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!