Sunday, December 26, 2010

Zagsblog's Link on Caribbean Talent Pool

Award winning writer, Adam Zagoria, did a great piece on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean basketball talent pool. We've been tell people for years that the Caribbean (yes folk, Puerto Rico is part of the Caribbean/West Indies) region is under valued in recruiting circles. Outside of Africa there is more untapped talent here than anywhere in the world.

See the link below:

Five Star Recruit Ricardo Ledo Commits To Providence!

Just when you thought Ricardo Ledo was a shoe in to sign with Louisville, the 6-6 Class of 2012 SG committed to Providence. Many in recruiting circles felt with the recent announcement that Louisville Coach Rick Pitino would be coaching the Puerto Rico National Team that Ledo would follow Pitino to Puerto Rico for the summer, represent Puerto Rico in the Olympic qualifying event and then on to Louisville the following year. Ledo, whose father is Puerto Rican is from Providence so his commitment was not a complete shocker. He had listed Kentucky, Louisville and Providence at schools at the top of his list.

NCAA rules prevent Ledo from signing until the late signing period which is in April so he will still take his two visits to both Kentucky and Louisville which keeps the door cracked in terms of him signing with either school.

It will be interesting to see if in fact Ledo is invited to train and/or play with National this summer. With a team stocked with shooting guards, Puerto Rico does not really need help at that position but clearly he is a candidate to play for the National Team in the future.

This is clearly one of those commitments we will continue to monitor.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays To All

The entire IPRB team wants to wish our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! We thank you for making IPRB the #1 non newspaper site in Puerto Rico for basketball related news and information. Enjoy the eggnog, xmas cookies and the good stuff that comes with spending the holidays with your family!

2011 is a big year for all things basketball and when you want to know the real story IPRB must be your go to site! Remember, you've got to give it up to get it back!

Feliz Navidad!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Former National Team Coach Objects To Pitino Hiring

Carlos Morales, who previously coached the Puerto Rico National Team has been extremely vocal about the hiring of the Louisville Coach Rick Pitino, he doesn't like it. Morales believes that the rules and style of play in the international game are very different from both the NCAA and NBA thus Pitino is not equipped to prepare the team for the Olympic qualifying event in Argentina next summer. Morales is not alone in his view that the Federation should have hired a coach with more " FIBA experience".

IPRB spoke to several foreign coaches who have spent time coaching in Puerto Rico and think that while Morales is accurate in pointing out some of the differences in the rules, there is a general dislike of "foreign coaches" in Puerto Rico.

A foreign coach who spent several years coaching in Puerto Rico and wished to remain anonymous said, "You would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to recognize the animosity towards "foreigners" in Puerto Rico. It's a generational thing with some of the "old school" coach's feeling like hiring a non Puerto Rican coach is like sleeping with the enemy. Guys like Morales and Melendez who both are fantastic coaches really did a great job when they were coaching of promoting the "us versus the world mentality" and during that time it resonated with players and the country at large. Because so many of the players today are going to school, camps and playing events in the USA it's less of an issue from the player perspective but I think the coaching fraternity still feels very strongly about that."

The game of basketball is colorless and a player or coach's ethnicity/nationality should have nothing to do with whether he can coach or play. Morales is a fantastic coach, a great person and loves Puerto Rico but he is clearly dead wrong on the issue. Team USA proved this summer that the whole concept of the European style of play being a superior brand of basketball is simply untrue. Team USA won the World Champion with defense, not three point shooting or spacing. Defense wins championships not scoring or shooting. Anyone who watched Puerto Rico play last summer saw how miserably we defended the pick and roll. This was not the coaches fault rather a total lack of commitment by the players to get stops and play team defense.

If Pitino does one thing really, really well it's prepare his teams on the defensive end. He will have the guys prepared and truth be told if Morales were not so "anti foreigner" he would have been the perfect assistant coach given his wealth of knowledge and love for his country but sometimes emotions prevent even the great ones from seeing clearly.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

USC Trojans Upset Tennessee Fontan Scores 13

Its been 4 days that Jio Fontan will remember for the rest of his life. Fontan, USC's Junior PG who transferred from Fordham last year has played both Kansas and Tennessee this in the last four days winning a big game tonight at Tennessee contributing 13 points in a 65-64 win.

Many questioned whether Fontan could actually play at this level even though he has competed at the highest level of High School, AAU and international (FIBA) basketball. Fontan was a starter and captain on a 2008 St. Anthonys team that went 32-0. In 2009, he led the world in assists as the starting PG for Puerto Rico at the FIBA 19U World Championship. That same year he was the A-10 Rookie of the year leading Fordham in points and assists. Yet even with that type of basketball resume some people questioned his ability to play at a high major Division I program.

PR Playmakers Founder Todd Washington is a close family friend and was instrumental in bringing Jio to Puerto Rico to play for the 2009 19U National Team said," Jio is a really special young man. He comes from a family that has excelled and prevailed through some turbulent situations. His drive and work ethic are unmatched for young man his age. I'm so proud of him and how he continues to exceed peoples' expectations. His dad has instilled the drive and work ethic that ensure he will succeed in whatever he chooses to do. A lot of people doubted him when he left Fordham and he used that as motivation. He knew he could play anywhere and against anyone. He just needed a chance to showcase his game and USC gave him that chance. He loves being at USC and he and KO (USC Coach Kevin O'neill) have a really good relationship."

It's only been two games and Fontan has showed his willingness to take big shots and be a leader whether he is on the court or on the sidelines cheering for his teammates. He is 1-1 in his first two games and will be instrumental if USC's has a chance to get to the big dance.

Calapari Denies Contact With Dominican Federation ( Video Link Included)

Several media sites including the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated reported earlier today that Coach Cal has not had any contact with the Dominican Basketball Federation.

Calipari was quoted in the Louisville Currier Journal,

"“I've been not been contacted by anybody,” Calipari said. “It would be an honor to be considered for something like that, but I don't know (the) time frame. I don't even know if I could do it. Where that got started, or whether they're considering asking, I don't know.”

An additional quote which was printed in several media outlets had Calipari saying,“There's stuff out there, but no one's come to me and said this is what it would mean.

IPRB has been very careful in the specific language we've used and while we cannot and will not
contradict Coach Calipari's statements today, we stand firm in our position.

See the video interview link below,!

Carmelo Betancourt Makes TV Debut on Fox College Sports

Class of 2011 PG, Carmelo Betancourt and his Montrose Christian Academy basketball team will be featured on a reality television show on Fox College Sports starting in late January. Hoops Academy will go behind the scenes of the famed Montrose Christian program led by legendary Coach Stu Vetter.

We've attached a link to a video reel of the show below.

Monday, December 20, 2010

PR Hoops Update: Rasham "Showtime" Suarez Shows Up

Lets start with a salute to my guy Chino Torres who runs PR Hoops. He does a great job of bringing in top teams from the USA to play against local teams. Hoops fans got a special treat tonight as Jonesboro (GA) played against Marista (Puerto Rico).

It's always exciting when a player gets to come home and play. That plane ride home with team and all the stories about how you "run the town". Seeing your "fam" at the airport and all the good food mom, grandma and auntie cook for you while you're home. And ofcourse, all the bragging about the numbers you are going put up on your friends and former teammates on facebook.

For the last 5 years, we have been tracking Rasham "Showtime" Suarez. A lot of people were surprised when he signed with Georgia Southern but we knew he and his dad understood the "big fish in a small pond" concept. Suarez is very much like Alex Abreu in that he could have signed with a bigger school but knew at a smaller school he could step right in and run the show. Alex Abreu is starting at the University of Akron for those of you who didn't know.

So tonight against Puerto Rican High School, Marista, Suarez put on a show scoring 27 points and proving once again why many feel he is the top PG in the class of 2011. It's always good to see a kid turn into a man and Suarez was exactly that, a man playing amongst boys.

Dominican National Team Interested In Calipari (Updated)

IPRB confirmed this evening through a source who is "actively involved", that communication is on going between both sides. "There have been several conversations between people who are associated with both sides about getting John (Calipari) down there to coach the National Team. This has absolutely nothing to do with what the Puerto Rican Federation has done with Rick (Pitino). The Dominican Republic is on the verge of doing some great things and the hiring of John is something being seriously considered by both sides. Everyone knows that Orlando Antigua (Kentucky Assistant Coach) is a rising star in college coaching and a former National Team player. Orlando and several people close to Dominican Republic Basketball Federation President, Frank Herasme and Treasurer Rafael Uribe initiated contact months ago. Both sides are seriously considering this and a meeting between the two parties could happen in the next two weeks."

A number of questions remain, most importantly, what sort of deal financially can the cash strapped Dominican Federation put on the table to interest Coach Calipari or any serious coach for that matter. A current Division I college coach, who spoke to IPRB on the condition of anonymity disagrees with that premise. "Guys like Cal and Rick don't take jobs like this for the money. Guys at that level have made more money then they can spend in their lifetime so the money is not the issue. Taking this type of job doesn't hurt recruiting or prevent a coach and his staff from running an elite program. In a highly competitive recruiting environment taking a job like this increases exposure for both the coach and the program he is coaching. Most importantly, it helps to develop new recruiting contacts internationally which in today's game is a must."

Rick Pitino confirmed in a press conference today that he would basically work for free and not accept a salary from the Puerto Rican Federation.

Many in the elite youth basketball circuit believe that the Dominican Republic is an under valued market with tons of talent but lacking in both structure and capital. Said a shoe company executive who works in elite basketball," The Dominican Republic and Colombia are the two markets that have the most raw talent in the region. Their prospects are bigger and more athletic than other countries in the region but both countries lack a system that identifies, nurtures and develops elite prospects. A big time coach and development program funded by one of the "big three" apparel companies could change that pretty quickly."

Whether Calipari or the Federation agree to move forward there will surely be other coaches interested in taking the DR job given the current pool of talent and recruiting upside.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pitino Announced As Puerto Rico National Team Coach

As IPRB reported a week ago, Rick Pinto has agreed to be the Coach of the PR National Team. This is quite a move for the PR Basketball Federation and its National Team who are a little more than 10 months away from the 2011 FIBA Olympic qualifying event in Argentina. Puerto Rico must finish in the top two position with Brazil, Argentina and the Dominican Republic also vying for top 2 spots.

Below is the link from Puerto Rican Newspaper El Nuevo Dia and video of the press conference:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dominican National Team Interested In Calipari

IPRB confirmed earlier today that the Dominican Republic Basketball Federation is considering retaining the services of University of Kentucky Head Coach, John Calipari. IPRB confirmed through sources that Calipari was contacted over a month ago about the position through a third party and would consider coaching the team given its roster of NBA players and the fact that one of his players, 6'11 Junior, Eloy Vargas is Dominican. IPRB has not been able to confirm if in fact an offer is officially on the table.

Said a reliable source who spoke to IPRB late last night,"If the Dominican Basketball Federation can bring in a well respected coach they have a real chance of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. They have four very good NBA players in Horford, Villanueva, Garcia and Ariza plus a bunch of very talented role players. They put those four NBA guys together with Cal and its a wrap."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rick Pitino Scheduled To Meet Barea and Arroyo in Miami This Weekend

IPRB has confirmed through several sources that Rick Pitino is scheduled to fly to meet with Carlos Arroyo and JJ Barea this weekend in Miami. Should that meeting be successful, Pitino would then make an announcement either in Miami or fly down to Puerto Rico and make the announcement locally.

There is a buzz in the basketball community about Pitino taking the position of Head Coach. Most are supportive of the move while some in the local basketball community feel that bringing in an American coach is a slap in the face to the local coaches.

As Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis says, "Win baby, just win!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Manolo Cintron Is A Fantastic Coach And Even Better Person

Coaching a National Team is not all glitz and glamour. It's a lot of hard work, the pay is not all that great and the level of scrutiny is excessive and many times far to personal. IPRB has watched Manolo Cintron lead the National Team with grace and dignity. He is a fantastic coach but more importantly a better person. He always seemed to have a bounce in his step and a smile on his face. He's the type of person you want to go to battle with as he always believes he can win and will always support his players.

If in fact the decision has been made to replace him, we at IPRB wanted to thank Cintron for his service, professionalism and sacrifice. He coached the team with a since of pride and style and always wore his heart on his sleeve.

Manolo Cintron is a fantastic Coach but he's an even better person!!!!

Louisville Spokesperson Denies That Pitino Has Accepted Job

Reports this evening out of Louisville contradict that Pitino has accepted the position or that there is a timetable for his decision. Sources close to the negotiation confirmed to IPRB this evening that," things are moving forward and we are confident that the Federation will complete a deal in the very near future."

USC's Fontan To Debut Saturday Against Jayhawks

Jio Fontan has been waiting for this moment his entire life. The 6'1 Junior transfer from Fordham by way of St Anthonys debuts against Josh Selby and the Kansas Jayhawks this Saturday. We brought he and Mike Rosario down in 2009 to play for the 19U National Team. The did pretty well, leading the world in points and assists. Fontan transferred from Fordham to University of Southern California last December and had to sit out until December 18th.

We are sitting down with Fontan before the game to talk shop and get a feel for what is going through his mind as he is about to suit up for his first game as a Trojan.

Abreu To Start Against Minnesota

University of Akron Point Guard, Alex Abreu is only 5'9. Two summers ago he was a 17 year old kid trying to make the 19U National Team that had Raymond Cintron, Mike Rosario, Carlos Lopez and Jio Fontan. On one of the first days of tryouts, we watched Abreu pin 6'10 Carlos Lopez's (now attending UNLV) lay up attempt against the glass and that was only one of many things he did that practice which made everyone in the gym ask, "who is that little guy?"

Fast forward to almost a year ago. Alex was attending a prep/post graduate academy that happened to play some of the top ranked teams which were loaded with big time D1 guards. Abreu destroyed every guard who had a name or reputation including Louisville signee Russ Smith who Abreu torched for 27 points and 5 assists. Once again people in the gym asked, "who is that little guy?"

Abreu started getting interest from big schools including Rutgers, Nebraska and Utah but decided to attend Akron. Akron's Head Coach happened to be Lebron James High School Coach and a friend of Alex's mentor and family friend. Alex visited the school last spring and knew right away that Akron was home.

Abreu said about his visit and experience at Akron, " I knew right away it was home for me. My mom and dad really liked "Coach D" and the way the assistant coaches and team were like a family. I spent the summer out here getting focused, taking some classes and working out.
I could have been relaxing last summer in Puerto Rico but I knew I had work to do.
I got in the gym, got stronger and ran, ran and ran some more. That is clearly the biggest transition from High School to College. I thought I was in shape before I got here and now the season has started I am still not where I need to be but I am getting there."

That commitment showed the coaching staff that Alex was mature beyond his years and provided his performance on the court was consistent with his past performances he may have a chance to get major minutes.

Akron got blown out on Sunday against Temple but Abreu showed signs that he was ready to crack the starting line up with a career high of 11 points. We spoke to him as he was landing in Minnesota. "I'm excited about my progress and I'm officially in the starting line up. Minnesota is a great team with some really good guards. I'm excited and ready to play even though it is -5 degrees out here!"

Abreu's attention to detail and drive will ensure his success no matter what he does or where he does it. This is going to be a breakout game for Alex given the brighter the lights, the bigger he plays.

Minnesota vs Akron, Wednesday!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Federation Could Complete Contract With Rick Pitino This Week

IPRB confirmed from several reliable sources that Rick Pitino has agreed to be the new Head Coach of the Puerto Rico National Team provided both sides can agree to financial terms. A source close to the negotiations confirmed earlier today that,"it could happen some time this week."

This is a huge move for Puerto Rico basketball and he is the most qualified candidate based on the names we have been hearing from various media outlets. Pitino has a record of building programs and teaching players how to play! Nobody will have the team better prepared for this summer. As the rest of the Caribbean and the world for that matter catches up to Puerto Rico this type of move sends a message that they are serious about qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.

Sources close to Dallas Mavs point guard JJ Barea confirmed that he is supportive of this move and that he may have talked with Pitino within the last week. Kudos to Carlos Beltran (Federation President), Ricardo Carrillo ( Federation Vice President) if they can pull this off!

New Trend Emerging In Youth Basketball In Puerto Rico

There is a new trend emerging in youth basketball in Puerto Rico. That trend is seeing players spending more time working on developing their bodies and working with personal trainers versus playing year round. The youth basketball season is year round and players in PR play more basketball from an early age than anywhere in the world. Many of the best players are playing 60-80 games a year and many of them are on concrete.

IPRB spoke to several orthopedic surgeons and sports psychologists who suggested that playing that many games at a young age to lead to injury and players "burning out" in their mid to late teens.
Dr. Joe Carr is a leading sports psychologist who has worked in Puerto Rico and with several NBA teams said, "Kids everywhere are playing to much and not developing their mind, body and spirit. Most of the kids today really don't know how to play the game because they are being taught by coaches who only care about winning. This is especially true in markets like Puerto Rico where the emphasis has been win at all cost. Coaches are under pressure but Club Presidents to win championships versus teaching kids how to play the game."

With the recent success of travel team basketball in Puerto Rico parents are now seeing that the current system may not be the best place to develop an elite player. Said a parent of a 13U player who recently attended an AAU National Championship last summer," To be honest we were completely unaware how much more competitive the basketball is up in the states. The kids are bigger, stronger and faster. The referees let the kids play and there is more contact which our son had to get used to. Coming back to PR and playing Little Lads seemed like a huge waste of time. We have our son working out with a personal trainer."

Parents and players alike must recognize the importance of developing the players' mind and body. A holistic approach to developing a well rounded player who understands the game is the key to success. The final component is academic enrichment and mastery of the English language. So many players from PR never get a chance to leave the island and secure a scholarship because they never learned English. In some of the poorest parts of Puerto Rico where there is tons of talent, it is frowned upon to learn and speak English. Some of the most at risk kids never get a chance to get out of the "hood".

Puerto Rico Basketball Federation Focused in Finding Talent for 16U Team

IPRB has learned that the Puerto Rico Basketball Federation will be holding try outs in both New York and Chicago for the 2011 16U team. These tryouts will be held sometime in early January. Recently, several impact players from the New York area including Mike Rosario, Jio Fontan, Devon Collier and Emma Andujar have represented Puerto Rico in FIBA events.

More information on dates and locations once it becomes available.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Angel Garcia To Play In Spain

IPRB has learned that Angel Garcia will drop out of the University of Memphis to play professionally in Spain. Sources close to the situation suggested that Garcia has been exploring this possibility for quite some time and leaning towards leaving since last year.

Garcia who is still coming back from a serious knee injury played in front of over 20 NBA Scouts last week in NYC at the Jimmy V Classic against Kansas. Said an NBA Scout who spoke to IPRB at the game last week, " Garcia has huge upside but he is still favoring his knee and seems to be a step slow. He is a classic example of a kid who should stay in school, get a degree and develop his game. He is not even close to being ready to play in the NBA."

Although IPRB thinks Garcia should have stayed in school, we support any player who needs to take care of his family. Sources close to Garcia have told many in the Puerto Rican basketball community that Garcia needs to take care of his family financially and this was something he felt strongly about.

We wish Angel nothing but the best of luck and will be routing for him as he begins his career as a professional.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Coach Rick Pitino and Puerto Rico National Team

IPRB has confirmed that Rick Pitino is seriously considering coaching the Puerto Rico National Team. Clearly, Pitino has the experience to help this team make the Olympics. The team has failed to meet expectations given its talent level and Pitino known for discipline could be exactly what the doctor ordered. There is a strong anti-American contingent within the Puerto Rican community so it will be interesting to see how the public at large reacts to this should Pitino agree to move forward and enter into negotiations with the PR Basketball Federation.

Word out of Louisville is that Pitino would need to get permission from the University and that the school wants Pitino focused on getting Louisville back in the top 20. The school has invested a lot in Rick and does not want anything to distract him although many within the athletic department think this could help with reruiting.

Said a source within the athletic department who asked to not be identified, "We have all seen what coaching an Olympic Team has done for Duke and Coach K. There is no much talent outside of the USA and with 10 current players from the Caribbean in the NBA that part of the world is rich in talent and could be a recruiting gold mine for us."

Word is that is deal is imminent and could be completed before the end of the year. If Pitino were to do this it would make sense for him to get it announced before the start of Big East Conference play.

Francisco "Furro" Lopez Back From Injury and Looking Good

Francisco "Furro" Lopez is determined to play college basketball and is doing everything he can to make his dream a reality. Lopez is a senior PG at La Salle High School in Miami, Florida. After a strong showing on the summer circuit with AAU team Gold Coast, Lopez suffered a serious hand/wrist injury and then caught a serious case of the flu delaying his return to the court.

This weekend his La Salle team played in the A Rod Classic and Furro has two very solid games with the team going 1-1 in the event. In the first game against Sagemont, Lopez scored 18 points in a big win. In the second game, Lopez scored 19 points and had 3 assists in a loss to Columbus.

Recruiting insiders have questioned his size but not his heart. A South Florida basketball recruiting insider," Lopez is the type of kid who will play his heart out and do the little things to help you win. He can score the ball and is a natural SG who will need to make the transition to the PG position if he is going to have a chance to at playing Division 1 college ball."

Lopez is also getting lots of looks from Division 2 and 3 schools but believes he can play Division 1. He will need to keep putting up big numbers and show both coaches and scouts that he can get his teammates more involved, play lock down defense and continue to show his leaderships skills.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jerron Love Wants To Represent Puerto Rico

Those of us who follow elite youth teams and players have known about Jerron Love for a minute now. The Youtube sensation has had basketball insiders and bloggers talking and writing about him for years. IPRB was able to confirm through Senior Advisor to the President of Puerto Rico's Basketball Federation, Todd Washington, that Love is half Puerto Rican ( his mother is Puerto Rican).

Washington said, "I met with Jerron's father while I was in NYC this week and they are interested in having him represent Puerto Rico and hopefully playing on a team next summer. The kid is a game changer who could come in and probably start for the 16U National Team. He's that good!"

IPRB talked to several NYC AAU coaches who confirmed that Love has all the tools to be one of the greats! He is a fierce competitor, loves the game, understands that there are no shortcuts to success and has a strong family led by his father. He could be a great addition to the PR National Team program.

See some Jerron Highlights: Check out the limited edition Nike Hyperfuse he's rocking!

Introducing Abdiel Badilo

IPRB has gotten several calls from our people in Mayaguez about Abdiel Badilo. The 6'5 junior from Colegio San Benito is not only a fantastic players but an honor roll student who has several elite prep schools interested in him. Todd Washington and his program PR Playmakers have offered to help Badilo and his family put a program and strategy in place help him secure a scholarship. We will be interviewing him this weekend and will be able to share more about who many think is the next great swing man to come out of PR.

Recruiting News

Carmelo Betancourt has gotten recent visits from St Francis which is where Danny Santiago went to school as well as Northeastern and UCF. The staff at Northeastern sees Carmelo be a similar players in style and stature to JJ Barea. Betancourt must decide if he wants to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond.

Gary Browne Ramirez is getting some serious looks from ACC and BIg East schools including, Boston Collge, West Virginia and Miami.

Fransico "Furro" Lopez who is a senior PG at La Salle in Miami is getting looks from several Division 2 Schools including Holy Family University (PA).

Garcia Going To Europe

After a sub par performance against Kansas @ the Jimmy V Classic om Tuesday, rumors have been flyig that Angel Garcia is getting pressure from those close to him that he should drop out of school and go to Spain to play professionally. Garcia looked a step slow and lacked the confidence we are accustomed to seeing from him. IPRB is a big Angel Garcia fan and we will always support him regardless of his successes or failures because he is a good person but leaving school is the worse thing he can do.

IPRB spoke to a source close to the program who said, " Angel may drop out of school at the end of the semester and go to Spain. Angel has so much potential but he needs to spend more time working on his post game and studying film. The coaching staff really wants to help the kid and he could be the "x factor" for this team!"

Both Ricky Sanchez and Peter John Ramos went that route and some would argue that it really backfired and hurt their development and future playing professionally at the highest level.
There is no better place to develop your game than playing in a top 20 program. Angel would be smart to reconsider leaving and buckle down.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Angel Garcia Live and Direct Part II

When you talk about the future of PR basketball a lot of names come to mind, Clemente, Rosario, Betancourt, Diaz, Davila,Browne, Napier, Fontan and Cintron to name a few but one name rings the bell and that is Angel "Pee Wee" Garcia. The 6'11 University of Memphis power forward is healthy, focused and ready for showtime! Memphis plays Kansas in game one of the Jimmy V Classic tomorrow at Madison Square Garden. Game 2 is Syracuse vs Michigan State.

Its been a long road back for Garcia who has had to deal with a major knee injury and rehab, working for the last two years to get healthy. IPRB spoke to Garcia tonight as he prepared for a late team meal. "I'm really excited man. My knee feels great and I am ready", said Garcia.

IPRB saw Garcia last spring at a Memphis practice as he worked to develop his upper body. The thing people are going to be surprised to see is how big he got! Garcia spent a lot of time working his upper body and strengthening his legs. He has all the tools to be the next big player out of PR. The lights are on and its Garcia time!

Tomorrow at 7pm EST, that's 8pm Puerto Rico time on ESPN! Must see TV!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rasham Suarez Signs With Georgia Southern

IPRB learned that Class of 2011 PG Rasham Suarez signed with Georgia Southern University. Suarez had offers from larger schools but decided on Georgia Southern given his ability to come in and potentially run the show as a Freshman.

West Virginia Interested In Gary Browne

College basketball recruiting is an interesting thing. When you're hot, you're hot and when you're not, you can't get a coach to return a call or respond to an email. Gary Browne is on fire right now! Browne, a 6'1 Class of 2011 PG at Arlington Country Day School "ACDS" has only played two games at his new school and is creating a buzz that could land him at WVU or some other top 20 program. IPRB confirmed that Associate Head Coach Larry Harrison is very interested in Gary and WVU could be first school of many Big East Schools to offer.

IPRB spoke to a recruiting insider who confirmed early today that Browne has several Big East and PAC-10 schools interested in him." Two weeks ago if you were to ask me this question, I would have told you that he is a nice mid major SG with upside. The funny thing about evaluating kids from Puerto Rico is that many of them are playing out of position. The system forces that given the lack of size and depth on many of top local teams. So a player like Gary has never played with or against the level of talent he is seeing at ACDS. I saw him play last weekend in Charlotte and he is clearly a high major PG. He is not a freak athlete but way above average. He's strong and loves contact. Most importantly, he is a guy who embraces challenges and loves to lead by example. He is a very good shooter with range and his assist to turnover ratio should exceed 3:1. If I'm a high major/top 20 program, I offer now before everyone across the country starts finding out how good he is."

IPRB spoke to Senior Advisor to the President of the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation, Todd Washington, who confirmed that several Big East and PAC-10 programs have contacted him since Gary's performance last weekend."Gary is in a great situation with Rex and the ACDS coaching staff. We worked all summer/fall on developing his "skill package" and transitioning him from SG to PG. A lot of coaches had written him off as a high major player given his performance last summer. What I saw was a player who has a couple of bad games and instead of sulking or questioning his ability, Gary used it as motivation. He worked so hard to get in better shape and work on his mental preparation. Gary is the steal of the 2011 class and those coaches that saw him last weekend against #7 ranked Norcross saw a big time player. He's has everything you want as a coach and then some."

Washington did confirm that WVU is interested but said it is to early in the process to determine what level of interest they have. " I spoke to Larry and WVU could be a real nice fit. Their system compliments Gary's game and they do a great job with their players."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gary Browne Scores 15 Points and 8 Assists Against #7 Ranked Norcross

IPRB is a big fan of Gary Browne Ramirez! When he failed to play well last summer and a lot of people felt he was overrated we took the opposite position. We saw the potential and recognized that Gary has big time D1 written all over him. So naturally, we feel like gloating now that over 15 coaches saw him play twice in the last 48 hours and a Big East school coming to see him play next week.

Gary and his Arlington Country Day School team beat #7 ranked Norcross High School(GA) 70-54. Browne showed why several big time schools are interested in him with a 15 point, 8 assist game against one of the top schools in the country.
What is even more impressive is that Browne went 3 for 3 from behind the arc, grabbed 5 rebounds and had only one turnover.

An talent evaluator who saw Browne play at the FIBA 18U Tournament in San Antonio and at the World Basketball Festival last summer said, " Everyone was talking about Gary Browne from Puerto Rico but he really didn't play well last summer. He's played well internationally in the past but that doesn't necessarily translate into being successful playing elite prep school or college ball. Our guys saw him last night and were very impressed with what they saw. He is clearly a big time D1 prospect and interestingly enough he seems to be very comfortable playing the point guard position. He's been a shooting guard since he was a kid but clearly the point guard position is where he will be most effective at the level.

Arlington Country Day should crack the Top 25 National Boys Basketball Rankings next week and by then Gary Browne will be a name a lot of D1 coaches will be asking about.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

42 Puerto Rican Players Currently On Division 1 Teams

Shoutouts to the people at who have a detailed list of Boricuas playing D1 ball. Although Kemba Walker stole the show last night with UCONN beating Kentucky, Shabazz Napier showed he is better than expected and clearly a player that needs to be invited to try out for the National Team. I would love to see he and Jio Fontan who starts his season in a couple of weeks at USC go at it!

Check out for more information on Boricuas playing D1!

Browne To Debut at PG This Weekend

Gary Browne caught a flight yesterday morning to Orlando, got picked up by an assistant coach from Arlington Country Day School, "ACDS" and then drove two hours to Jacksonville, Florida. When he arrived to the school the team was practicing. Gary wasted no time showing his new coaches and teammates that he was ready to "run the show" and transition into his new role as a leader and point guard. He stretched out, "laced them up" and then went to work. Gary had been waiting for this moment for a long time.

IPRB spoke to Gary last night and while he was tired and drained from a long day of travel and practice he was excited about his decision to leave and his new situation." I feel really good, the coaches are really cool, my teammates are great and we have tons of talent on this team. The coaches gave me some plays which have me coming off of high screens which is great for me. I feel real comfortable with the ball in my hands and have no pressure on me at all. I'm just going to go out and have fun and work hard.

IPRB confirmed that Gary impressed everyone including ACDS Head Coach, Rex Morgan. Said a person who was at practice yesterday,"Gary came right in and showed that he belonged. He communicated and showed he was a leader, made great decisions with the ball and really gained the respect of his teammates. The coach who picked him up at the airport handed him a playbook when he picked him up and by the time Gary got on the floor he had a pretty good grasp of most of the plays. He has a high basketball IQ and that coupled with his natural ability should allow him to thrive in Coach Morgans' system."

ACDS travels to Charlotte, NC tomorrow to play in the Iverify Invitational Tournament and will play both Friday and Saturday. Saturday's match up is against Norcross High School which is ranked in the top 10 Nationally. It will be the first of many tests for Gary this year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gary Browne Transfers to Arlington Country Day

Gary Browne Ramirez, a 6'1 PG/SG from St Francis School in PR has decided to transfer to Arlington Country Day School "ACDS", in Jacksonville, Florida. ACDS Head Coach, Rex Morgan is familiar with Puerto Rican players having coached several including PR National Team SG, Danny Huertas. Danny's younger brother is a freshman at ACDS and his mother works at the school. ACDS lost its PG who was from Turkey and decided to accept a contract overseas to play professionally. ACDS has a roster full of big time D1 players and Browne will have a chance to play PG and show people that he can run a team. Browne has played the SG position both in high school and for the national team but clearly his position at the next level is going to be PG.

Todd Washington, Senior Advisor to the President of the PR Basketball Federation told IPRB, "Gary has all the skills necessary to transition into being a PG. I think it is his natural position and will allow him to utilize his dribble-drive ability coupled with his long range shooting. ACDS has so much talent on the wing and in the post that opponents will have to double team those players leaving Gary open. This is the perfect situation for him and I am so excited that he is getting a chance to play at this level. Gary and I have been working all fall and I can tell you he will excel in this environment. He is a great kid and really deserves this!"

Arlington Country Day is coach by former Boston Celtic, Rex Morgan. They play a nationally ranked schedule this year including Montrose Christian and St Benedicts both of whom have players from PR on their rosters. ACDS front line has two 7 footers and wings who have been offered by SEC, ACC and Big 12 schools.

Friday, November 12, 2010

University of Central Florida Recruiting Betancourt

IPRB confirmed from Carmelo Betancourt that UCF reached out and expressed interest in recruiting him. The connection was made by one of Carmelo's good friends, Carlos Morales Jr. Betancourt has garnered tremendous interest this fall by both high and mid-major programs. He is going to have to show coaches that his size will not interfere with his ability to play at the highest level. IPRB is a big Betancourt supporter and has seen him play against bigger athletic players and dominate.

UCF could be a nice fit for Carmelo and is a program on the rise. UCF also has recruited Puerto Rican players in the past including sharp shooter Isaac Sosa who is a Junior at UCF.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Raymond Cintron Visits Middle Tennessee State University

IPRB confirmed this evening that Raymond Cintron visted MTSU over the weekend. Cintron who is in his second year at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has had UNLV, Oklahoma and UTEP come see him practice this fall and have been actively recruiting him. UNLV offered him this summer but Cintron decided to wait to sign a Letter of Intent.

Sources close to Cintron tell IPRB that he had a great trip last weekend and may actually sign with MTSU during the NCAA early signing period. MTSU supposedly told Cintron that he will come in and start next year and that he is the type of player who could be an All Conference selection, next year. MTSU plays in the Sun Belt Conference and is always at the top of the conference and a regular in the NCAA tournament. This year they play 3 SEC schools in Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Auburn.

PR Playmakers Founder, Todd Washington said, "MTSU is a great fit for Raymond. Raymonds' Junior College coach and I spoke at length tonight and he has known them for a long time. They want to hand the ball to Raymond next year and let him run the show. It's a place where he will be a big fish in a nice size pond. It's great to see Raymond mature and really understand that it is not only about basketball but the collegiate experience. He told us that MTSU felt like home and that he really liked the school, his future teammates and the coaching staff. A lot of people doubted that he would be happy and succeed going to school in Mississippi. Raymond is as happy as he has ever been and more importantly he has opened the door for other players from PR to follow in his footsteps in further their education."

Former Carmen Del Sol forward, Angel Matias is also attending Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He is a redshirt Freshman.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Betancourt To Attend Midnight Madness At Georgetown

Class of 2011 PG, Carmelo Betancourt will attend Midnight Madness at Georgetown University confirmed a source earlier today. Betancourt who transferred to powerhouse Monstrose Christian Academy this fall has been on Georgetowns' recruiting radar since last spring when Coach Thompson was on vacation in Puerto Rico with his family.

PR Playmakers Founder, Todd Washington told us earlier today that, " Carmelo has been invited to Midnight Madness at Georgetown. Clearly they are interested in Carmelo but he has to show Georgetown and all the other schools that are interested in him that he can play at this level. Getting invited to Midnight Madness is a clear signal of the schools' interest but he is far away from getting an offer from Georgetown. The season starts soon and I feel confident that Carmelo will show everyone what we already know! He's a big time guard trapped and a small package."

Midnight Madness is the official start of the college basketball season with team hold practice at midnight on October 15th. Typically there are all types of festivities including a dunk contest, three point shootout, scrimmage and live performances.

Wale, a DC area native and rising star on the rap scene will be performing tomorrow at Georgetowns' Midnight Madness.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When Do Kids Start Practicing and Playing on 10ft Baskets?

There are many benefits to having our young players play on 8.5ft baskets. It is clearly one of the reasons we are such great jump shooters. Young players can focus on developing the proper form and mechanics of a jump shot versus having the "chuck" a ball up to try and make a shot on a 10ft basket. This has been discussed at every local club and at every game. When is it the right time for average players to begin playing on 10ft baskets vs. when do elite prospects begin playing on 10ft baskets?

Are we delaying an elite prospects' development by forcing him to play games on 8.5 baskets against kids who are recreational players? IPRB is sitting down with NBA World Champion and former playground legend Butch Lee to discuss his thoughts on the subject.

He's got some interesting things to say!

11U and 12U National Teams Prepare for MIT

Hats to the the leadership at the Federation! IPRB has confirmed that the 11U and 12U National Teams will be playing in this years Maryland Invitational Tournament in February 2010. The MIT is widely regarded as the top event for ages 8-14 during the winter season. Top teams including DC Assault, New Heights NYC, Team Battle, DC Takeover and King Street Kings participate in this event annually.

Victor Ortiz who is responsible for this age group has created both an A and B team and is focusing on developing a year round program which will allow the best kids to train and play against each other. The MIT is an important part of the development of these young players given that many of them have yet to compete against this type of athletic talent.

IPRB spoke to a local youth coach who stated," Playing at the MIT is going to be an eye opener for both our players and their parents. The athletic level is superior to what most of our kids have seen and from a size standpoint we've got to get used to playing against bigger kids. Anyone who watched the World Championships or went to the World Basketball Festival saw us struggle against some of the bigger teams. Sending our kids to play and beat teams in Argentina and Cuba by 30-40 points isn't going to help these kids develop.

Several programs including Miami Tropics, Pump and Run Puerto Rico, ABB and PR Playmakers have been sending teams to play in AAU and the "Summer Circuit" for years. Look at the young players from 11U PR Playmakers and 11U ABB Teams. Some of those teams didn't win a game this year but that is not the point. Those kids learned to deal with losing, playing against players who are athletically superior and recognizing that they have to work on not only developing their jump shot but their bodies. Some of these kids play in leagues year round and have never worked on strength and conditioning. Every kid who leaves here to play in college says the same thing. I cannot believe how out of shape I was when I got to school.

Learning these lessons at an early age can only help these prospects get better.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


IPRB learned today, that the oldest professional basketball league in world, the Baloncesto Superior Nacional ("BSN") a Puerto Rico based professional basketball league and it's owners will be sued in the coming weeks for job discrimination. Information obtained by IPRB suggest that a group of foreign players has retained some of very powerful lawyers who plan to file the lawsuit in the coming weeks.

Much like the leagues in Europe and Asia, the BSN imposes a limit on the number of non-nationals who can play on a team to two. Many forget that the NBA only allowed two black players per team in the 1960's and leagues in countries outside of the USA do not have Federal laws which prohibit discrimination based on race, religion or sexual orientation.

We will share more information as it becomes available.


IPRB confirmed earlier today that UTEP Head Coach, Tim Floyd is in Mississippi visiting Raymond Cintron. Coach Floyd, former Head Coach of the Chicago Bulls and University of Southern California has 8 scholarships available for next year and is looking for shooters. Cintron who is being recruited by severals school including UNLV who offered this summer is the type of player who every coach would want.

Says a recruiting insider, "Cintron is a big time shooter and a "high major" type of talent. He's the son of a coach and has a very high basketball IQ. He will make an immediate impact no matter where he goes."

Gary Browne, Class of 2011 SG is also getting looks from a number of schools including UTEP. IPRB confirmed that UTEP will also look at Gary Browne who is also a fantastic shooter and scorer. Browne is one of those players currently under the radar and would be a steal. A long range shooter with a unique ability to make tough shots, Browne is the type of player who will come in and make an impact immediately.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Should Elite Players Stay or Leave to Attend High School In States?

IPRB is a huge supporter of sending elite players to the states because from a competition standpoint Puerto Rico simply doesn't have the athletes or "bigs" which is what players will end up seeing at the next level. Players 6'3 and up are forced to play out of position because of the lack of size on the island.

From a coaching and commitment standpoint, there are very few places in the world that rival Puerto Rico. The early stage development and competition are tremendous but you begin to see the fall off around 12 and 13 years old. By 14 and 15 a lot of players who were dominant in the younger divisions don't get taller or stronger and the game changes.

On top of that there is a focus on winning over development and high level competition. For the last several years US based basketball development was criticized for not truly developing players while European development was celebrated as being the model of the future.

Proponents of the "Euro model" fail to admit that what they do is not allowed in the USA or Puerto Rico for that matter. Elite players in Europe and other places around the world are identified and then turn professional as early as 14 years old. Take the case of Kentucky Freshman, Enes Kantner. Kantner and his family received over 100K in "living expenses since his early teens from a pro team in Turkey. He trained and worked day in and day out on his future profession for the last 5 years without having to attend school. Kantner's story is not the exception but the norm in Europe yet a European born player has never led a team to an NBA title. The NBA is dominated by players who are either from the USA or spent a significant amount of time learning the game and training in the USA.

So why are we so resistant to players from Puerto Rico attending school in the USA? Some of the best players including most of the current National Team attend college and benefitted from the competition the USA offers. Take the case of 2010 18U National Team PG, Carmelo Betancourt. In his first month of prep school at Montrose Christian he has had Gary Williams, John Thompson III and Jay Wright attend his practices! For those of you who don't know the college game, that is the head coaches from Maryland, Georgetown and Villanova. That type of exposure for players is critical to creating the buzz and hype which in today's recruiting world is critical to a player getting a scholarship. Hype and Buzz are what makes coaches show up at a school to watch a player and if a player has "the goods" then the hype and buzz are good things!

What's interesting here is the fact that no local based high school has decided to recruit outside of PR, bring in talent from around the region and then schedule the elite teams from the USA. The opportunity exists but for some reason nobody has done it. Programs in hotbeds' of talent around the USA have opened so that local talent can stay local versus having the leave to get the type of exposure and competition which is fundamental to developing elite players.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gerogetown Coach JT3 Stops By To See Carmelo Betancourt

Georgetown Coach John Thompson III stopped by to see Montrose Christian Class of 2011 PG, Carmelo Betancourt today. This is the second visit by a Georgetown coach and clearly a sign that Georgetown is interested in Betancourt. Our sources tell us that Carmelo showed up big again practicing and playing like the 4 star general he is.

A recruiting inside said," Betancourt is Coach Thompson's type of player. His system is perfect for Carmelo. Betancourt is the type of cerebral player Coach Thompson loves to have running the show. Betancourt reminds me of former GU point guard Jonathan Wallace. Wallace was undersized, not a great athlete but had everything else you want in a player. Remember that Wallace started for 4 years at GU and I'm sure Coach Thompson has visions of Jonathan when watching Carmelo."

Betancourt is planning on taking an unofficial visit to GU as soon as this weekend and may get a chance to play with the team this weekend as well. Sources have told IPRB that St John's coach, Steve Lavin is planning to come see Betancourt next week.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Francisco "Furro" Lopez Is On A Mission

First it was Abreu, then Betancourt and now another little guard from Puerto Rico is on a mission.Meet Francisco "Furro" Lopez, the 5'10 Class of 2011 SG, who transfered last year to La Salle HIgh School (Miami) is on a mission. The former Bucaplaa Club SG has been working on making the switch to PG and is now working with PR Playmakers to help him get to the next level.

IPRB spoke with a recruiting insider who had this to say about Lopez," He's got the ability to play at the next level and can flat out score. Like a lot of the guards coming out of Puerto Rico he is small and will need to show recruiters and coaches that he can play against bigger and stronger guards. The size issue is always there when you talk about a 5'10 SG.
He had a solid summer playing AAU for Gold Coast AAU Program and showed glimpses of a guy who could be really really good. The question a lot of coaches will ask is if he can play the PG position. He's in a perfect position playing at La Salle and simply put he must prove he can play."

IPRB spoke with "Furro's" father, Frankie Lopez, who is very confident that his son can play at the next level. "I've been taking my son to play all around Puerto Rico since he was 4 years old. I know he has the ability and desire to play. This has been a dream of his for as long as I can remember. I know he can do it and all we need is for a coach to take a chance. He is not only a very good player but is an even better person."

Lopez should also benefit from the fact that he is a very good student who has a 3.5 GPA. PR Playmakers Founder Todd Washington said, "Furro has the whole package. He can play, has good grades, is fluent in English and most importantly he is focused and working hard to reach his goals. He has some challenges in front of him to include, taking the SAT, completing the transition from SG to PG and showing he can compete against bigger players. We are excited to have him in our program and he understands the ball is in his hands. His work ethic and performance both on and off the court will determine if he plays at the next level. Based on what I have heard from both he and his father, Furro will get the job done."

IPRB plans to keep our eye on Furro and see if he has what it takes to get to the next level.

Friday, September 24, 2010

UCLA To Watch Betancourt (Updated)

IPRB has confirmed that UCLA Assistant Coach Scott Duncan went this afternoon to Montrose Christian Academy to watch Carmelo Betancourt. Betancourt continues to increase interest at the highest level of Division 1 basketball. UCLA is also recruiting Preseason All American, Quinn Cook and both Coach Duncan and UCLA Head Coach, Ben Howland are in DC meeting with Quinn Cook. "With Georgetown, UCLA and other major programs looking at Betancourt so early in the season it has really helped increase interest, said a recruiting expert. He went from being a total unknown less than 6 months ago to now being someone coaches want to see in person."

PR Playmakers' Founder Todd Washington told IPRB," Carmelo and his mother and father are really excited! I just finished a call with them and it's kind of surreal. First Georgetown and now UCLA. It couldn't happen to better people. The good thing about Carmelo and his parents is that they understand that this is the first step in the recruiting process and at this point neither school has made an offer. Carmelo is the the type of kid who will use this as motivation to continue to work hard and prove to people that he can play at this level. I'm really proud of what he has done!"

Betancourt's USA debut was at the 2009 Jordan Classic (International Game). He played well there and went back to PR and hit the gym for 5 months before coming to Montrose. He and Tyrone Johnson, a Class of 2011 PG who has already committed to Villanova have been going at it in practice everyday.

A source confirmed late this evening that Coach Duncan plans to come back and see Betancourt practice again in the next two weeks.

Harvard University Interested in Gabriel Anglero

IPRB confirmed today the former Adianez guard and current St Benedicts (NJ) guard Gabriel Anglero may have a chance to attend the prestigious Harvard University. Sources close to the Anglero family confirmed that Gabriel's father spoke to Harvard University Men's Basketball Assistant Coach, Kenny Blakeney earlier today. Blakeney was a McDonald's All American at famed Dematha High School and went on to play on the 2 National Championship teams at Duke in the early 1990's. Former Duke University guard and assistant Coach Tommy Amaker is now the Head Coach at Harvard.

Anglero, a class of 2011 SG, transferred to St Benedicts this year and has become a hot commodity in recruiting circles. IPRB spoke to a mid major Division 1 college assistant coach who said, " Anglero is one of those kids every team must have. He is a "glue guy", someone who can do a number of things well and loves to play defense. The strength and conditioning coach calls him,"Hercules" as he is the strongest kid on the team and plays with a chip on his shoulder."

Said a recruiting insider," Anglero is a solid mid major player with great upside. He is a little on the short side for a shooting guard at the top 20 level but has shown great growth since arriving at St Benedicts this summer."

It should not be a surprise that Harvard is interested Anglero as St Benedicts Head Coach, Roshown Mcleod and Harvard Assistant Coach, Kenny Blakeney played together at Duke. Blakeney and PR Playmakers Founder Todd Washington grew up together in DC so the connections run deep. Whether or not Anglero ends up at Harvard or not what is clear is that he has officially arrived!

Angel Matias To "Red Shirt" at MCGCC

2010 18U National Team forward and former Carmen Del Sol player Angel Matias will be "red shirted" this year. IPRB spoke to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College ("MGCCC") Coach Wendell Weathers who confirmed the schools decision to "red shirt" Matias and said, "Angel is a heck of a player and we are confident that he can do great things for us next year but at this point he is simply not ready."

Matias who was given a full scholarship to MGCCC in late August has had come challenges both on and off the court. PR Playmakers Founder Todd Washington said, " They love Angel down there! He is a great kid and Coach Weathers was clear in his commitment to helping Angel catch up in the classroom and getting into college basketball shape."

MGCCC is where former Carmen Del Sol superstar Raymond Cintron is in his second year and he has been acting as a big brother to Matias. Taking a "red shirt" year allows a player to practice with the team and and stay on scholarship while they work on developing into a true student athlete. Carlos "Yao" Lopez who started on the 2008-2009 National Champion Findlay Prep team ended up "red shirting" last year at UNLV.

Provided Matias does what needs to be done in the classroom he could opt to only play one year at MGCC and graduate in 2012 or stay and play two years at MGCCC starting next year. Most importantly he is working towards obtaining a college degree that that should be the goal for all student athletes!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


IPRB confirmed that Carlos Beltran has had conversations with several potential candidates for the National Team's, General Manager position. This group of people he has communicated with includes both current and former BSN team owners. Clearly, an existing owner of a BSN Team should not be the GM of the National Team. It's a major conflict and should not be allowed. I find it interesting that the last several GM's were clearly not "personnel guys" who could develop and work with players. Players did not respect Rivera or Diaz and that is a must if you are going to have a GM that is more than just a figurehead. Both Diaz and Rivera are decent people and clearly love the game but neither of them are the right age or have the right background to be successful as a GM in today's game. Things have changed drastically in basketball over the last 10 years and Beltran has a very difficult decision to make as he recommends someone to the FBPUR Board.

The GM's position is to run the team and act as a intermediate between the coach, players and senior management. Their focus must be on putting a team on the floor with one vision and goal and that is to win. Lets also add the fact that no player should be compensated for playing on the National Team. All players must abide by the same rules and receive the same "perks" or else it is not a team but a collection of All Stars. History has taught us that a solid team beats a collection of All Stars 9 out of 10 times.

There is clearly a candidate available who can do the job and help make the necessary changes to bring PR back into the top 10 FIBA world rankings. His name is ...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Five Star Camp To Come To Puerto Rico?

IPRB has confirmed that a group of local coaches are working to close a deal with Five Star that would bring famed Five Star Basketball Camp to PR to conduct an Elite Academy. IPRB confirmed with a source close to the negotiations that Five Star, " is interested in coming to PR and offering an Elite Academy sometime next summer. We've spoken to some of the best players in PR and the demand for an Elite Academy is high. The real question is economically can this market support an offering like this given the cost associated with operating a world class Academy."

Many of PR's best young players have attended Five Star Camps stateside and with the interest of players to attend prep schools and college on the mainland the need for more exposure is critical.

Butch Lee Point Guard Academy

IPRB confirmed that former NBA Champion and Rucker Park Legend, Butch Lee, has started the 2nd Annual Butch Lee PG Academy. Butch has a track record of being a fantastic teacher and someone I would want my son to learn from. Lee possessed all the skills you want a player his Academy should really help develop the elite talent in Puerto Rico. IPRB confirmed that Gary Browne Ramirez is going to be working with Lee along with some of the other talented PG prospects from PR Playmakers.

PR Playmakers founder Todd Washington told IPRB today that," We are trying had to get Butch to work with some of our top kids and have asked that he consider coaching one of our elite travel teams. Not only is Butch a fantastic coach and former NBA Champion, he is an even better person. We would be honored to get Butch involved in our program and look forward to making that a reality. PR Playmakers is in the business of working with the best and clearly Butch is at the top of the list when talking about talented and experienced coaches who can help young kids develop."

Moreno To Attend TAAG Academy

Class of 2011 Small Forward Roy Moreno has decided to transfer to TAAG Academy in Tampa Florida for his senior year. IPRB confirmed last week that Moreno and his parents are working to complete the paperwork and get him up to school in the coming week. IPRB has not spoken to officials at TAAG to confirm this but spoke to Moreno over the weekend. Moreno is a 6'3 forward who has solid skills and could be a solid mid major player provided he gets stronger and develops his dribble-drive game.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Stop Pointing Fingers!

IPRB is not in the business of pointing fingers or placing blame. That is always rule #1 in any team sport! Plain and simple, you just don't do it. Since PR's early departure in the FIBA 2010 World Championship all everyone seems to be doing is pointing fingers and placing blame. It's disgusting and it needs to stop. While we are opinionated at IPRB and think there are some things from a basketball culture and rules standpoint that should be reviewed and possibly changed it is unfair to place blame on any individual. Rule #2, win as a team and lose as a team. When we win everyone gets credit and when we lose everyone takes the blame. Lets start getting back to the fundamentals and hold everyone accountable as a team. There is no "I" in team.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Betancourt Getting Major Looks at Montrose Christian

It's only been a couple of weeks since Class of 2011, PG Carmelo Betancourt left PR and started classes at Montrose yet his name is ringing from coast to coast. IPRB confirmed earlier today tons of coaches have been on campus including Hall of Fame Coach, Gary Williams from University of Maryland and Coach Tony Bennett from University of Virginia both ACC schools.
A source who has seen Melo's workouts confirmed that Melo has really impressed everyone who has seen him and seems to have convinced many that his size will not prevent him from playing for a top 20 program.

IPBB spoke to Carmelo tonight who said,"I'm really enjoying myself, this place is so professional! My classes are small so I have to work hard and the teachers are really helping me. I was a little nervous at first as I have never had to practice in front of coaches like this but I see now why it is so important to be in shape and work hard. I'm really glad I came here".

There Is No Place In Basketball For Racism!!!!

One of the wonderful things about BASKETBALL which I think is the greatest game on earth is that it doesn't matter where you are from, what color you are or how much money you have. Once you throw that ball in the air there is only one question to be asked, "can he play or not". I've lived in 15 countries and played in gyms and playgrounds around the world. In some places I didn't speak the language or know any of the people I was playing with but it didn't matter. Game recognizes game and serious players know when they see someone who has game.

A New Development Model For Puerto Rico's Elite Youth Prospects

Puerto Rico doesn't need to make any excuses given it's rich basketball history.
Butch Lee, Georgie Torres, Fantauzzi ,Raymond Dalmau, Piculin, Jerome Mince and Eddie Casiano are recognized around the world as the "Original Puerto Rico Playmakers". Puerto Rico has had some really talented and accomplished coaches like Flor Melendez and Julio Toro who are legendary in this part of the world! History will show that many of the names above and many that were not mentioned paved the way and put PR on the basketball map! As a student of the game and a self proclaimed "basketball junkie" I appreciate the need to study the past and learn from it but also appreciate the importance of leaving the past in the past! Those who spend to much time in the past tend to get lost and many times miss out on what is happening in the present. This seems to be happening within the basketball community in Puerto Rico.

So instead of focusing on what is in the "rearview", lets begin to ask some critical questions like,

What are we doing to help develop elite players in Puerto Rico?
Why are we not identifying, developing and nurturing elite players through a year round National Development Program?
Why are our most talented prospects playing on teams and in leagues where there are playing time restrictions and games are played on concrete?
Why are we not teaching our elite prospects how to play defense? We have kids on our 12U and 13U National Teams who have yet to be taught "ball/man", "help/recover" and many other basic defensive principles.
How can we expect to compete with the rest of the world when we are doing the same stuff we did 5,10, 15 years ago?
Where are the elite clinics, camps, showcase games and events that will attract top talent to PR?
Why are we playing Small Fry and YBOA and not AAU and EYBL?

I could go on and on and on but lets start here. The time for change has come and the problem is those who control basketball are reluctant to rock the boat! Introducing a National Elite Youth Development Program which works with our most talented prospects year round is step one. Little Lads and ACB are wonderful leagues which offer the masses a platform to learn and play recreationally but neither were created to develop elite players!
They are businesses whose mission is to make money versus nurturing and developing elite players. The sooner we recognize that the existing "club model" is flawed and a new model which should mirror what Canada, China and the USA have recently implemented is the right way forward to reclaiming our position atop the FIBA Rankings!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

PRP Elite Evaluation Combine and Scholarship Seminar

PR Playmakers "PRP", the leading grassroots basketball program in Puerto Rico has announced its intent to operate the first Elite Youth Evaluation Combine and Scholarship Seminar. The date of the event has not been announced but IPRB has confirmed that it will take place sometime in June.

PRP Founder, Todd Washington said in an interview with IPRB early today,"There are so players interested in attending school in the states but most of them do not understand how to go about getting it done. PRP will act as a bridge and expose players to prep schools, junior colleges and 4 year colleges and universities. We have a track record of helping some of the elite players obtain opportunities at all of these levels.

The recent trend similar to what has gone on mainland for years is for rising 12th graders to spend a year at an elite school preparing both on and off the court. Washington thinks that parents should consider getting allowing their kids to spend more than one year at a school.
"We tell parents all the time that they should not wait until their son is in 12th grade to consider prep school. Actually we think getting a student athlete into a situation in the 9th adn 10th grade allows the student a chance to spend 2-3 years at a school and benefit from the relationships that are built over that time. We are seeing too many kids bounce around from school to school and while that may work for some most of the kids we think spending two or three years at a school allows for growth both on and off the court.

Washington also stressed that parents need to do more off the court in preparing kids to qualify. He said that most parents are not familiar with the NCAA Clearinghouse requirements nor are they focused on preparing their sons to take the SAT.

"The purpose of the Combine and Scholarship Seminar is to identify platers who have the ability to play at the next level and educate parents on what they need to do to off the court and in the classroom to prepare their son so that if and when an opportunity presents itself, they are ready and able. We are working with a couple of kids who are mid major Division 1 prospects who have yet to take the SAT. It's a shame as so many kids are missing out on a free education because they spending to much time playing and not enough time preparing!"

Washington went on the say, 'We do not promise a family we are going to get their son a scholarship. That is the first thing we tell them when we have the initial "Introduction To The Program Meeting". We have been incredibly successful in helping players obtain opportunities but we cannot and will not make that promise. What we can do is open the door and ensure that coaches know about the player and his abilities both on the court and in the classroom.
The question is not if there are school out there looking rather can we offer them what they are looking for. I'm convinced that we can get anywhere from 50-75 kids per year into unique situations in the states. Its not a question of talent but creating a structure which can be used as a bridge."

High School Scholarships vs Financial Aid

Lots of people here in Puerto Rico that we have spoken to or overheard discussions about how their son can get a scholarship to an elite private, catholic or prep school are confused. To start elite high school basketball programs do not give scholarships like they do in college. Opportunities to attend a school can be based on academic performance coupled with athletic ability. The amount of money a school rewards a family is based on need. Schools typically have a financial aid office or coordinator who requires parents to fill out a financial aid form.
Each school has a certain amount of money per year which can be used to offer "financial aid based on need".

While there are schools which offer scholarships for academic performance most elite high school programs use the financial aid as a means to cover the cost of tuition, room and board.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Browne, Anglero and Moreno Looking At Prep School

St Francis Class of 2011 SG, Gary Browne Ramirez and Forward Roy Moreno along with Adianez Class of 2011 SG, Gaby Anglero are all looking at attending their final year of high school in the USA.
Browne, is scheduled to visit St Benedicts next week along with Adianez SG, Gaby Anglero next week and Roy Moreno has also reached out to PR Playmakers for assistance in going to Prep School next year.

A source close to all three players confirmed yesterday for IPRB that,"all three of these guys have a chance to play ball in college but going none of them are really ready either on or off the court. They play for the best schools in PR and the coaches at both of those schools are world class guys but the fact of the matter is that very little is being done off the court to prepare them to qualify."

All three of the student athletes have incredible upside and could all be on campus in the states next semester.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Betancourt Visits Montrose

Carmelo Betancourt is in route to DC to visit Montrose Christian School and take the entrance exam. The PG from Adianez School in Puerto Rico seem to be serious about attending school in the USA. Sources close to the situatuon told IPRB, " At first he wasn't really sure he wanted to leave his friends and move from PR but after going to NYC, playing at the Jordan Classic and seeing what the elite level looked it, he knew he needed to atleast go visit a couple of schools".

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lebron's Mom and Delonte West

Is Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James' mother, Gloria James, sleeping with his teammate and friend Delonte West? Reportedly this is the reason behind the lackluster play, which he has been heavily criticized for, that ended Cleveland's chance to beat the Boston Celtics.
When the two teams faced in NBA Easter Conference simi-finals, everyone thought that the Cavs would take the series after it was tied 2-2. LeBron James had probably the worst playoff game in his career in Game 5, even commentators said that he seemed detached and not himself, and his team was eliminated in Game 6. It was reported that it was before Game 5 that he found out about the relationship between his teammate and his mother. Everyone is already wondering where the soon-to-be free agent will be playing basketball next year. Because of the rumors, people are beginning to say that he won't remain in Cleveland and will play for the New York Knicks next season. Nothing has been confirmed yet, and no party involved has commented on the rumored relationship but it is rapidly spreading across the internet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Canada Basketball 15U and 16 Elite Travel Teams

Canada is no longer just a hockey country! With two of the top 25 players in the class of 2010 and several Top 100 players in the Class of 2012, 2013 and 2014 Ro Russel and his elite travel program which are now part of the Canadian National Team Program are changing the game!

Canada and the success they have had over the last several years becoming a serious program are things Puerto Rico must take notice of! Kids wants to play against the best players in the biggest tournaments and not on 8 ft baskets against kids who are not elite players!

CHeck out link below and look at the 15U Team from Canada!

Betancourt To Montrose or St Benedicts

Word on the street is that Jordan Brand sponsored program Montrose Christian wants Carmelo. Montrose is coached by Stu Vetter and is widely considered to be one of the top high school programs in the country. Coach Vetter has been an elite high school coach for over 25 years and in recent years coached had both Kevin Durant and Venezuelan PG Greivis Vazques play for him at Montrose.

On top of that St. Benedicts in New Jersey has also expressed some interest in Carmelo. St Benedicts top returning player who is also a Top 50 Class of 2011 decided to transfer to Findlay Prep. This create an interesting option for Carmelo given they are only returning two players from last years team and have a number of spots on the team available.

While PR has great high school coaches (Adinez and St Francis to name a coupl) and good schools none of the programs in PR play an elite schedule so it is hard to players like Carmelo to be challenged.

'It's a tough situation as the coaches are trying to get kids to stay but truthfully that is not helping the kids. You got kids playing center who are 6'4 and the style of play is so incredibly slow. There is no question that PR has great coaches and they have been doing a great job at developing kids to a certain point but the system is not set up to develop elite players. I was down in PR this year looking at a couple of kids and to be honest the style of play and lack of size made it hard for me to see if the kids could really play. Very few of these kids really know or want to play defense and the transition game doesn't exist", said a D1 coach.

Carmelo and his family have a high class problem given that two of the best programs in the country are interested in him. IT shows how quickly things can change when a player gets exposed.

Suarez Update

Three of the top PG in the class of 2011 are all looking to have big summers and get ready for their senior year! Rasham Suarez has left PR in the 9th grade and has attended three different prep schools in 3 years. This has been by choice and from what we hear the kid is having a great spring season playing AAU ball for a Nike Travel Team in Atlanta. Rasham has proven that he can compete at the highest level and has really focused on getting his body in shape. Playing PG is one of the toughest transitions from HS to college so getting prepared for the contact at the D1 level is critical. The question for Rasham is his athletic ability. He is an above average athlete who must begin to play above the rim and not rely so much on his jump shot rather getting to the rim and finishing above it. Mid Majors are all over him and some SEC schools have shown interest.
We think he has the tools to plat High Major D1 but must do the things this summer to strengthen his legs and improve quickness and leaping ability. We think Gonzaga, Xavier and possibly even Miami are great fits!

IPRB confirmed that Rasham's dad, Gamaliel and Coach from St. Benedicts spoke last night and that Rasham might consider transferring there if they made an offer. Gamaliel and Coach Mcleod from St. Benedicts have been friends for quite some time.

"We Are Back Up" Stringer Bell (HBO's The Wire)

Like ym many Stringer Bell said from HBO's the wire, We are back up! Took a little vacation to Bermuda and Aruba and now we are back up and ready to update everyone on the Class of 2011.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Carmelo @ MSG in Jordan Classic Interview

When we make a promise, we deliver, so below is an interview we conducted with Carmelo Betancourt this afternoon. Everyone at MSG wanted to know who the little guy from Puerto Rico was and by the end of the game, everyone knew that Melo, is next! Several of the top high schools in the NYC area are already reaching out and word is that Todd Washington has gotten over 10 calls since Saturday night about Carmelo.

Question: So you had one heck of a week in NYC, tell us about the experience and what it is like to play in the Jordan Classic?

Melo: I've never seen something so incredible in my life! First, I want to thank Mark Bayne and all the people from Nike and Jordan Brand! They treated me like a king and I will never forget it for the rest of my life! Mark Bayne and the guys from NIke/Jordan Brand are really trying to help kids from PR get on the map! Now people know my name and know I can play! Special thanks again to my friend Mark Bayne and the whole Nike/Jordan Brand Family! I got to play at MSG, I got to play in front of Chris Paul and got to meet Michael Jordan personally! It was crazy man! Plus my family got to come and see me play which was great and I worked so hard for this opportunity. Everything was so cool, they had this VIP lounge with flat screens, games, food, everything!

Q: Talk to us about the talent out there, you played Kevin Pangos form Canada and he is considered to be the next Steve Nash, How was the talent out there?

Melo: Our first practice he scored like 8 points in a row and we saw him at FIBA tournaments so I knew he was good. All the kids the kids from Canada, Spain and Italy were really good. Everyone was very humble and we all got along. I roomed with a player from Brazil and we played against each other during the day and at night we just chilled and tried to understand each other. He didn't speak English or Spanish so it was kind of hard but he was a great guy and it was a lot of fun!

Q: You got your first chance to play in an NBA arena at MSG, What was it like playing in the Garden?

Melo: It was so electrifying! Kobe, MJ and Lebron all talk about MSG and it was such a great honor to play on the same court that all those guy play on! Just being out there and representing Puerto Rico! Hopefully I showed people that I deserved to be there and that I am a serious players! It was the best time in my life!

Q: You showed a little bit of everything including an NBA 3 pointer in the 4th quarter. Everyone in the arena seemed to be cheering for you. Could you hear the crowd and the people cheering for you?

Melo: I could hear and see them! My mom was waving the flag, my dad and my sister were right there too and I could see/hear Todd Washington encouraging me to keep pushing and be aggressive! Plus my club coach was there so it was great to have so much support!

Q: So now you are back in PR and have had a day to think about things, what are you going to do about school next year?

Melo: I want to make the right decision and select the right school which will allow me to play and continue to prove that I can compete at the highest level. I'm going to prep school in the states next year! No question about it!

Q: What are your favorite colleges and have you thought about that?

Melo: My focus is on high school right now, getting a scholarship and then I will think about college. A lot of people came up to my mom and dad and others asking about that but I am just going to do my job and then we will go from there.

Q: What sort of stuff did you get from Jordan Brand, shoes, gear, etc ?

Melo: As soon as I got to the hotel, they gave me a huge duffel bag full of stuff and made a chair with my name on it! It was awesome man, they treated me like a king and now I see what it is like at the elite level! I want to be there! I got shoes, shirts, sweats, everything! They hooked it up big time!

Q: What are plans for this summer and who is helping you with deciding on schools, AAU and you future?

Melo: I have a group of people starting with my mom and dad. I also have my club coach and high school coaches who have been with me forever and now Todd Washington and PRP are part of the family too and we are all working together. It's great to have really good people in my corner led by my mom and dad! They have made so many sacrifices for me to be in this position and now it seems like things are paying off! I worked so hard and knew how important it was so I am glad I did a really good job and hopefully we can get other kids from PR to play in that game next year! I know Todd is working on finding me an AAU team and putting together a schedule of events for me. My dream is to go to the Steve Nash/NIke Camp. I know Todd and Mark are working on that for me so lets see but I know I am going to have a full summer!

Opportunity only strikes once and it is clear that Melo was ready when his chance came!
The thing we really like about Carmelo is that off the court he is as humble as any kid we've seen with the talent he has been blessed with. He represented PR in a way that will allow other kids to have the opportunity in the future and can hopefully be the next great Puerto Rican player named Carmelo from Puerto Rico!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Carmelo @ MSG

We've been getting calls all day about how Carmelo did at the Jordan Classic! BANANAS!!!!!!!
WE just got back to PR from NYC and will give everyone an update! The kid put Puerto Rico on his back and represented to the fullest!

More info on Melo at the Garden tomorrow but all we can say is bananas!

Rosario Commits to Florida

Mike Rosario went down to the University of Florida this weekend and decided he didnt needs to see anymore. Mike committed to Coach Donavan and the University of Florida Gators earlier today. Rosario told IPRB,"I'm signing with Florida man, I love it out here. I just feel like this is home for me man and I really respect Coach Donavan. He's a real cool dude and my teammates are really cool to.

Rosario was suppose to meet with Kansas State coach, Frank Martin later this week but decided that any additional consideration was unnecessary.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rosario Gets Conditional Release, Visits Florida Tomorrow

Mike Rosario is a happy man! He got a conditional release from Rutgers yesterday and the phones have started to ring off the hook! IPRB spoke with Mike yesterday and he was on top of the world.
"I am thankful for the way Rutgers handled the situation. They treated me with respect and I appreciate that alot."

Rosario is once again a very popular man as colleges having been calling since his release including the University of Florida where he is set to take his first visit tomorrow. A source close Rosario has told IPRB that " Mike is looking at Florida, USC, Kansas State and Maryland.

Mike is suppose to be leaving to take his first visit to Florida tomorrow at 1pm.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gary Ramirez Brown Class of 2011

We had the pleasure of meeting and seeing Gary Ramirez Brown last week. The kid can play! He has all the tools to play at the next level and will hopefully get a chance to play in prep school next year.

We will be talking to him soon so stay tuned!

Rutgers Filing Tampering Charges

Mike Rosario has yet to get his release and things may begin to get ugly. Sources close to the situation has confirmed that Rutgers is going to file tampering charges against USC. Mike's former teammate and best friend Jio Fontan transferred there this semesters and there has been a lot of speculation that Mike would follow Jio out to USC.

We spoke to someone who is part of Mike's inner circle and from what they told us there is not truth to that. "Mike isn't going to USC, it's not the right place for him. Mike needs to in the gym, focus on getting stronger and developing his game. All this talk about where he is going to kind of funny as Mike and his people are doing everything by the book. He hasn't talked to anybody and isn't going to until he gets his release."

There was speculation that Mike may come to PR and play in the league down here. We spoke to PRP founder and close confidant, TOdd Washington who said, " MIke coming to PR is a total waste of time. Mike needs to sit down with his family and those closest to him and map out a strategy that may or may not include Rutgers. Puerto Rico is something I would strongly oppose!"

All of this could simply be interest hype as Rutgers' Athletic Director supposedly called Mike and let him know that Rutgers will release him.

Stay tuned for more info!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rosario To Get His Release By End Of The Week

IPRB spoke to Mike Rosario this evening and it seems that he is confident that he will get his release from Rutgers by the end of the week. Rosario has yet to confirm where he wants to visit but a source close to Mike advised IPRB that USC, Kentucky, Arizona and Florida are all in play.

This is a big decision for Mike and we hope he lands on his feet running and uses this summer and next year to get in better shape and more focused to take his game to the next level.

Summer League Basketball "Bring Your Game Not Your Name"

Its kind of crazy that we do not have an official summer league in PR. I don't mean a bunch of over the hill cats still trying to show people they can play (I'm def one of those guys). I mean a place where we can see the young talent try to tear it down while the current pros let the young boys know who really runs sh@t. In every basketball city (NYC, LA, DC, Chicago) around the world, summertime is SHOWTIME!

Word is that PRP is working to set up a league with DRD for the summer. "Bring Your Game Not Your Name" will be a collection of between 8-12 teams full of talent from high school, collegiate and pro ranks.
Stay tuned for more information.

Betancourt Gets Ready

We had a chance to see Carmelo workout last week at DRD! We are excited as he has agreed to blog for us while he is in NYC next week. The kid is working his ass off and his knee looks strong. He's super excited about playing @ MSG and has set a goal to try and break the assist record. Puerto Rico is officially in the building!

Rosario Transferring

My man Adam Zagoria reported on this story which is not a surprise to any of us. Mike had a horrible season this year and really hurt his brand after his "world tour" with the PR 19U National Team. We are hearing that Florida, Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona could be in the mix.

See the link the Zagsblog story!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Georgetown To Offer A Scholarship To Melo???

Ever since Carmelo got that invitation to play in the Jordan Classic (shout out to my man Mark "Air Canada" Bayne) the D1 High Major interest in Melo has intensified. Clearly, there were only two real candidates for that invitation and Rasham Suarez was born in 1992 so he was unable to qualify to play. IPRB has gotten calls from over 50 schools in the last two weeks asking if the kid is all that or just another little point guard from PR.

IPRB has been telling our friends from the Hoyas not to allow his size to stop them from looking at him. IPRB has not been able to confirm this from any of GU Hoyas coaching staff directly but the word is that Georgetown Hoyas Coach, John Thompson III will be in San Juan on vacation and is itching to see/hear more about Melo. Our sources tell us that GU is pushing to develop relationships with some of the top PR coaches through their connection to PRP founder Todd Washington.

Washington has been working with Carmelo and his parents for the last couple of months and supposedly worked with NIKE to make sure a kid from PR finally got an opportunity to shine in a major event like the Jordan Classic.

We are going to jump out there on this one and wager that GU is one of the first schools to make a real hard push at Melo and maybe make an offer. The modified Princeton offense fits Melo's game perfectly and given the strong alumni base and GU support that exists in PR, Melo may be a GU Hoya sooner than you think

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Its Official, Melo @ The Garden April 17th

Carmelo Betancourt is playing in the Jordan CLassic International Game on April 17th at 5:30 in "The Garden"! IPRB will be traveling up with the family to show support for Carmelo! Melo in the Garden, April 17th! Lets go baby!

Abreu Selects Akron

It's official, ALex Abreu aka The Little Point From Puerto Rico has decided to attend the University of Akron. He select Akron over Utah and Nebraska both of whom made late pushes to try and sign him. Abreu follows the path that Puerto Rico greats JJ Barea and Carlos Arroyo took selecting a "mid major" over a "major".

Abreu made a name for himself last summer while playing on the 19U PR team and went up to Jersey and took control of his own destiny by showing up big against players who had big reps! His willingness to go to prep school and the sacrifice his family made is an example of the sacrifice it takes to get it done! Hats off to Ada and family for trusting PR Playmakers and the commitment they made to them that if Alex went to prep school he would secure a scholarship.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Carmelo Betancourt Invited to Jordan Classic????

IPRB was told by sources close to Nike that Carmelo Betancourt has been invited to participate in the 2010 Jordan Classic. Betancourt will represent Puerto Rico in the International game which takes place before the All American Game. The game will feature the best player in the world who were born in 1993 or 1994.

FBPUR Senior Advisor and the person responsible for brokering the deal with both Nike and Jordan Brand told IPRB today,"we are working with Nike and Carmelo's mom to finalize the trip. Mark Bayne from Nike reached out and asked me who the best kid in that age group is and from what I have seen there is no question it is Carmelo. My program PR Playmakers is working with Carmelo's family to assist them in securing unique basketball experiences and opportunities. Carmelo and his parents are great people so it is easy and a lot of fun when you get a chance to work with people like that. Its amazing the number of parents and players who are reaching out and asking for our help. What makes PRP different from other programs is that we will help any kid who is able and capable. They do not have to play for one of our travel teams in order to get PRP's help. If you can play and have good grades we will help any kid!"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Carmelo Betancourt Rehabbing With The Best

IPRB has learned that Carmelo is back on his feet and rehabbing with the best trainer in PR, Desmond Santiago. IPRB learned that Carmelo got clearance to get back on the court and could be ready for the tournament season in March!

Carmelo and his family are also working with PR Playmakers who have been assisting in trying to set up a summer schedule for Carmelo. This would include a some live period camps and the selection of an AAU team.

Several teams could open a spot for Carmelo to include, Boo Williams, New Heights NYC and even Pump and Run Los Angeles.

Rasham Suarez 4A Regional Player Of The Year

IPRB just got a text from Rasham"s dad. We are going to link up with Rasham later today and talk about the honor, his plans for this summer, recruiting and whether or not Rasham is a high major D1 point guard.

There is lots to talk about so stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Angel Garcia Live and Direct

IPRB traveled to Memphis late last year to see Lebron and the Cavs play against the much improved Grizzlies. While in Memphis we had a chance to see Angel Garcia work his ass off rehabbing his torn ACL. After a grueling work out I watched Angel shot NBA 3 pointers like it was a lay up.
Coach Pastner and the entire staff must have been licking their chops as it was clear to me after watching him shot the ball that if he could get healthy and stay healthy that this kid was pro.

We reported last week that Garcia was back and in his most recent game he showed the world why many insiders think he is a lottery pick. Garcia, who is only in his third game back from an ACL tear scored 16 points on seven-of-nine shooting from the field.

Garcia was expected to miss the season due to the torn ACL but made a quicker recovery than expected. We spoke to him tonight in his hotel room in New Orleans. You could tell how happy he was to be back on the court playing the game he loves!

Garcia said," I worked so hard and it was great to see 20,000 fans give me a standing ovation. My whole family called to tell me that I was all over the news and stuff in PR so it feels great."

The staff at Memphis should be applauded for not trying to play Garcia in long spurts. They have been playing him at 3-5 minutes at a time and allowing him to get his legs back and gain confidence.

"my coaches are great guys and have supported me. Im just going out there and trying to help me team win games. It is great to be back out there playing and trying to get back to the level I know I can play at," said Garcia.

We asked him about his plans for this summer and whether or not he will be able to play for the PR National Team. " I really want to come home and play for my country. I have to go to summer school so I not sure of my schedule but I want to play."

If Garcia stays healthy he is someone the coaches of the National Team need to consider. Garcia is a pro with a pro body and only needs to take care of the knee and we should be seeing him on TNT on Thursday nights!

Below are some You Tube highlights from Garcia

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2010 McDonalds All American Preview

Below is a link for the 2010 Mcdonalds All American Game

Lets Stop The Madness!

My 12 year old son plays for Torrimar and over he last two weeks we have played teams which we beat by a combined total of over 60 points! To make matters worse the best kids on the team only get to play together for one quarter as the leagues require substitutions in each quarter. I continue to be amazed that parents allow some of their kids to play year round in the cycle of bad basketball.

I do not fault the clubs, nor do I fault the people operating the leagues. These leagues were not created to develop elite talent and do a great job at provided kids with an opportunity to stay productive and learn the game at an entry level.

Take a close look at Canada and now the DR and watch what they have done and are doing to develop elite players. The days of PR teaching the rest of the region about the game are a thing of the past and if we are not careful and focus on how to develop our elite prospects we will find PR Basketball falling out of the upper echelon of teams in the Americas.

Lets get the best kids to be coached by the best coaches with the best young referees all in one gym! Lets eliminate substitution and minimum player requrements and allow the best kids to play as long as they can without fouling out.
Lets take our best kids to compete at the biggest and most competitive tournaments and showcase events around the world.

This will help not hurt Little Lads, ACB and the Federation leagues! It will bring more parity to a lopsided league where only the teams from the biggest clubs win championships. There are so many kids playing basketball in PR that many clubs have an "a" and "b" team. So the argument used presented by many is untrue and inaccurate!

Lets get the club presidents in a room and focus on introducing a new league which would start in August 2010.