Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rasham Suarez Is Focused

Rasham Suarez is considered to be one of the top 2 point guards from PR in the Class of 2011. He left PR two and a half years ago for Iowa, where he put in work as a freshman. He left Iowa last year for powerhouse Findlay Prep (Nevada) where he won a National Championship and played against some of the best players in the country. Suarez decided to transfer again and it looks like it was a smart move. Now in Atlanta, Ga at Jonesboro High School, Suarez had his debut tonight. We spoke to Suarez after the game and he was amped. We've been tracking this kid since he was 13 years old and playing at the YMCA. The kid was a gym rat then and not much has changed except for the fact that he is 6'3 and 185!

IPRB: You had your first game tonight. How did you do?

RS: I played great! 21 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds

IPRB:That's big man, congrats.

RS: Thanks

IPRB: You got a chance to play with some really good players last year. The kid Avery Bradley (Texas) is a beast. What did you learn practicing and playing with him?

RS: I learned so much. He works so hard. I really got a chance to see how hard you have to work to be good. He taught me the importance of working on my game after practice. I learned how to guard guys and how to play defense. It was a great experience for me. I had a great year out there.

IPRB: You decided to leave Findlay. Why?

RS: I had an opportunity to come to Atlanta. Its a great school, I'm with good people so its a perfect place for me. Findlay is a great school but I needed to be in a place where I am the #1 guy. There are so many great players at Findlay that I was concerned that I may not get as much playing time so I left.

IPRB: I think a lot of kids would have stayed and maybe not played. I think you made the right decision.

RS: I do too

IPRB:A lot of kids leave PR to go to the states and then come back. You could be a super star here and then go to the states and just be average. Why did you decide to stay?

RS: I have my goals. My dad and I have worked so hard to get me to where I have a chance to go to college and get a degree. My goal is to get a degree and play ball. So I have to stay. I will never quit as I have a goal.

IPRB: Talk for a minute about that. You are a Junior so this is an important year. What schools have expressed an interest?

RS: A lot of schools are interested. Alabama, Tennessee, Florida State, Richmond, Fordham, Iowa State, South Dakota. A lot of schools.

IPRB: What do you think you need to work on in order to play at that level. You named some SEC and an ACC school. That is big time ball.

RS: I've got to let the game come to me. Not force things. I know I can play anywhere. It is just me getting focused. My dad tells me all the time to that I need to work harder. In the states they play a more up tempo game. I've been working on my feet and trying to get quicker and stronger.

IPRB: There is a lot of talk on the street about you and the kid Carmelo. You guys went at it last summer at DRD during a practice. The gym was packed and it looked like you guys were going to fight. What do you think about him?

RS: He's a great player and great person. Off the court we are cool. We are friends but when we get on the court I am going to go at him and he is going to go at me. I respect his game as he is a great shooter and passer.

IPRB: So all that stuff is talk. You and he are cool?

RS: Yes, we are cool and I like him. We are friends.

IPRB: Last summer you practiced with the 16U team but didn't play. Are you going to play for them this year?

RS: I have to see what my summer is going to be like. I want to practice and play with them. I will have to see what happens.

IPRB: A lot of kids read this blog so if you could tell them one thing they should be working on what would it be?

RS: I would tell them to work on learning how to play defense. When I came to the states I was a great offensive player but I had no idea how to play defense. We play a lot of man to man defense here and in PR all we play is zone. That hurt my game and I had to spend a lot of time learning to play defense. Defense wins championships.

IPRB: We are really proud of you man. Keep doing what you are doing and we will catch up soon.

RS: Thanks, ok.

UCF Guard Isaac Sosa Is Getting It Done

Isaac Sosa may have had the best start off all the players from last summers 19U National Team. The UCF shooting guard has been on fire. The sophomore from Guaynabo was named Conference USA player of the week after a career high of 26 points, going 6-7 from behind the arc. Sosa had a very solid summer and proved why many think he is one of the best pure shooters PR has produced in the last couple of years. Sosa worked hard and developed his "dribble, drive game" which is forcing defenders to respect his ability to get to the rim. Central Florida also has another player who has Puerto Rican heritage. Marcus Jordan, Michael Jordan's son is a Freshman at UCF. His mother Juanita is from Farjardo.

Class of 2011: Carmelo Betancourt And Rasham Suarez

A lot of people have been asking who is truly the best PG in the class of 2011. Most think it is clearly Carmelo but IPRB has gotten a lot of calls in favor of Rasham. Both of these guys are major D1 material. We think both of them are future National Team players so lets be clear, we are not choosing sides. We are however going to let public decide who is the best. In order to get more info on both, IPRB is going to chop it up with Carmelo and Rasham later today. We are going to talk about recruiting, college, playing for the National Team, and a whole lot more.

You know we like to create hype and our readers are telling us they want more stuff about the high school kids. So stay tuned.
Carmelo Betancourt and Rasham Suarez. 2 great kids who also happen to be pretty darn good!

Kansas State's Colon Arrested

Luis Colon was arrested last week for failing to appear in court. Colon had failed to pay traffic violations. This is has been a tough year for Colon who has yet to suit up for Kansas State. Coach Frank Martin confirmed, " Luis competition status is unchanged". Colon has tremendous ability but has failed to get control of off the court issues. He is another young player who has the ability to help the National Team. His off the court issues may prevent Federation bosses from feeling comfortable enough to give him a shot at playing next summer.

Carlos Lopez May Redshirt This Year

UNLV Freshman, Carlos "Yao" Lopez may take a year to get accustomed to the rigors of Division 1 basketball. IPRB learned last week that Lopez has had some difficulty adjusting to the contact and physical play. Lopez is as talented a "big" as there is but his lack of strength and post game may hinder his ability to help UNLV this year. “I think Carlos is doing fine,” UNLV Head Coach Kruger said. “Obviously, he needs strength and he needs weight. That will happen. He has a great feel for it. He’s doing fine. We’re excited about what he’s doing (Las Vegas Sun).

Lopez had a tough summer while representing Puerto Rico on the 19U Team. He got sick in France and lost 10 pounds while playing in a tune up event and struggled at the World Championship in New Zealand. Lopez was the missing piece that Puerto Rico needed to advance into the Semifinals . Puerto Rico struggled at times, having to survive off of shooting three pointers, versus establishing a low post game.

Taking a red shirt year in many cases may be the difference between success and failure as it relates to student athletes adjusting to life in college. The pressure to perform both on and off the court can be overwhelming for many and taking the "on the court" pressure out of the equation allows student athletes to focus on school.

In Lopez's case, he has a language barrier given he didn't speak English three years ago. The NCAA requires a full time student to take a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Lopez could practice with the team and use the extra time to focus on keeping up academically.

The Street Stops Here Featuring Mike Rosario and Jio Fontan

The Street Stops Here is a documentary about one of the most successful high school basketball programs and the struggle the school is having keeps its doors open. St. Anthony's in Jersey City, New Jersey is one of the few schools of its kind still operating in urban America. Its has a rich history of helping young men who exhibit prodigious talent on the basketball court reach their potential. Legendary coach, Bob Hurley Sr, has been the Head Basketball Coach for over 30 years. With over 900 wins and 25 state titles over 95% of the players who graduate from St. Anthony's go on to play in college. Leave aside all the championships and state titles he has won Coach Hurley saves lifes. St. Athony's is located in one of the most dangerous parts of New Jersey and most of the kids are from that area. His players select getting an education and playing basketball over "the block". To keep his players in school and out of trouble Coach Hurley ends up being more than just a coach. He is a dad, uncle, advisor and big brother.

The Street Stops Here follows the 2007-2008 team that went 32-0, won the mythical high school national championship and sent six players to Division 1 colleges. The movie features two of the starters from 2009 Puerto Rico 19U National Team, Mike Rosaio and Jio Fontan.

If your kids play basketball or you are a fan of the game check out the official site and trailer. The documentary will be released in 2010.