Grand Bahama native Joshua Dames and Bimini native Bradley Lightbourne are the latest Bahamian duo to commit to playing basketball at the junior college level (JUCO).
Dames and Lightbourne announced, this past weekend, that they will be taking their talents to Midland College in Midland, Texas in the fall. The former Tabernacle Falcons player, Dames, and Lightbourne, formerly of Gateway Academy, wrapped up their high school careers playing for the BC Christian Preparatory Panthers in British Columbia, Canada this past season.
The move on Dames’ part may come as a surprise. The guard received looks from National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division-I programmes and received an official offer from South Carolina State University back in March.
When The Freeport News reached out to Dames, after he announced the commitment via social media, the guard shared that choosing the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) programme was more than just a basketball decision.
“In terms of school and the programme, the coach (Patt Rafferty) was really firm in his belief in the term student-athlete and he wanted me to know that he wanted not only to help me become a better player, but person in terms of my studies and making sure that when I leave, I know what I want to do with my life after basketball. That was an eye-opener for me.
“This was the best decision for me instead of going to a D-I school in a low division. A lot of other stuff played a part but I wanted to go somewhere where I can play and have a chance to play for a big programme and contribute. This allows me to play hard for a programme, for a year or two and then hopefully go to a bigger university.”
When asked if teaming up at Midland was planned, Dames shared, “it just kind of happened."
"We didn’t know until like two days before actually signing. But it was fate. We became close and formed a bond playing at BC.”
Lightbourne also expressed that he is excited about the new opportunity and believes Midland is getting two players determined to work and play hard for the Chaparrals.
“Well my family and I prayed over it and we thought that it (Midland) is a great programme and that it can help me get better. I can’t wait to get started. These opportunities come once in a lifetime and I’m very grateful for it. I thank God every day for his grace and mercy upon me.
“BC Prep helped me out a lot, and, made me understand the game (basketball) more. The programme improved my game all around. I have a better sense of the game. The programme is a very good one.
“I feel that it’s going to be fun having Josh along with me. We are going there for one reason and one reason only; two guys with the same mission and I rock with that. I think coach Pat is going to love us at Midland.”
Dames and Lightbourne are the latest pairing of Bahamians to team up at the JUCO level. The Stingers’ combo of Rolontae Knowles and Oswald Meadows recently announced they will be attending Butte College, California last week.
Prior to joining the Panthers, Dames became vital to the Tabernacle Falcons’ success once he moved from New Providence. Josh helped the Falcons to winning three straight Grand Bahama Secondary School Athletic Association Tip-Off Classic Championships (2016-2018). Dames also played big minutes in the Falcons’ eventual Bahamas National High School Basketball Championship victory in 2018.
As for Lightbourne, the scoring dynamo helped turn around a then growing Gateway Academy team. Lightbourne led the Eagles to two-straight Family Island Division titles at the Bahamas National High School Basketball Championships (2017-2018).
His stellar play helped the Eagles make a lot of noise as the Eagles joined the A-Division of the national championships in 2019. They made it as far as the semifinals where they were knocked off by eventual champions in the St. George’s Jaguars.
Dames and Lightbourne were both All-Tournament team selections for the 2019 Bahamas national basketball championships.