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.