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Puerto Rico kick off second scouting stage for youth program
SAN JUAN — The Puerto Rico Basketball Federation (FBPUR) started this week the second stage of their process of identifying young talents born in 2002, 2003 and 2004 at Club Bucaplaa’s court in San Juan.
In total, there will be 18 age-divided groups of 10 players each, for a total of more than 180 participants. This initiative seeks to define the roster that will appear in the U16 Qualifiers, U17 Centrobasket and the U19 World Championship, which will take place in Heraklion, Germany, from June 29 to July 7.
“We continue to work in the foundational development of basketball, both for men and women,” said FBPUR President, Yum Ramos, Esq. “Soon we’ll start to scout in the women's branch. This year we have three youth men’s competitions and two women’s. We keep working to continue the development (of basketball) and the generational renewal,” he added.
This initiative is the continuance of the process of evaluating players for the qualifying and already qualified tournaments in FIBA. According to the Federation, in 2018 there were three recruitment events in the month of November and December. 185 players from the ages 14-16 participated in these events, not counting those that live overseas and that are eligible to represent Puerto Rico.
By the end of 2018, the Puerto Rican youth program has a new technical team, led by José Ocasio and Xavier Miranda, the new administrators. Both have experience in the Puerto Rico National Superior Basketball League (BSN).
“We continue to work to raise the level of basketball in the youth categories. There’s great talent, we have a great team of coaches and I know that we’ll continue to work and grow in international basketball,” said basketball when the announcement was made.
The group of coaches of the Youth Program include national coach Eddie Casiano, as well as Omar González, Raymond Cintrón, Iván Ríos, Nesty Roque, Juan Molina, Miguel Torres and Omar Orama.
This group also made efforts last month to include small forward Julian Corder Strawther, a slim young player of 16 years of age and 6 feet, 8 inches tall, who currently plays for Liberty High School in Las Vegas, Nevada.
FBPUR did the same for women’s categories and was able to recruit players Deanna Kuzmanic and Talia Roldan from the NCAA’s University of Alabama - Birmingham. They made a commitment to join the national adult program under the wing of coach Jerry Batista. Kuzmanic stands out this season with 13 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists per encounter.
The men’s junior program in Puerto Rico are coming in from recently achieving their first world medal at the U17 World Cup in Formosa, Argentina, in 2018, where they defeated a strong Canadian team. Meanwhile, the U15 team did their part at the Centrobasket that took place in Hermosillo, Mexico, where they got to third place and stamped their ticket to the FIBA U16 Americas Championship that’ll take place later this year. As for the women’s U18 team, the Boricua squad achieved a noteworthy fifth spot in the Americas Championship in Mexico City after winning three games and losing the same amount.