One month after the 2018 Central Basketball Association season concluded its sixth season, the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association completed its 50th season last night.
And in the golden jubilee season that started the first year of partnership between the CBA and the ABBA, it resulted in a massive success for all parties involved.
Baltimore's Torey Fassett, who led his Flyers club to a 3-0 sweep last night in the 2018 ABBA Finals, was named Most Valuable Player for the league with his dominating play throughout the season. Fassett, who scored 21 points in the final game, scored critical field goals for his club during the 6-month campaign, not only leading his team to a 13-4 regular season record and 2-seed in the playoffs, but their first championship title since 2014.
The 6-foor-7 forward, who played collegiate basketball at Saint Mary's University in Canada and with the Baltimore Shuckers during the 2017 CBA season, Fassett finished in the top-10 of the ABBA season in most statistical categories: 2nd in total points (521), 7th in rebounds (203), 1st in steals (74), and 8th in blocks (18). He also finished 3rd in points per game (22.7), 1st in steals per game (3.2), 1st in 2-point field goals (169), and 6th in 3-point field goals (35).
The season was also a success for the other CBA players participating in this pilot project in the Caribbean, as Baltimore's Jermaine Bolden led his Oval Ojays squad to the regular season championship and top-seed with a 15-2 record. Bolden led the league in total assists (128), assists per game (5.1), as well as finishing 4th in total steals (62) and 9th in steals per game (2.5).
The third member of the Baltimore roster that played in Antigua, 6-foot-7 forward Benny Iko, also had a successful season in his first year of playing overseas, leading his first-year Steelers team to a 11-6 record and the 4th-seed in the playoffs, where he finished 2nd in total rebounds (294), 2nd in blocked shots (45), 7th in total points (366), and 10th in total steals (43).
Iko's Steelers teammate, Joshua Minner, who played in the CBA in 2015 and played for one year in 2016 in Brazil as part of the CBA Global Opportunities Program in South America, also dominated play this year, as he finished the league 1st in total points (568), 2nd in points per game (24.7), 2nd in 2-point field goals (168), 4th in 3-point field goals (42), 6th in total rebounds (204), 7th in total assists (71), 6th in total steals (49), and 9th in total blocks (17).
The 2018 CBA partnership with Antigua has been deemed a success by the league's Caribbean partners, and brought attention and notoriety to the sport of basketball in the region that had not been witnessed in a long time.
The local players within Antigua gained valuable experience playing alongside the seven CBA players, which will help them as the national team heads to Suriname next week to participate in the 2018 FIBA Championships. The Antigua national team will be led by Illinois Coal Miners' head coach and general manager, John Spezia, where not only CBA players, but CBA coaches have received opportunities to boost basketball in the Caribbean as part of this partnership.
With the 2018-2019 CBA Global Opportunities set to begin registration on June 15, it will be exciting to see next year's class of CBA players participating in the 2019 Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association season. The registration link will be active at the end of the week at http://www.playcba.com/global and http://www.playcba.com/registration