The Second Annual Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic Turns Eyes of the World on ‘The Rock’
NCAA College Basketball Comes to Montego Bay Bringing Hoops, Fun and Hope
Montego Bay, Jamaica (November 19, 2018) – The second annual Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic NCAA Basketball Tournament wrapped up Sunday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, capping an extended weekend of activities that brought over 1,000 visitors from the United States to Jamaica.
The Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic came to Montego Bay in 2017, and annually features a collection of the top American college basketball teams at the country’s best academic institutions.
The 2018 field included Georgetown University, led by Kingston, Jamaica native and Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing, as well as the University of South Florida, Ohio University, Loyola Marymount University (LMU), Austin Peay State University, Florida A&M University (FAMU), Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) and Campbell University.
The final horn ended a busy week of activity in MoBay, as event organizers took an empty Montego Bay Convention Center and built a basketball venue capable of hosting over 1,300 spectators, accommodated eight elite college basketball programs on a five-day visit to The Island and produced over 22 hours of television broadcasts that were delivered to more than 60 million American homes on CBS Sports Network, across Jamaica on TVJ and TVJ Sports as well as throughout the Caribbean on FLOW Sports, all with beautiful Montego Bay and Jamaica as the backdrop.
“We are thrilled to have hosted another world-class event here in Montego Bay,” Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic Executive Director Jacob Ridenhour said. “We also appreciate the hundreds of people, both in Jamaica and the United States, who helped make this event an overwhelming success. In addition, we thank the over 2,200 fans we hosted as guests who came through the turnstiles during the weekend. We are eager to begin planning for the 2019 Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic in the near future.”
The week’s festivities began on Thursday evening with the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic Welcome Celebration, presented by the Tourism Enhancement Fund and Tourism Linkages Network. The moonlight reception, held at the Hyatt Ziva Resort, was attended by over 250 guests including the participating teams, coaches, administrators, visiting fans from each school’s travel party and officials from the TEF, TLN, Jamaica Tourist Board and other governmental organizations. Jamaican recording star Agent Sasco delighted the crowd with a performance of authentic music representative of The Island.
Following the first day of competition on Friday, the Hoops on The Rock Basketball Clinic provided the opportunity for many of Jamaica’s top youth basketball players to learn on-court skills, receive instruction and hear powerful messages about the importance of excelling in school, using sports as a vehicle to a better way of life.
Among the clinic instructors were representatives of the participating teams and Jamaica Basketball Association coaches, many of whom have extensive prep and college playing experience. One of the speakers following the 90-minute clinic was Jamaica-born star Kimani Ffriend, who played basketball collegiately at the University of Nebraska in the United States and went on to compete professionally in the NBA, as well as leagues in Europe, Asia and South America. Ffriend’s message resonated with the boys and girls in the crowd.
“I want the young people to know there are opportunities to grow, travel and pursue a top notch education through basketball,” Kimani Ffriend, Basketball Ambassador for the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic said. “I was able to see the world, improve myself and earn a living, and I owe it all to the game of basketball. These youngsters have the opportunity to earn scholarships and study in the United States or elsewhere, providing them with a path to create a better life for them and their families.’
Shortly after the clinic, the Georgetown men’s basketball student-athletes, along with Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing, presented Jamaican Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, joined by students from Spot Valley High School, with several hundred backpacks filled with school supplies to help disadvantaged youth in the area advance in their studies.
“We are so excited to have our native son, Patrick Ewing, return home to Jamaica and bring his Georgetown University team with him,” The Honorable Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica Minister of Tourism, said. “The Jamaica Classic has been such a great event for our country and having one of our own return to be a part of it makes it even more special. The participating schools and event organizers finding ways to give back and help the youth of our nation through the donation of schools supplies and the Hoops on the Rock Basketball clinic shows that they want to have a true partnership. We look forward to this relationship continuing to grow and the Jamaica Classic making its mark as an international event!”
For more information about next year’s Third Annual Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic, including participating teams (to be announced in early 2019), travel, ticket and sponsorship opportunities, visit JamaicaClassic.com, like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/JerseyMikesJamaicaClassic/), and follow us on Instagram (@jamaicaclassic) and Twitter (@jamaica_classic).
Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic – Media Contact
Frank M. Cuervo
E: [email protected]