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."