Tuesday, December 8, 2015

2015 Rebels Recap

As 2015 draws to a close, we wanted to take a few minutes to talk with Tampa Bay Rebels owner and head coach, Fernando Rojas, and discuss all that has happened over the past 12 months. Here is a recap of our recent Q & A session with Coach Rojas:

What would you consider the high point of 2015?

For the second year in a row we were able to help one of our own players getting a full time job. Jonathan Brown is now working as a full time employee for a marketing survey company in Oldsmar. He is also the Head Coach of the Blue Sharks. Our main business is basketball but we will always support athletes willing to improve their own lives. The other success story is about Don Thomas who joined the Blue Sharks in July. He made the Rebels team that toured Mexico in October, and, after playing well against professional teams, he was invited to stay and practice with the local team.

This year you started the Blue Sharks, why?

The purpose of the Blue Sharks is to give more players the opportunity to display their basketball skills. Many local athletes want more than just playing with their friends on weekends. We open the door for quality players willing to invest the time to further their basketball careers. The system works for the right player, we look forward to keep launching new careers.

You have been doing this for a while, what are the pros and cons of minor league basketball?

The game of basketball is a great sport when the spirit of the game is understood. The game itself can provide opportunities and experiences that otherwise would not be available for most young people. Minor league sports provide a particularly important service to the community, affordable ticket pricing is one of them, but also real interaction between fans and players is something you do not see in mainstream sports. The downside is that too many times we see the game tainted by narrow minded concepts of respect and manhood. Some players forget that a real man pays his bills on time and spends time with his children. Dunking only means you can dunk.

Are you going to join any of the Florida leagues in 2016?

We are very interested in having the Rebels or Blue Sharks join one of the summer leagues in the State. There are several options out there we just need to figure out which one fits our budget and basketball goals.

You mentioned the high points of the year, what about the low points?

It is always disheartening to see young men wasting opportunities giving to them. Being part of an organized team is a great experience. However, instant gratification seems to be the biggest obstacle for young athletes.

What are your plans for 2016?

We have games outside Florida, tournaments in Tampa throughout the year, and exhibition games in Central and South Florida. The main plan is always the same: find and develop new talent.

If you would like to learn more about the Tampa Bay Rebels, please visit us online at www.tampabayrebels.com.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rebels, Blue Sharks Announce Affiliation With International League

The Tampa Bay Rebels and their developmental team, the Blue Sharks, are excited to announce an affiliation with a Division 2 professional league in Mexico. The relationship with the Mexican league will allow for increased opportunities for players to earn jobs at the international level.

“We have had a great deal of success in helping players get their start in international basketball over the last 9 years, most recently with Blue Sharks MVP Don Thomas during the Rebels recent international tour,” stated Andrew Phillips, the Director of Scouting for the Rebels. “This new agreement, which is only possible because of the personal relationships that Coach Rojas has built over the years, will allow us an opportunity to provide a platform for even more players to start their careers. The second division is an ideal spot for talented players who have limited professional basketball resumes to this point in their careers, which are the same type of players who find success with the Blue Sharks.”

Interested players should attend the Blue Sharks tryout on December 19th. The tryout will be held from 11am – 2pm at the Police Athletic League (PAL) gymnasium located at 1924 W. Diana Street in Tampa, Florida. The cost for the tryout is $200 and must be paid in cash at the door.

To learn more about the Tampa Bay Rebels and the Blue Sharks, please visit www.tampabayrebels.com.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rebels Impact Felt in LNBP

This year, the LNBP, the top league in Mexico, is featuring two players with ties to Florida that share the same beginning in professional basketball. Point guard Mark Borders and small forward Brandon Davis played for Coach Rojas in 2007 and 2014, respectively. “We have launched the career of many good players throughout the years. Mark and Brandon are the two best examples of what we do. After starting his career in Mexico, then having four successful seasons in Brazil, Mark is now a savvy veteran point guard. Brandon is starting his second year in the LNBP and continues to develop into a true professional. Brandon’s future is very bright. We are proud of their accomplishments and thankful for the opportunity to coach two outstanding athletes and good young men,” Rebels Coach Fernando Rojas commented.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Thomas Garners Attention Following Tour

Following a successful season with the Blue Sharks, 6’2” point guard Don Thomas was selected to travel with the Tampa Bay Rebels to Mexico for a three game exhibition tour against professional teams from the top Mexican league. After averaging 13.3 points, 2 steals, and 6 assists, the local club Panteras de Aguascalientes invited Thomas to stay and practice with the team during the preseason. “We do not know if the invitation will turn into a contract this year, however, he played well enough on both ends of the court to get the attention of the local coaching staff,” Coach Rojas commented. He added, “Don is a success story. He is the first player coming out of our developmental system that gets one step closer to playing international basketball.”

Friday, October 23, 2015

2015 International Tour Recap

The Tampa Bay Rebels recently returned from their 2015 International Tour where they competed against teams from the LNBP, the top league in Mexico. This was the fourth time that the Rebels have traveled abroad to compete against professional teams outside of the United States. The team played a total of 3 games during their week-long tour. All three games were played at an elevation higher than 6,000 feet.

“We would first like to thank all of the clubs in Mexico for their hospitality during our tour,” Rebels Director of Scouting Andrew Phillips stated. “We were fortunate to be able to play against such quality organizations while we were abroad. We were also able to meet with team owners to discuss the possibility of making the Tampa Bay Rebels the feeder organization for their team next season. They know many of the great players from Tampa and Central Florida that we have sent to the LNBP in past seasons. Coach Rojas will also be meeting with several teams next month as well.”

To keep up to date with the latest Tampa Bay Rebels news, please visit www.tampabayrebels.com.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Former NBA Center Joins Rebels

The Tampa Bay Rebels have announced that former NBA center Jerome James will play for the team during the 2015 International Tour.  A native of Tampa, the 7’1” James was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 36th selection of the 1998 NBA Draft. Following his time with the Kings, James also spent time with the Seattle Supersonics (2001-2005), the New York Knicks (2005-2009), and the Chicago Bulls (2009-2010). Throughout his career, James had the opportunity to play alongside NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton, NBA greats Ray Allen and Chris Webber, and FIBA Hall of Famer Vlade Divac.

Rebels Head Coach Fernando Rojas commented on Jerome’s arrival, “We are fortunate that a player of his background agreed to join the Rebels. His leadership and experience will be an asset for our young players looking for international opportunities. During our first meeting, he made clear to me both his professionalism and his personal goals at this stage of his career. We look forward to a great tour.”

This is the team’s fourth international tour. The Rebels will travel to Mexico in October to compete against clubs from the country’s top professional league. To find out the latest news about the Tampa Bay Rebels, please visit www.tampabayrebels.com.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2015 International Tour Preview

The Tampa Bay Rebels have completed their roster search for the upcoming tour to Mexico. This year, the team features players with previous professional basketball experience in countries such as Australia, Uruguay, and Canada as well as a former NBA center. Talent from the Rebels developmental team is also joining the roster.

The Rebels are scheduled to play four games in three cities against top teams from the LNBP, Mexico’s best professional league, during the one week trip abroad. The team will continue their preparations by holding morning practices at the YMCA and evening sessions at the Police Athletic League facility. This trip marks the fourth time the Rebels have traveled abroad to play against international competition.