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.