First Irma, now Maria keeping CU Buffs Caribbean travel plans in limbo

Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Senior George King and the Colorado Buffaloes still are waiting to learn the fate of the Paradise Jam tournament in November.

Hurricane Irma threw the status of the Paradise Jam into uncertainty. Now it’s Hurricane Maria that is keeping the event in limbo.

The Colorado Buffaloes men’s basketball team is scheduled to compete in the annual Paradise Jam on Nov. 17-20 on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Organizers were hoping to evaluate the damage to the host arena at the University of the Virgin Islands as well as the area hotels last week, following the destruction left behind by Hurricane Irma two weeks ago.

However, while it was the isle of St. Croix that received the brunt of Hurricane Maria this week, the latest storm to sweep through the Caribbean has left organizers unable to assess the viability of hosting the event as scheduled in two months.

“We’re still probably a week out from any decision,” said Jim Crawford, the communications director for the event’s parent company, Basketball Travelers, Inc. “The biggest issue of communication is that most of the cell towers went down, and when we get ahold of people their priorities right now obviously aren’t on basketball. We should have people on the ground in the next week.”

If St. Thomas is unable to host the Paradise Jam, the tournament likely will be moved to a destination on the U.S. mainland. The Buffs are scheduled to open the tournament against Quinnipiac on Nov. 17, followed by a game against either Wake Forest or Drake on either Nov. 18 or 19.

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07