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Paradise Jam Returns To St. Thomas After Moving Stateside Following 2017 Hurricanes

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The popular basketball festival, Paradise Jam, returns to the Virgin Islands next month.

Governor Kenneth Mapp met with Executive Director of the Basketball Travelers, Nels Hawkinson on Thursday to discuss the tournament schedule for the 19th annual event which takes place November 16-24 at the University of the Virgin Islands’ Sports and Fitness Center on St. Thomas.

Featuring 24 games that will all be streamed on, the basketball spectacle tips off on Friday, November 16 at 2 pm, with action in the men’s competition as Oregon State Beavers face Old Dominion Monarchs.

The women’s segment takes place from Thursday November 22 until Saturday November 24 with four games daily.

Governor Mapp said the return of Paradise Jam was a huge boost for sports tourism as the Territory recovers from Hurricanes Irma and Maria which prevented the tournament being staged last year.

The 2018 Paradise Jam features eight alumni teams, including four past Paradise Jam champions.

Four men’s teams – Eastern Kentucky, Kansas State, Northern Iowa and Old Dominion – have previously played at the event.

Four women’s teams – Kentucky, Purdue, South Florida and UConn – have previously competed in the Virgin Islands tournament.

In 2017, the substitute host for the men’s tournament was announced on September 29 as Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia with the Vines Center as the venue.

Two substitute sites for the women’s event, which is organized as two separate four-team tournaments were announced on October 4, 2017.

The Reef division was held at the Charles E. Smith Center at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and the Island division was held in Melbourne, Florida at the neutral Titan Field House at Eastern Florida State College.

The men’s tournament was held November 17–20, 2017 and the women’s tournament was held November 23–25.

For more information about the 2018 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam and a printable bracket, please visit:

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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