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.