Two HBCUs will compete in U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam

Norfolk State and Hampton men’s basketball programs will represent both Virginia and HBCUs in the 2023 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam

Courtesy of Hampton Athletics

HAMPTON, VA.- The men’s basketball team at Hampton has been invited to participate in the 2023 U.S. Virginia Islands Paradise Jam. The prestigious tournament, slated for Nov. 17-20, 2023, will be played in St. Thomas, V.I. at the Sports and Fitness Center (2,500 capacity) on the campus of the University of the Virgin Islands.

The men’s tournament began in 2001 as a six-team affair with Miami (Fla.) topping Clemson in the championship game. Drake is the tournament’s defending champion.

Coach Edward Joyner’s team posted a 6-24 record a year ago. The Pirates return seven lettermen from last year’s squad including 6-6 junior guard Jordan Nesbitt, who averaged 15.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 2022-23, and 6-8 forward Kyrese Mullin, the team’s leading rebounder with 7.7 boards a year ago as a freshman. The Pirates finished 5-13 in conference play in their first season as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.

In recent years, the field has expanded and currently includes eight teams. In addition to Hampton, the 2023 field includes Norfolk State, Fordham, Abilene Christian, San Jose State, Kent State, Missouri State, and Florida Gulf Coast. Hampton will take on Kent State in the opening round on Nov. 17 at 6:45 p.m. The Golden Flashes posted a 28-7 record in 2022-23, won the Mid-American Conference Tournament, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament before falling to Indiana, 71-60, in the first round. Kent State coach Rob Senderoff was named MAC Coach of the Year.

Hampton will play either Missouri State (17-15 in 1922-23) or Florida Gulf Coast (17-15 a year ago) in the second round of the tournament.

Hampton Norfolk State

Courtesy of Norfolk State Athletics

NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State men’s basketball team will leave the contiguous United States during the 2023-24 season to compete in the 23rd annual U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. The tournament will take place Nov. 17-20 at the University of Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center in St. Thomas.
Norfolk State (MEAC) and Hampton (CAA) will represent both the Commonwealth of Virginia and HBCUs in the eight-team tournament field. The remaining competition includes one program each from the ASUN (Florida Gulf Coast), Atlantic 10 (Fordham), MAC (Kent State), Mountain West (San Jose State), MVC (Missouri State), and WAC (Abilene Christian).
It will mark Norfolk State’s fourth appearance in the event. The Spartans made their debut at the tournament in 2005, before finishing runner-up in 2011 and competing for a third time in 2015.
“It is an honor to be invited to play in the Paradise Jam once again,” Norfolk State head coach Robert Jones said. “This year’s field features some of the top mid-majors in the country and will be extremely difficult. We look forward to competing at a high level.

The Spartans will open the event on Friday, Nov. 17 against Fordham at 2 p.m., the first matchup of an action-packed day. The consolation bracket will be played Saturday, Nov. 18 at 4:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., while day one winners advance to the semifinals that will be played Sunday, Nov. 19 at 6:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. The tournament will conclude on Monday, Nov. 20.

The 2022 Paradise Jam lived up to the hype, concluding with Drake defeating Tarleton State 71-64 in the championship game. Two teams from last year’s field made the NCAA Tournament that season (Drake and Howard).
The Paradise Jam will feature plenty of elite competition for the Spartans, who went 4-0 at neutral-site regular season events last season. Fordham, NSU’s first opponent, is coming off a 25-8 campaign, while Kent State won last year’s MAC Championship.

Two HBCUs will compete in U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam
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