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Paradise Jam Basketball Tournament Tips Off Friday at UVI; UVI Bucs to Spar Against Metropolitan on Saturday

Paradise Jam 2012 game action

The University of the Virgin Islands will host the 2013 Paradise Jam beginning Friday, Nov. 22, in the Sports and Fitness Center on the St. Thomas Campus. The highly anticipated NCAA Division I Basketball tournament tips off at 2:30 p.m. with the men’s tournament when the University of Northern Iowa goes up against Loyola Marymount University. This year’s teams also include Marist College, the University of Maryland, Providence College, and Vanderbilt, Morgan State and La Salle Universities. The championship men’s game is scheduled for 11 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 25.

File Photo: Head Coach Ryan Skinner lead the Buccaneers men’s basketball squad to a 62-57 win over Metropolitan University in the 2012 Paradise Jam in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. 

The action continues in the women's tournament starting on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28 to Nov. 30. There are two divisions of women’s play. In the tourney’s “Island Division” are the University of Kansas, and Xavier, Duke and Central Michigan Universities. Teams playing in the “Reef Division” are the University of Memphis, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and Syracuse University.

“Paradise Jam and the talent it attracts, and the enthusiasm it generates, is one of the most special events of the year in the Virgin Islands,” said UVI President Dr. David Hall. “As a former basketball player, it is a thrill to see such outstanding teams competing at the same time and on the same court as our UVI basketball teams. Together we are making the world aware of the beauty, talent and power in paradise.”

“It’s been a pleasure to put on this event again and the opportunity to be involved in so many people’s lives,” said Nels Hawkinson, executive director of Basketball Travelers Inc., which produces Paradise Jam.

"We are very excited to bring the Paradise Jam back to the University of the Virgin Islands – the facility is always in great condition and it is a differentiator for our event," said Craig Jonas, chief operating officer of Basketball Travelers, Inc. "We consider UVI as our deep partner and appreciate our relationship.” 

Jonas said some excellent teams are coming this year. “The road to Final Four begins at Paradise Jam,” he added. He also thanked UVI and the wider Virgin Islands community for their years of support. “The local community supports Paradise Jam in a way that the other events just don’t get,” he said. “We feel that that’s just something special. It gives me goose bumps to think of how special this event is.”

UVI realizes the importance of Paradise Jam in the community, said Curtis Gilpin, UVI’s Interim Athletic Director. “From its inception, UVI has been really behind this,” he said.

Watch on CBS Sports News and Web Simulcast

CBS Sports Network will broadcast six of the key men’s games. This will be the first time that a national men’s or women’s Division I tournament will have the majority of games simulcast on YouTube Live Sports and TGVN.tv, to a world-wide audience. Fans can follow and link to the games at www.paradisejam.com

The site also has details on the men’s and women’s brackets and video from the 2013 press conference. The tournament’s broadcast will also include features on UVI’s National Student Exchange Program and the Marine Biology programs. UVI supporters are encouraged to share their Paradise Jam experiences on UVI’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/uvi.edu and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UVI_edu  and follow the handle @UVI_edu.

UVI Men’s Bucs Basketball to Play on Saturday

The UVI Bucs men's basketball squad will make their first pre-season appearance of the season during a special Paradise Jam game at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. The Buccaneers will take on traditional LAI rivals Metropolitan University (UMET). Last year the, UVI men’s basketball squad boosted its Paradise Jam win record to 4-0, defeating Metropolitan University 62-57, before an enthusiastic home crowd. UVI fans are asked to wear blue and white – the school’s colors – to show their support. UVI Alumni and fans who cannot attend the game are encouraged to watch the live stream on paradisejam.com.

The UVI roster includes Chris Lockhart, Trevonte Larose, Salim Ross, Melvin Adams Jr., Colin Pfingst, Trevor Jones, Rodrique David, Jerrell Bellott, Dornel Weaver and Jestin Jameson. The team is led by Head Coach Ryan Skinner, with assistant coaches Burt Chesterfield and Brett Foster.

Paradise Jam tickets are available at the UVI Bookstore, Fat Turtle and at the door. Ticket prices at the door are: $5 for VI children and students - ages 5 to 18 - including UVI students with ID; $10 for V.I. senior citizens 65 or older and military personnel; $15 for V.I. adult residents with local ID; and $35 for non-V.I. residents. For more information visit www.paradisejam.com