Friday, December 2, 2011

Class Of 2016 Sets The New Standard

Take a look at the talent in the graduating Class of 2012 and 2013. There may be a total of 5 players in the combined classes that have a real shot shot at playing on Div. 1 level. Combine the classes of 2014 and 2015 and possibly up to 10 players have a shot to play D1 ball. The class of 2016/14u has 8 players in that class alone that are being courted by top private schools and some have already received letters of interest from D1 schools. You may ask what makes this class different then the rest? The answer is simple. Almost all of these players were exposed to AAU before turning 10. Their parents recognized that they were not as good as everyone said they were and the players themselves recognized that they had to learn to play the game at a faster pace. In our post yesterday, we talked about the lack of defense on the island. Go to a game at any level and you will see that most kids have no idea how to play defense. That reality allows for players with decent offensive skills to develop habits which are exposed in a more competitive environment. For most players from Puerto Rico they rarely get a chance to play at a high level until reachingHigh School. For most, it's far to late to make changes in their style and the speed in which they play. But for those who have the opportunity to play at the AAU D1 Nationals they typically come back to the island humbled and hungry. More importantly, the parents get a chance to witness lots of players who are superior in every facet of the game. "Eating some crow" tends to change one's one appetite and that is always a good thing. The following players are on the list have a real shot to play D1 ball with a couple of them potentially being really, really special. * the list below is not a ranking. Edwin Cancel Josh Colon Nicholas Washington Robert Aviles Jhivvan Jackson Ebube Ebube Georgie Pacheco Leandro Allende

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Who Is Teaching Young Players To Play Defense?

One of the greatest challenges for players making the transition from Puerto Rico to both prep school and college seems to be their inability or unwillingness to play defense. Local coaches do a wonderful job developing fundamentals in young players but defense seems to be the "forgotten fundamental". When talking to stateside coaches the complaint we seem to hear over and over again is how far behind players from Puerto Rico are when it comes to understanding defensive principles. Puerto Rico has earned a reputation of producing undersized fiery PGs and bal pressure on the defensive end is critical to disrupting an opponents offense. Part of this is a result of how local leagues prevent some of the younger age groups from pressing full court along with almost all youthcoaches playing zone defense exclsuviely. It should also be noted that FIBA's influence is ever present thus zone defense is the preferred discipline. We are not suggesting that there is anything wrong with playing zne defense. We take the position that it is impossible to play zone if players have not been taught and understand "ball, you, man", "help and recover" and basic rotations. Players must be taught that playing defense can help them make the team, increase playing time and is the key component in winning championships. Nike has produced a series of videos which should help coaches introduce that defense is cool. Reward players who make defensive plays. Chart deflections, charges and defensive rebounds. See link below and remember, Defense Never Sleeps!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Puerto Rican Coaches Seek Stateside Opportunties

So many players and some really good coaches yet only a handful of D1 programs have Puerto Rican coaches as either Head or Assistant Coaches. Even at the high school/prep school level Puerto Rican coaches are absent. A lot of this has to do with the fact that most Athletic Directors know very little about Puerto Rico basketball and its rich history. Coaches have not done a great job marketing themselves and getting on the grassroots circuit. For years, young stateside coaches have recognized the importance of getting involved in the summer circuit. AAU and Five Star Basketball are two of the many summer based organizations which provide a fantastic platform for coaches to showcase their coaching skills and more importantly network with others in the industry. PRP Founder , Todd Washington is leading the effort to assist coaches from the Caribbean identify and secure opportunities to coach stateside. He has started, The Coaching Placement Program, "CPP". CPP will leverage relationships and assist local coaches secure opportunities to coach at the High School, Prep School, Junior College and Collegiate levels. Washington believes there is an immediate opportunity to place coaches at both prep schools and junior colleges. "We've identified a couple of programs that recognize the value of having Puerto Rican coaches on their staffs. Not only is there a ton of talent here on the island, Puerto Rico is the gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America. Puerto Rican coaches have a unqie advantage in that they can recruit in Latin and Central America. We think this is a huge opportunity and will support our effort to help more student athletes get a chance to further their education", said Washington.

Local Group Tried To Get NBA Superstars To Play In BSN Before Lockout Ended

Media reports in the last several weeks have suggested that a group of basketball powerbrokers were making a run at a BSN franchise. Although reports were never confirmed there seems to be some truth to the story. With NBA players not embracing the way the Euro/Asia teams operate and the cultural issues of being forced to live in places that seem a million miles from home, Puerto Rico was viewed as a real option. The BSN lacks star power and clearly certain parts of the island will always support their teams but the league as a whole cannot generate the type of advertising p and television revenue required to make the league profitable. Clearly a league wide merchandising deal is viable but the failure of the league to capitalize on the Jordan Brand opportunity in 2008 eliminated any possibility of a major apparel company partnering with the league. What only a handful of people knew was that the proposed tour of NBA stars slated to play in Puerto Rico in late October was not about just one game. It was part of a bigger plan, which included getting a handful of NBA players to agree to play in the BSN. Players and agents were looking for a destination to play should the NBA lockout extend past Christmas. Europe and Asia have been a mixed bag for NBA players. Agents believe that the lockout would last the entire season and that at some point players would need to start making some money. IPRB spoke with a local businessman who had been approached about participating in an ownership group that would invest a large sum of money to have 2 NBA All Stars play on a BSN Team. He a agreed to speak to IPRB provided he keep his anonymity,"I was approached a by my friend and client about participating in the tour. It was clear from the outset that the World All Star Classic was about more then just a game. It was about getting NBA guys to come to Puerto Rico and experience what the island had to offer. Had the lockout not ended we had committments from one of the top three players in the NBA and another who is in the top 10. Those two players would have sold out every arena in Puerto Rico in every game they played in. The television and advertising money which we had commitments for would have covered the costs of the players contracts and if we had a chance to secure the final piece which was getting the shoe/apparel company which currently has both players under contract to get behind the idea and support the project financially, we had a real chance to get this done." In the days leading up to the start of the tour which was to begin in Puerto Rico a number of players and their agents started to get cold feet about the viability of the tour and it in fact the lockout was going to end and a new CBA executed in advance of the game in Puerto Rico. Some have suggested that the NBA did not want to see this Tour happen, specifically, the game in Puerto Rico given word had leaked back to NBA that a plan to get players to play in the BSN was a real option. What would of and could of happened is something we can dream about as we prepare for the 2012 BSN season. If I'm a BSN owner and looking to add value to my franchise I'm going to watch very closely what happens with the age limit and the new CBA. If the minimum age is 20 and players are required to spend 2 years in college before declaring for the NBA draft the next KG, Kobe, Lebron, Dwight Howard and Brandon Jennings may see Puerto Rico as the best option to becoming a professional.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lesson #1: Don't Hate, Congratulate

One of the fundamental rules of competition is that there is always somebody out there better than you. This is part of what drives good players to be great. The recognition that the guy on the other team was better,today. He was bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, tougher and played harder. For parents, this is a tough pill to swallow as we all want our kids to best player on the field/court. Getting young players to respect and recognize the talents and hard work of their peers is critical to assisting them in their development not only as an athete but as a human being. We live in a world where people celebrate the failure of others instead of celebrating people's successes. When playing against a top team or top player, make sure you video the game and watch it. Highlight and point out specific skills and abilities that the team and/or player exhibited. Most importantly, teach young people to embrace the talents and successes of others. In short, don't hate, congratulate.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fontan Confirms Torn ACL

IPRB just got off the phone with Jio Fontan and he confirmed that he has torn his ACL. This was a big surprise to Fontan who felt before his doctor's appointment this afternoon that his injury was not as serious as when the injury first occured.

Fontan who was clearly saddened and disappointed has the following to say,"I'm down right now but I'll be alright. I'm going to work harder than ever! I had worked so hard all year to get to a point where I was playing the best ball of my life ".

The prognosis is anywhere from 6-12 months. Fontan plans to apply for a medical redshirt for this year. He had already applied for an additional year from his time at Fordham in 2009 when he played only five games before transferring from Fordham and sitting out the Spring/Fall Semesters in 2010.

Fontan's mentor and the person responsible for bringing him to Puerto Rico to play for the 19U National Team, Todd Washington said, "Everyone has a different path in life. Jio is a warrior and if anyone can come back from this in an even better space, it is "G". I've been on the phone with him a couple of times today and he is down but not out. He is going to get a second opinion and then he and his family will sit down and decide the best course of action. While nothing is good about tearing an ACL, he has to feel good about going down to Brazil and dominating. He was averaging close to 30 PPG and putting on a show every night He'll be back better than ever!"

Fontan had averaged over 28 PPG while playing against some of the top professional teams in Brazil.

Jio Fontan Injury Is Not As Bad As Reported

USC point guard Jio Fontan was having a fantastic trip in Brazil. Fontan was averaging close to 30 PPG and showing the Brazilians why many feel that he has a chance to not only play professional ball but could possible be a late second round draft pick. Fontan injured his knee yesterday and some had reported that his injury was career threatening.

IPRB spoke directly to Fontan by phone this afternoon and confirmed that he has yet to get an official diagnosis from a doctor but by his own account it is not as bad as first reported.

"Coach flew me back to LA yesterday and I am on my way to get an MRI done this afternoon. It feels a lot better then it did when I injured it and I am able to put some pressure on it and stand on one leg so it is not as bad as we first thought", said Fontan by telephone.

Fontan played in 2009 for the Puerto Rico 19U National Team with his best friend Michael Rosario. That team finished 6th in the world and Jio led the world in assists while Michael Rosario led the world in scoring.

Giancarlo Santiago And The Good Ole Boys in Mississippi

Giancarlo Santiago is 6'6 and 230 lbs. He went from being a player many felt had not chance to play college ball to being someone high major programs are watching very closely. In less than a year, Santiago put on about 20 pounds of muscle and developed his entire game including a long range jumper which is as pure as ice water out to about 22 feet.

Santiago arrived in Mississippi last night to start his Freshman year at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College "MGCCC". MGCCC seems to be a place where Puerto Ricans are having some success. It started with Raymond Cintron two years ago and last year, Angel "The Little Monster" Matias enrolled at MGCCC. Matias lost weight, focused on his academics and got himself in shape. He and Santiago will create a formidable combination of size and scoring ability.

IPRB caught up with Giancarlo via text this afternoon. He was chillin' in his dorm, getting used to being the deep deep south! It is not easy going from Puerto Rico to Mississippi but when you have a dream you'll go anywhere to see that dream come true.

IPRB: Puerto Rico is in Mississippi! So how is it down there?

GS: Yeah! It's quiet now since school doesn't start until Friday. I'm happy to be here and excited.

IPRB: Raymond Cintron set the bar in terms of performance as he was a Junior College All American. Are you ready to fill his shoes?

GS: I'm here to do my job and play hard.

IPRB: Who are you rooming with?

GS: Angel Matias. He is not here yet, he is chillin at a friends' house until school starts.

IPRB: Why did you select MGCCC?

GS: They have a great coach, great facilities and other players from Puerto Rico have been successful here.

IPRB: A year ago many people thought you were not good enough to play Division 3. Clearly you have improved a tremendous amount but are you good enough to play Mid-Major D1?

GS: I can play High Major, Mid Major it doesn't matter to me. I'll play anyone, anytime.

IPRB: You played for Team Barea at the Global Challenge. What did you learn and what advice would you give young players?

GS:I learned a lot. I learned how important it is to practice and train everyday. I would tell young players to stop playing in all the leagues and start training more.

IPRB: You are one of the players we will be watching this year. We wish you the best!

GS: Thanks!

Barea In Hospital

IPRB learned this evening that NBA Champion, JJ Barea was admitted into a Puerto Rico hospital yesterday. Out of respect for his privacy and security, IPRB is not releasing the name of the hospital. It seems that Barea may have gotten a stomach virus. This is not a life threatening illness. We will share more info as it becomes available.

Rodriguez A No Show/Collazo Doesn't Get Scholarship

Selwyn Rodriguez decided at the last minute not to travel to visit Montrose Christian, IPRB learned yesterday. The class of 2012 PG and his family decided at the last minute that he may do better playing in a less competitive program with less pressure to perform. Word is he may decide to attend Patterson, NJ public school, Eastside High. Eastside is coached by Juan Griles.

IPRB reported that recent Adianez graduate was about to travel to Southern Idaho. Collazo did not live up to expectations and the coaching staff decided not to offer him a scholarship.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Selwyn Rodriguez To Visit Montrose Christian

Class of 2013 PG, Selwyn Rodriguez will be visiting Montrose Christian on Sunday and Monday. After showing up in a major way at both the JJ Barea Super 60 and FIBA 17U Caribbean Championship several programs have expressed an interest in him.

Carmelo Betancourt attended Montrose last year and opened the door for other players from Puerto Rico to also attend Montrose. Montrose won the National Championship last year and is loaded for the upcoming season. Rodriguez will have an opportunity to meet with the coaches, take the entrance exam, practice and allow both he and the coaches to be sure that this is the right.

Coach Stu Vetter who is widely considered to be one of the best high school coaches in America and Montrose Christian is one of only three high school programs sponsored by Jordan Brand. They are the only program high school program to also have its own television show on Fox Sports.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Source Confirms That Ledo Will Not Play This Year

A source close to the Ledo situation confirmed this evening that he has opted to not play for Puerto Rico this year. While this is not a good news for this years' National Team, the source also confirmed that is is highly probable that Ledo would play next year, if in fact, the Federation extended an offer for Ledo to tryout next year.

Ledo and his family have been weighing the option of having him represent Puerto Rico versus the USA since they left Puerto Rico. Ledo, his aunt and his mentor, Todd Quarles spent several days in Puerto Rico last month. Ledo had a chance to reconnect with family and practice with the team while he was here. He and Quarles also spent time with PR Playmakers Founder, Todd Washington

IPRB contacted Todd Washington, who was responsible for introducing Ledo to the Federation. Washington stated,"Ricky and his family are planning to call Jaime Lamboy to discuss their decision. Out of respect for their privacy I am not willing to comment at this time.

When asked when the call to the Federation would take place Washington responded by saying,"As soon as today".

Source Confirms That Ledo Is Still Not Sure Yet

Ricardo Ledo is still in the process of determining if he will play for the USA or Puerto Rico, a source told IPRB today. The source who requested anonymity, confirmed that Ledo, his mentor, Todd Quarles, Ledo's father and aunt are involved in the decision which could be made as soon as Friday.
When contacted by IPRB, Todd Washington said the following,"Ricky, his family and Todd Quarles are taking this decision very seriously. Jaime Lamboy and Tuto did a wonderful job hosting Todd and the Ledo family while they were here. Lets see what's happens."

Team Barea Goes 0-3 At Global Challenge

After beating the team that has won the Sub 22 Puerto Rico Championship the last three years, Team Barea travelled to Portland to participate in the Nike Global Challenge. The Top 30 High School players in the country, along with teams from Germany, Chinese Taipei, Canada and Puerto Rico participated in this years' event. Team Barea failed to win a game and had several chemistry issues even though they had verteran international players including, Carmelo Betancourt, Rasham Suarez and Wil Martinez Corea.

The disconnect between players born on the island and those whose are of Puerto Rican descent seemed to really create a chemistry issue. Many local born players and coaches seem to have an issue with players and coaches who are of Puerto Rican descent but were not born on the island.

PR Playmakers Founder, Todd Washington who arranged for Team Barea to participate in the event and acted as an Advisor to the Team had the following to say about the teams performance both on and off the court. "It was a wonderful experience for our players and coaches. Our coaches did a great job preparing our players. Rolondo, Xavier and Christian did a wonderful job. Our players simply didn't perform. No excuses, the guys that we needed to show up went MIA. Some of these players are not quite sure if they want to be Daddy Yankee or JJ Barea. Both guys are superstars but you cannot be both. Either you are an entertainer or a basketball player. Some of the guys who went out there were more concerned about what shoes they were getting from Nike and what the uniforms looked like than they were focused on playing basketball. All the mohawks, shaving eyebrows and hair gel is totally played out! None of the other teams were focused on that and even tough almost all of the Canadian players are from other countries in the Caribbean they stay together and played together."

Team Barea lost to USA West, Germany and Chinese Taipea. Wil Martinez Corea was selected to the International All Tournament Team. The team selected one player from each team, with Canada having two players selected.

Badillo to St Johns and Collazo Visits CSI

17U National Team SF/PF Abdiel Badillo has been accepted and will attend St Johns for his senior year. St Johns is a Washington, DC private schools which plays in one of the top conferences in the USA.

Former Adianez PG Onix Collazo is on an official visit at the College of Southern Idado "CSI". CSI is the defending NJCAA Division 1 Champions. More info on Collazo's visit later today.

"We are excited about continuing to help student athletes in Puerto Rico secure opportunities to further their education. Abdiel is a great player and even better student. He will do well at St Johns and open the door for more student athletes to attend private schools in the USA, said Todd Washington, Founder of PRP ELITE.

Grassroots Basketball and Helping Players

The grassroots game has always been a little slippery. AAU Programs competing for players and saying about anything to try and convince a player to run with them for the summer. Coaches and Program Directors constantly spread rumors and lies in an effort to discredit the competition. Programs are being run by agents and professional team personnel, yet they profess to have a real interest in seeing players attend the best schools. All of this in an effort to help a player get a free education! Atleast this is what most of the travel team programs suggest their motivation is yet for some reason none of the top programs will have anything to do with the other.

For the last decade, Miami Tropics and Pump and Run have dominated the grassroots scene. Two well respected programs, with well connected leadership, have placed well over 150 student athletes in high schools and colleges. Their success and refusal to partner with others in the game, has resulted in just about anyone believing that they can run a successful travel team.

PRP Founder, Todd Washington shared his thoughts on why helping players has gotten so competitive.
"We started our program 5 years ago focusing on developing and nurturing 8 and 9 year olds Our approach is different, We don't see Pilin and Jorge as competition. We will be successful no matter how successful Pump and Run and Miami Tropics are. We tell players and parents all the time, that if they prefer to play for either of those clubs, they should do so. And, if for any reason, they decide to play for those guys and they need our help we will be there to help them. We have no interest in controlling players or saying anything negative about any programs. We don't have to play that game that way in order to win. We are going to win regardless, so trashing other people is not part of what we do. I wish I could say the same for some of the guys out here running programs but that's the game in Puerto Rico. Program Heads and their coaches try to trash the competition instead of letting their record and performance speak for itself."

If it is really about helping players some would ask why more programs don't work together and focus solely on getting as many student athletes scholarships as possible.
The guys who last in this game perform, year in and year out. There are no shortcuts to success in the grassroots game, only hard work and discipline will ensure success.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Onix Collazo to CSI

IPRB confirmed this morning that the College of Southern Idaho will offer a full scholarship to Onix Collazo. Collazo is a 6'3 pure point guard with tremendous upside who graduated from Adianez after spending a year at Florida Air Academy. PR Playmakers Founder, Todd Washington was introduced to Collazo by a mutual friend who asked if Washington could help Collazo find a school.

"Onix is a good kid. Anytime a young man like that wants to further his education and go to college, we will do whatever we can to help make that a reality, said Washington.

CSI is the NCJAA Division 1 defending National Champions. They have placed close to 200 players at D1 programs.

Ledo Is Loving Puerto Rico

Ricky Ledo has spent less than 24 hours in Puerto Rico but he already feels like he did as a young kid when he used to come here during the summer. "I used to come to Puerto Rico like every summer. So being here kind of reminds me of that time. I used to come here every year until I was 13 years old. Then I started playing AAU basketball so I didn't have time to come. I'm excited to be back, I'm loving it!" Ledo said.

Ledo and his mentor/AAU Coach Todd Quarles arrived yesterday and after checking into the hotel, getting a quick bite to eat, the two of them arrived to National Team practice with Federation Executive, Jaime Lamboy. Lamboy is leading the Federations effort to get Ledo to play for Puerto Rico. Once Ledo arrived at practice, he put on some practice gear and after meeting with coaches and other staff, he played a couple of games of three on three and then got some shots up. Ledo's aunt and uncle who are here on vacation were also able to attend practice.

Ledo said,"I had great time at practice. The ball is kind of different. I had trouble getting a feel for the ball. I'm ready to come out tomorrow and do my best. The guys on the team are really good guys and I want to show that I can play at this level."

Ledo's issue with the ball reminded PR Playmakers Founder, Todd Washington of the situation with Mike Rosario, when he came to Puerto Rico in 2009. "When I brought Mike down to play for the 19U Team in 2009, he didn't make a shot for the first three days. Some of the coaching staff and his teammates starting whispering that maybe he wasn't as good as advertised. He probably shot 10 airballs in those first couple of days. After the third day of practice, we got him a ball and told him to keep it with him everywhere he went. He slept with ball like he was a little kid and by the end of the week he was killing everybody. So I told Ricky at dinner tonight that we are going to get him a ball so he can get accustomed to the weight and feel."

Rosario went on later that summmer to lead the world in scoring as Puerto Rico finished 6th the 2009 FIBA World Championship. Washington told IPRB that he is getting Rosario and Ledo on the phone, so that Rosario can share his experience in Puerto Rico with Ledo and help him in his decision.

Washington thinks there is a real chance at him playing for Puerto Rico provided he can make the team. "When Todd Quarles and I began discussing the idea of Ricky playing for Puerto Rico, I made it clear that this is no cake walk. There are a lot of really good players trying out. I told Ricky to enjoy the trip, spend time reconnecting with his family here on the island and give it his best. That is all you can ask a young man his age to do. Give it his best. I think there is a relly good chance that he will decide to play for Puerto Rico. We are doing everything we can to help him make the right decision for he and his family."

Ledo went to The Palm in the El San Juan Hotel for dessert. He ordered a big piece of chocalate cake, ice cream and a glass of milk. As he looked at all of the pictures of famous people on the walls you could sense that Ledo felt his picture would also be up there sometime in the near future.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ricky Ledo Arrives

IPRB has learned that Ricky Ledo and his mentor/AAU Coach, Todd Quarles arrived in San Juan, PR about an hour ago. Ledo is widely considered to be one of the best players in the Class of 2012. At 6'6, he has the size and athletic ability to play in the NBA. Ledo's father is from Puerto Rico and has family including his grandmother who live on the island. Ledo, Todd Quarles and Ledo's aunt who is on vacation in Puerto Rico will be meeting with the Federation executives and hopefully getting on the court to practice with the National Team. Jaime Lamboy has been leading the effort on behalf of the Federation in getting Ledo on the island.

We will have an in depth interview with Ledo tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Canada's National Team Will Benefit From AAU Basketball and Programs Like CIA BOUNCE

Five years ago nobody took Canada seriously when you talked about basketball. Even after Steve Nash won two NBA MVPs, most people in the sport did not predict what was about to happen. In the 2011 NBA draft two 19 year olds from Canada were selected in the first round, with one of them being picked 4th overall. Tristan Thompson and Corey Joseph are products of the circuit They played on the elite travel team, Grassroots Canada/Team Takeover, attending powerhouse, Findlay Prep and then playing at the University of Texas for one year before opting to enter then NBA draft. These two guy are perfect examples of why many in the International Basketball think that Canada has figured things out as it relates to developing players.

IPRB spoke to an NBA Scout whose job it is to identify foreign players and he said," Canada has figured it out, they have developed and are in the process of developing 20-30 guys who have a real chance at playing in the NBA. One of the main reason that we are seeing the such an increase in talent out of Canada is what CIA Bounce and Ro Russel's program has done in terms of teaching players about the culture of the game. The experience these Canadian players had playing on travel teams and being a part of the circuit was so important. Then on top of that the Federation has really done a great job of cooperating with the travel teams to ensure that players are given a chance to experience both situations. Playing for your country always comes first!"

See the Zagsblog article on Canadian Powerhouse, CIA Bounce!

Friday, July 22, 2011

#2 SG In Class of 2012 Considers Representing Puerto Rico

See Zagsblog article below,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Prestigious Washington, DC Prep School Interested In Puerto Rican Student Athletes

St Johns College High School in Washington, DC is widely considered to be an elite private school. With a long list of prestigious alumni including Under Armour Founder and CEO, kevin Plank, St. Johns is not your run of the mill high school. We wrote earlier this year about rising 12th grader Abidel Badillo's interest in attending an elite private school and the possibility of St Johns being his first option. IPRB confirmed today Badillo is finalizing paperwork to attend St Johns in the late August. St Johns assistant coach, Coach Murphy is coming to puerto Rico in early August to spend time with Badillo and his family.

"We are also trying to place Bryan Rodriguez or Jadiel Ozuna at St Johns as well. St Johns may also have an additional spot available and we are going to try and get either Bryan or Jadiel admitted. Both of them are great players and even better students. St Johns has rigorous academic requirements and the admissions process is more difficult than most. St Johns plays in one of the top high school leagues in the country and more importantly the coaching staff does a great job of preparing them for the next level, said PR Playmakers Founder, Todd Washington.

Badillo played in this years' Jordan Classic International Game and already getting interest from several High Major Division 1 programs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Team Barea Enters Grassroots Game

IPRB has confirmed that JJ Barea and his childhood friend have started an Travel Team Program, TEAM BAREA. Sources close to the team have confirmed that Christian Santaella is the President of the program which enters the grassroots game this summer by fielding a team at the prestigious Nike Global Challenge. Santaella spent last year with the front office at the Washington Wizards while completing his graduate degree at Georgetown.

His first move was getting former NBA Champ and Puerto Rican legend, Butch Lee to join the coaching staff as Associate Head Coach of the 19U Team after getting Rolando Hourrutiner to accept the Head Coach position.

Team Barea will field a 16U and 17U team next summer. More info to come on this move and how it impacts other travel team programs including Pump and Run, Bucaplaa and Miami Tropics.

JJ Barea Super 60 Exceeds Expectations

Hats off to JJ Barea and the guys at Team Barea for bringing a world class event to Puerto Rico! 60 of the best players ages 13-18 spent 4 days in Salinas, competing and learning from a group of great coaches. Log on to for a three part series on the Academy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bertancourt Gives Verbal Commitment To University of Akron

Class of 2011 PG, Carmelo Betancourt decided to verbally commit to the University of Akron last night. Betancourt will spend a year at prep school and enroll at Akron in 2012. Betancourt will follow former BMA/CJEOTO point guard, Alex Abreu who started at PG for Akron as a Freshman.

Betancourt spent his senior year at powerhouse Montrose Christian in Rockville, Maryland. The 5'11 guard is widely considered to be one of the top 5 players in the Puerto Rico in the Class of 2011. Betancourt had been getting interest from several high majors including Georgetown, UCLA, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.

"I went on a visit to Akron and I really liked it. Everything out there was like brand new. The school is great, the facilities are awesome and Coach Dambrot and his staff recruited me really hard. My teammates were really cool and we got a lot of talent on that team too. They only have one PG on the team and Alex (Abreu) is going to be like my big brother. At first, I didn't think going out there made sense because Alex was out there and I didn't want to compete with another player from home but it is not like that. We are going to push each other and he will be a Junior when I am a Freshman. Coach Dambrot made it clear that he would put the ball in my hands and give me a chance as a Freshman to get a lot time on the floor," said Betancourt.

Betancourt's decision to attend a mid major is similar to what JJ Barea did several years ago by attending Northeastern. Betancourt's size and game are very similar to JJ and clearly JJ's success this year motivated Carmelo to follow the same path and attend a mid major.

"There is no question that I could have chosen to go to a bigger school in one of the top conferences. That is something every player wants to do at the same time Akron plays in a great conference with really good teams. We made it to the tournament this year too," said Betancourt.

The decision to go to a mid major versus a high major is a tough decision for a lot of players. Many times players get caught up in the hype and trying to impress their friends and family by selecting the most well known school versus the school that best fits their skill level and style of play. Betancourt's performance coach, Todd Washington thinks Betancout made the right decision by selecting Akron.

"Melo has high major talent. There were several high major programs interested in him as a back up PG. And, with the additional year of Prep School he would have gotten several high major offers. The JJ Barea model makes a lot of sense. Go to a smaller school, kill the league and make a name for yourself. This is exactly what Alex Abreu did. Alex had both Utah and Nebraska ready to offer but was smart enough to recognize that Akron is a program on the rise which he could help take to the level. This extra year of prep school will prepare Melo to come and and make a serious contribution. Akron is getting a fantastic player and even better person. He and "Double A" (Alex Abreu) are going to push each other both on and off the floor. Alex had an incredible season and he is probably as excited as anyone that Melo is going to come up there. Aron is a program on the rise and we want to develop a pipeline from Puerto Rico to Akron. Coach D and his staff did a great job with Alex this year and we are all confident that Melo will have the same level of success. " said Washington.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Francisco Lopez Confirms Visit to CSI

Francisco Lopez will take an official visit The College of Southern Idaho this week. Lopez recently graduated from LaSalle High School in Miami and is a qualfier but has not gotten the level of offers a player of his calibur should have received.

"Fransisco is a legit D1 prospect. He is a natural leader, has range out to 22 feet on his jump shot and can get where he wants on the court. Coach Gosar and CSI will get one heck of a player if both sides decide that this is the right situation for him, said Todd Washington, Founder of PR Playmakers.

College of Southern Idaho is the defending NJCAA Division 1 Champion. Considered the "Duke of JUCO", every Division 1 program in the country recruits players from CSI.

JJ Barea Super 60

It's official, JJ Barea announced the camp yesterday and posted a short video confirming his intent to get 60 of the best rising 8th-12th graders together for a three day academy, July 7-10, 2011 at the Olympic Training Facility in Salinas, Puerto Rico. The event is presented by T-MOBILE and will be covered exclusively by

Below is the link announcing the event including a video of JJ Barea.

Friday, June 10, 2011

College of Southern Idaho Interested In Francisco Lopez

College of Southern Idaho "CSI",is known as the "Duke of Juc". It is widely considered to be the top Junior College program in the country. The won the Division 1 NJCAA Championship last year. Every college in the country recruit from there and they need a PG. If there is one thing Puerto Rico produces it is great point guards. Francisco "Kiko" Lopez is now officially on the CSI radar after Carmelo Betacourt decided to go to prep school instead of accepting an offer to sign with CSI. Lopez just graduated from LaSalle in Miami and would only need to spend one year at CSI since he is a NCAA qualifier. Like so many players from Puerto Rico, Lopez did not get the type of exposure required to interest schools to offer him a scholarship. IPRB confirmed last night that Coach Gosar and Lopez spoke by phone. Lopez could take a visit as soon as next week.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Federacion Plays It Safe and Smart By Selecting Flor Melendez

It was the safe and smart thing to do. By selecting Flor Melendez the Federacion got a proven local coach with "international experience". After the Pitino resignation which was due to "scheduling conflicts" this was the right move for the Federacion for many reasons. To start, Melendez is a well respected coach who has been around the block and knows the competition as well as anyone. Second, there is always the feeling that a foreign coach will not be accepted by many in the local basketball community so selecting a local coach eliminates the "you should have selected a Puerto Rican Coach". Third and probably most importantly, if the Federacion can also get other local legendary coaches to join the team then it goes from be a safe and smart move to a legendary move!

Friday, June 3, 2011

JJ Barea Super 60 Update

IPRB learned earlier today that JJ Barea and his father Jaime Barea are planning to announce the 1st Annual JJ Barea Super 60 which will be held at Albergue Olimpico July 7th-10th and will showcase the Top 60 rising 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders from across island. This event will be by invitation only. The event which will be presented by T-Mobile and co-branded and covered digitally on Many of the top club and high school coaches will be present working the camp. Sources close to the event told IPRB that the official announcement could come as soon as Monday.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Betancourt Would Be Interested In Texas A&M

Carmelo Betancourt graduates from Montrose Christian this week and has yet to decide where he will go to school in the fall. The 5'11 PG, who many think is the next JJ Barea, has several high major schools wanting to offer him for 2012 and more than a dozen mid major schools offering this year. Betancourt has never been in a rush to make decisions and is taking his time before making such an important decision.

Several schools including Georgetown, UCLA, Villanova, Miami and Akron are on Betancourt's list but he has yet to indicate what he plans to do in the fall. Some of those schools do not have any scholarships left so Betancourt was considering attending Prep School for a year. Betancourt has recently qualified with the NCAA Clearinghouse which will allow him to sign and not have to attend Junior College. Defending Junior College National Champion, College of Southern Idaho had offered Betancourt.

Former Memphis Assistant Coach, Glynn Cyprien, accepted a job as an Assistant Coach at Texas A&M yesterday. His first order of business will be to find a PG given the need to bring in a player who can run new Head Coach, Bill Kennedy's system. Cyprien and PR Playmakers Founder, Todd Washington are close friends. Washington reached out to Cyprien suggesting that Cyprien take a close look at Betancourt.

IPRB contacted Washington late this evening.
"I'm happy for Glynn and his family. When I called to congratulate him on the announcement I mentioned to him that I've got a fantastic PG named Carmelo Betancourt who has yet to sign. Cyp had seen incoming West Virginia commit, Gary Browne at Arlington Country Day School who is Carmelo's teammate on the PR National Team. I reminded Coach Cyp that Gary never started at the PG position on the National Team because Carmelo has been holding it down since they were 14. Carmelo is a special kind of player and people have over looked him because he is undersized. With the success VCU's PG, Joey Rodriguez and Dallas Mavericks' PG, JJ Barea, coaches recognizes that being undersized can have its advantages. If Coach Cyp and A&M can get him to commit that would be a major coup. They just don't make them like Carmelo, he's special", said Washington via text this evening.

When contacted by IPRB, Betancourt confirmed his interest in A&M."I don't a lot about Texas A&M except that it is a great school. Coach Cyp put together a great group of players at Memphis and they had success over there. If they are looking for a PG and need someone to come in a run the team, I'm def that guy."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Robert "Tractor" Traylor Found Dead In His Apartment

Robert "tractor" Traylor was found dead in his apartment in Isla Verde, PR. Traylor was playing professional basketball in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. There are a lot of rumors about how we died and out of respect for him and his family IPRB wants to be 100% accurate about the cause of death. We will post more information as soon as it is confirmed and we are certain it is accurate.

Traylor was one of the nicest guys I've ever met, a gentle giant! Our condolences go out to his family, most especially his children. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Monday, May 9, 2011

JJ Barea Is A Killer and The Pick and Roll Is His Weapon Of Choice

Former Miami Tropics and current Puerto Rican National Team PG, JJ Barea has catapulted from a little know back up for the Dallas Mavericks to arguably the hottest PG in the NBA! We are so happy for him! There is not a more humble and deserving person! Being the student of the game that he is he witnessed Chris Paul create all type of match up issues for the Lakers by running the pick and roll to perfection. Barea saw that and with the prolific shooters the Mavs have it was a wrap for the Lakers in 4! Great players learn from others and then take it to the next level. The pick and roll is arguable the most important exchange between two offensive players. Most coaches don't coach it and most players don't have a clue how to defend it. Those of us who used to watch Karl Malone and John Stockon run the pick and roll back in the late 80 and early 90s wonder how many championship Utah would have won if neither Magic or MJ were in the league.

Put Barea with Amare and Melo in New York with the style of play Mike Diantoni runs and Barea could be an All Star! I doubt if Cuban ever allows that to happen but clearly somebody is gonna have to pay JJ a lot of money for his services!

*We received a note from a reader who reminded us how much trouble the Puerto Rico National Team had defending the pick and roll last summer.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Puerto Rico Recruits Watch To See Who Maryland Selects As New Head Coach

With several top Puerto Rico recruits expected to attend high school in the Washington, DC area many of them are watching closely to see who is announced as the next Head Basketball Coach. Arizona's coach, Sean Miller and Jamie Dixon from Pitt have both decided to stay put.

IPRB has learned that VCU coach, Shaka Smart would serious consider the position if it were offered to him. A source close to Smart told IPRB, " Shaka would have to seriously consider this. He is an incredibly loyal guy and VCU showed him a lot of love with the contract extension but this is Maryland. There is no area in the world that has more talent than in the DC/Baltimore area. People closest to him are telling him that he must take a serious look."

PR Playmakers Founder, Todd Washington who is from Washington, DC and has strong relationships in the local DMV grassroots basketball scene said," Maryland is one of the top jobs in the country. When you talk about the DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia) you are talking about the best high school basketball and AAU teams in the country. They play in arguably the second best conference in the college basketball and their facilities are top notch. It would be great if they could get Shaka Smart. Maryland would really benefit from hiring a young African American coach. The perception among many in the area is that Maryland is completely out of touch in terms of recruiting."

While Smart is not currently on the list other names mentioned are Brad Stevens (Butler) and Mike Brey (Notre Dame).

Friday, May 6, 2011

UCF Interested In Carmelo Betancourt

IPRB learned earlier today that University of Central Florida may make an offer to Carmelo Betancourt. Betancourt played this year at powerhouse program Montrose Christian. He recently got an offer from Akron and College of Southern Idaho. Questions remain about Betancourts size and speed but many feel he is a steal for a high major program including Montrose Christian's Head Coach, Stu Vetter.

Vetter told IPRB that Betacourt reminded him a lot of Cameron Dollar, who also played for Coach Vetter in the mid 90s and went on the win a National Championship at UCLA. Vetter commented, "Carmelo is everything you want in a point guard and leader. He could come in as a back up and give your starter a rest much like Cameron Dollar had planned to do at UCLA. Remember Tyus Edney from UCLA got hurt and Cameron came and led the team to a National Championship. Carmelo has those same skills and they are almost identical in terms of size."

Betancourt knows he has the talent and skill level to play at the next level and is just waiting for the right situation. UCF may be the perfect fit for Betancourt.

Dave Telep's Article On The NCAA's Ruling Against On Campus Events

Please see the article written by ESPN's Dave Telep
By Dave Telep, ESPN Recruiting
Just shooting 3s...
1. On campus venues a thing of the past

Recently, the NCAA threw a curveball to camp and tournament directors across the country. The NCAA has a particular interest in changing the face of AAU and traveling team basketball and the latest rule is couched under the premise of reducing recruiting advantages for college programs.

Non-scholastic events -- AAU tournaments and camps -- are no longer allowed to be conducted on college campuses. That means events like the Memorial Day weekend Tournament of Champions in North Carolina, has to find alternate gyms and doesn't have much time to do it. Basically, any event that doesn't have high schools teams during the season, cannot be played on a college campus. The NCAA Legislative Council did this in order to reduce recruiting advantages by host schools. In the case of the TOC, North Carolina, Duke and NC State played host to games. We're hearing the TOC will go on, but it'll be spread out over a smattering of high school gyms and non-college basketball facilities.

The caveat to the rule is camps or events with pre-existing contracts with venues will be allowed to continue. That's why you'll see the NBAPA Top 100 Camp continue on Virginia's campus. It's why the LeBron Skills Academy may be at Cleveland State again this year and so on.

My take: college arenas are great venues. We have a finite amount of gyms across the country of this nature. While I understand the concern for the recruiting advantage, I'd like to see college gyms remain open for use for these events. It's really another way for the NCAA to put the squeeze on AAU basketball. You'll notice the new legislation doesn't bar high school teams from playing in college venues, only non-scholastic (Yes, they mean AAU) teams from participating. This is a shot across the bow aimed at the spring and summer grassroots system.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Washington Denies Being Involved In Coaching Search With Federations

By Felipe Perez

Several blogs and mainstream media outlets have been linking Puerto Rico Playmakers Founder and basketball power broker Todd Washington to Coach Calipari's hiring in the Dominican Republic. It has also been reported that Washington was assisting the Puerto Rico Federation in its hiring process. Washington vehemently, denied those reports when contacted by IPRB via text today.

Washington said,""I am not involved in either situation and want the record to be clear. I've worked with both Federations in the past but have nothing to do with either the hiring of Coach Cal in the DR or the new coaching search in Puerto Rico."

It's was reported last week in several blogs that Washington had introduced former, Wake Forest and South Carolina Head Coach Dave Odom, to Federation President, Carlos Beltran and had arranged through Coach Odom for Beltran to speak to both Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim and Team USA and Duke University Head Coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Both coaches allegedly called Beltran in support of hiring Odom as Head Coach of the National Team.

Washington further commented by saying,"Sure I know who Coach Odom is but I do not represent him or the Federation. I don't have a clue what they are doing in terms of finding a head coach. It's really none of my business and I am not involved whatsoever."

Washington's quote is completely inconsistent with information provided to IPRB last week in which Washington supposedly picked Odom as the candidate he decided to lobby to get Carlos Beltran to consider. Other candidates Washington considered recommending included, Former New York Knick and ESPN Commentator, Mark Jackson, Portland Trailblazers' Head Coach, Nate McMillan and former Princeton Head Coach, Pete Carril who is now an Assistant with the Sacramento Kings.

Rumors are circulating that Coach Odom is on island interviewing for the job tomorrow. We will continue to investigate this story and provide updates as new and relevant information becomes available.

Coach Cal To Coach Dominican National Team

IPRB was the first to announce that the Dominican Federation was interested in Coach Cal. The national media soon picked up the story and now it is official. Coach Cal is now officially the Coach of the Dominican National Team.

It's going to be interesting to see what move Puerto Rico makes in respect to their Head Coach.
With Federations making moves across the region including, Jamaica possibly naming former Georgetown Hoya and New Knicks Center Patrick Ewing as their Heach Coach, Puerto Rico's is officially on the clock.

Dominican Federation and Coach Cal Could Announce This Week

IPRB confirmed earlier today from reliable sources that Coach Cal and the Dominican Federation are close to getting a deal done. Three of the the four NBA players who are of Dominican descent including Al Horford, Francisco Garcia and Charlie Villanueva have all agreed to play for the Dominican Team with Trevor Ariza considering joining the team.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

St Johns Preparatory School (Washington, DC) Offers Scholarship To Abdiel Badillo

Fresh off a solid performance at the 2011 Jordan Brand Classic, Class of 2012 SF, Abdiel Badillo has been getting a lot of interest from some of the top Prep Schools on the mainland. It looked like Badillo was in route to Montverde Prep in Orlando when Head Coach, Kevin Sutton resigned. Then there was talk that he would be looking at Oak Hill or Montrose Christian. IPRB learned tonight that St Johns Preparatory School, an elite school in the WMAC League was offering Badillo an opportunity to attend school there in the fall.

St Johns has produced hundreds of D1 players and plays in one of the top leagues in the country along with powerhouse programs, Dematha, Gonzaga, Bishop O'Connell and Archbishop Carroll. Abdiel's performance Coach and Founder of PR Playmakers Todd Washington confirmed St Johns interest by saying," St Johns is an elite academic and athletic institution. The coaching staff led Coach D does a great job turning boys into men. On top of that Abdiel will get a chance to play in one of the top high school basketball conferences in the country. We are excited about placing another player in an elite DC private school."

Badillo would follow Class of 2011 PG, Carmelo Betancourt who spent this year running the point at powerhouse Montrose Christian. Badillo is a 4.0 student which makes it an easy sell to schools even though he is going to be a senior.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

PR Playmakers Goes Against The Grain

The PR Playmakers program has worked with some of the best prospects in Puerto Rico over the last several years. With the Federations' announcement that they are starting a new youth development program at the end of the summer this could be the last year that club teams have access to the best prospects. Couple that with the fact that kids are playing year round without really seeing much improvement in their development suggests that it may be time for both parents and players to look at other alternatives.

"We have decided to refocus our attention on development both in and out of the classroom. Kids are already playing way to much basketball and we are contributing and participating in a flawed system. 2010 was an incredibly successful year for us and we want to capitalize on that. We secured scholarships for 4 student athletes who never played a game for us. We were able to help them individually without requiring that they play for us. We think our greatest work can be done on a one on one basis with a focus on skill development, increasing basketball IQ, test taking techniques, academic enrichment/support and placement at elite Nike sponsored high schools and colleges. There are plenty of teams players can play on but there are not any programs that are focused on the holistic approach to developing student athletes. Some of the best prospects are barely qualifying with the NCAA Clearing House and there is a long history of really good players who we unable to go to college in the states because they cannot meet the minimum requirements academically to qualify. We have spent a lot of time exploring how we can make more of an impact and this is clearly the way forward", said Todd Washington, Founder of PR Playmakers.

Washington confirmed that they have entered into discussions with some local coaches and clubs about developing a partnership but at this point he is focused on the new program offering and a series of events. Washington was the first to bring the "Combine" concept to the Federation in 2009 and has successfully operated two Middle School Combines.

"We are working on two major events for this summer and will also be focused on some digital media opportunities which are part of our plan moving forward. We are very committed to helping develop student athletes and are confident that our new strategy will allow us to reach more kids here in the Puerto Rico in the rest of the region."

Part of Washington's plan is expanding into other markets including the USVI, Leeward/Windward, Jamaica, Guadeloupe and Martinque. The talent pool in those markets is exceedingly strong and completely untapped but Washington stressed that PRP is not going anywhere.

"Like all successful entities expansion and growth are part the required evolution. Puerto Rico is my home, my daughter was born here and the kids we have been working with will be given a chance to participate in and benefit from what we are about to do," said Washington.

We Must Keep Being A Positive Influence

Often times you reach the crossroad and are forced to make decisions that may negatively impact people. IPRB has spent the better part of a year and a half promoting basketball in Puerto Rico with a specific focus on helping to introduce student athletes to both high school and college coaches. Our stories have been accurate, truthful and most importantly positive.

When we started IPRB our mission was to ensure there was a place where coaches could go to learn about potential recruits. The thing about helping people is that sometimes your intent is misunderstood. Regardless of the threats that people have sent us we cannot and will not lower ourselves to that level. This is basketball and it is suppose to be fun!

We published a blog out last night that informed people that at 9am this morning we were going to break a story that would shake up the basketball community in Puerto Rico. After speaking to people who we respect immensely, we have decided that it is not our place to get involved in the part of the game. Our greatest impact is made by continuing to promote positive images and stories of elite youth prospects in Puerto Rico.

Some of the biggest media outlets have published stories we broke first. So while others try to copy what we are doing, the real professionals recognize the work we have done and the accuracy of what we publish. This is what it is all about!

Friday, April 29, 2011

IPRB Welcomes Felipe Perez

IPRB is pleased to announce that Felipe Perez will be joining the team of writers effective immediately. Perez brings over 15 years of experience having written for several mainstream outlets. We are excited to expand our small staff and welcome Felipe to our team. Perez is based in New York and will be focused on covering stories about PR basketball on the mainland.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Giancarlo Santiago Signs With Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

Class of 2011 SF, Giancarlo Santiago signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Santiago is a big time D1 player who has yet to qualify. MGCCC has been successful in signing players from Puerto Rico including Puerto Rico National Team Players, Raymond Cintron and Angel Matias.

"Giancarlo has a bright future in front of him. He is a hard worker and has huge upside. He has the size and strength to play at a high major. Coach Weathers at MGCCC has done an exception job with both Raymond and Angel. We think this is going to be a great fit for Giancarlo, said Todd Washington. Santiago's performance coach and mentor.

A number of kids from Puerto Rico are taking a closer look at Junior College in recent years given the success of Cintron. Cintron was the #1 ranked player in Puerto Rico in 2009 and had a great career at MGCCC, where he was named a 2nd Team, All American. Matias who was redshirted this year which allowed him to focus on his academics and get in shape is getting recruited by several high major D1 schools has the opportunity to also be an All American.

Santiago should qualify with the NCAA Clearing Houuse later this summer allowing him to spend only one year at MGCCC and moving to a D1 program for the fall of 2012.

Dime Magazine Link On Trash Talking

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Badillo Plays Hard At Jordan Classic

Class of 2012 SF, Abidel Badillo played only 10 minutes but made the most of his time on the court at the 2011 Jordan Classic. Badillo who has been in Charlotte since Wednesday struggled a bit early in the week but never stopped working hard.

Nike Executive, Mark Bayne who manages the relatonship between Puerto Rico and Nike told IPRB," He's gotten better everyday and has been working really hard."

Badillo has been playing SF/PF for most of his basketball career in Puerto Rico. This week he has been playing his position at the next level which is SG. Badillo has the skill set to play SG at the next level but must work on his speed and quickness.

A player like Badillo would really benefit from playing in the states. As good as the system and coaching is in PR the style of play is not the same. There is a lack of size and athleticism so a player like Badillo who is 6'5 has to play in the post. This really hurts his development.

This was not lost on Badillo when we caught up with him via text after his game this evening. Badillo said, " This was an incredible experience for me. I promise myself that I am going to work harder then any other moment in my life. Even though I didnt score today, I had 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals."

Badillo showed his ability to bang with bigger players and has great court vision. Look for Badillo to end up at an elite prep school this fall. He is a 4.0 student and a wonderful young man. Look for him to do big thing in the future.

This is the second year that a player from Puerto Rico has played in the Jordan Classic International Game. Last year current Montrose Christian PG, Carmelo Betancourt played. Todd Washington, Founder of PR Playmakers an AAU program has been working with Mark Bayne from Nike to help showcase the talent from Puerto Rico and provide players with a once in a life time opportunity.

Trash Talking Is Part Of The Game

Larry Bird walked into a locker room before an NBA All Star Weekend 3-point contest and started looking around at other players. When other guys in the room started wondering what Bird was doing he asked," Which one of you guys is going to finish second?"

Bird, who was white and from French Lick, Indiana learned at an early age playing on "the other side of the tracks" with and against African American players that trash talking was fun and could provide an edge. Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson were known for talking trash all game. The thing about talking trash is it is an art form and there are rules to "talking trash". On the playgrounds in cities across the country trash talking is has long been a favorite past time of basketball players. Father's have used it as a way to develop mental toughness when teaching the game to their sons.

The rules to trash talking are clear. You don't talk about anything personal and never, ever do you make it a racial discussion. It doesn't matter where you are from or where you are playing the rules of the game apply. There is nothing better than playing against a player you respect and the back and forth of going at each other. Talking trash is an art and will always be part of the game.

See some clips on several Hall of Famers and how they enjoyed talking trash and having their opponents talk trash to them.

Betancourt Considers Prep School

Class of 2011 PG, Carmelo Betnacourt is considering enrolling in a post graduate program at an elite prep school. These programs have existed at elite New England prep schools for years allowing students to take an additional year to prepare for college after graduating. With most elite student athletes being reclassified in junior high school Betancourt is the youngest senior on his Montrose Christian team.

Betancourt decided to transfer to Montrose to play his senior season for a team that ended up being ranked as high as #2 in most nationally recognized polls. He played in the back court with Villaova commit, Tyrone Johnson. Betancourt showed flashes of greatness but failed at times to be as aggressive as he needed to be on the offensive end. Several mid major and small Division 1 colleges have expressed an interest but Betancourt knows he can play at a higher level.

A college assistant coach who tracked Betancourt this season had this to say about him," Betancourt was on many mid major recruiting boards at the start of the season and a couple of high major programs including a few Big East Schools. He failed to show night in and night out that he can compete at the highest level. The talent is there and everyone who has really watched him recognizes that. An extra year at an elite prep school will provide him with another chance to do that. Colleges want to see that he can consistently knock down an open jumper, put pressure on the ball full court for an entire game and blow by his man off the dribble. He did all of these things at different points during the season but in order for schools to take a chance on a player his size he must do it every night."

Betancourts' mentor and Founder of AAU program PR Playmakers said, "Melo's experience at Montrose allowed him to play at the highest level of high school basketball. For the first time in his career he had to fight for playing time and compete in practice against this level of talent. We suggested to him that he consider taking an additional year at an elite New England Prep School. I think Carmelo is the perfect candidate to play at an Ivy League School. Northfield Mt Hermon currently has 30 players playing D1 and will have 7 playing at Ivy League Schools next year. Carmelo, his mom and I spoke at length to Northfields' Coach, John Carroll yesterday. If we can get him admitted it would be the perfect place for him."

Northfield Mt Hermon is considered to be one of the elite prep schools which also has a nationally recognized basketball program. They return a team that has 5 players over 6'6 but don't have a PG to run the show. Betancourt could be the perfect fit.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Raymond Cintron Selected to NJCAA All American Team

One of the top prospects for the National Team in 2016 and current Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Sophomore, Raymond Cintron, received multiple honors this week including Mississippi Junior College Player of the year and NJCAA 2nd Team All American. The former Carmen Dol Sol star and nephew of former National Team Coach Manolo Cintron will attending Middle Tennessee State University "MTSU" in the fall.

Giancarlo Santiago Considering MIssissippi Gulf Coast Community College

Class of 2011 SF Giancarlo Santiago is considering accepting a scholarship to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, "MGCCC". Both Raymond Cintron and Angel Matias attend MGCCC with Raymond on track to graduate next month and attend Middle Tennessee State University "MTSU" in the fall. Matias was redshirted so that he could focus on his academics. Matias has done really well academically and based on reports from the coaching staff at MGCCC has high major talent.

Santiago has improved tremendously over the last year working with the coaches from Friagomar and UPR coaching staffs. They have done a great job developing him into a mid major talent with high major potential. Santiago and his father spoke with Cintron and Coach Wendell Weathers yesterday. IPRB confirmed that MGCCC has offered Santiago a full scholarship.

"Giancarlo is another example of a young man who will benefit greatly from attending Junior College. Not only will he get a chance to grow and develop as a player but his off the court experience at MGCCC and being part of that community will assist in his development as a person. Raymond Cintron is as good a player to come out of PR in the last 10 years and his success there has opened the door for others from Puerto Rico. Angel Matias is pretty darn good himself and the way we have set it up there will always be a guy there to welcome the next guy. So, Angel will do for Giancarlo what Raymond did for Angel. Coach Weathers has been there for 25 years and is more than just a coach to his players. He is like a father figure and has done such a great job with Raymond and Angel, said Todd Washington, Founder of PR Playmakers.

Giancarlo is expected to make a decision as early as next week.

Friday, April 8, 2011

PR Playmakers To Host "Unsigned Class of 2011/2012 Showcase"

With Joey Rodriguez becoming a household name basically overnight and Gary Browne signing with West Virginia there has never been more interest in recruiting Puerto Rico. The talent has always been here and programs like the Miami Tropics and Puerto Rico Pump and Run have been placing local kids at both prep schools and colleges for years. Those two programs laid the foundation and put Puerto Rico on "Summer Circuit" map. With over 30 Division I players of Puerto Rican descent currently enrolled, coaches at all levels are looking for players to sign for the Fall Semester.

"I think Puerto Rico may finally be getting the recognition it deserves as being one of the real hotbeds for talent. There are some great clubs and fantastic coaches in PR. They are doing a great job developing players on the court. With the Rodriguez kid at VCU having such a great season it has really helped to peak interest. This is most especially true at the Junior College level which for a lot of kids from Puerto Rico is the most realistic option, said Todd Washington, Founder of PR Playmakers.

Most of Puerto Rico's best recruits often do not speak fluent English and have done very little to prepare for the SAT and ACT. Many coaches and parents are not familiar with the NCAA Clearinghouse and the core requirements to qualify academically for a scholarship. Thus, Junior College is a real option as it allows players to spend two years at a Junior College working on the academics and getting accustomed to the style of play on the mainland. Upon graduating with an Associate Degree, players can then transfer to play Division 1,2 or 3 and have two years left of eligibility.

"There are still lots of scholarships available at all levels (D1,D2,D3 and Junior College). We will be announcing the date of the Showcase early next week. This will give players graduating in 2011 and those graduating in 2012 a chance to get a scholarship", said Washington.

For more information send an email to unsignedseniors@AT&

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Montrose Christian PG Carmelo Betancourt Is The Next Joey Rodriguez

With Gary Browne giving WVU a verbal commitment yesterday his teammate and childhood friend Carmelo Betancourt could not have been more proud. "I'm so happy for Gary. He really deserves this.", said Betancourt by phone from the house he lives in on campus at Montrose. It was Betancourt who introduced Browne to Todd Washington, Founder of PR Playmakers who now mentors both of them. Washington had been working with Betancourt and got him in the Jordan Classic International game last spring.

Betancourt and Browne have been playing together since they were kids. First at Bucaplaa (local club) and then on the National Team and Betancourt was the one who played PG. "Browne was the scorer and Betancourt was the pure PG", said a local coach who has watched both play since they were in their early teens.

Betancourt played in the Jordan Classic International Game last year and had a fantastic summer. He decided to enroll at Montrose for his senior season and while his stats don't show it he had a great senior season helping Montrose finish the season with one loss and winning the NHSI Championship against Oak Hill last week.

Betancourt is undersized but has proven time and time again that he can play against high major talent. Last summer at the World Basketball Festival, Betancourt dominated the games against both Brazil and the New York City All Star Team without scoring more than 10 points in either game. He controlled tempo, hit scorers with passes in scoring position and got in the paint at will. He and Oregon State Freshman, Devon Collier, dominated two day event looking like a young version of Stockton/Malone.

"Coach Vetter and every other coach who has had he pleasure of coaching Melo will tell you that he is special. VCU got to the Final Four with an undersized, high IQ, Puerto Rican PG named Joey Rodriguez. The University of Akron got to the big dance with a undersized Freshman point guard from Puerto Rico named Alex Abreu. The thing about kids from Puerto Rico is that representing their country is the biggest thing you can do as a young player so kids like Melo never get a chance to hit the summer circuit or attend elite camps. So he is not a household name like some of the kids on the mainland but he is going to be a steal for some school looking for a pure point guard during the late signing period, said Betancourts' mentor and Founder of PR Playmakers, Todd Washington.

Expect Betancourt to land at a high mid major or high major during the late signing period. Georgetown, NC State, Miami, Utah State and Duquense have all expressed interest in Betancourt and several other schools have expressed an interest since seeing him play last weekend against Oak Hill.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gary Browne Verbally Commits To West Virginia University

It's official! Class of 2011 PG Gary Browne Ramirez gave a verbal commitment to West Virginia University. Browne played for Bucaplaa and St Francis School before transferring to prep powerhouse Arlington Country Day "ACD", in Jacksonville, Florida. Browne has huge upside given he has only played the position since transferring to ACD.

Reached by phone this afternoon Browne had the following to say, " It's official I"m going to West Virginia! I want to thank all my coaches and all the people who believed in me. I worked really hard and my hard work has paid off. I cannot wait to get on the court with my new teammates and show everyone I can play at this level."

Many felt that Browne could not make the switch from scoring guard to point guard but his performance at ACD this year against some of the top teams in the country proved that Browne is a Top 100 player. Browne is only 17 had he reclassified he would have been one of the top 10 point guards in the Class of 2012.

" Let me start by telling the people in West Virginia that they just got the steal of this years recruiting class! Gary is a high IQ players who has had some great coaches teach him the game. Wichie at Bucaplaa and Charlie at St Francis are great teachers and did a great job developing him over the years. The credit for his development goes to them. I told Coach Morgan at ACD and Larry at West Virginia that Gary is a big time PG. It is his natural position and he will only get better. The thing about Gary is he is a gym rat and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He went to the ACD on a mission. He really had something to prove and from the first day of practice he set the tone for the team. The thing about Gary is he loves to play defense and is a pure shooter with range. On top of that, he is a quick study and loves to watch film. Put that together with his great decision making and you've got one heck of a player. We are so proud of Gary. He is a great player but more importantly, he is a wonderful young man", said Todd Washington, Founder of AAU Program PR Playmakers and Browne's mentor.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Monstrose Beats Oak Hill But Betancourt Gets Knocked Out of Game

Congrats to Stu Vetter and Monstrose for winning the 2011 NHSI Championship. In what many will regard as an instant classic the game went into doublle overtime with Montrose pulling out the win with stellar play from Class of 2012 SG, Justin Anderson and Class of 2011 PG, Tryone Johnson who will be attending Villanova next year.

Puerto Rican PG Carmelo Betancourt came in during the first quarter and made several assists and controlled tempo. He was doing much of the same in the third and four quarter when clearly fouled when driving to the basket even though the referees didn't call the foul. Betancourt was concussed and ended up getting stitches which prevented him from playing for the rest of the game.

Betancourt asked the Head Coach Stu Vetter to play him but the team doctor prevented Betancourt from playing given the possible concussion. Betancourt was going to the hospital to get his eyes checked and take some further tests to see if they are concussed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Carmelo Betancourt and Montrose Christian vs Oak Hill Tomorrow

Not a lot needs to be said when you mention Oak Hill and Montrose Christian. Two of the most dominant high school basketball programs in the country play tomorrow at 2pm on ESPN. For Puerto Rican PG Carmelo Betancourt this is a dream coming true. High schools players on the island rarely get a chance to show that they can play at this level under the brightest of lights.

Betancourt has played two solid games so far in this years NHSI Tournament and has sacrificed his personal stats for the teams success. He probably had one of his best games against Oak Hill earlier this year against Oak Hill PG and recently selected All American Quinn Cook. He gave Cook fits in the 2nd half. Betancourt got in the paint at will on the offensive and crowded Cook on defense forcing him to shoot and miss most of his shots in the second half.

"I'm not really thinking about Quinn Cook. We are ready for him and Oak Hill and we just have to execute our plan. It's all about winning. It's the biggest stage possible for my last high school game. I'm excited about ending my career against Oak Hill and am ready after we win to focus on where I am going to college, said Betancourt via telephone from his hotel room.

Remember, ESPN tomorrow at 2pm! Montrose Christian vs Oak Hill! Carmelo Betancourt is officially in the building!


Carmelo Betancourt Is A Big Time D1 Point Guard

Sometimes when a player doesn't score more than 20 points or dish out more than 10 assists people who don't really know the game fail to recognize the impact a player can have without recording big numbers in those two areas. This is most especially true of the point guard position. A great point guard leads by example, makes those around him better, controls the tempo of the game, never takes a possession off and has the ability to knock down an open jumper. Most college coaches will tell you that finding a point guard who can do all those things is almost impossible to find. Especially in an environment where kids think that scoring points is the only way to help their team win.

With the success of VCU's Joey Rodriguez, USC's Jio Fontan, NC State's Javier Gonzales and Akron's Alex Abreu a lot of high major school are taking a close look at Montrose Christian Class of 2011 PG, Carmelo Betancourt. Puerto Rico has a long history of producing really good points guards and finally major colleges are recognizing that an undersized, high IQ point guard can be an asset.

Betancourt has been putting up numbers since he was a little kid in Puerto Rico. He recognized that in order for him to continue to get better and prove that he is a high major point guard he needed to go to a school that would test him and push him everyday. Betancourt selected powerhouse Montrose Christian recognizing that he would be sharing the ball with All American Tyrone Johnson who signed with Villanova. He understood that his stats would not be anywhere close to what they would be if he went to a different school or stayed in Puerto Rico but Betancourt wanted to compete against the best everyday and prepare himself for the next level. He knew that being battled tested and playing for a program like Montrose would benefit him in the long run. Betancourt wanted a challenge and at Montrose he knew he would have to fight for playing time but this experience would prepare him for the next level.

"I have so much respect for Melo as he is not the type of kid who is willing accept mediocrity. Melo could have stayed in PR and averaged 30 a game but he knew that he wasn't going to get any better playing in a league where he is the best player. He could have signed with several really good mid major programs. Melo wanted to keep his options open much like we did with Gary Browne and allow coaches to come in and see him workout after the season is over. Gary Browne will be making a verbal commitment to West Virginia next week. His season ended about a month ago and he benefitted from coaches seeing him workout so Melo will have a similar opportunity once his season ends to do the same", said Todd Washington, Founder of PR Playmakers and mentor to both Betancourt and Browne.

Betancourt and Montrose play today on ESPN2 at 3:30pm against New York City Public School Champs, Boys and Girls High School. This is the semifinals of the ESPN Rise, National High School Invitational. For those of you who have not seen him play you are in for a treat. Betancourt is the next undersized PG to rep Puerto Rico in a big way! The question is not if he is going to show up at the next level but where.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gary Browne Could Announce His Decision Next Week

Class of 2011 PG Gary Browne is getting close to making a decision on where he is going to college. University of West Virginia, University of Miami, University of Central Florida and Texas Tech are all very interested in Browne with West Virginia probably being the first school to make their offer official as soon as next week. Sources close to WVU confirmed that Associate Head Coach Larry Harrison who has been recruiting Browne all year is simply waiting for their NCAA Compliance Department to give the Basketball Department the green light to make the offer official. University of Miami has recently made a strong push for Browne and sources close to the coaching staff told IPRB that Miami will also offer as soon as they complete the NCAA Compliance process. NCAA Division 1 late signing period is in two weeks so Browne will only be able to make a verbal commitment until the first day of the signing period.

"Since the season has ended things have really picked up in terms of recruiting. A lot of schools really didn't know who Gary was and when they saw him play they liked what they saw. Most people don't realize how much time goes into schools making decisions on what players they decide to recruit. This is especially true of the PG position. In essence, they will be handing the keys to Gary and letting him drive and direct the offense. WVU has seen him at least 3 times and they have done a great job spending the time evaluating Gary. All four schools have communicated their interest in offering him a scholarship, said Todd Washington, Founder of PR Playmakers and Browne's mentor.

Browne is back in Puerto Rico on Spring Break and spoke to IPRB earlier today. "I'm real excited about making my decision. A lot of schools have come to see me since the season is over and I am real confident that I'm going to end up at a great school. I'm going to sit down with my family, and Todd and make a decision shortly. All of the schools interested in me are great schools and I am thankful to have the opportunity to go to college and get an education", said Browne.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's Official Abdiel Badillo Is Playing In Jordan Classic International Game

IPRB confirmed earlier today that Abdiel Badillo has been invited to play in the 2011 Jordan Classic International Game next month in Charlotte, North Carolina. Badillo will be the second player from Puerto Rico to be selected to play in this game. Current Montrose Christian PG, Carmelo Betancourt played in the game last year.

"I'm so happy for Abdiel, his mother and their entire family. A lot of times kids from that part of the island are over looked and don't get the same chances kids from the San Juan area get. He is so deserving of this honor and PR Playmakers is excited that we could leverage our relationship with Nike and get Abdiel a chance of a lifetime. Mark Bayne from Nike continues to work tirelessly to help Puerto Rico Basketball. The real credit in getting this done should be directed to him. This is the second year in a row he has worked with the people from Jordan Brand to ensure that elite players from Puerto Rico get a chance to showcase their talent on the big stage. Carmelo Betancourt carried the flag for Puerto Rico last year at the Jordan Classic. We are extremely confident that Abdiel is up to the challenge of following in Carmelo's footsteps and representing Pueto Rico to the fullest", said Todd Washington Founder of Nike Sponsored ELite Travel Basketball Club, PR Playmakers.

This years Jordan Classic will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Time Warner Arena which is the home of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. In years past, the Jordan Classic has been held at the famed Madison Square Garden. There are three games each year with a "regional game", "international game" and the "all american" game which typically consists of the top 20 players in the country. The All American Game will be televised on one of the ESPN

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Roy Moreno Leaves TAAG Academy and Returns To Puerto Rico

Class of 2011 SF Roy Moreno had his ups and downs this year. The 6'4 SF left Puerto Rico Powerhouse, St. Francis and decided to attend TAAG Academy. Many close to Moreno thought it was an unwise decision but Moreno decided to attend anyway.

TAAG academy is part of a new breed of basketball post graduate programs that seem to be sprouting up all over the country. Here today, gone tomorrow these "academies" are not traditional schools rather places where players can go to develop their games and showcase their talents. Not all Post graduate programs are failure and some do a heck of a job providing opportunities for players to graduate, qualify and showcase their talents.

Moreno started his senior season off strong with an All Tournament Select in the highly competitive College of Southern Idado Tournament which had several top prep school and junior college players competing in the event. Moreno showed an ability to play at a very high level and created a nice buzz.

Soon after that performance, Moreno injured his knee and had to sit out the reminder of the season. While sitting out and rehabbing his knee, several of his teammates got caught stealing and were expelled. The program felt apart shortly thereafter and Moreno came back to PR to finish school online and rehab his knee.

"I had some good experiences while I was at TAAG and got to play against a lot of really good players. I proved that I an play at a really high level. I'm back in PR doing my classes online and rehabbing. My knee feels great and I'm almost back to being 100 percent", said Moreno via text message.

PR Playmakers Founder Todd Washington says this is a cautionary tale and both parents and players need to be careful when deciding what school to attend. "We tried as hard as we could to discourage Roy from attending TAAG. When making a decision to leave a really good situation like he was in at St. Francis it only makes sense if you going to go play for a superior program. Leaving just for the sake of leaving is never a wise decision and in many cases what happened to Roy is the norm. Roy is a great kid who will use this experience as a learning lesson. He's a hard worker and part of the PRP Family. We were disappointed that he did not accept the advice we offered but we don't turn our back on kids who make bad decisions. Roy needs a couple of years at a JUCO and he will be a great addition to a mid major program."

Several In Class of 2011 Have Yet To Sign

With the NCAA Late Signing Period about a month away, several of players in the Class of 2011 have yet to sign an NCAA Letter of Intent which is required when accepting a scholarship offer. Several players decided to attend a school on the mainland with hopes of increasing their exposure and playing against the top players in the country.

Carmelo Betancourt, Gary Browne Ramirez, Rasham Suarez, Gabriel Anglero and Roy Moreno all decided to leave PR and attend school on the mainland while other top players like Giancarlo Santiago stayed and had great seasons playing for local schools.

Suarez who has been attending schools in the states since his Freshman year signed early with Georgia Southern. Both Browne and Betancourt have garnered a lot of interest from top 20 colleges and universities yet neither has secured an offer. Anglero did not get the playing time he expected but had a solid year and is getting looks by several D2 and D3 schools. Moreno got injured during the season after having a strong start. IPRB spoke with a high school recruiting expert, who said, " Both Browne and Betancourt proved they can play at a high level and compete against the best players in the country. Big East power, West Virginia has shown serious interest in Browne and Miami, Mississippi State and Alabama recently expressed in interest as well. There is a long list of mid major schools interested in Browne. Betancourt had a very solid season at Montrose and schools like Georgetown, Davidson, and UCF have expressed interest in Betancourt along with a long list of mid majors.

Since both of these players were not on the recruiting scene until this year coaches have been paying close attention to both. Both of these guys are fantastic players and should be considered a steal for any program that signs them.

"Gary and Melo had great years and played for Top 20 programs. This was an important experience for them, to compete at the highest level and get accustomed to competing for playing time. We try to tell all of our guys that this is going to be a reality for them moving forward. When players advance from one level to the next they encounter a higher level of competition. For a lot of our players in PR they have been "the man" since they were like 9 or 10 years old. They have never competed for playing time and are accustomed to being one of the best players on the court every time they play. Making that transition is not easy but it is necessary if they are going to play D1 ball. The same is true for guys like Anglero and Moreno. All four of these guys are great players and fantastic young men. They have all improved, matured off the court and learned a tremendous amount spending a year away from home."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Abdiel Badillo To Play In Jordan Classic

Class of 2012 SF and National Team prospect Abdiel Badillo is doing big things! He has been working with PR Playmakers, Founder Todd Washington who has introduced Badillo to several prep schools and Badillo may have a chance to play in the Jordan Classic International Game. Class of 2011 PG and former Adianez standout Carmelo Betancourt played in the Jordan Classic last year and put PR back on the map. Betancourt went on to get a scholarship at Montrose Christian (Kevin Durant and Grevis Vasquez went to school there) after playing in last years Jordan Classic International Game.

"My guy Mark Bayne at Nike put it together for Melo last year. Melo went up to the Garden (Madison Square Garden) last year did his thing. He opened the door for other players to follow in his footsteps. I got introduced to Abdiel by Raul Alzaga from Primera Hora Newspaper last year. I've been tracking his progress and the kid can flat out go. Nothing is confirmed but we are going to do everything we can to get him in this years Jordan Classic International Game. Abdiel is a "straight A student" so schools are lining up. Like a lot of kids in PR he just needs someone to open the door for him. We've already got him in a couple of elite camps this summer and then if he and his mom are ready he will attend prep school for the fall semester, said PR Playmakers Founder and Badillo's mentor, Todd Washington.

Badillo is considered to be the top young prospect by many in the country. A local coach whose teams have played against Badillo said, " He is making real progress in terms of being a really special player. He does almost everything really well and if he gets into a program in the states where he can compete against top players he will get even better. He is also a great student and a fantastic young man."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Betancourt Has Big 2nd Half As Montrose Beats Oak Hill In Double Overtime

Two High School basketball powerhouses went into double overtime with Montrose Christian beating Oak Hill 70-62. Montrose traveled over 5 hours to get to what many feel was a must win game if they are going to have a chance at winning a national championship.

For class of 2011 PG Carmelo Betancourt this was the game he had been waiting for all year. When he didn't get much time in the first half he knew when he got in during the second half he wasn't coming out. IPRB spoke with Betancourt right before he boarded the bus after the game. " I'm so happy right now! I was kind of angry that I couldn't do more to help my team in the first half. Coach didn't really play me that much and I was kind of angry. I got in the second half and felt like I changed the game. My teammates were playing so hard and I felt like Quinn Cook (signed to Duke) was having problems staying with me. I think I had like 9 assists in the 2nd half."

As several top 20 programs have expressed interest in recruiting Betancourt this was an important game for him and his recruitment. Showing that he could play with a All American guard like Cook should finally put the question to bed about his ability to create separation.

Betancourts' mentor and PR Playmakers founder, Todd Washington said, " Betancourt is a bonafide top 20 PG! He is the type of player who will come in a do all of the things you want a PG to do. Coach Vetter and the staff at Montrose have done a great job this year getting him ready for the next level. He is going to be one of the steals of this years' recruiting class."

When we asked Carmelo what did he take away from tonights' experience he said," I believe now more than ever that hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. Oak Hill may have more talent then us but tonight, we worked harder."

Monday, January 31, 2011

Ricardo Ledo Revokes Verbal Commitment To Providence

IPRB has learned that Class of 2012 SG, Ricardo Ledo has revoked his commitment to Providence and has again opened up his recruitment. Sources close to the situation, have confirmed that Louisville is at the top of the list and many following the situation think that he will sign with Louisville in the fall and play for the PR National Team this summer.

More info in this story as it becomes available.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The "Big O" Joins Lawsuit vs NCAA

Yahoo sports did a great article on the pending lawsuit against the NCAA, see below!

Just When You Thought We Were Going To Quit

Thanks to the dozens of calls, texts messages and emails from players, coaches and our loyal readers, we're not going to shut down the site! In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the fact that we are on the verge of Black History Month we refuse to let threats and racial slurs stop us from "dropping knowledge" and helping to raise awareness.

I had a conversation with a friend who said, "well you know you do write some controversial things on IPRB." I chuckled to myself and it reminded me that what some see as controversial IPRB sees as a matter of fact. Sure we have written and highlighted some topics which may make certain people feel uncomfortable but that is their problem. We didn't create the problems nor do we have all the solutions but our writing has always been accurate and responsible. We will continue to represent those who have no representation, whose story is misunderstood and have no avenue to bring it to the attention of the masses.

Over the last couple of days, I received calls from several legends of the game and they urged me not to quit on them. They all seemed to stress the same thing, that nobody has ever presented their feelings, experiences and views on basketball in Puerto Rico. That meant a lot to me and it inspired me.

When we started this blog we had less than 100 people reading it a day. Now we have a global following with people viewing the blog from as far away as China, Slovenia and Angola and to think that we started this to help local players' secure scholarships.

The game hasn't changed! It's always going to be about honor, integrity and never turning your back on people you respect and consider to be your friends and supporters. That's a code I live and die by and I'm never surprised by those who don't. My dad told me a long time ago that you can tell a lot about a person by how they act on a basketball court. How they act when they are competing against you versus playing with you. It's a lesson I've never forgotten and it has helped me see things about people that would eventually come true.

As my brother tells me all the time, " I ain't going nowhere so deal with it however you want".

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ricardo Ledo Leaves South Kent

Five recruit Ricardo Ledo who is a class of 2012 SG has decided to withdraw from elite prep school South Kent. Rumors are circulating that Ledo will end up at Notre Dame Prep although that has not been confirmed. Many feel that Ledo is good enough as an 11th grader to help the PR National Team.
Ledo gave a verbal commitment at the end of last year to Providence College which is where he is from.

More info on the story as it becomes available.

The Facts: National Letter Of Intent (Basketball)

A lot of readers email us asking for more information about the NCAA and scholarships so decided to start a weekly article called "The Facts". Forget about what you have heard or what you think the case may be, IPRB will provide you with the facts! Today we are focusing on the National Letter of Intent. The recruiting process is a mutli-layered process which includes a college expressing interest then moving to a period of some sort of official contact, possibly a visit either by the coach to the school or the home of the player followed by a visit to the college by the player and then typically the school "offers". Until you have an NLI in front you, the "offer" not official. Recruiting doesn't always involve all of these steps one thing remains consistent in every scholarship and that is the binding agreement which is called The National Letter Of Intent. Basically it's an agreement between the school and student athlete which details the terms of the agreement between the two parties.

So parents, players and coaches can have the facts available to them, we have provided two links below,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Betancourt Is Committed To Succeed

When Class of 2011 PG, Carmelo Betancourt decided to attend prep school for his senior season at Montrose Christian Academy he knew there would be challenges. His family and he sat down with PR Playmakers founder Todd Washington and they discussed the benefits and burdens of attending an elite program like Montrose and playing for a Coach like Stu Vetter. Coach Stu Vetter has won over 900 games as a high school coach and coached several players in the NBA including NBA All star Kevin Durant and most recently for University of Maryland and current Memphis Grizzlies' PG Grevis Vazques. Montrose and Coach Vetter are one of 5 High School programs sponsored by Jordan Brand. They play a National Schedule and always have several high major D1 players on their roster.

For the first time in his career Betancourt would have to fight for playing time. Since he was a small kid Betancourt was almost always one of the best players on his team. "This is always going to be an issue for players who decide to leave PR and go to the states. You never really know how they are going to respond to playing against kids who are bigger, stronger and equally equipped on the skill side of things. I personally worked Melo out several times before agreeing to work with him so I knew he had all the tools and the internal fortitude to succeed", said PR Playmakers Founder, Todd Washington.

In advance of going to Montrose, Washington leveraged his relationship with Nike/Jordan Brand and got Melo an invitation to the Jordan Classic International Game at Madison Square Garden. "This was a fantastic opportunity for Melo and he took advantage of it. He put his himself on the map and showed he was a player high major schools needed to take a close look at", added Washington.

So when the season started at Monstrose, Betancourt was confident and prepared to put up big numbers. With the December schedule full of "cup cakes", Betancourt didn't have a chance to showcase his talents and began to get frustrated. He was getting the minutes he expected and felt he had earned. He questioned if he had made the right decision.

"Most players who transfer to schools like Montrose end up questioning if they made the right decision during the first several weeks of the season starting. Back home they were superstars and now at schools like Montrose which is full of kids who were "like Melo he would have to show day in and day out that he is willing and able to earn his minutes. Melo is so mature and he reached out and shared his concerns with his parents and I. He was really down about not playing but used it as motivation and started working even harder. What I was really impressed with is the fact that he embraced this reality as being part of his growth process as a player and more importantly as a young adult. He recognized that the being tested and having to fight for what you want is part of life, said Washington.

Washington and Betancourts' parents urged him to request for a sit down with Coach Vetter which he did. Coach explained to Melo that the most important part of the season is front of them and that Melo had done everything he needed to do thus far and that in order for Montrose to compete for a National Championship Melo play is critical.

With the Primetime Shootout in Morgantown, WV this week and a game against his best friend, Gary Browne Ramirez who plays at Arlington Country Day, Melo reached out to IPRB this weekend via text,"I've been killing practice the last week and my shot feels great. I'm ready to go down there and the coaches are telling me how well I am playing. I'm excited to play against Gary and it should be a great game."