Thursday, December 22, 2016
In August 2016, former Tampa Bay Rebels Brandon Davis continued his basketball journey when he was hired by the Echague Club in Argentina. After playing for the Rebels in 2014, Davis went to Mexico and led the league in scoring that season before moving on to Venezuela and Argentina. “Brandon is playing the best basketball of his career. His game has evolved, and, in my opinion, he is ready to play in the Euroleague. We are proud of his success,” stated Rebels owner and head coach Fernando Rojas.
Thursday, December 8, 2016
The Blue Sharks held their annual tryout at The Clinic in Tampa on Saturday December 3rd. When asked about the tryout, Coach John Brown said, “The tryout brought a young point guard and a very interesting prospect that could play in the wing for us. These new guys will have priority over the players that missed out on the opportunity and will complement the existing roster. We are going to participate in the MLK Tournament in January, which will give us a chance to look at the new roster for 2017."
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
With 2016 drawing to a close, we sat down with Fernando Rojas, the owner and Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Rebels, to discuss the events of the past year and the outlook heading into 2017.
What was the high point of 2016?
Our developmental program produced its first export player, and, as a team, we played more games than the year before. This level of activity made the developmental program better and stronger. Another important aspect in 2016 was the fact that we found a training facility that we can call home. The Clinic in Tampa fits our needs perfectly.
Your summer program will be in its third year of operation. What is next?
Our spring and summer program is growing and moving in the right direction. During our second season, we saw better talent joining the Blue Sharks. Still, for some players, weekly practices and basic organization was difficult to manage. We have a good roster for next year, and we are planning on adding new talent.
Are the Tampa Bay Rebels closer to joining a professional league?
The decision to join a league in the summer will be carefully considered. We want to be part of an organization that is based on professionalism and intelligent leadership. There are some options that we are currently looking into.
What about the low points this year?
Lack of commitment seems to be the biggest obstacle. Many good players miss out on the opportunity because they do not want to practice; they just want to play on the weekends. We are not a recreational basketball organization, and commitment is key.
What are your plans for 2017?
We want to increase the number of games we play in the city as well as against out of state competition. We will be looking for the next player that we can send overseas.
To learn more about the Tampa Bay Rebels organization, please visit us online at www.tampabayrebels.com.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Mexico’s LNBP, the top professional basketball league south of the border, just kicked off the 2016-17 season in early October. Coach Rojas was invited to attend the series between Correcaminos and Abejas. “Coach Garcia from Correcaminos invited me to spend some time with his club; it was a great opportunity to see the inner workings of his team. I also spent quality time with Rodrigo, Director of Basketball Operations of the Abejas de Leon club, and even had the opportunity to chat with former NBA player Horacio Llamas. The league has fewer teams this year, but the level of play is considerably higher than years past. Only the best talent will make it in this league. They know some of our former players did a good job for their clubs, and they told me that they would like to see more players from Tampa heading their way.”
For those who are interested in pursuing a career in professional basketball or building upon previous professional experience, the Tampa Bay Rebels developmental team, the Blue Sharks, will be holding a tryout from 11am-2pm on Saturday, December 3rd at The Clinic which is located at 9511 N Trask Street Unit B in Tampa. The tryout fee for each player is $200.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Blue Sharks MVP and member of the Tampa Bay Rebels Tyshawn Edwards has been signed by Correcaminos Victoria of the LNBP, the top professional league in Mexico. Edwards, a high-energy 6’4” athletic guard that has the ability to play the 2 and 3 positions at the FIBA level, scored 36 points against the SC Redhawks in his last game as a Rebel.
Edwards played for the Rebels’ developmental team, the Blue Sharks, for a period of nine months during in which the team competed in local tournaments and leagues. The Blue Sharks program is designed for players interested in developing their game within an organized environment. Tyshawn saw the program as an opportunity to bring discipline to his personal life and develop his game. Edwards said, “I love the game of basketball, but I did not want to spend my best years playing weekend tournaments with my friends. On December 19th 2015, I attended Coach Rojas tryout, and I will never forget that day. He gave me confidence and treated me in a very professional way. I made the team and decided to stick with the program. Six months later, he told me that if I kept practicing, he would contact foreign teams on my behalf. I received my first international contract shortly after. Coach has personal relationships with overseas teams, and spends time training players like me.”
In the last nine months Edwards’ game has become stronger on both ends of the floor. Coach Rojas commented, “Ty is a success story in more ways than one. First off, he made a very personal decision to improve himself. He joined our developmental team, and, for nine consecutive months, he showed his dedication to getting better, and he did. I enjoyed coaching a player that respects the game and the people who supported him. We have already scheduled another tryout in December to keep searching for more talent. The system works for the player with the right skillset and attitude.”
To learn more about the Tampa Bay Rebels and the upcoming tryouts on December 3rd, please visit us online at www.tampabayrebels.com.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Former Tampa Bay Rebel Joe Katuka recently visited Africa while supporting the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program. Katuka was a member of the 2014 Tampa Bay Rebels roster that reached the FBA championship game. “I met Joe thanks to Greg Kite, a former NBA Champion. Joe did a great job for us in the 2014 season. His inside game and ability to finish with both hands was a fundamental factor in our team reaching the championship game. He had a great high school and college career, and will be able to share with the African youth everything that he has learned. I cannot think of a better fit for the Basketball Without Borders program than Joe. We are glad to see him succeed,” Coach Rojas commented.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
The Blue Sharks have finished their 2016 activities with an overall record of 15 – 10. Early in the year, the Blue Sharks reached the championship game in the MLK tournament. The team later finished as the runner up in the Tampa Bay Sports Club league, and will look to carry some of that momentum into the 2017 calendar year.
Each year, the Blue Sharks name an MVP which has been chosen by the players. This year, the players selected 6’4” guard Tyshawn Edwards as the 2016 Blue Sharks MVP. Edwards attended the first Blue Sharks tryout in December 2015 and made the team. Since then, he has participated in every single practice and game for nine consecutive months. Coach Rojas commented on Ty’s MVP year, “We know that most players focus their efforts on playing. Ty was committed to practice and learning more about the game, and enjoyed being part of a serious organization. After nine months of hard work, he transformed himself from a weekend player into a professional athlete capable of playing at FIBA level. His hard work set a high standard for future players interested in joining the team. His skill set is very evident to the naked eye, but, in my opinion, his best asset is his work ethic. He represents the core purpose of the Blue Sharks.”
Thursday, July 7, 2016
The focus of the Tampa Bay Rebels organization is to mold and develop players for the international market where they can help foreign clubs as “export” players. While the number of openings for export players varies across countries and leagues, the expectation placed upon these players to perform in a professional manner both on and off the court remains high across the board. This summer, we have several players with the skill to play abroad. They have invested months into our program, improving their game and getting advice on what to expect when playing overseas.
Over the past ten years, the list of players that have received their first international contract right after playing or touring with the Rebels has continually grown to include the following players: Brandon Davis (Lamar University), Marlyn Bryant (USF), Dajan Smith (Lynn University), Mark Borders (University of Tampa), Terrence Gamble (Tarleton State), Fred Woods (University of Tampa), Jarvis Gunter (NBA D-League), Spenser Mitchell (St. Leo), Marcus Morrison (Middle Tennessee State), Rick Catala (Miami), Tyrone Hayes (University of Idaho), Jarrell Kelley (Fort Myers), Joshua Perry (Jacksonville State), and LaTraven Henry (Orlando).
This talented group of former Tampa Bay Rebels started their international career in countries such as Mexico, Portugal, China, Dominican Republic and Ireland. Most of these athletes went on to play in Brazil, Uruguay, Mongolia, and Spain. Coach Rojas commented “A high percentage of these guys were hired by other clubs after their rookie season, and that speaks highly of our organization. Many players can be hired once but only the most capable will be able to build a long term career.”
You can learn more about the Tampa Bay Rebels by visiting www.tampabayrebels.com.
Monday, May 16, 2016
The Blue Sharks developmental program continues to grow as new players are joining the team’s practices and games. Recently, the team contracted with a centrally located practice facility in Tampa allowing players the opportunity to join the team without traveling larger distances. The team is holding practices every Monday and Wednesday night at 8 pm.
Tampa Bay Rebels GM Fernando Rojas commented, “Having a practice facility that fits our needs will help the program significantly. We are building something positive for basketball athletes, but also adding something beneficial for the community. We extend an open invitation to all payers 18 years of age and older to join the Blue Sharks.”
You can learn more about the Tampa Bay Rebels and the Blue Sharks at www.tampabayrebels.com.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
This year, the Tampa Bay Rebels celebrate our 10th anniversary as a basketball organization, and we couldn’t plan a better celebration than having two of our best former players reach the top of their profession. Brandon Davis finished the LNBP regular season as the league’s leading scorer with an average of 25.7 points per game in forty games. He also took his team, Correcaminos (Roadrunners), to the playoffs for the first time in three years. Veteran point guard Mark Borders finished the season as the LNBP’s assists leader with 7.9 assists per game. Borders also led the LNBP in assists during his rookie season in 2007.
“I remember when I recruited Mark after his college career at the University of Tampa. At the time, we were the Tampa Bay Sharks. We traveled abroad, and, after playing two games, he was signed by Santos de San Luis. Later on, he went to Brazil for four years and then came back to Mexico to become the assist leader this year,” Coach Rojas commented. He added “Two years ago, I went to Jacksonville to watch a minor league basketball game. I saw Brandon’s shooting capability and two things were clear: his NBA range and ease of release. He is a natural shooter with the size and defensive skills to successfully play international basketball. At the time, I do not think he was fully aware of his potential. He played for the Rebels in 2014 and set a single game scoring record in the FBA of 42 points including 12 three point shots. He was the Rebels MVP that year, and shortly after, for the first time, he signed his first international contract.”
Coach Rojas continued, “We are elated to celebrate ten years of promoting basketball in Tampa and, at the same time, recognizing the success of two smart players. Mark Borders and Brandon Davis are two outstanding athletes who appreciate the opportunities given to them. I have no doubt that they will continue climbing the ladder of success in their personal lives and basketball careers.”
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Former Tampa Bay Rebel's forward Spenser Mitchell was recently signed by Club Deportivo Estela Santander of Spain’s EBA. Mitchell is averaging 9.6 points and 8.0 rebounds during his time with Estela and has helped the team reach a record of 12-3. This is Mitchell’s second tour of duty in Europe as he previously played for Travelodge Swords Thunder in Ireland during the 2014-2015 season. Mitchell now joins a select group of former Tampa Bay Rebels who started their professional career in Tampa and continue to play internationally. Rebels Coach Fernando Rojas commented, “Spenser is a hard working player that will make the Estela front court better. His work ethic and team-oriented attitude is second to none, and we are glad to see him succeed at the next level.”
Monday, February 22, 2016
This year, the Tampa Bay Rebels will reach a milestone in minor league basketball. In the summer of 2006, under the name Tampa Bay Sharks, the club started operations by winning the championship in the Bay Pro-Am tournament. That year, the team traveled to Argentina and Mexico where, for the first time, some of our best players were signed by international clubs. In 2011, we changed the name to Tampa Bay Rebels and co-founded the Florida Basketball Association. The newly formed Tampa Bay Rebels won the 2012 FBA Championship and reached the finals for three consecutive years. We continued our international travel in 2011 by accepting an invitation to play in Cancun and also returned to Mexico for a three games series against professional teams in October of 2015.
Many great players have worn the Rebels jersey. The list of athletes includes NBA veterans, D-League players, NCAA National Champions, Sunshine State Conference player of the year, and ABA champions. Throughout the years, the coaching staff has also been a place of professional development for young coaches and sport managers.
We sincerely thank all the players who have, in the last ten years, worn the Sharks and Rebels jersey for their hard work, time, and dedication. Our wining culture and respect for the game is the result of their positive attitude and professionalism. We thank all past and present members of the coaching staff for their valuable insight and attention to detail. In particular, we would like to say “thank you" to a talented group of volunteers and supporters for sharing the dream and helping the Tampa Bay Rebels to become a one of a kind basketball organization.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
The Blue Sharks kicked off the year by participating in the first edition of the MLK Classic weekend tournament in Tampa. A new group of players, along with some returning faces such as Kevin Foster and Don Thomas, played exceptionally well and compiled a 5-2 record during the weekend. In one of the Sunday games, Blue Sharks 2015 MVP Don Thomas scored from half court sending the game to overtime and leading to a win in the semifinal contest. In the championship game, however, the Blue Sharks fell to the Bay Area Squad 65-70.
Coach Rojas commented, “Coach Brown did a great job getting the most out of a group that played together for the first time. We are in the process of building a new, competitive team that can gather interest from foreign clubs. We still have some open spots, and we will continue looking for more players to complete the roster that will be traveling in the spring and summer.”