Olympic basketball qualifying: Bahamas, with familiar names and emerging star, on collision course with Spain

Olympic basketball qualifying: Bahamas, with familiar names and emerging star, on collision course with Spain

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The Bahamas’ national team has a chance to make history. It has brought four NBA players (Deandre Ayton, Buddy HieldEric Gordon and Kai Jones), one of the best players in the loaded 2025 NBA Draft class (the 18-year-old V.J. Edgecomb, who will play for Baylor next season) and an NBA coach (Chris DeMarco, an assistant on Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors staff) to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Valencia, Spain. It could be the first Bahamian team to qualify for the Olympic Games.

To do so, though, it will have to win the entire OQT. And that likely means beating Spain. In Spain.

The Spanish national team has not failed to qualify for the Olympic Games since 1996. In the intervening years, Spain has medaled at three Olympics (silver in 2008 and 2012, bronze in 2016) and won gold at the FIBA World Cup twice (2006, 2019). The Gasols have retired, and neither Ricky Rubio nor Jose Calderon is running the show anymore, but there are still plenty of familiar faces on the roster this summer. Rudy Fernandez, Santi Aldama, Sergio Llull, Usman Garuba, Juancho Hernangomez, Willy Hernangomez and Lorenzo Brown are all participating, as is Juan Nunez, the 20-year-old drafted No. 36 by the San Antonio Spurs last week. 

Spain blew out Lebanon by a score of 104-59 on Tuesday and beat Angola by a score of 89-81 on Wednesday, clinching a spot in the semifinals on Saturday. The Bahamas advanced, too, with back-to-back wins against Finland and Poland. On Wednesday, Edgecombe scored a team-high 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting, in their 90-81 win against Poland.

By finishing the group-play stage at the top of their respective groups, Spain and the Bahamas are on a collision course. In Saturday’s semifinals, Spain will play Finland and the Bahamas will play Lebanon. If both teams take care of business, they will meet in the finals on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET, with an Olympic berth on the line.

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