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."

Monday, January 17, 2011


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Next: Introducing William "Willo" Cruz

William "Willo" Cruz is a player we are going to watch carefully over the next couple of years!
The CIEM School 10th grader and 16u National Team prospect, Cruz is gaining the interest of programs in Florida after a solid summer playing with the Miami Tropics.

Miami Tropics Founder Pilin Alvarez said, "Willo likes to play defense and is a good young player."

Willo must prove that he has the skill set to play for major D1 program . He is 5'10", 165 pounds so he will need to continue to develop his frame but his work ethic is really solid and he is a gym rat!

'Willo is a great kid and is playing in a great program with the Tropics. All he needs is a chance to play and he will do the rest', said his mentor and personal trainer Raul Sosa.

The Importance of the SAT and ACT in High School Basketball

Basketball is a game full of words with four letters, pass, shot,turn, face, look, jump, fast, slow, down and team to name a few. Understanding the importance of each of these words is an important part of a players' development. There are two, three letter words which most players in Puerto Rico know very little about, SAT and ACT. With over 20 thousand youth basketball players who play in leagues year round I'm not sure I have seen a player, parent, coach or club dedicate any substantial time to making sure players understand the importance of the SAT and ACT as it relates to the development of players.

In the 5 plus years we have been immersed in the youth basketball game we have witnessed countless numbers of players who are good enough to obtain a scholarship to a college or university in the states but never get a chance to leave because of two, three letter words, SAT and ACT. This is a very sad and unfortunate thing given how much time and money parents
invest in the game. From when a child is 5-6 years old parents invest an incredible amount of time and money in apparel, shoes, trainers, camps, clinics and other basketball related events yet very few look at the "end game". What is my son or daughter getting out of this investment? The answer for many is a pipe dream. Far to many parents think their son is going to be the next BSN All Star or worse yet there are some parents who are so out of touch with reality that they think their son is going to be the next Carlos Arroyo or JJ Barea.

This misguided way of thinking and the failure of many in the game who have access to kids at an early age and could be a real positive influence on the future of urban kids in PR who play not only basketball but all youth sports must be reminded that the greatest gift a parent, mentor or coach can give a child is a great education.

Kids ask us all the time what they should be doing to get a scholarship to college. They ask me what drills should they do to work on their weak hand and how do they improve their vertical leaping ability. My response is get into a "SAT and ACT development program"! The look on many of the players and parents faces is comical and sad at the same time.

For those of you who still have not stopped and googled what the SAT and ACT are its pretty simple. Both the SAT and ACT are standardized tests which determine the ability of a student athlete to do college level academic work. Both tests are culturally biased and unfair but that is a completely different argument which we will save for another time. Failure to obtain a minimum score on either test will prevent a player from being offered a scholarship to a four year college or university thus preventing many players from changing the course of his/her life by obtaining a quality free education in the states.

We've heard the arguments which are true about there being many great colleges locally add that is a fact but so many of the most talented players need a "change in venue" to succeed. You know the saying, the streets are watching and they are taking many of our most talented kids and forcing them to make choices about their lives that they wouldn't have to make if they were not stuck in environments where "the corner" is the best available option for a young man to " make it in life". So for far to many elite players the lure of the street and the block are far to attractive and intoxicating. Many forget about the dream they had as a kid to play college ball and decide to be street pharmacists rather than college students getting a free education at some of the best schools money can buy.

Below is a link the the NCAA site and a page which goes into great detail as to what is required academically for a student athlete to qualify for a scholarship. Every family who has a son in the 8th grade should be focusing on this and studying this as if it is part of the playbook.
Every club team and coach who has a talented player looking to play college ball has an obligation to make sure that the players start learning at an earlier age what is required obtain a scholarship. Noun, verb, math are also four letter words that are as important as shot, pass and dunk!

As my friends at the UNCF say, " A mind is a terrible thing to waste". See the link below.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shabazz "Ice Water" Napier Should Be On Shortlist For National Team

Yesterday was a basketball junkies' dream with several must see matchups including what was clearly te game of the day, UConn vs Texas. Freshman PG, Shabazz Napier, showed the nation why many think he could be a potential lottery pick and clearly a player the Federation should consider bringing into to try out for the National Team. Napiers' mother is Puerto Rican and IPRB confirmed through a source close the the family that Napier would be, "seriously interested in playing for Puerto Rico".

There are a lot of really good young PGs the National Team can choose to select including Torres, Clemente, Fontan, Cintron, Abreu and several kids still in High School but having watched Napier for the last two years in high school and now at Uconn I am convinced he should be at the top of the list.

JJ Barea Could Be A Charlotte Bobcat Before Trade Deadline

IPRB has confirmed through a reliable source that the Mavs and Bobcats are talking and that one of the possible scenarios would send JJ Barea to the Bobcats. With the recent injury to Mavericks SG, Caron Butler, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is supposedly looking into making a big trade before the NBA trade deadline in February. Why this makes sense is the fact that the Bobcats are looking to rid themselves of Stephen Jackson's, possible trade Gerald Wallace contract and start fresh with a core group of young players they can build around.

Another scenario involves the Mavs, Knicks and Bobcats sends both Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace to the Mavs with PG Jason Terry and Boris Diaw going to the Knicks. the Bobcats would get JJ Barea, Brian Cardinal, Ian Mahinmi, Deshawn Stephenson and Eddie Curry.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Numbers Never Lie

Below is a great link which share some important numbers and how NBA teams and a proposed revenue sharing agreement with NBA players will not help small market teams survive. Its funny how most basketball fans think that owning an NBA team is a great way to make money. Those of us who study numbers for a living know that most of the NBA's teams make little or no money year in and year out while the players continue to make huge salaries.

Owners in the BSN face this same issue as players continue to demand large salaries while most teams lose money hand over fist. Look at Carolina Gigantes, one of the best run teams and most successful teams in the league is now decided to recess for a year or two and analyze if and how the franchise can come close to just breaking even.

As I tell my son, the numbers never lie!

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."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The G.O.A.T: Bill Russell

Hopefully all of our readers had a safe and happy New Year! We are taking a couple days off to regroup and get focused. So in the spirit of "dropping knowledge" and giving our people some food for thought we want to share a piece our friends over at did on Bill Russell.
Many people forget that the Civil Rights movement not only helped African Americans but all races including Puerto Ricans. Nobody did more to help change the perception of professional athletes than Bill Russell. When my sons or anyone else ask me who was the greatest basketball player of all time, my answer is going to be Bill Russell. As my father taught me many years ago,the numbers never lie!