Tuesday, November 29, 2011
So many players and some really good coaches yet only a handful of D1 programs have Puerto Rican coaches as either Head or Assistant Coaches. Even at the high school/prep school level Puerto Rican coaches are absent. A lot of this has to do with the fact that most Athletic Directors know very little about Puerto Rico basketball and its rich history. Coaches have not done a great job marketing themselves and getting on the grassroots circuit. For years, young stateside coaches have recognized the importance of getting involved in the summer circuit. AAU and Five Star Basketball are two of the many summer based organizations which provide a fantastic platform for coaches to showcase their coaching skills and more importantly network with others in the industry. PRP Founder , Todd Washington is leading the effort to assist coaches from the Caribbean identify and secure opportunities to coach stateside. He has started, The Coaching Placement Program, "CPP". CPP will leverage relationships and assist local coaches secure opportunities to coach at the High School, Prep School, Junior College and Collegiate levels. Washington believes there is an immediate opportunity to place coaches at both prep schools and junior colleges. "We've identified a couple of programs that recognize the value of having Puerto Rican coaches on their staffs. Not only is there a ton of talent here on the island, Puerto Rico is the gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America. Puerto Rican coaches have a unqie advantage in that they can recruit in Latin and Central America. We think this is a huge opportunity and will support our effort to help more student athletes get a chance to further their education", said Washington.
Media reports in the last several weeks have suggested that a group of basketball powerbrokers were making a run at a BSN franchise. Although reports were never confirmed there seems to be some truth to the story. With NBA players not embracing the way the Euro/Asia teams operate and the cultural issues of being forced to live in places that seem a million miles from home, Puerto Rico was viewed as a real option. The BSN lacks star power and clearly certain parts of the island will always support their teams but the league as a whole cannot generate the type of advertising p and television revenue required to make the league profitable. Clearly a league wide merchandising deal is viable but the failure of the league to capitalize on the Jordan Brand opportunity in 2008 eliminated any possibility of a major apparel company partnering with the league. What only a handful of people knew was that the proposed tour of NBA stars slated to play in Puerto Rico in late October was not about just one game. It was part of a bigger plan, which included getting a handful of NBA players to agree to play in the BSN. Players and agents were looking for a destination to play should the NBA lockout extend past Christmas. Europe and Asia have been a mixed bag for NBA players. Agents believe that the lockout would last the entire season and that at some point players would need to start making some money. IPRB spoke with a local businessman who had been approached about participating in an ownership group that would invest a large sum of money to have 2 NBA All Stars play on a BSN Team. He a agreed to speak to IPRB provided he keep his anonymity,"I was approached a by my friend and client about participating in the tour. It was clear from the outset that the World All Star Classic was about more then just a game. It was about getting NBA guys to come to Puerto Rico and experience what the island had to offer. Had the lockout not ended we had committments from one of the top three players in the NBA and another who is in the top 10. Those two players would have sold out every arena in Puerto Rico in every game they played in. The television and advertising money which we had commitments for would have covered the costs of the players contracts and if we had a chance to secure the final piece which was getting the shoe/apparel company which currently has both players under contract to get behind the idea and support the project financially, we had a real chance to get this done." In the days leading up to the start of the tour which was to begin in Puerto Rico a number of players and their agents started to get cold feet about the viability of the tour and it in fact the lockout was going to end and a new CBA executed in advance of the game in Puerto Rico. Some have suggested that the NBA did not want to see this Tour happen, specifically, the game in Puerto Rico given word had leaked back to NBA that a plan to get players to play in the BSN was a real option. What would of and could of happened is something we can dream about as we prepare for the 2012 BSN season. If I'm a BSN owner and looking to add value to my franchise I'm going to watch very closely what happens with the age limit and the new CBA. If the minimum age is 20 and players are required to spend 2 years in college before declaring for the NBA draft the next KG, Kobe, Lebron, Dwight Howard and Brandon Jennings may see Puerto Rico as the best option to becoming a professional.