Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Abdiel Badillo Interested In Attending Prep School

IPRB confirmed this morning that Class of 2012 SG, Abdiel Badillo and his mother are looking to place him in an elite prep school for next year. Badillo is a rising star both on and off the court who has a 4.0 GPA. IPRB spoke to several club and high school coaches who raved about Badillo.

A source said, " Badillo is the type of player that doesn't come around very often. He's got exceptional talent, is a hard worker and will do some great things in the future both in basketball and more importantly in life".


PR Playmakers' Founder Todd Washington who is mentoring Badillo and helping him with the process of finding a school in the states said," We are excited that Abdiel has joined the PRP family! He is going to have so many options available to him because of what he has done in the classroom. Taking care of business in the classroom opens up options that most players never get a chance to access. Abdiel's mother has done a fantastic job of balancing his development both on and off the court. We've reached to Coach Carroll at NMH which would be a perfect fit for Abdiel. The process is just beginning and we will look at other schools but he really likes NMH. Coach Carroll does a exceptional job of developing and placing his players into the best colleges in the country. If we can get him into NMH that would be Abdiels' first choice."


Badillo said to IPRB about the possibility of attending prep school and NMH specifically, "I feel very exited about this possible opportunity. Northfield Mount Hermon is an awesome school with a great basketball program and a very great academic system. I really like it, it could be a very good opportunity for me."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Anglero, Betancourt and Browne To Play In Primetime Shootout

Three of Puerto Rico's top prep players will travel to play in one of the biggest high school events of the year in late January with each of them playing on different teams. The 2011 Prime Time Shootout in Morgantown, West Virginia is widely considered to be one of the top events of the year attracting several top programs including St. Benedicts (NJ), Montrose Christian (MD) and Arlington Country Day (FL). All three of these school are nationally ranked in the top 25.

Said a talent evaulator for a top recruiting service, "Events like this can catapult a player from the relative unknown to a Top 100 ranking. With December schedules being a little soft, this event will be the first true test under the brightest of lights for Anglero, Betancourt and Browne. Since all three of these guys are seniors it's really important for them to show up and prove that they play at this level. A lot of questions are out there about Betancourt and Browne in terms of playing on the next level at a top 20 program. They both will have a chance to silence those who don't think either can play at that level."

PR Playmakers Founder Todd Washington, who placed Anglero, Browne and Betancourt at the three respective schools has a different take. "Melo and Gary are high major kids with huge upside. Neither are program changers but kids who are battle tested and can play with anyone in the country. And Anglero is a steal for a mid major program. He's tough as nails and nobody will work harder. All three of them understand how important it is to show up. This is what they have been waiting for their entire lives. We've also told them that not to put any unnecessary pressure on themselves and enjoy the moment. A big part of succeeding in situation like this is to enjoy it and just play. All three of these guys will do that."

Several Big East, ACC, A-10 and PAC-10 programs have expressed interest in both Betancourt and Browne while Anglero is getting some serious looks by several mid major programs. All three of these kids transferred to schools in their senior year to play at a top ranked school and against the best players in the country. Their dreams come true January 21st in Morgantown, WV.

See the 2011 Primetime Shootout web address and schedule below:

http://www.primetimeshootout.net/index.html

2011 Primetime Shootout Game Schedule
January 21st
5:00 pm
Morgantown (WV) vs. Thomas Jefferson (NY)

6:30 pm
Chester (PA) vs. Huntington Prep (WV)

8:00 pm
Arlington Country Day (FLA) vs. St.Benedict's (NJ)

9:30 pm
Jamesville-DeWitt (NY) vs. Columbia (GA)

Saturday, January 22nd

12:00 pm
Quality Education (NC) vs.Our Savior New American(NY)

1:30 pm
Huntington Prep (WV) vs. St. Benedict's (NJ)

3:00 pm
South Atlanta (GA) vs. Christ The King (NY)

4:30 pm
Jamesville DeWitt (NY) vs. Wheeling Park (WV)

6:00 pm
Columbia (GA) vs. Thomas Jefferson (NY)

7:30 pm
Oak Hill Academy (VA) vs. Preston County (WV)

9:00 pm
Montrose Christian (MD) vs. Arlington Country Day (FL)

Carlos Morales Jr. Sets The Record Straight

IPRB wrote a story week about Former National Team Head Coach, Carlos Morales and his position on the hiring of Rick Pitino. His son Carlos Morales Jr. sent our Editor a note and wanted to ensure that the facts are on the record. We are happy to do that and ensure that our readers always get the facts. With so many blogs printing anything and everything IPRB will always ensure that our readers get the facts.

The Morales' family is one of the great Puerto Rican "basketball families" with a son following in their fathers' footsteps. The great ones like Toro, Melendez, Cintron and Morales have served this country well and will always receive the respect they have earned! We may not always agree with the great ones but our duty is to print the facts as they are presented to us. We owe them that and our readers require that of us as well. When you love the game like we do it is an honor and duty we happily carry out.


Carlos Morales Jr. stated the following,"I am just writing to you because I was reading the inside puerto rico basketball blog and saw the blog about my father against the Pitino selection. Sometimes information can get misinterpreted. You state that he disagrees with the selection, and that is NOT THE CASE. He is constantly asked about the situation and he always states the same. That the selection of Pitino had caught him by surprise since the talk in P.R. was of moving towards the "European Game" with a European caliber coach. He also states that Pitino is a great defensive coach and it will be interesting to see how it all works out.

Morales Jr. continued, "My father did say that Pitino will need a period of adjustment, in which he would have to rely heavily on his assistants and or scouts because the FIBA game is different to the American game (this is also an opinion that Coach K stated in 2006). But he has never said that it was the wrong decision he just felt that it was unexpected. If you read other interview from the summer done by Primera Hora and El Nuevo Dia he talked about the different European Coaches that would be good for the P.R. national team. That is why it doesn't add up to see him as an Anti-foreigner. Both me and my father were very disappointed to see this but hope it all can be fixed."

In his father's defense Morales Jr. shows real leadership and an ability to communicate a clear and concise message. Two traits that all great coaches possess. Sometimes you get a story wrong and misinterpret information. The record is clear and once again IPRB shows a willingness to ensure that we always print the facts.

I'M NEXT!!! Featuring Giancarlo Santiago

Some of the best players on the island haven't gotten the proper exposure and buzz so we created " I'M NEXT!" We wanted to help expose players who have a real chance of playing at the next level.
Allow us to introduce Giancarlo Santiago! The 6'6 Class of 2011 SF recently won Little Lads MVP playing for Bucaplaa which is one of the top clubs on the island. Santiago has bulked up and improved almost every part of his game. He's got solid range, plays above the rim and is a competitor. He's got great upside and if he decides to attend prep school for a year and get accustomed to the contact and speed of the game in the states he has a real chance to play at a high mid major D1 program. He's a great kid whose GPA is over a 3.0 GPA and is fluent in English!

PR Playamkers Founder Todd Washington had this to say about Giancarlo,"I worked him out last week and I couldn't believe how much better he's gotten since last summer when we started working with him. The guys over at Bucaplaa have done a great job developing his skill package and Giancarlo has clearly been in the weight room. We've had several top prep schools interested in him since last summer. Sky's the limit for Giancarlo if he decides to spend a year at Prep School."

Remember the name, Giancarlo Santiago! He's next!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Miami Tropics and PR Playmakers To Work Together?

The Miami Tropics program has been a symbol of excellence and performance for over 10 years. They have worked with some of the biggest names in Puerto Rico basketball to include legendary coach and founder of the ABB Basketball Club Miguel Mercado and the Dallas Mavericks' JJ Barea to name a few. The founder of the Miami Tropics, Arturo "Pilin" Alvarez is widely considered to be one of the most well connected guys at all levels of the game. Alvarez is respected as a coach, mentor and basketball executive. Most importantly he has the respect and admiration of those who have played for and against him.

A well respected D1 college coach who wishes to remain anonymous said about Alvarez, "Pilin is a great mentor with a proven track record of helping student athletes. The work he has done in Puerto Rico is unmatched by any program on the island. Others have tried to imitate what he has done but no program has produced the type of talent the Miami Tropics have."

When word began to circulate in the media that Rick Pitino was considering accepting a position as Head Coach of the Puerto Rican National Team it was Alvarez who Pitino consulted with. Alvarez is a close confidant and advisor to Pitino and will be assisting him on both the selection and development of National Team prospects.


Many in grassroots basketball wondered if Washington and Alvarez would battle for players given the recent success of PR Playmakers in placing many of the top recruits into both prep school and college.

IPRB spoke tonight with PR Playmakers Founder and Senior Advisor to the President of the Puerto Rico Basketball Federation, Todd Washington about the possibility of the Miami Tropics and PR Playmakers working together. Said Washington," Pilin is a legend in the game and we have been trying to work with him and his program for quite some time. He and I had a mutual friend who recommended that we speak and see how we could work together. You have to remember that Pilin and the Miami Tropics have been doing it for years! In terms of developing an elite internationally recognized travel program nobody here has done it like the Tropics. From Barea to Diaz to Clemente, Pilin has successfully mentored many of the best players to come out of PR in the last 10 years. I spoke Pilin at length this evening and we are going to see how we can compliment each other and continue to collectively assist elite youth basketball players' develop into successful students and leaders. We are really excited about all the possibilties."

Always the forward thinker, Alvarez stated the following via text about plans to work with Washington the the Playmakers program,"It would be a pleasure to work with Todd as he's one of the most respected individuals in our basketball industry. He has helped numerous student athletes from the Caribbean. His reputation is impeccable and his kids absolutely love him. The Miami Tropics organization is looking forward to partnering with him to continue to help student athletes come to the states to achieve their goals and dreams."

In an environment where guys like Alvarez and Washington typically fight and compete for players
this potential partnership can only benefit those players who have a desire to attend school in the states and the game in general.

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:

http://www.zagsblog.com/2010/12/26/pitino-move-could-open-up-caribbean-talent-pool/

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,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il7TEx6eUTU&feature=player_embedded#!

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.

http://www.hoopsacademy.tv/Video_Highlights.html

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:

http://www.elnuevodia.com/rickpitinofirmacontratoparadirigirelequiponacional-845636.html

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!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2i9WglGoSs&feature=player_embedded

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!