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7 Lautaro Perez (URU)
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Uruguay are confident their project will take them to the top

MONTEVIDEO (Uruguay) – The formative divisions of the Uruguayan Basketball Federation (FUBB, for its Spanish acronym) have an official tournament organized by the Council of Formative Divisions (CUDF), which is under the superintendence of the FUBB. The event takes place annually and this year's edition began in March and will last until December 1. For the Federation, this tournament is of the utmost importance and its objective is to bring more children to Uruguayan basketball and strengthen the future of the national teams.

The work is non-stop and is guided by the motto “Our legacy is our commitment.” 2019 is a year of constant activity for Uruguay's development categories, with the formative tournaments where more than 3,600 children participate, both boys and girls. Aside from this, in the rest of the country, and under the Federation’s oversight, there are more than 1,500 kids practicing basketball. The 3x3 modality is also being practiced in all of Uruguay, and their Training Center (CEFUBB) for urban sports is the first in the world since Uruguay has already more than 7,000 active participants playing them in National Tours.

The male tournament features the U11, U12, U13, U15, U17 and U19 categories; and to the moment, the female tournament welcomes the U12, the U13, the U15, and the U19 categories.

In 2019 the tournament followed the FUBB bylaws. “There are 54 clubs in the male categories and 12 in the female categories, where we are growing year after year and two or three new clubs arise, which isn't required by the FIBA system,” stated Sebastián Alonso, President of FUBB Formative Categories, to FIBA.basketball.

“Of the 54 clubs that play in this formative tournament, 20 are the neighborhood clubs that have social goals for these children. As for the remaining clubs, it’s more competitive and that's where you can see more of those players that are national team material. From the Littoral areas of the country and from Montevideo come most of our players. 7 of the 12 members of the U16 national team in the World Cup Qualifiers of Belem, Brazil, were from the Littoral,” he stated.

The national teams would train in different gyms that were loaned or rented, but in 2016, after finding a proper space, it underwent renovations until it was ready to become the new and only house of Uruguayan basketball. Today, this high-performance center is home to all national teams and is known as the CEFUBB.

From the U12 up to the senior national team, all of them train there in different moments of the year. So much so that trainers and coaches can watch all players and generate workspaces to strengthen each one of the categories.

“The CEFUBB has given the chance to many children of going through the scouting processes. Before it was a tighter process, and there were always 15 or 20 players that passed. Now, because there is a space of our own, each time there's a call from the national team there are 50, 60 or even 70 players and there's a wider variety of possibilities. Hundreds and hundreds of boys and girls come and are evaluated by the national team’s staff, and that's something that we didn't have 2 years ago,” Alonso shared.

The FUBB, under Ricardo Vairo's presidency, is confident in these formative tournaments and is also aiming for clubs to have the 3x3 modality incorporated in them, since it's already an Olympic discipline for Tokyo 2020, and because it attracts a significant number of girls and boys to practice basketball in an easy and fun way.

Recently, Uruguay won the first 3x3 tournament in the history of the U21 South American Championship in Tunja, Colombia. The Celestes were able to close a magnificent tournament by being crowned champions of an unprecedented tournament, and motivated people, to practice this modality even more.

“We’ll try that clubs have their 3x3 clubs per category, U15, U17 and U19. Each club should have teams and not individual championships. Although the ranking is individual, we must force clubs to have 3x3 teams,” he stated.

Trainers are constantly evaluating the prospective players that attend the formative categories tournaments and the 3x3 tours, to take them to the national teams’ processes.

Javier Isis, national team recruiter and part of the technical staff of the national team, explained the process of recruiting players for the national teams. “We have a platform to register players from the youngest ages until they are adults, with physical and medical evaluations to scout them in their process and take them to the national teams. We make them sign-up in the 3x3 with a registry so that they have the chance of being seen by the Federation.”

Without a doubt, the Federation is confident about national integration and including children in basketball through formative categories, the 3x3 Tours and the national youth teams. The Federation expects that all these instances, together, can get more cities to play basketball and thus strengthen the national teams to try to rank up more achievements to the rich history of the FUBB legacy.