Looking to take basketball in the country to another level, the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) has announced that they have obtained the services of Chris DeMarco as the head coach of the senior men’s national team.
DeMarco has a lot of experience coaching at a high level, spending the last seven years with the Golden State Warriors franchise. He is currently an assistant coach serving under Head Coach Steve Kerr. DeMarco also served as a player development coach and a video scout for the organization.
He is no stranger to the BBF and the national program as he was an assistant to BBF President Mario Bowleg, as a coach, during a segment of the recent FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup Qualifiers.
DeMarco said that it was that experience that made the coaching job for The Bahamas attractive.
“My coaching experience at the world cup qualifiers last summer allowed me to see first-hand how skilled, passionate and tough-minded the Bahamian players are. As a group, they’re very high-character individuals on and off the court. I believe the program will continue to grow under Mario Bowleg’s leadership and we have a shared vision of our goals moving forward. There is an excellent coaching staff already in place led by Norris Bain. The combination of our talented players along with the program’s strong staff makes this job extremely attractive,” DeMarco said.
DeMarco has an opportunity to bring his experience on the Warriors’ bench, where he helped them to win three National basketball Association (NBA) championships in the last five years, to the national program. He is expected to have at his leisure Bahamian NBA players Chavano “Buddy” Hield of the Sacramento Kings and DeAndre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns. Apart from those two players, he said there are a number of players from The Bahamas.
“There are plenty of highly-skilled players from The Bahamas who are not currently playing in the NBA. Whether they’re competing overseas, in college basketball, or at the high school level, it is our job to find the most talented athletes available. It will be important for us going forward to identify the players who give us the best chance to compete and ultimately win the biggest tournaments,” DeMarco said.
Bowleg spoke highly of The Bahamas’ newest head coach and said that this addition will benefit all parties involved. He said it was an easy decision to make.
“Chris DeMarco is one of the upcoming aspiring coaches who I think will definitely become a head coach in the coming years in the NBA. Our relationship started over a year ago when I was introduced to him through Buddy – he and Buddy are good friends,” said Bowleg. “Chris DeMarco had interest in wanting to help the Bahamas Basketball Federation. Last year, being the head coach of the national team in the world cup qualifiers in the summer, he was able to assist me. Right away, I was able to see that Chris DeMarco had brought some aspects of the game that were beneficial to the country, players, myself and the coaching staff, that would make all of us better. It was not something to hesitate or think about. The man has the skills that are necessary to move us to the next level. From that point on, the relationship with myself, the other coaches and the players is what made it easier for us to make that decision to bring him on board.”
Bowleg further said: “I think that this decision will be both beneficial to him (DeMarco) personally and to the country at large. He is bringing that NBA experience which none of us have. We now have NBA players playing at that level and I think they all can appreciate what he brings because they understand that language. Basketball may be basketball but persons need to understand that there are also levels of basketball that no one in The Bahamas presently coached at and that is at the NBA. It makes sense to bring someone like Chris DeMarco on who I know will be a plus and a benefit to the country.
“The relationship that he has with the coaching staff and the players is of the utmost importance, and I think right now, the players are happy. I have spoken to a few of them and they felt that was the best move that we could have made. They are ready to come home. Now we should not have a problem getting the majority of those guys home to represent the country because they want to do this and want to play for their country. They are glad that we have somebody there who they feel has the knowledge, wisdom and understanding to lead them to the next level, and that is to qualify for the FIBA Americas Cup, the world cup and eventually the Olympics.”
DeMarco added: “Our coaching staff, Mario Bowleg and Technical Director Steve Barnes, will continue to build a game plan that will give us the best chance to succeed in the future. Though our focus will certainly be on upcoming competitions, there will be a long-term vision for Bahamas Basketball as we continue to cultivate the program. There will be a major emphasis on youth development, not only in preparation for the senior team but also for their own basketball careers. Our focus from the start will be on constructing a program where our junior teams reflect the concepts of our senior teams. It is crucial that we continue to teach and develop our younger players so that they can be successful wherever they play, but also to build chemistry and familiarity as they move up the ranks within the program.”
The Bahamas is now looking forward to the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers with DeMarco on board as the had coach.
DeMarco will serve the national team when he isn’t with the Warriors which will be in the summer. He will still be a part of game planning when the NBA season starts.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism