Saturday, December 3, 2011

5 Quick Questions With...Fernando Bastide - Basketball Agent in Argentina

The Tampa Bay Rebels are thankful and excited to speak with Mr. Fernando Bastide, one of the most talented basketball agents in Argentina. Mr. Bastide is an attorney specialized in civil and labor law in Buenos Aires. As a player, he played for Club Ferrocarril Oeste for ten consecutive years. In 1984, he became the President of the Basketball Club Association, and, after ending his two year term, he was the manager of several professional clubs such as the Boca Juniors and Andino Sport Club. Thanks to his knowledge of college and professional basketball in the United States, he has been able to work with top level athletes throughout the years.


What is your background and when did you started as an agent?

I began playing basketball when I was 12 years old. Since then, I participated in playing, organizing, managing, and attending games, clubs, teams and the National League in Argentina. My club was FERROCARRIL OESTE, where I played for and where I began to work (not professionally) as a member of Basquetbol Comitee (between 1976 and 1986). After that, I decided to start with basketball agency, representing players, and I'm in this job up to now, after more than 25 years. 

Can you explain the organization of the professional leagues in Argentina?

The top professional league in Argentina is the NATIONAL LEAGUE (LNB), played by 16 teams in the top division and 21 in the second division (TNA).Both are under the AsociaciĆ³n de Clubes (AdC). There is a Federal League played by almost 50 teams, organized by the CONFEDERACION ARGENTINA (CABB). This one is to qualify and get into the National League. There are also thousands of clubs which teams play local tournaments.  

What type of contracts are most common?

Contracts are ruled by Civil Laws. But there were a couple of cases where the Labor Law was accepted. Players and coaches sign contracts. Duration depends on the players and coaches. If they are top stars, they try to sign short contracts (one season). Teams in those cases try to make them longer. Anyway, there are not many contracts for more than one or two seasons.

Besides Argentina do you work in other countries?

I send players (Americans most of all) to Chile, Paraguay, Brazil and have had some experiences with Uruguay and Mexico.

What advice would you give to a player looking to play international basketball?

There are not so many players who get in the NBA. So, you must make the biggest effort to improve and get good contracts overseas. Take care with your health, good food, and learn other languages. Basketball is giving very good opportunities to make a solid future when you are young and they are not only in the NBA. So, work hard, get a good agent, and follow his advices trying to develop the best you can. Take care with your money, saving the most you can. Finally, enjoy it because not so many people have the chance to live a good life like a basketball player does.

Friday, November 25, 2011

5 Quick Questions With...Brad Greenberg - Head Coach of the Bucaneros de La Guaira


Brad Greenberg is the Head Coach of the Bucaneros de la Guaira in Venezuela’s top professional league, the Liga Profesional de Baloncesta.  He also served as an assistant on the Venezuelan national team this past summer during the FIBA Americas Championships.  Coach Greenberg has a unique and diverse background across all levels of basketball and the Tampa Bay Rebels would like to express our sincere appreciation to Coach Greenberg for spending a few moments with us.
Greenberg began his career on the college level as an assistant at American University during the 1977-1978 season, and also worked on the staff at St. Joseph’s from 1978-1984.  Over the next three years, he served as an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers (1984-1986) and the New York Knicks (1986-1987).  Greenberg spent the next eight years with the Portland working as a scout (1987-1989), Director of Player Personnel (1989-1992), and VP of Player Personnel (1992-1995). During that time, he played a role in the team’s acquiring of well-known players such as Danny Ainge, Cliff Robinson, Buck Williams, Rod Strickland, and Drazen Petrovic, among many others.  After spending 1996 as a consultant with both the Washington Bullets and Denver Nuggets, Coach Greenberg landed the role of General Manager and VP of Basketball Operations with the Philadelphia 76ers where he drafted Allen Iverson with the number one overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft.  Most recently, Greenberg served as Head Coach at Radford University (2007-2011) after working on the coaching staffs of Virginia Tech (2003-2007) and South Florida from (2001-2003).

You have been involved in several aspects of basketball on the NBA, college, and international levels.  What advice can you give to someone who is seeking a career in basketball as a coach, scout, or executive?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained; don't be afraid to approach people and let them know what you’re interested in doing; be prepared to volunteer services; be a self starter.  If you want to be a scout, practice writing scouting reports.  If you want to be a coach, coach any and every chance you can.       (The) goal – develop depth and breadth of experience.
What has been the biggest adjustment for you as you have moved from the NBA to college to the international game?
The language...I am studying Spanish, but do not speak the language, so preparing for a season and communicating with players, other coaches, and management takes more time, and things get lost in translation.  Basketball is basketball and once on the court, it’s the same at all levels, (but) there is some difference between communicating with college kids and men who are pros.
What is the biggest difference between coaching a college or professional team and coaching a national team?
There is a unique dynamic in coaching a National team – a team playing for their country; (there is) a greater sense of pride.  Also, when working for a national federation, you are working with a government entity.  There's a lot of politics at work behind the scenes when involved with a national team.
Now that you are coaching in a foreign country, what are some obstacles that you have been faced with and how have you overcome those?
I am just beginning this adventure, so it is too early to know all the obstacles I will have to overcome.  However, learning a new league, style of play, personnel on teams, how the games are officiated, and living and working in a foreign country will be such an enriching experience – that I don't look at obstacles.  My approach is to enjoy everything about being in a different country and soaking up as much as I can.  I have two children, a son in the Peace Corps in the country of Georgia, and a daughter, a junior in college who is a Spanish and politics major who has traveled to Spain, Uruguay, Peru and Venezuela...thinking globally is something we believe in.
You have had the opportunity to work with some great college players, and you have seen what it takes to make the cut on the professional level.  What are some attributes that players need to possess in order to give themselves an opportunity to be a successful professional player?
Being mentally tough and self motivated.  Good professional players approach the game in a very serious manner and do everything possible to get better each and every day in the gym.  They are also coachable; to be a winning player at the pro level you not only have to have skills...you have to have the right attitude.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

5 Quick Questions With...Gianluca Pascucci - GM of Pallacanestro Olimpia - EA7 Emporio Armani

The Tampa Bay Rebels are excited for the opportunity to speak with Gianluca Pascucci, the General Manager of Pallacanestro Olimpa EA7 - Emporio Armani, one of the most storied basketball franchises in the entire world that competes in Lega Basket Serie A (the top league in Italy) and the Euroleague.  Mr. Pascucci, who has proven himself as an incredible talent evaluator and executive, spent seven years as an international scout with the Houston Rockets, and has been with Pallacanestro Olimpia since 2008.  With the help of Mr. Pascucci, EA7 - Emporio Armani has reached the finals of the Italian League in both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.


Why is Lega Basket Serie A one of the best leagues in the world?

The Italian League has a long history of being one of the best thanks to few teams that achieved great results in the past and the ability to attract big names as players (Spencer Haywood, Bob McAdoo, Joe Barry Carroll, Bill Bradley just to name few).

What has made Pallacanestro Olimpia EA7 - Emporio Armani such a successful organization in one of the world’s top leagues?
Pallacanestro Olimpia has a long history of success in Italy and in Europe by winning 25 Italian Championships  and 3 Euroleagues among other trophy. After few years not in the spotlight now the organization is back at the top thanks to Mr. Giorgio Armani who acquired (not only sponsor it) it 4 years ago.

With a limited number of roster spots available for foreign players, what skills and attributes do you look for when you consider adding a foreign player to your team?
First of all we look at the person, not even at the basketball player, especially for someone who has never played before in Italy or in Europe. Like we always say, the major step for an American player coming in Europe to play is to be “into it" 100%, which I mean (is to) be focused and committed in life transition. Those who come without that mentality will almost for sure fail on the court.

How does your team discover and evaluate potential foreign players? Do you rely only on your own scouting department, or do gather information from other coaches, camps, and scouting services?
We have our own Scouting Department, but at the same time we use connections and friendships I established over my seven years of working for the Houston Rockets.
From your experience, what is the biggest adjustment that American players have to make when they play in Italy?
Like I said above it’s life away from USA, in a different country and culture…not saying better neither worse, just different…but they come open minded the transition is smooth, many American players decided to stay put and live over here in Italy at the end of their careers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 Quick Questions With...Kevin Eastman - Boston Celtics Assistant Coach


The Tampa Bay Rebels would like to extend a special thank you to Kevin Eastman, Assistant Coach of the Boston Celtics, for taking the time to answer our "5 Quick Questions."  Coach Eastman has been with the Celtics for 7 years, and has 22 years of experience on the college level serving as both head coach and assistant throughout his career.  He has also worked with the Nike Basketball Acadamies and has conducted various international clinics.  Coach Eastman also provides a wealth of information for coaches and players through a variety of media outlets.  Please visit www.kevineastmanbasketball.com, www.coachingulive.com, or follow him on twitter @kevineastman to take advantage of his knowledge and experience.


What was the most important ingredient to the Boston Celtics’success during the 2008 championship season?
"(It) would have been our culture and how we built strong relationships with our players that allowed them to trust us."
Are there any attributes, aside from talent, that consistently separate those players who are able to stay in the NBA for a few years from those players who last only a year or two?
"Drive, focus, and a competitive motor"
Can you describe a typical NBA practice for us? How long does it last, and how hard are the players expected to compete, given that you play an 82 game season?
"We are different - we go hard, but short.  (Our practices last) probably 90 minutes, and we go very hard."
Although teams develop game plans for each opponent, are players responsible for watching video and preparing themselves outside of practice? If so, how much time does the average player put into preparing themselves?
"This varies a lot.  The more experienced players know the league and its players so well that they may not have to look at as much film. It really varies."
We hear a lot about team defense with the Celtics. What are some keys to becoming a good individual defender and a good team defender?
"The biggest key is the "buy in," which comes back to trust.  Defense starts with a mind set, and the best defensive teams have a "willing defenders" mindset."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rebels Earn Team and Individual Honors Following Pro-Am Performance

The Tampa Bay Rebels entered the 2011 Bay Pro-Am Summer League as the new kid on the block, but a strong playoff run proved that the Rebels belong among the elite in a league that features professional players that compete professional leagues around the world.   Although the Rebels came up just short in the championship game of the 2011 Bay Pro-Am City League Association, several players earned individual awards and the team earned high praise for its performance over the course of the summer.  Because of their performance throughout the season, the Rebels were featured in the very first internet broadcast of summer league games by Tampa Live Sports (www.tlstv.com), and earned another appearance on the network with a berth in the championship game.

As a veteran coach in the Bay Pro-Am Summer League, Coach Rojas has been able to coach teams and individuals that have both achieved success.  His team in 2007 won the Summer League Championship, and guard Dominique Coleman was named CHAMPIONSHIP GAME MVP.  The 2011 Rebels team, however, will go down as one of the most decorated teams in the leagues history.  Three players from the Rebels received special recognition after their participation in the Pro-Am, and one landed his first international contract:



Forward Jeff James was named DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR after using his length and versatility to guard multiple positions throughout the season, and also earned HONORABLE MENTION ALL-LEAGUE honors.  Rojas praised James for his commitment to the Rebels organization saying, “I spoke with Jeff early this year and told him I was looking for a local player who was willing to play organized basketball, but also to participate in community events.  He responded very positively and, almost right away, he participated in the Boys and Girls Club camp we had in March.  He didn’t miss any practices and played very well throughout the season.  His recognition as Defensive Player of the Year is very well deserved.”

Forward Fred Woods was named to the ALL-LEAGUE TEAM after averaging 16 points and 5 rebounds per game.  Rojas had this to say about Woods: “He is a solid player and a very difficult matchup for most defenses.  He was our go-to-guy when we needed a score.  His length, ball-handling, and ability to finish under the basket makes him a player capable of playing at the next level.  Some international clubs have shown interest in him.”

Rebels big man Jarvis Gunter joined Woods on the ALL-LEAGUE TEAM and also earned NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR after averaging 17 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game.  Following his outstanding performance in the Pro-Am, it was announced that Jarvis Gunter will be accompanying Coach Rojas to compete in the LNBP, Mexico’s top professional league.  This is Gunter’s first contract with an international club as he has spent the past three seasons competing in the NBA’s D-League.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tampa Bay Rebels Defeat Florida Flight 118-114

The Tampa Bay Rebels hosted the Florida Flight at Tampa's legendary Mary Help gym on July 20, 2011. The Florida Flight is based in Kissimmee, Florida and was the runner up in the 2011 Continental Basketball League (CBL) finals. The Tampa Bay Rebels will continue playing exhibition games against other minor league teams in the state of Florida and throughout the Southeast. Owner and Head Coach Fernando Rojas said, “We are building a new team in the city and these games will give us an indication of the level of play in the minor league circuit in the region."

Derrick Webster, a point guard from Montgomery, Alabama, took a 13 hour Greyhound ride for the opportunity to play for the Rebels. When asked why he would make that sacrifice, he explained, “A friend of mine played for Coach Rojas in Mexico, and he told me Coach was looking for a point guard to play for the Rebels in Tampa.” Webster continued, “I know a lot of college coaches and agents, but Coach Rojas is the only one I know that actually works as Head Coach of international clubs. My goal is to play overseas, and I know he helped other guys getting their first international contract."

D-Web had an outstanding performance against the Flight, scoring 31 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and 3 steals as the Rebels beat the Flight 118-114.  Big man Jarvis Gunter, who came from Columbus, Mississippi  to play for the Rebels in the summer, scored a double-double with several thunderous dunks before fouling out of the game. Jamal Thompson, from Tampa, showed the range of his shooting ability scoring 7 three point baskets, and Fred Woods, also from Tampa, filled his stat sheet with blocked shots, free throws, rebounds and 12 points on the scoreboard.

Following the victory, Coach Rojas added, “The game was well-played by both teams. The important point is that we are building something very special for the city that will touch the lives of many athletes, fans, and community members.”

Sunday, July 3, 2011

D-League Veteran Joins Rebels

The Tampa Bay Rebels have added D-League veteran Jarvis Gunter to their roster.  Gunter, a 6'10" center, has spent the past three seasons competing in the NBA's D-League for both the Erie Bayhawks and Springfield Armor.  While playing for Erie, Gunter was known as a fan favorite and key player for the Bayhawks.  After joining Springfield, Jarvis saw his role increase and earned several starts over the course of the season.

Gunter decided to join the Rebels because of his desire to pursue professional opportunities overseas and because of the Rebels' ties to international basketball.  While competing for the Rebels during the 2011 Bay Pro-Am Summer League, Gunter has shown why he was a valuable asset in the NBA's minor league circuit with his strong defensive skills.  Head Coach Fernando Rojas, who has spent time in professional leagues overseas as both a player and coach, already has high praise for his new addition saying, "Jarvis is already impressing everyone in Tampa Bay with his play."  Considering the fact that the Bay Pro-Am Summer League sees a large number of professional players from leagues across the world including the NBA, it looks like Jarvis Gunter will have an opportunity to showcase his skills for international clubs against elite competition throughout the summer!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Catching Up With Coach Rojas

After spending the past few years coaching professional basketball in the LNBP, Mexico's top professional basketball league, Fernando Rojas returned to Tampa and founded the Tampa Bay Rebels, a minor league basketball team.  Here's a quick Q & A with Coach Rojas:

Coach, when did you get back in the U.S.?

I came back home in the summer of 2010 after two years of coaching in the LNBP.


How was the league?

The LNBP is the largest professional league in Latin America.  They allow players from different countries to participate, which makes for stronger play.  I had the opportunity to work for two clubs and the level of play is getting better every season.


Would you say the level of play is as good as the D-League?

Half of the teams have the same level as the D-League squads.  Last year, the LNBP champion played against the Rio Grand Valley Vipers from the D-League, losing the game by just two points.  Keep in mind that some players like Jamario Moon played in Mexico for two years and now he has been in the NBA for five years.


How did you choose your players?

At the professional level, many agents contact you with information about their players all the time and some team owners have their own preferences...even the media gets involved by making public suggestions.  When possible, I like to select players that I personally know.  When I was abroad, I brought along players from the Tampa area that I knew were capable of succeeding.


What are your plans now?

I am Head Coach and GM of the Tampa Bay Rebels.  The challenge is getting the proper financial support for the club to continue our international exposure and to build a true basketball club that the city can be proud of.