Sunday, January 17, 2010

High School Heavyweights on ESPNU Tomorrow

Findlay Prep, Oak Hill Academy, St. Patrick’s and St. Benedict’s headline event

SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the high school teams for its 9th annual Spalding Hoophall Classic, presented by Big Y World Class Markets, to be held at Springfield College’s Blake Arena from January 15-18 during Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. The top five teams from last year’s final ESPN RISE Fab 50 rankings will headline the participants including No. 1 Findlay College Prep (Hendersonville, NV), No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA), No. 3 St. Patrick High School (Elizabeth, NJ), No. 4 Westchester High School (Los Angeles, CA) and No.5 St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark, NJ).

Over 45 teams – representing 16 states and the District of Columbia – will be competing this year in the tournament’s largest field. Numerous games from the 2010 Spalding Hoophall Classic will be broadcast live via national television outlets, regional television outlets and online distribution. Information on these broadcasts will be available shortly.

Other legendary programs scheduled to participate include St. Anthony High School (Jersey City, NJ), Bishop O’Connell High School (Arlington, VA), DeMatha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, MD), Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, CA), Neumann-Goretti High School (Philadelphia, PA) and Gonzaga College High School (Washington, DC).

“In the eight years of the Spalding Hoophall Classic, we have been fortunate to have featured many future stars and elite programs in high school basketball,” said John L. Doleva, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “This year’s field is no different, as we will once again showcase the top talent in the country with Springfield and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as our platform.”

Recent alumni of the Spalding Hoophall Classic include last year’s top-two rates graduating seniors Xavier Henry (Oklahoma City, OK/Kansas) and Derrick Favors (Atlanta, GA/Georgia Tech), as well as current NBA players Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Jerryd Bayless (Portland Trailblazers), Michael Beasley (Miami Heat), JR Smith (Denver Nuggets), Brandon Rush (Indiana Pacers), Donte Greene (Sacramento Kings) and O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies).

The 2010 event will also feature numerous ESPNU Top 100 players including top 10 stars Jared Sullinger (Northland/Columbus, OH), Kyrie Irving (St. Patrick’s/Elizabeth, NJ), Tobias Harris (Half Hallow/Brookville, NY) and Josh Smith (Kentwood/Kentwood, WA) as well as top juniors Michael Gilchrist (St. Patrick’s/Elizabeth, NJ) and Austin Rivers (Winter Park/Orlando, FL).

“Spalding is honored to be a partner with the Basketball Hall of Fame and the title sponsor of the Hoophall Classic, the top high school basketball invitational in the country,” said Spalding representative, Gary Barfield. “We are proud to be associated with the top teams in the country.” In addition to the game, Spalding also sponsors the Spalding Skills Challenge. The Skills Challenge features three events including the Spalding Half-Court Hustle, Spalding 3-Point Shootout and the Spalding Slam Dunk Contest at Blake Arena on Saturday, January 16th. An associated youth tournament, Junior Hoophall Classic, will also debut this year, with details located at

Monday, January 11, 2010

Best 12U Player Update

When we decided to write a piece and conduct a poll on 12U Best Player we expected certain things to happen. In today's media crazed environment where kids are glorified at an early age and parents become jealous of another child and instill jealous and envy into their own child you know it is time to sit down and talk. We've gotten a lot of calls about the article we did. A lot of questions were asked. It is important to highlight several points which we may not have done a great job of communicating. You see we complimented each kid and clearly stated that all four kids have a bright future and each of them is as good as the other yet when you start comparing friends, teammates, classmates and opponents messages can be misconstrued.

I've watched these kids over the last several years and like almost all kids at this age they seem to really like one another and respect each other. A child is not born a racist he/she is taught to be a racist. A child is not born to be jealous, he/she is taught that trait. A child is not born to be envious, he/she is taught that as well.

Parents must better understand that there is no place for jealousy, hatred or envy most especially among 4 kids who really get along.

1. All four of the top players in that age group are friends and get along really well.

2. All four players are really, really talented and each of them has a bright future in their own right.

3. We reached out to all four players via Facebook and text message and told them to get their friends to vote for them. This was suppose to be fun!

4. All four guys play for PR Playmakers and this was an important exercise for them to better understand the media and how a silly poll and article can affect relationships.

5. Jealousy and envy have no place in the game. Parents and coaches have a duty to explain this to kids at an early age or else it will destroy players, teams and their families.

We probably should have discuss this before writing the article but we wanted to stir up a little controversy so to make the point that no matter who finished first, second, third or fourth it should not effect relationships. Relationships with parents, relationships with other teammates and relationships with coaches.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Nebraska Reaches Out To Abreu

University of Nebraska coaches reached out to CJEOTO point guard, ALex Abreu last week. The Big 12 school already has one Puerto Rican player in Brian Jorge Diaz and could be a nice fit for Abreu. The questions still remains if Abreu can play at this level given his size. Abreu has no doubts about that but only time will tell.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Come On Gilbert

I hate to start the new year with anything negative but this Gilbert Arenas situation needs discussing. Lets start by being clear. There is NO EXCUSE, period, point blank for a player to ever bring a gun to anything having to do with basketball. All of the facts have yet to be confirmed and Gilbert's admission last night clearly was simply his side of the story.

Lets again be clear, there is never ever a reason for a gun to be involved in anything having to do with basketball. A severe punishment must come from NBA Commissioner David Stern with immediate dispatch.

What punishment is fair and just will depend on the facts so we are going to fall back and allow all the facts to come to light and then continue this discussion.

See the LA Times article link below.,0,4066768.column

We're Baaaaaaaaaaaack!

2010 is gonna be a big year for basketball in Puerto Rico. Lets start with Mayaguez 2010, then The World Championships in Turkey and cap it off with The PR National Team playing in the Garden (more on that when it's official.

The recruiting situation is getting interesting. Lots of kids talking about going to prep school. Prep School kids talking about signing this spring. College kids talking about jumping to the league.

Lets lace em up real tight and go to work!