Thursday, July 26, 2012
The Status of Puerto Rico Grassroots Basketball
Grassroots basketball and basketball development in Puerto Rico in general is at a crossroads. IPRB spoke with several former National Team players and others who have been involved in basketball in Puerto Rico for a long, long time. The consensus, the "golden years" of Puerto Rico Basketball has long past. The days of Mincy, Piculin, Casiano and others is a distant memory and given what other countries in the region and around the world are doing to develop players Puerto Rico better wake up and stop living in the past. The current development structure is totally out dated and broken. Clubs are set up to make money. Leagues are set up to make money. Coaches jump from club to club acting as hired guns offering their services to the highest bidder. Most of the games are played on concrete and thus the referees are not allowing the normal contact of the game to exist. Parents think their sons are better then they are and very little is done to develop players athleticism. The best young coaches are not being nurtured and developed. The best young players are not being nurtured and developed. The game is not the hands of the right people. The leadership and stakeholders are not "basketball guys" and thus the culture of the game is not being taught. Puerto Rico is falling behind. While Puerto Rico is clearly ahead of the game at introducing fundamentals to players under the age of 10, by the time a player reaches 12 years old they simply cannot compete athletically. League rules including substitution requirements and minimum player requirements are archaic and only serve to prevent the best players and teams from competing at the highest level. The time has come for the game's stakeholders and leaders to take a hard look at how players are being developed, how many games are being played versus practice time and how a structure can be created where the best players and teams compete in a new league. Little Lads, ACB and Federacion are well run recreation leagues. They do a wonderful job and serve their purpose. But truth be told none of them are development leagues for elite players. The performance of youth teams from Puerto Rico this summer at FIBA, Nike Global Challenge and AAU Nationals Pool Play is a combined 3-12 (YBOA and AAU Consolation/Classic Brackets are not considered elite grassroots competition). And this year the teams Puerto Rico have competed against are not considered to be teams stacked with elite talent. No team thus far has gotten out of pool play and advanced into the Championship Bracket at any of the AAU tournaments this year. Our recommendation is to create a new league and development program starting in 2013. We would love to share more information but we know there is an element operating in grassroots basketball which is notorious for stealing ideas and copying almost to the letter from other operators and grassroots programs. The time has come to for change on a number of levels.
Posted by Coach at Thursday, July 26, 2012