TV coverage at new high for Paradise Jam


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ST. THOMAS - The Road to the Final Four begins in Paradise.

The phrase has a nice ring to it, and the Paradise Jam organizers and CBS Sports are embracing the unofficial slogan for the 13th annual tournament on St. Thomas.

For years, CBS Sports has led the coverage of March Madness. Throughout the NCAA regular season and conference tournaments, the network and its affiliates often use "The Road to the Final Four" during cutaways to commercials and in other promotional media.

This year, CBS will begin its NCAA basketball coverage on CBS Sports Network with Friday's 5 p.m. Paradise Jam game between New Mexico University and the University of Illinois-Chicago. The network will carry six of the tournament's men's games in high definition, and SportsNet New York will broadcast three women's games.

The nine games are a new high for the tournament, which is organized by Basketball Travelers Inc. - a company that runs college and high school tournaments around the world.

All games in the men's and women's brackets will be streamed live on paradisejam.com.

"The event has grown into one of the top-tier events in the country, largely due to our broadcast partnerships," BTI chief operations officer Craig Jonas said in a press release. "Elite teams and their fans look forward to coming to the U.S. Virgin Islands, and seeing the beauty on TV."

Four of the tournament's games in each of the last seven years were televised. Fox College Sports started broadcasting Paradise Jam games in 2004. FCS and Fox Sports Net shared coverage duties the previous three years.

CBS Sports Network is an affiliate of CBS and is included on many cable and satellite packages throughout the United States. DIRECTV and Dish Network carry the CBS Sports Network, but Innovative does not list it in its expanded service lineup on the company website.

The Jim Rome Show will be shown between some games. Rome is a nationally syndicated sports radio and TV talk show host.

The CBS crew calling the games includes Kevin Eschenfelder (play-by-play), Larry Conley (analyst) and Kristen Kenney (sideline).

Conley will offer insight based on a career covering college basketball for ESPN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox Sports and Raycom Sports. He played for the University of Kentucky in the 1960s under Hall of Fame coach Adolph Rupp.

CBS Sports Network also will broadcast Friday's 7:30 p.m. game between No. 23 University of Connecticut and Wake Forest. The two semifinal games on Sunday and the championship and third-place game on Monday also will be shown by the network.

The Iona College Gaels are in the second non-televised game Friday, but coach Tim Cluess is eager to lead his team to a televised semifinal.

"It's great for recruiting," Cluess said. "Sometimes you have to take a chance and hope these tournaments help you in the long run."

A first-round win over Quinnipiac may or may not bolster Iona's NCAA tournament resume, but it would give the small New Rochelle, N.Y., school great exposure on a national network in Sunday's second round.

The games will be played at the University of Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center. Mercer and George Mason play in a non-televised game to start the tournament at 2:30 p.m. Friday.

SportsNet New York will broadcast all three games for No. 2 UConn in the women's portion of the tournament, which starts Nov. 22.

- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or tchapman@dailynews.vi

ing the spring. Two Heritage players made the ESPN High School All-American second team.

"That's what we usually always kind of do," Canton said. "We try to do some research before we make the schedules and sought the best schools."

The team will also face Coral Springs High School, which had a first-round draft pick last year.

"It's just exciting to see our kids get to match up against that kind of talent, which is a good draw for coaches and scouts," Canton said.

Canton attended Major League Baseball's scout school in 2006 and graduated from the 10-day program on evaluating talent.

The Future Stars website lists 14 professional players and 37 college players as alumni.

- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or tchapman@dailynews.vi.

Territory players on Florida trip

Javier Perez, Northern Oklahoma College, Complex 2011

Raymond Sankitts Jr., Complex 2014

Daren R.K. Stevens, Complex 2014

Jose Martinez Jr., Complex 2014

Manny Martinez, Central 2015

Shakeel Newton, Genesse CC (NY), Central 2011

Jedethun Joseph, Charlotte Amalie 2014

Emari Mills, Kean 2014

Jordan Scott, Arabia Mountain High (Ga.), St. Croix native

D'quan Matthews, Mundy Mills High (Ga.), St. Thomas native

D'ante Matthews, Mundy Mills High (Ga.), St. Thomas native

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