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 www.fivestarbasketball.com.

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


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 www.fivestarbasketball.com. 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."

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.

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.

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.

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&T.blackberry.net

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

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."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

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."

Monday, January 17, 2011


Monday, January 3, 2011

National Teams To Play @ MIT in February

Under the leadership of both Carlos Betran and Vitor Ortiz the Federation is sending two youth teams (11U/12U) to play in the highly competitive Maryland Invitational Tournament "MIT" in February. Some of the top elite travel teams will participate in the event including DC Assualt, KSK and other top programs from across the USA.

In past years the Federation has sent teams to Argentina and Cuba. For many players this will be the first time they get a chance to play at this level. The opposing teams will have kids who are bigger, stronger and more athletic. Said a parent whose son has played AAU and against some of the teams in South America, " A number of the kids on both teams have never played at this level. The biggest challenge for them is going to be the level of contact. Since we play over 90% of our games locally on concrete and referees are forced to protect players form injury our kids are going to be really surprised at how the games are called. Clearly our kids are further along in their development but this will be a big test for many of them."