The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Department I (DI) basketball seasons get underway today, but Bahamian sophomore forward at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Sammy Hunter will need to wait until December 12 to see his first action on the flooring. Due to COVID-19 favorable tests and contact tracing, the Ole Miss Rebels males’s basketball team will experience a hold-up to that start of their season, according to the school.

The Rebels females’s basketball group was not affected by the newest development, as Bahamians Head Coach Yolett ‘Coach Yo’ McPhee-McCuin and senior guard Valerie Nesbitt will start their season tonight.

The main statement came out late Monday early morning on the Ole Miss males’s basketball’s Twitter account.

That announcement means that the Rebels men’s basketball group canceled its play in the Justin Reed Ole Miss Classic that was slated to begin today and end on Friday. The Rebels were pitted versus the University of Central Arkansas Bears, the Jackson State University (JSU) Tigers and Arkansas State University (ASU) Red Wolves in the mini classic.

In addition to those games, their December 5 game against the University of Memphis Tigers was likewise canceled. On December 12, they will begin their season in the house, inside the Pavilion in Oxford, Mississippi, against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

In addition to the canceled video games, group activities have actually been suspended until December 7. The statement read: “The student-athletes and personnel impacted are taking suitable security measures in accordance with university protocol.”

Hunter’s team is not the only team in the NCAA DI basketball fraternity that has actually experienced COVID-19 favorable cases and canceled video games. According to ESPN writer, Jeff Borzello, there are around 40 programs that have actually had to delay games because of COVID-19 positive results in their programs.

Teams such as the University of Utah Utes, the University of Tennessee Volunteers, the Gardner-Webb University Bulldogs and the University of Baylor Bears have had to delay video games due to favorable cases within their respective programs.

Hunter averaged 2.9 points and 1.3 boards per video game, playing an average of 12.1 minutes, in his freshman season. He played in 27 games last season and began one. Hunter scored a career-high 8 points in a win over Western Michigan in November of 2019.

The sophomore was extremely demanded by schools such as the University of Oklahoma and Kansas State University before deciding on the Rebels.

Hunter finished his secondary school season for the British Columbia Preparatory Academy Panthers in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. He averaged 27 points, 8 rebounds and 3 helps per video game in his senior season.

There are three other Bahamians playing basketball at the NCAA DI level who are preparing to start their seasons this week. University of Texas at Austin forward Kai Jones will start his sophomore campaign tonight at 7 p.m. in a house match versus the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. The video game will remain in Austin, Texas.

Redshirt sophomore Franco Miller Jr. will make his debut for the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles tonight at 7 p.m. on their home turf in Fort Myers, Florida. They will handle the Florida A&M University Rattlers. Miller transferred from the University of Mississippi at the end of the spring term 2020.

Robert Morris University Colonels senior Charles Bain will get his 2020-2021 project underway on Saturday, December 5 when they handle the St. Francis University Red Flash in an away game, in Loretto, Pennsylvania. At first, the Colonels were set to start their season tonight at home against Point Park University, however due to COVID-19 favorable cases in their program, the Colonels have actually put a hang on group activities.

Bain and Miller were set to bet each other a week from today, December 2, but that video game has been rescheduled for the 2021-2022 season.

The COVID-19 cases in programs come as no surprise. As a country, the United States of America has actually seen an uptick in positive cases taped in the last couple weeks. On Monday, the country reported 169,190 new cases of COVID-19 and has actually taped over 12 million positive cases since January 21.