A Ffriendly face - NBL to be boosted by national representative's presence
Calvin Martin, interim president of the Jamaica Basketball Association, said that this season's National Basketball League (NBL) stands to benefit greatly from the presence of national representative Kimani Ffriend.
The 40-year-old Ffriend, who last played professional basketball in Serbia, is scheduled to suit up for the UWI Runnin' Rebels in this season's competition which is set to get underway on Saturday at the National Arena.
Martin told STAR Sports that the presence of Ffriend in this year's competition is a major boost for the NBL.
"He will certainly help to raise the profile of the league. That is why we invited him to the press conference, as we recognise the value of having such a name attached to the NBL," said Martin.
"We are hoping to have other overseas-based players coming to participate in the league, which will in turn raise the standard of the competition," Martin said.
He added that former US collegiate player Michael Rodgers will be turning out for the St George's Slayers in this year's competition.
"I think that once you have these players who have played overseas in the league, then the quality of the league will improve," he said.
Meanwhile, Ffriend returned to the island last year after serving two years and eight months of a prison sentence, part of that period under house arrest, after he was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter in 2014 for the November 3, 2012, death of Serbian Nevena Dragtunovic.
The 6'11" centre will be playing in the NBL for the second time, after playing one game for the Rebels in 2000.