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.