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Bahamian national team goes 1-1 versus University of Kansas in Olympic qualifier warmup games

Eric Gordon made his Bahamian debut. Absent from the lineup? Deandre Ayton.

Missy Minear/Kansas Athletics

The Bahamas Men’s National Basketball Team, who currently is ranked 56th in the FIBA World Standings, played two games against the University of Kansas Jayhawks over the past three days as they prepare to embark on qualifying for the the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris next summer. They dropped the first game 92-87 on Saturday to Bill Self’s Kansas squad, but responded with a win today, 87-81.

Two members of the Phoenix Suns are on the Bahamian team, which creates a vested interest in their performance during the qualifying games that lie ahead or the Bahamas. Center and former first overall pick Deandre Ayton and newly acquired veteran guard Eric Gordon, along with the Indiana Pacers’ Buddy Hield, will represent the team when it counts in one week.

The games over the past three days didn’t count. But they did have one glaring missing player: Deandre Ayton. Ayton did not make an appearance in either game, although he was at shootaround before the game today getting some work in.

Eric Gordon, who did not play in the Bahamian loss on Saturday, played in front of approximately 200 people at Rubén Rodríguez Coliseum in Puerto Rico. He logged 20:34 minutes, went 5-of-11 from the field, and scored 12 points. He was 2-of-8 from beyond the arc, adding 3 assists, 1 rebound, 2 steals, and 4 turnovers.

Although is was rumored that Gordon, whose mother is Bahamian, was going to be on the team, nothing was officially official until today.

KU had previously defeated Puerto Rico Select as a part of their tour of the island, winning 106-71.

The FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament goes from August 12-20 and is a chance for the Bahamas, as well as multiple other nations, to claim the final four spots in the Olympics. The other 8 spots will be spoken for; one for the host nation of France and the other seven determined by the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

The localized IBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments — which are occurring in Africa, Asia and Oceania, Americas, and Europe — will feature the 28 nations that competed in the second round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Qualifier but did not qualify for this year’s World Cup, as well as the highest-ranked national teams that did not qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Qualifiers.

It all starts on August 14 for the Bahamas as they taken on Cuba at 3:10pm AZ time.

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