Saturday, December 15, 2012

5 Quick Questions With...Haywoode Workman - NBA Referee



Haywoode Workman is a former NBA player who is now working as a referee for the National Basketball Association.  Haywoode was originally drafted in the second round of the 1989 NBA Draft and played for the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Bullets, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Toronto Raptors.  As a member of the Pacers, where he spent the majority of his career, Workman played a key role on some of the most talented Indiana teams in the organization's history, leading the team in assists during the 1993-94 season as the Pacers fell to the Knicks in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

After his playing career was finished, Workman began working to return to the NBA as an official.  As a resident of the Tampa Bay area, Workman took the lead on bringing back the Bay Pro-Am, an NBA Certified summer league that was held in the Tampa Bay area.  As he worked his way through the various levels of basketball, Haywoode also spent time refereeing games in pro-am events across the country and various minor leagues.  He was also the subject of an ESPN article which chronicled his journey back to the NBA as a referee.

The Rebels are glad to call Haywoode Workman a friend and sincerely appreciate him taking some time to provide insight on what it takes to referee the highest level of basketball in the world.

When did you first realize that you were interested in becoming a referee?

Summer of 2002, when I didn’t receive any offers to play basketball in the NBA or overseas, Bob Delaney (retired NBA Referee) asked if I ever thought about officiating.


What path did you have to take to become a referee at the NBA level?

I started by going to Coast to Coast Referee camp that was in Gainesville, FL at the time. I refereed pro-am ball in Los Angeles and worked for one year in the CBA and then was hired into the D-League where I worked for 4.5 years


What type of classroom training and physical conditioning are required of the NBA referees?

 I would say you should find some NBA rule books and become familiar with the rules of the game. Conditioning is different for everyone at the NBA level, but if you’re trying to be an NBA Official I suggest you be in the best shape possible. 


How has being a former player in the NBA, help you as a referee?

It’s all about mutual respect on the court.


Can you provide any advice to individuals who may want to pursue a career as a referee?

Find a league to referee that plays under modified NBA rules and get to know the referees there and they will point you in the right direction or you can register to tryout at the D-League Officials tryout.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Rebels Expand International Network



Tampa Bay Rebels General Manager Fernando Rojas visited Brazil last month to meet with professional teams from the Liga Paulista de Basquete (LPB) and the Novo Basquete de Brazil (NBB) and discuss the timetable and location for the games between the Tampa Bay Rebels and Brazilian teams in 2013. 

"I had the opportunity to meet with Managers and Coaches in Sao Paulo and other neighboring cities. They were very interested in playing the Rebels as part of their preseason program," Coach Rojas commented. Since 2006 Rojas has taken his teams to play in Argentina, Mexico and Cancun for exhibition games against professional foreign clubs. This visit focused on teams from the city of Sao Paulo, Sorocaba, Limeira and Sao Jose dos Campos.

Last April, the Rebels were invited to play against the 2012 Liga de las Americas Champions, Pioneros de Cancun. "Most people don't know, but the Liga de las Americas competition is the best basketball on this side of the world right after the NBA," Fernando said.

Next year the club will defend its 2012 FBA Championship and get ready for their international tour. Coach Rojas explains, "We are going to be very busy starting in January. We are a young club always looking for ways to do basketball from a different angle. International exposure is a key component for undrafted players and something that makes our team standout in the minor league market.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

5 Quick Questions With...Greg Kite - Florida Basketball Association Commissioner

Greg Kite was named as the Commissioner of the Florida Basketball Association prior to the inaugural 2012 season. As a two-time NBA Champion as a member of the Boston Celtics in the early 80’s, Mr. Kite has achieved the ultimate success at the highest level of professional basketball. Mr. Kite also spent four seasons with Orlando Magic during his NBA career and has maintained a presence in the Orlando area since his time with the Magic.

Aside from his basketball experience, Mr. Kite also brings valuable experience from a business perspective to his role as FBA Commissioner. He serves as the Chief Marketing Officer of Global Asset Management Group and also serves as the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Gift of Learning Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 that operates a private school in Orlando, Florida. He also holds a variety of licenses related to investments and insurance and is a licensed Real Estate Sales Associate in the State of Florida.

The Rebels would like to thank Mr. Kite for taking the time to participate in 5 Quick Questions with us!

You spent over a decade in the NBA and won a couple of championships with the Boston Celtics...Do you have a favorite memory from your NBA career?

My favorite NBA memory was playing in four NBA Final (84, 85, 85 & 87) and winning two NBA Championships with the Boston Celtics.

In your opinion, are there certain attributes that a player must possess to not only make it to the professional level, but to stick around for a long career?

Character, work ethic and persistence are three valuable qualities that increase the chances of a long NBA career. Size and skill per position are also very important. An undersized player is typically at a disadvantage in the making a NBA roster Players with specialized skills also can fill a valuable role for many years in the league. Taking care of your body with conditioning, rest and nutrition also helps to extend a basketball career.

Obviously, there is life after basketball, and you have become a successful businessman since you retired from the NBA. Are there any skills or lessons that you learned while in the NBA that you have carried over to your business career?

I think having a strong "Why" - a passion for what you do and a strong emotional reason why you do it keeps me going when things are difficult is very important lesson that I learned from basketball. Working hard to achieve goals and seeing the job through are other keys to being successful in business and basketball.

Why did you decide to become involved with the Florida Basketball?

I had been involved with minor league pro basketball in Florida for a couple of seasons. Mark King, owner of the Florida Flight, asked if I would play a role as the FBA was being organized. He presented the idea to the other team owners. They approved and I started helping with the FBA.

What is your vision for the Florida Basketball Association?

My vision for the FBA is that we can offer a quality pro basketball experience for players, coaches, owners, staff, sponsors, media and fans. The first priority is to have a successfully completed inaugural season with all games played and started on schedule. Players will gain experience and exposure for other pro basketball opportunities. I'd also like to have players develop off the court through community service, mentoring, education and career development programs. The FBA can also be a great training ground for coaches and staff as well. And fans can enjoy fast paced, exciting, competitive basketball and interact with the players and coaches beyond the game.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tampa Hosts FBA Owners Meeting


The Florida Basketball Association held their first owners meeting in Tampa, two weeks after the 2012 season concluded with the Tampa Bay Rebels capturing the FBA Championship.

Two-time NBA Champion and FBA Commissioner Greg Kite, presided over the meeting. Among the items on the agenda were league sponsors, expansion teams, player trade regulations, and business development. The four participating teams, the Palm Beach Titans, the Florida Flight from Orlando, the Heartland Prowl of Lake Wales, and the Tampa Bay Rebels, also discussed, in detail, plans to improve game-day operations and statistical analysis for the 2013 season.

When asked for his assessment of the inaugural FBA season, Commissioner Kite stated, "Having 100% game completion in every participating city speaks clearly of the type of commitment we have to make the FBA succeed. We still have areas of improvement, but the first season was a great first step."

The next scheduled meeting for the owners is set for October 20th in Palm Beach, where the league will announce the date and location of the 2013 FBA All-Star game and discuss potential expansion teams.

Tampa Bay Rebels GM Fernando Rojas commented, "In the minor league circuit, it is very important to measure success the correct way. From a business perspective, all the owners worked together, supporting each other. From a basketball perspective, six FBA players participated in an international tour in the preseason, and, as a result, T.T. Hall from the Palm Beach Titans was hired by a European club and won a championship in the German league. I would say the FBA has a bright future".

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rebels Win Championship


The Tampa Bay Rebels finished the 2012 Florida Basketball Association season by capturing their first Championship in a 131-106 victory over Heartland Prowl. 

From the start of the season, the Rebels and Prowl quickly separated themselves from the competition, reaching the top of the standings and maintaining that position during the season. Fans enjoyed high-caliber basketball every time these two clubs faced each other. 

The Rebels started the contest playing a 1-3-1 defense in the first quarter before moving to a man to man scheme in the second quarter. "We knew they would make some perimeter shots against the zone, but we also had four steals that kept the momentum on our side," stated Rebels’ Coach Fernando Rojas. Prowl guard Michael Floyd was hot in the first quarter scoring 12 points including three consecutive 3 point shots, but the Rebels bounced back to take a 58 – 51 lead into halftime.

The Rebels unleashed their powerful offense in a third quarter that saw the team set a new mark for most points in a single quarter this season. The team scored 43 points in a great offensive effort led by Shun Watson, who had his best all around game of the season. Forward An’juan Wilderness, a key player throughout the season, was cut in his eyebrow and was not able to play in the fourth quarter, but the Rebels maintained their lead to pull out the victory.

Forward Tim Ware had 36 points and 9 rebounds and was almost perfect from the free-throw line going 5 of 6 in the Championship game. Ware said, "We have a good team, everybody worked very hard to get to this point. I am glad we won the Championship.”

After the game Coach Rojas commented, "These players had the discipline and commitment to work hard throughout the season. They have the right mix of maturity and skill, and also did great work for the community. I am proud of them. They deserve to be called Champions.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rebels Topple Titans

In the last game of the regular season for the newly formed Florida Basketball Association (FBA), the Tampa Bay Rebels visited the Palm Beach Titans on Sunday July 22nd. The Titans moved the game to the YMCA in Boynton Beach as a great way of introducing the Y members to a new competitive and exciting brand of basketball. The YMCA staff did a great job making sure teams and fans enjoyed the game. After the game, Coach Rojas commented, “I commend the Titans ownership for this great idea playing at the YMCA in Boynton Beach was a great marketing strategy from their part. The Y members were able to enjoy the game, and many families asked about future games. We enjoyed playing here. Let’s not forget that the game of basketball was invented in the YMCA."

Throughout the game, the two teams fought for every possession with the home team playing smart half-court offense by using screens and back doors effectively. Point guard Anthony Daniel scored 22 points and Louis McCrary had 21 points. For the visiting team, An’juan Wilderness had a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds. The Rebels bench, formed by Aubrey West, Alonso Davis, Jerel Young and Xavier Shannon, produced 37 points and 6 steals in a great team effort as the Rebels came away with a 130-92 victory.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rebels Will Host Championship Game

Photo Courtesy of Andy Warrener (patch.com)
The Tampa Bay Rebels have clinched home-court advantage for the 2012 Florida Basketball Association championship game. Tampa Bay earned the right to host the event after picking up their 10th win of the season this past weekend, which ensured that they would finish with the best regular-season record in the league. Currently standing at 10-1, the Rebels will face the Heartland Prowl at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 28th at Freedom High School. These two teams played four exciting games during the regular season with the Prowl winning the initial matchup between the two teams before the Rebels bounced back to grab victories in the last three meetings.

Tickets for the championship game can be purchased for $10 at the door, and kids under 13 receive free admission to the game. For more information, please visit www.tampabayrebels.com.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Rebels Battle Past Prowl



The Tampa Bay Rebels and Heartland Prowl faced off in the final regular-season meeting between the top two teams in the Florida Basketball Association standings. In front of a crowd of families and basketball enthusiasts, the two teams played every possession with great energy. Tampa Bay got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 16-0 lead, but the Prowl made some quick changes to their starting and got back in the contest with good effort on the defensive end and sharp shooting. Six Rebels finished in double figures as they pushed Tampa Bay to a 117-102 victory.  

The Rebels, who now stand at 10-1, will head to Palm Beach next week to conclude their regular season.

Friday, July 13, 2012

5 Quick Questions with...Dave Babcock - Director of Player Personnel, Milwaukee Bucks


The Tampa Bay Rebels are extremely excited to have Dave Babcock, Director of Player Personnel for the Milwaukee Bucks, join us for the newest installment of our “5 Quick Questions” feature.  

Mr. Babcock is involved in several areas within the Bucks organization including the draft, summer league, and scouting. Below you will find his official bio from the Milwaukee Bucks:
The 2011-12 campaign was the 15th for Dave Babcock with the Bucks and his seventh as the club’s Director of Player Personnel. He was named to the position on June 3, 2005 after spending the previous seven seasons as the team’s Director of Scouting.

He is responsible for all preparation and organization surrounding the college draft and assists in the day-to-day operations of the personnel department, which includes player acquisitions, free agency, salary cap issues and roster management. He is also responsible for coordinating all of the scouting for the Bucks, including the NBA, NBDL, college and overseas competition.

Prior to joining the Bucks, Babcock served as a full-time scout for the New Jersey Nets in 1996-97, as well as a regional scout for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets. A successful coach in the college ranks, Babcock posted a 69-27 record during four years as the head coach at Arizona Western Junior College. His squad won the NJCAA Region I title in 1992-93, and earned Region I Coach of the Year Honors in the process. He also held the head job at Phoenix College from 1987-90 and was an assistant coach at Northern Arizona, San Diego State, the University of San Diego and his alma mater, Grand Canyon College.

Basketball runs in the Babcock family. Dave was an All-State basketball player at Maryvale High School in Phoenix. His brother, Rob, is the Director of Scouting/Administration for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and his brother, Pete, was the General Manager of the Atlanta Hawks for 13 years. Dave and his wife, Dori, have two children, Matt and Suzanne. Matt works as a sports agent and Suzanne is a University of Wisconsin graduate now living and working in Phoenix.

We would like to express our appreciation to Mr. Babcock for taking time out of his busy summer to answer our questions.


The Director of Player Personnel position is generally considered a "high-level" position within an NBA organization. What are some of your duties in that role?

Oversee Scouting (Domestic/International), manage draft preparation, summer league team, assist in free agency, manage Vet camp.

What types of skills and experience are needed to be successful in your position?
Practical basketball experience (I coached college for 16 years), ability to put a team together (position/chemistry wise), strong network within the basketball world, obviously a good eye for talent.

If a young sports professional wants to pursue a career as Director of Player Personnel, what type of career track can they expect to need to follow?
2 ways: through coaching ranks as I did or get into an organization at a grass roots level (intern = video dept/etc).

Do you have any type of interaction with the D-League or other leagues around the world as you perform your job duties?
Constant contact with all the above – NBDL, all European leagues, etc.
What do you like most about your job?
Being around basketball!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rebels Run Past Flight

Photo Courtesy of Andy Warrener (patch.com)

The Tampa Bay Rebels traveled to Avalon Park on Sunday, July 8th, to face the Florida Flight in the final regular-season meeting between the two teams for the 2012 Florida Basketball Association season. Playing in front of a large crowd on Faith & Family Night and on the second day of their only back to back games of the season, the Rebels were able to take advantage of scoring opportunities in the first half and led 52-35 at the break. Tampa Bay extended their lead to 89-56 after three quarters to possess a commanding lead heading into the final quarter. Although the Flight mounted a spirited rally in the opening minutes of the final period, the Rebels were able to thwart any thoughts of a comeback by playing solid defense and converting transition opportunities over the last eight minutes of the game.

Tim Ware continued his offensive onslaught with 26 points and hit the glass hard by grabbing a team-high 12 rebounds, and An’juan Wilderness turned in another stellar performance with 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals. Shun Watson added 19 points and 7 assists, while Matt Kendrick contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Jonathan Brown added 12 points. With the victory, the Rebels improved to 9-1 on the season.

Tampa Bay will play their final home game of the season on July 14th at Freedom High School as they play host to the Heartland Prowl in a preview of the potential championship matchup for the inaugural Florida Basketball Association season. The game will start at 8pm, and children under 13 get in for free. For more information, please visit www.tampabayrebels.com.

Tampa Bay Survives Late Run By Titans

Photo Courtesy of Andy Warrener (patch.com)

The Tampa Bay Rebels played host to the Palm Beach Titans on June 7th at Freedom High School in Tampa in their ninth Florida Basketball Association game of the season. During the first quarter, the Rebels capitalized off missed shots and turnovers by the Titans to jump out to a large lead. The Rebels struggled with turnovers throughout the second quarter, but still managed to increase their lead to 66-41 by halftime. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Rebels appeared to be in control with a 28-point lead, but the Titans continued to take advantage of Tampa Bay’s turnovers and knocked down several huge shots to trim the lead to single digits. The Rebels, however, never surrendered the lead and escaped with a 117-111 victory while improving to 8-1 on the season.

Several Tampa Bay players provided stellar individual performance during the game. Tim Ware led the Rebels with 32 points and hauled in 8 rebounds, while An’juan Wilderness had an impressive double-double with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Matt Kendrick grabbed 16 rebounds and added 12 points, and Alonso Davis poured in 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 steals. Shun Watson came within shouting distance of an elusive quadruple-double with 15 points, 10 steals, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds, while Jonathan Brown contributed 14 points and dished out 7 assists.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rebels Throttle Flight

The Rebels traveled to Avalon Park, located on the outskirts of Orlando, to play the Florida Flight as part of their 2012 Florida Basketball Association regular season schedule. The Bay-area team performed better from the free throw line this time around, but struggled with turnovers throughout the contest. The newest Rebel, shooting guard Colin O’Neal, saw some action and contributed 4 points and 3 assists in his debut. In the end, the Rebels came out on top with a 119 – 84 victory over the Florida Flight, and improved to 7-1 on the year.

In their only back to back games of the season, the Rebels will play the Palm Beach Titans at home this Saturday at 8 pm before returning to the Orlando area on Sunday July 8th to face the Flight in the last regular season meeting between the two teams.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rebels Power Past Titans


The Tampa Bay Rebels played their second consecutive home game at Freedom High School as they hosted the Palm Beach Titans this past Saturday. Bernard Reedy Sr., Ryan Radosevich, and Lewis Trice served as referees for this Florida Basketball Association contest. The home team was able to control the boards throughout the game, which allowed them play at a fast tempo, particularly in the second and third quarters. Matt Kendrick had a busy night finishing with 32 points and 18 rebounds while showing marked improvement on his footwork at the offensive end of the court. Alonso Davis and Xavier Shannon powered the Rebels’ bench by combining 18 points and 14 rebounds en route to a 134-80 victory.

The Rebels, who now stand at 6-1 in the FBA, travel to Orlando on June 30th to face the Florida Flight.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rebels Win Fourth Straight

On a night that began with another exceptional performance of the national anthem by Lizy Barnes, and featured the Freedom High School Dance Squad providing some additional support  during the game, the Tampa Bay Rebels picked up their fourth straight win with a victory against the Florida Flight on Saturday.  The win capped a busy, but exciting week for the Rebels, who had spent the week strengthening their relationship with the Tampa Bay community and local businesses.  Early in the week, the Rebels volunteered with Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County, and just a few days later, they announced Vista Inn & Suites as their Official Lodging Partner.  The team also made a minor basketball-related change by moving practices to the New Tampa YMCA. 

Although the Flight returned to Tampa with an improved roster, the Rebels were able to set the tone early.  The game started with an ally-oop from point guard Jonathan Brown to Matt Kendrick, who also set a new team record with 10 blocks in addition to scoring 21 points. Aubrey West had an outstanding third quarter on both ends of the floor, drawing a charge on the defensive end while scoring 8 points during the period. Forward Shun Watson provided the dunk of the game as he caught a long baseline pass and finished the play with a thunderous one hand slam as the Rebels prevailed 118-74.

The Rebels return to action this Saturday as they welcome the Palm Beach Titans.  The game will be played at Freedom High School and will tip-off at 8pm.  Please visit www.tampabayrebels.com for additional information.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rebels Announce Partnership with Habitat for Humanity

Fernando Rojas, Head Coach and General Manager of the Tampa Bay Rebels, recently met with Deborah Marrero, Resource Development Director of Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County, to discuss a partnership between the two organizations. Founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live, Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County its homeowners have assisted with building over 140 homes for qualified Hillsborough County residents since 1987, while also providing housing to veterans through their Habitat for Heroes program. While the organization is largely associated with hands-on home-building efforts, Habitat Hillsborough also utilizes ReStore, a retail center that offers a wide variety of new and used building materials at affordable prices that is open to the public, to fund their mission.

On Wednesday, June 13th, Rebels players, coaches, and family members volunteered at ReStore to kick start the partnership between the organizations. Kent Bell, ReStore Retail Director, was in charge of welcoming the Rebels and introducing them to their duties of the day. The players actively participated in recycling, built shelving units for product display, unloaded and stocked new products, and assisted with general cleaning. Coach Rojas commented, “We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to participate with Habitat for Humanity. They fulfill an important job in society. The Tampa Bay Rebels organization is part of the community; our players and coaches live and work in the same community, and we are glad to help make life for others better.”

Please visit
www.habitathillsborough.com to learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County and ways that you can help too!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rebels Defeat Prowl on the Road 107-93

After playing the past two games at home, the Tampa Bay Rebels traveled to Lake Wales in Central Florida to face the Heartland Prowl in a game that featured the top two teams in the Florida Basketball Association (FBA).

The first half saw several lead changes between the teams, but neither was able to pull away by more than six points before the break. Throughout the game, both teams utilized man and zone defenses.  The Rebels started the game in 3-2 zone, while the Prowl relied on a 2-3 zone during the second half.  

Rebels center Matt Kendrick had a spectacular dunk that made the fans jump out of their seats as he grabbed an offensive rebound off the glass and threw it down with authority. For yet another game, the Rebels got a boost off their bench when Alonso Davis was tapped to guard the Prowl’s talented big man, Mirnes Islamovic. In addition to Davis, An'juan Wilderness and Will McIntyre turned in stellar defensive performances that propelled the Rebels defense to 39 rebounds, 18 steals, and 4 blocks. Leading scorer Tim Ware caught fire early and stayed hot all night turning in 37 points. Guard Jerel Young chipped in 15 points as the Rebels second-leading scorer for the game.

With the victory, the Tampa Bay improved to 4-1 and increased their hold on the top spot in the FBA. The Rebels return to action June 16th as they face the Florida Flight at Freedom High School in Tampa. The game will begin at 8pm, and kids under 13 receive free admission. Please visit www.tampabayrebels.com to learn more.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rebels Ground Flight

On June 2nd, the Tampa Bay Rebels hosted the Florida Flight from Orlando at the Freedom High School gymnasium in Tampa. Prior to tipoff, Lizy Barnes, a drum major in the Freedom High School marching band, performed the national anthem on her saxophone in front of the home crowd. The Rebels also welcomed Rick Bell and Lynden James to the bench alongside Coach Rojas as the newest members of the coaching staff. Bell and James will both serve as Assistant Coaches for the Rebels.
The Rebels, coming off an extended break with no games having been scheduled over Memorial Day weekend, were back on the court against a Flight squad that came off a solid victory against the Palm Beach Titans. The game was played at a high pace from the tip, with the Flight being propelled in the early going by guard Gregory Remy, who contributed 9 points, while also benefitting from a solid job on the offensive boards by Peter Joyner, who would finish the game with 12 points.

The Rebels had a small lineup at the beginning of the third quarter with Will McIntyre, Jerel Young, Aubrey West, Jonathan Brown, and Shun Watson applying pressure on the Flight guards and creating turnovers. The Rebels were able to convert those turnovers into layups that put the game out of reach as and ended with a 119-85 win for the hometown Rebels. With the win, the Rebels move to 3-1 on the season and maintain their position at the top of the Florida Basketball Association standings.

Tim Ware was the highest scoring Rebel with 29 points, Matt Kendrick produced another double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and backup point guard Jerel Young had a team record 9 steals in the game. Coach Rojas commented at the end of the game, “We added a new offensive set to our game plan that we wanted to use against the Flight. We made some improvements to our spacing and ball movement, but we are still a work in progress.”

The Rebels will play their next game on June 9th when they travel to play the Heartland Prowl.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rebel's Service Leads to Game with President


As a member of the United States Army, Alonso Davis brings talent and a unique perspective to the Rebels each time he steps on the court. After joining the Army in 2005, Davis continued to hone his basketball skills, and was awarded a spot on the 2010 All-Army Basketball team, which afforded him the chance to meet, and play against, President Barack Obama. Davis has been in the Army since 2005, and has previously been stationed at Fort Lee (Virginia) and Fort Eustis (Virginia). He was also a part of the 619th Transportation Company when he was deployed to Iraq over parts of 2009 and 2010. Following his time in Iraq, Davis was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his meritorious service while on duty in Iraq, and is currently a member of the 3rd Army Augmentation Company. In his first season with the Rebels, Davis has appeared in 3 games and averaged 3.7 points and 3 rebounds per game. None of his contributions on the court, however, can match the contributions that he and all past and current members of the Armed Forces have made as a member of our military…and for that, the Tampa Bay Rebels would like to say, “THANK YOU!”

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rebels Silence Prowl

The Tampa Bay Rebels hosted their first home game of the 2012 season against the Heartland Prowl from Lake Wales. The style of play of both teams makes for a great basketball matchup. The Rebels bring their size and defensive game, while the guard-oriented Prowl can score from mid and long-range. The game was a much anticipated rematch against the Prowl that defeated the Rebels last week by three points. This time, however, the Rebels came away with a 112 – 101 victory.

At halftime, the Prowl held a 51-50 advantage. The Rebels would get a boost in the third period as Shun Watson scored 11 of his 24 points driving to the basket, while Jonathan Brown and Jerel Young did an excellent job taking turns playing the point guard spot. Young had an outstanding performance from the free throw line making 11 of 12 shots at the end of the game to secure the win for the Rebels. Tim Ware worked hard all night, finishing with 22 points and 6 rebounds, and center Matt Kendrick blocked 5 shots in a game for the second time this season. The Prowl finished with six players in double figures.

The Rebels will return to action June 2nd as they host the Florida Flight at Freedom High School, located at 17410 Commerce Park Boulevard in Tampa. The game will begin at 8pm with anyone under 13 years old getting in free, and tickets available at the door for only $10 for those over 13 years of age.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Prowl Slip Past Rebels

In their second consecutive road game of the Florida Basketball Association season, the Tampa Bay Rebels came up just short as they were defeated 99-102 by the Heartland Prowl. The contest was competitive from the tip, with the teams exchanging leads several times throughout the course of the game. The Rebels were able to pull away in the third quarter by playing solid defense and converting scoring opportunities in transition. Tampa Bay, however, struggled from the free throw line, hitting only 14 of 29 attempts, and committed several key turnovers in the fourth quarter that allowed the Prowl to get back in the game.  

Shun Watson had 20 points and 7 rebounds for the Rebels, while Matt Kendrick posted his second straight double-double by scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Tim Ware scored 19 to go along with 6 rebounds, and An'juan Wilderness finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds.

With the win, Heartland improves to 1-0, while the Rebels drop to 1-1 for the season.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rebels Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Victory

The Rebels traveled to West Palm Beach Saturday night to face the Titans in the first regular-season game in Florida Basketball Association history.  Tampa Bay was able to control both the defensive boards and the tempo of the game, limiting the fast-paced offense of the home team.  “We did some things right, but our execution is a work in progress,” Coach Rojas said after the game.  “We know they have great shooters that can change the game anytime; tonight we were able to keep the lead."  Palm Beach Titans' Coach Leroy Spruill Jr. commented, “Our defensive effort wasn’t what I expected.  We will make necessary adjustments and be ready for the next game."

Center Matt Kendrick had his first double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Rebels.  Forward Tim Ware was very active on both ends of the court and finished with 34 points, while wing LaShun Watson 21 points, 4 steals and 6 assists to help Tampa Bay to the victory.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Rebels Announce Roster for 2012 Season


After completing training camp, the Tampa Bay Rebels have announced their roster for the 2012 Florida Basketball Association (FBA) season. The Tampa Bay Rebels will take the court with eleven players in uniform when they kick off their season May 5th at the Palm Beach Titans.

In the backcourt, the Rebels will rely on Jonathan Brown, a former University of Tampa product, and Jerel Young to anchor the point. They will be aided on the wing by 6’5” An’juan Wilderness, who could also see some time at forward. Backing up Wilderness will be Aubrey West and Will McIntyre. West has been with the Rebels since 2011, while McIntyre earned his spot through an open tryout.  

The Rebels are expected to have several possible contributors in their frontcourt. At the forward positions 6’5” Shun Watson and 6’7” Tim Ware will be relied on for their experience. Xavier Shannon, who also earned a roster spot after the tryout, and Alberto Damour, a former USF Bull, will add depth as they begin their professional careers.  

In the post, Chamberlain high school product and former Saint Leo center, Matt Kendrick, will anchor the Rebels with his seven-foot frame. Alonzo Davis, a 6’8” center, will provide the Rebels with another proven player in the middle.

The Rebels will play their first home game on May 19, 2012, against the Heartland Prowl at Lutz Preparatory School located at 17951 U.S. Highway 41 in Lutz, Florida. All future home games will be played at Freedom High School, which is located at 17410 Commerce Park Boulevard in Tampa, Florida. For complete coverage of the Rebels, please visit www.tampabayrebels.com.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Training Camp Gets Underway

An'juan Wilderness
The Tampa Bay Rebels started out their training camp on April 23 with two sessions per day. In the morning they have weight lifting and skill work at the YMCA in New Tampa, and in the evenings they continue their on-court training at Freedom high school. The team has eleven players on the roster for the 2012 Florida Basketball Association (FBA) season which starts in May 5th. The Rebels will feature several local players on their roster several such as Tampa native seven-footer Matt Kendrick, Alberto Damour from USF, and Jonathan Brown from the University of Tampa. The team also picked up two players from the recent tryout held two weeks ago in the University Community Area Park. Xavier Shannon will serve as a backup forward, and Will McIntyre will come off the bench to assist on the perimeter. The Rebels also secured the services of several players with experience in the minor league circuit such as An’juan Wilderness (shown in photo), 6’7” forward Tim Ware, 6’8” Alonzo Davis, and 6’5”combo guard Shun Watson.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rebels Head to Cancun for Preseason Games

The Tampa Bay Rebels have been invited to compete in preseason games against Pioneros de Quintana Roo, one of the top teams in Latin America.  The Pioneros club competes in Mexico's top league, the LNBP.  They are also competing in the FIBA Americas Liga De Las Americas, which places the top teams from pro leagues in the FIBA Americas region into a tournament.  Teams from Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Chile compete in the international event.

After earning a trip to the Final Four of the tournament, Pioneros requested a series of games with the Rebels to prepare for their upcoming games in the Final Four, which will be hosted by La Union de Formosa from Argentina.  Joining the Pioneros in Argentina will be Obras Sanitarias (Argentina), Uniceub / BRB (Brazil), and the host team, La Union de Formosa.

"One of the things that separates the Rebels from other minor league basketball teams is that we are uniquely structured to work with international teams, tournaments, and leagues," says Andrew Phillips, Director of Scouting for the Rebels.  "Coach Rojas has ties to the international community and is in constant contact with officials from teams and leagues around the world.  It is not always easy to make these quick trips to play overseas, but we have developed a relationship with players and the international community that makes it feasible for the Rebels to take part in these competitions.  The opportunity to compete against a top team like the Pioneros club, and provide international exposure for our players is something that we strive to take advantage of as often as we can."

Stay tuned for details of the series with Pioneros de Quintana Roo...

Tampa Bay Rebels Hire Assistant Coach

Photo Courtesy of www.tampabay.com
The Tampa Bay Rebels have announced the hiring of Cedric Smith as Assistant Coach for the 2012 Florida Basketball Association season.  The hiring of Smith, a former player at the University of South Florida, allows the Rebels to add another proven basketball professional with ties to the Tampa community to their staff.  Smith is also the head coach at Freedom High School in Tampa.

During a productive career at USF, Smith worked his way into the Bulls’ record books in a number of categories.  He currently ranks first in career steals, fourth in career 3-point field goals made, and seventh in career assists.  He is also in the top ten of several other career categories.

After finishing has career with the Bulls, Smith began his career in coaching.  He served as an assistant coach with USF until moving to Virginia Tech in 2005, where he served as the Hokies strength and conditioning coach.  From 2007-2011, Smith was an assistant at Radford University, where he helped guide the team to an NCAA tournament appearance in 2009.

Rebels Release Schedule and Ticket Packages

The Tampa Bay Rebels have released their 2012 Florida Basketball Association along with pricing information for season and individual games.

The Rebels open their inaugural season on the road against Palm Beach on May 5, 2012, their first of two consecutive road games to start the season.  The Rebels’ will play their home opener on May 19th against the Heartland Prowl at Lutz Preparatory School, which is located at 17951 U.S. Highway 41 in Lutz, Florida.

Following the home opener, the Rebels will move into their official home for the 2012 season, Freedom High School, located at 17410 Commerce Park Boulevard in the New Tampa district of Northeast Tampa.  The Rebels will look to establish home court advantage at Freedom when they host the Florida Flight on June 2nd as they bring professional basketball back to Tampa.

All six home games will start at 8pm.  Season tickets can be purchased for $50 by contacting Fernando Rojas at 813-477-0934 or at frojas@rotecsite.com until April 27, 2012, while individual game tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 each.  Fans under 13 years old will receive free admission. Please visit www.tampabayrebels.com for additional ticket and schedule information.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rebels Hold Successful Tryout in Tampa


On Sunday, April 15, 2012, the Rebels held their first open tryout of the season at the University Area Community Center. Players came from Orlando, Tampa, Clearwater and as far away as Miami for a chance to play for the Rebels. After going through a warm-up, the group was divided into four teams that competed against each other in full-court games to evaluate players in game situations.

Rick Catala came all the way from Miami knowing firsthand what potential benefits could come by way of the tryout. “I met Coach Rojas five years ago when I was playing in a church league. He saw me, and two years later he gave me an opportunity to play professional basketball for a foreign club he was coaching then. After that experience, I played for another club, but he opened the door for me. I brought a group of players from Miami because I know Coach can give them an opportunity as well."

With the season scheduled to begin within the next month, the Rebels are looking to solidify their roster. “Our training camp starts next week, and we are looking for local talent to fill the roster that will play in the Florida Basketball Association,” Coach Rojas said. The Rebels will play their first season game in Palm Beach on May 5th.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rebels Hire Director of International Scouting



Calvin Morris
Director of Interntional Scouting
The Tampa Bay Rebels have announced the hiring of Calvin Morris as the Director of International Scouting. Morris, who attended Tennessee State, played professionally in Europe, Paraguay, and Mexico. “In 2008, he played for the team I was coaching at the time, and since then, we have been in touch,” said GM Fernando Rojas.

Calvin retired from playing and is now managing U.S. born players from his location in Mexico. He successfully promotes players with experience in the ABA, PBL and IBL that want to travel to South America looking for opportunities. “Coach Rojas and I share the same knowledge of international basketball. He is always searching for talent and has given opportunities to play and travel abroad to many minor leaguers. I am pleased to be part of his staff,” Calvin commented.

Fernando attended a showcase organized by Morris in Irapuato, Mexico and saw potential talent to join the Rebels for the 2012 Florida Basketball Association season. Rojas said, “We saw talented guards and play-makers, and we decided to invite some of them to attend training camp in Tampa. These guys have enough game and experience to succeed in the FBA."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

5 Quick Questions With...Dean Oliver - Director, Production Analytics at ESPN

Dean Oliver is one of the world’s foremost leaders in sports analytics.   Mr. Oliver is the author of Basketball on Paper, a book which is widely considered to be the handbook for basketball analytics.  Has passion for sports and statistics is not limited to basketball, however.  Since arriving at ESPN in February 2011, Oliver has already made an impact by developing the Total QBR – the most detailed evaluation of NFL quarterbacks from statistics to date. 

Prior to his time at ESPN, Oliver worked in the front office of the Denver Nuggets as Director of Quantitative Analysis and as a consultant for the Seattle Supersonics.  During his time in the NBA, Mr. Oliver assisted the coaching staffs and management by using his statistical analysis to evaluate players and trades, assist with free agency, salary cap management, and financial issues, and applied his information to advance scouting reports, defensive quantification and game plan development.  His ability to extract an extraordinary amount of information from statistics and apply them to the game of basketball has helped increase the use of statistical analysis throughout NBA front offices.  To learn more about his work, please visit www.basketballonpaper.com

The Tampa Bay Rebels sincerely appreciate Mr. Oliver taking the time to join us for “5 Quick Questions.”

How long have you been using stats to evaluate basketball players?
Since 1984 or so.  It got a lot better a couple years later, then even better in the early 1990s.
When you worked for the Denver Nuggets, your title was Director of Quantitative Analysis. Can you give us a description of what you did for the organization?
If there was a decision to be made that could be helped using analytics, that was my job.  This could be on personnel issues - trades, draft, free agency, contracts - or it could be on coaching issues.  On the coaching side, it was often more on what tendencies opponents had since our coaching staff had a very good understanding of our team.
Why have we just recently heard about an increase in teams using statistical analysis as a key factor in player acquisitions and free-agent signings?
It's been happening over the course of about eight years now.  It comes in waves and the wave is a bit broader right now, as fans of the approach spread to other teams.  I think that spread of advocates has helped make it more widely known.
How important should statistical analysis to professional basketball teams?
Doing without it is highly risky.  There definitely are different levels of analytics, with varying grades of sophistication and integration within decision-making, though, so having a token analyst or having people who aren't as good can also leave you behind.  On the other hand, there are some very smart people in basketball that I've met who I feel understand how numbers see the game, even if they don't see the numbers.
Do you have to have an extensive background in statistics in order to make them work for you as a basketball coach or executive?
I think you want to have a good background in statistics, databases, and basketball.  Without any one of those, it is a hard job to do.  Having coached and played and now worked extensively as a scout and in the front office, I know really well the questions that can and cannot be answered with the data we have.  I also know what data is more or less reliable. It takes time and experience with all sides to really understand that.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rebels Sign Center Matt Kendrick

Matt Kendrick

Height: 7'0"

Weight: 245 lbs

Position: Center

College: Saint Leo University

Previous Team: Sokol de Antofagasta (Chile)


The Tampa Bay Rebels have announced the signing of Matt Kendrick for the upcoming 2012 Florida Basketball Association season, which will begin play in May.  After practicing with the team earlier this year upon his return from Sokol de Antofagasta, a pro club in Chile, Kendrick was able to secure a spot in the roster.  The seven-footer will look to make an immediate impact for the Rebels.
Kendrick has been on the Rebels radar for a while.  "I had a chance to see Matt play during his senior season at Chamberlain High School and I could tell that he had the chance to be a special player.  We kept an eye on his stats and development while he was at St. Leo, knowing we had a legitimate pro prospect on our hands.  Once he began playing professionally, Coach Rojas stepped in and was able to bring Matt onboard," said Andrew Phillips, the Rebels Director of Scouting. 
When asked about the signing, Coach and GM Fernando Rojas said, "I spoke with his father who told me he was in South America playing professionally. Once he came home, he came to our practices and played well in our exhibition game against Palm Beach. He is an up and coming player, but I was most impressed with his positive attitude and professional demeanor. If he keeps improving he will definitely be part of our international tour.”
Kendrick said, "I recently met Coach Rojas and right away I found out he knows many international players I played with when I was abroad. He also coached internationally and knows many players and agents overseas; I know playing for the Rebels will help me getting another international job."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rebels Come Up Short in FBA Exhibition Opener


(RIVIERA BEACH, FL) – In a matchup between two teams making their Florida Basketball Association (FBA) debuts, the Palm Beach Titans edged the Tampa Bay Rebels 140-131 in a preseason contest played at Inlet Grove High School in Riviera Beach. 

The Rebels led the high-scoring affair by a 32-30 count after one stanza, but the Titans rallied to take a four-point lead into the locker room at the half.

The Titans made six three-point field goals during a third quarter that saw them stretch their lead to eight at 109-101 after three quarters. In all, they connected on 15 treys in the contest. The Titans then protected their lead in the final quarter to preserve the win.

Guard T.T. Hall paced the Titans with 36 points, while center Matt Kendrick paced the Rebels with a team-high 27, including an array of noteworthy dunks. He was also a force on the defensive end, blocking several Titan shots.

“The Titans’ shooting and transition game was outstanding today,” said Rebels Coach Fernando Rojas. “They moved the ball well, getting high-percentage shots. We couldn’t keep up with their speed, and at the end we ended up nine points short.”

Please continue to check the FBA’s Website at www.thefba.com for dates and times of more preseason action as the league ramps up for its regular-season debut in May.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Tampa Bay Rebels Join the Florida Basketball Association

The Tampa Bay Rebels have reached an agreement to participate in the newly formed Florida Basketball Association (FBA) for the 2012 season. The Rebels will be playing their first regular season game against the Palm Beach Titans in Palm Beach on May 5th, 2012. “We are very excited to be part of the FBA.  The spring schedule allows us to keep touring internationally in the fall and fill the void of high level basketball in the Bay area during the spring and summer months,” said GM and Head Coach Fernando Rojas.

The Commissioner of the FBA will be retired NBA player Gregg Kite. A former Orlando Magic alum, Kite boasts an 11 year NBA career that includes two NBA Championships with the Boston Celtics (’84 and ’86). “Basketball has been a huge part of my life,” said Kite. “I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to come my way. The timing is perfect, and I’m excited to have found a leadership opportunity that enables me to merge my business and basketball experience together to help create something with a tremendous amount of potential in Florida”.

The FBA will boast six charter teams for its inaugural season: the Miami Stars, the Palm Beach Titans, the Florida Flight from Orlando, the Panama City Dream, the Heartland Prowl, and the Tampa Bay Rebels. The regular season will run from May through July.

Rojas added, “The FBA is the right fit for us. Basketball fans will have the opportunity to enjoy high caliber play and see future basketball stars.”

Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Quick Questiosn With...Aaron Mitchell - Head Coach of Antranik Beirut

The Tampa Bay Rebels are excited to have Aaaron Mitchell, Head Coach of Antranik Beirut of Lebanon's top league, join us for this edition of "5 Quick Questions."  Coach Mitchell brings a diverse background to the coaching ranks as an accomplished player in both the U.S. and various premier leagues around the globe.  In addition to coaching Antranik, Coach Mitchell is also writing a blog for Eurobasket.com, which you can view here.


How long have you been coaching overseas?

I played 16 years, and I am in my 7th year coaching!

During your international coaching and playing career, have you ever been in a position where political situations in your country or surrounding countries have affected your ability to attract international talent? If so, how have you dealt with that?

No, never.

How has your experience as an international player helped you as an international coach?

By far, playing in the number of countries I have, it has humbled me as person and developed my skills and knowledge of the game as a coach!

When you evaluate players with American citizenship, do you give serious consideration to what level of college basketball (NCAA Division I, Division II, NAIA, etc) they played, or are you evaluating them as a player independent of where they played collegiately?

I look at style of play - college has no meaning for me.  Some players develop in small (schools) perhaps better than players in large schools.

As a coach, how much control do you have in regards to which players are signed?

All control.  You have to have it to select the people you are going to work with.  (But) there are some cases where you inherit a team, wether the club starts late, or you replace a coach, or (there are) financial problems!