Thu | Jun 4, 2020

JaBA's Gordon hails new American coach

Published:Thursday | December 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
JaBA President Paulton Gordon

President of the Jamaican Basketball Association (JaBA), Paulton Gordon, says the appointment of American Rick Turner as the national coordinator and head coach of the national men's basketball team will improve the country's chances of qualifying for the World Championships in 2023.

Gordon told The Gleaner that the vastly experienced Turner will be tasked to lead and develop the country's basketball players in preparations for the World Championships.

"We are very upbeat about this because he has been in Jamaica for the past 19 years with the Jumpball camp and he is well known among coaches and most of the coaches that I have spoken to, have basically given him a passing grade," said Gordon.

"We are comfortable with him. His range of experience is vast - from working with an NBA franchise for quite a bit of time to coaching in college and coaching internationally, I think he has a wealth of experience to bring the kind of value that we need," he said.

"We have a goal because 2023 we want to get to the World Championships and so that is the target," Gordon said.

The JaBA boss added the Turner will guide the process from youth level as it relates to the age group teams right up to the senior men's national team.

"We have gone through the screening and we have interviewed him a couple of times and we saw him in action at the Star Search Camp last year and so he seems to be very solid," Gordon added.

Meanwhile, Turner who is based in the United States said in a media release that he is very grateful for the opportunity to work with the country's men's team.

"I am so excited about this opportunity and the chance to be a part of a leadership team that puts Jamaican basketball on the map, on the international stage", Turner said.

"From the moment I first walked off the plane in Kingston back in 1999, I fell in love with the country and the incredible Jamaican people who have always treated me with genuine kindness and respect," he said. "The passion of the Jamaican people, the knowledge of the game, along with the outstanding athletic talent made me realise right away that there was great potential for a world-class programme."

Turner comes to the Jamaican Men's National Team with 30 years of coaching experience having coached his first team at the young age of 19.

"He went on to work for nine seasons with the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics, first assisting director of scouting, Gary Wortman and later with head coaches, Bernie Bickerstaff and George Karl.