oklahoma) and Caleb Murphy (South Florida). Santa Clara won 21 games last year led by NBA Draft first round selection Jalen Williams. The Broncos will be bolstered by the addition of Carlos Marshall Jr., a two-time All-OVC player at Tennessee State, and Illinois transfer Brandin Podziemski, a four-star recruit in the 2021 recruiting class.
PINK FLAMINGO CHAMPIONSHIP
The women take the floor next with the tip-off of the Baha Mar Hoops Pink Flamingo Championship on Monday, Nov. 21. Five of the eight teams in the field were participants in last year’s NCAA Tournament led by defending SEC Tournament champion Kentucky and a Virginia Tech team which had the second-most wins in school history an earned a No. 5 seed in the “Big Dance.” Ole Miss is led by head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin, the first Bahamian woman to sign a Division I letter of intent as a player and the first Bahamian woman to coach at a Division I school. Coach “Yo” has served as the head coach of the Bahamian National Team since 2013 and is a member of the Bahamian Athletic Hall of Fame (2016 inductee). She led Ole Miss to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 15 years last year behind one of the most tenacious defenses in the country. Alabama, Dayton, Missouri, Utah and Wake Forest round out the field.
All eight games of the Pink Flamingo Championship will be broadcast on FloHoops and the schedule is as follows:
Monday, Nov. 21
- Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky
- Utah vs. Alabama
- Wake Forest vs. Missouri
- Dayton vs. Ole Miss
Wednesday, Nov. 23
- Alabama vs. Wake Forest
- Missouri vs. Virginia Tech
- Kentucky vs. Dayton
- Ole Miss vs. Utah
The action concludes on Thanksgiving weekend with the eight-team Baha Mar Hoops Nassau Championship. The men’s tournament, which is designed strictly for mid-major NCAA Division I programs, is in its fifth iteration after launching in 2017. The field is headlined by 2021 Big West regular-season champion Long Beach State and a Vermont program which is looking for a second championship in the Bahamas after taking home this tournament’s inaugural title in 2017 (then known as The Islands of the Bahamas Showcase). The Catamounts were 28-6 last year winning a conference title (regular-season or tournament crown) for the fifth straight season before earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The first-round pairings for the Nassau Championship are as follows:
- Vermont vs. Ball State – 12 p.m.
- Missouri State vs. UNCW – 2:30 p.m.
- North Texas vs. San Jose State – 5:30 p.m.
- Oakland vs. Long Beach State – 8:00 p.m.
First-round games will be played on Friday, Nov. 25 with four games each day on Nov. 25-27. All 12 games of the Nassau Championship will be broadcast on FloHoops.
BIG BLUE BAHAMAS TOUR
In addition to the November slate of games, Baha Mar Hoops is welcoming Kentucky men’s basketball to Baha Mar in August for the team’s foreign tour. The Wildcats, expected to be a top-5 team in the country next season led by consensus National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe, will play four games in the Baha Mar Convention Center on Aug. 10-14. Each of the four games will be broadcast by ESPN Networks.
Baha Mar Hoops is managed by veteran North American promoter bdG Sports. The firm also currently manages two Korn Ferry Tour professional golf events in the country each January. bdG partnered with Tourism to create the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic and Bahamas Great Abaco Classic in 2017 and both events return at the start of next year’s Korn Ferry Tour schedule in January.
“Baha Mar Hoops was launched as a partnership between Baha Mar, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and bdG Sports with the goal of creating sizable economic impact through college basketball.” said bdG Sports president Brooks Downing. “We have already seen a tremendous response from ‘Big Blue Nation’ for Kentucky’s tour in August and look forward to once again packing Baha Mar with college basketball fans for 10 days in November.”
Ticket & Hotel Information
Fans can book rooms now at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar at the tournament rate by visiting www.bahamarhoops.com. Tickets will go on public sale later this summer. Fans can follow, like and interact on social media at @BahaMarHoops and using hashtag #BahaMarHoops.