Teams set for Cayman Islands Classic

| 09/05/2019
CNS Local Life
AJ Harris led New Mexico State to the NCAA tournament this year

(CNS Local Life): The third annual Cayman Islands Classic Basketball Tournament, slated for 25-27 November, will feature five college teams that have advanced to post-season play in national tournaments in the US. New Mexico State and Old Dominion, which qualified for the 2019 NCAA Tournament; Loyola-Chicago and Nebraska (National Invitation Tournament); and University of South Florida (which won the 2019 College Basketball Invitational championship) will be competing, along with Colorado State, George Mason and Washington State.

“We’re thrilled that our tournament director Maury Hanks has put together another competitive tournament, featuring several teams that college basketball fans will be hearing about during the upcoming season,” said Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro, president of. Caymax Sports, organisers of the event, which will be held at the John Gray High School auditorium.

Noting that Cayman has earned a reputation for “being a premier destination for sporting events”, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said in a press release, “This tournament brings some of the leading US men’s college basketball teams to our shores and also delivers significant economic and promotional benefits to our Island.”

Behind head coach Chris Jans, the New Mexico State Aggies are the two-time defending Western Athletic Conference regular season and post-season tournament champion, with teams playing in the NCAA Tournament eight times in the last 10 years. They are also coming off a school-record 30-4 overall mark this past season.

Old Dominion posted a 25-6 record en route to winning the Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles while advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. Guard Xavier Green, the C-USA tournament most valuable player, is among the top returning players. Monarchs’ head coach Jeff Jones, who has just completed his sixth year at the helm, was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year.

Loyola-Chicago is the two-time defending Missouri Valley Conference regular season champion under coach Porter Moser. The Ramblers’ run to the NCAA Final Four in 2018 was one of the great college basketball stories of this decade on the way to posting a school-record 32-6 mark.

CNS Local Life
Aljaz Kunc of Washington State

South Florida is looking to ride the momentum from this past season when it posted a school record 24 victories against 14 losses, which was the top improvement turnaround in the NCAA, winning 14 more games than in 2017-18. Second-year head coach Brian Gregory has three top players to continue the Bulls’ rise in the American Athletic Conference headed by junior guard David Collins, who was named the most valuable player in the College Basketball Invitational.

South Florida guard Laquincy Rideau set a league single-season record with 101 steals and was one of three players in the NCAA with 100 assists and 100 steals. Forward Alexis Yetna was named the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year after averaging 12.3 points and a school freshman record 9.6 rebounds.

Nebraska and Washington State are opening new chapters in programme history with first-year coaches Fred Hoiberg and Kyle Smith, respectively. Hoiberg, who was head coach of the NBA Chicago Bulls from 2015-18, inherits a programme that went 19-17 this past season while advancing to the second round of the NIT.

Smith was named the new head coach at Washington State on 27 March after a successful coaching tenure at San Francisco where he guided the Dons to three straight 20-plus victory campaigns. Forward CJ Elleby, who was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team after averaging 14.7 points and 7.1 rebounds, is among the top returnees for the upcoming season for the Cougars.

George Mason, coached by Dave Paulsen, posted an 18-15 record this past season while winning the most conference games (11) since joining the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2013-14. Senior guard Justin Kier, named the Atlantic 10 Most Improved Player, will be the Patriots’ top returning player.

Colorado State, under second-year coach Niko Medved, is led by 6-foot 11-inch senior centre Nico Carvacho, who ranked No. 1 in the NCAA in rebounding this past season, averaging 13.2 a game.

For more information go to the Cayman Islands Classic website or email Coach Voot O’Garro at

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Category: Basketball, Sports

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