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IBL Enters Exclusive Tryout And Scouting Partnership With bj-League
The IBL (International Basketball League) have strengthened their partnership with the bj-League (Basketball Japan League) to host exclusive tryouts and scouting events in North America. The deal will ultimately help continue a collaborative partnership between both leagues to provide further levels of opportunity, development, and exposure for athletes and coaches.
As a result of the exclusive partnership granted by bj-League Commissioner Toshimitsu Kawachi, the International Basketball League has an authority to host tryout and scouting events as well as answer interviews and/or any media activity on behalf of the bj-League. “We are very excited about the talent we see in the IBL and many of our teams have already signed players from this league again for our 2014-2015 season. We are also looking at the athletes we will scout at partner events for the IBL with CourtSide and Global Basketball in Las Vegas during NBA Summer League, where we will also see the NBA Development League Select team. Then down to Los Angeles with the Summer Pro League and the IBL. All scouting reports and video via bj-TV via You Tube IBL Hoops, will be shared with all bj-League teams as we have many good positions available for import players,” Commissioner Kawachi commented.
Current bj-League stand out, going into his fifth season, 6’9’’ Lawrence Blackledge (Iwate Big Bulls), got his start in the IBL after exiting the college floor at Marquette, and keeps company with other alumni Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls) and Wes Matthews (Portland Trail Blazers). “Playing in the IBL opened the door for me to play in the bj-League. If I didn't play in the IBL I doubt I would still be playing in Japan to this day. I think that IBL players are a perfect fit for playing in Japan. The style of play is very similar being that both leagues are very fast paced and high scoring. Playing for the BC Titans (IBL Commissioner’s former team in the league), and Vancouver Volcanoes was good prep for the bj-League, and played a major part in my success in Japan as a pro player.” Blackledge shared.
Other IBL players who have played in the bj-League include 6’11’’ C Wayne Marshall (Osaka Evessa, Shinshu Brave Warriors Nagano) who also got his start with the Titans, 6’5’’ G Michael Parker (Shimane Susanoo Magic) from the Bellingham Slam, 6’3’’ G Masaharu (Masa) Kataoka (Kyoto Hannaryz), and 6’1’’ G Kevin Tyner (Osaka Evessa) both were a part of the Vancouver Volcanoes roster. Reigning IBL MVP 6’2’’ G Andre Murray from the Volcanoes has reached an agreement to play in the bj-League with Bambitious Nara, as well as last season’s MVP 6’6’’ F Chehales Tapscott. Tapscott is in the midst of a successful stint playing professionally in Australia putting up 8 ppg and 11.3 rpg for the Rockhampton Rockets (who are currently in first place), he will join his teammate in Nara this September right after his time in the land down under.
“We are pleased to be an exclusive partner and this is one of the next steps in our relationship with the bj-League,” IBL Commissioner Graf shared. “This is where great basketball is played in Japan, where both import players and domestic can develop together, under a unique set of rules while enjoying the game we all love. Being a league that my colleague Commissioner Kawachi and his teams can have great confidence in the partnerships we have, and the athletes we develop to move on to the bj-League in the fall, providing full statistics, video and scouting reports by NBA, NBA D-League, and international scouts who evaluate our players is something that I am very proud of, and a unique benefit that the IBL provides in addition to the NBA D-League, and more so comparatively than other minor leagues.”
Joe Navarro, 2014 IBL Coach of the Year, recently coached the Vancouver Volcanoes to the 2014 IBL championship game, is also heading overseas to coach Hiroshima, a bj-Challenge League team, who’s GM is Kenta Nakashima, a former player for Navarro in the IBL. Two recent players for Navarro are rumored to head over and play for Hiroshima fresh off a season in the IBL. 6’11’’ C Gjio Bain, and 2014 IBL Rookie of the Year 6’6’’ F Adam Herman are both figured to join Navarro in Japan this upcoming fall.
“The partnership is still in it's infancy, but both leagues are already benefiting. The IBL gets to move guys to a league, and the bj-League gets to really see the talent in a very competitive summer league,” Navarro added.
Navarro continued, “I think the bj-League is one of the best leagues in the world. Maybe not from a talent standpoint, but from a player standpoint. The fans love basketball and the players. The bj-League is going to see how good Chehales Tapscott and Andre Murray are, and after that I expect the rest of the GM's in the league to start using the IBL a lot more.”
Another result of the IBL - bj-League tryout partnership will be the ability for the IBL’s top players (2014 All-Stars, and individual award winners) to receive exclusive evaluation at the upcoming tryout events for an allotted portion of time. Plenty of the IBL’s top performers can benefit from this unique addition to the partnership.
The IBL will host the first bj-League tryout scouting camp July 13th at The Practice Facility in Portland, Oregon home of the LA Clippers floor. Athletes will receive exposure in person and on video to top Asian overseas leagues and domestic leagues, teams, scouts and agents. Statistics will be available online and on site, video live and or posted on YouTube/IBLHoops, with scouting reports created and circulated through all 23 bj-League teams and up to 6 bj-League Challenge League teams, with a chance to sign with one of them for the fall season.
In partnership with the Summer Pro League (SPL) the IBL will host another bj-League tryout scouting camp July 20th, in greater Los Angeles, (Huntington Park, California). Players who attend this exclusive tryout will receive exposure in person and on video to top domestic and overseas leagues, teams, scouts and agents. Players will also receive statistics which will be available online and on site, video live and or posted on YouTube/IBLHoops, scouting reports created and circulated through all three leagues on site, and post-event with a chance to sign with all 45+ teams represented including landing immediately on an SPL Free Agent Team to play in the league July 23-26 against top talent.
The exclusivity for 2014, and leading into 2015 for the IBL to host any and all tryout and scouting events for the bj-League, and it’s teams in any and all locations in North America is an excellent step forward for both the IBL, and bj-League. The two leagues will gain from this partnership, and likely establish communication that will result in positive results for players, coaches, administrators, officials and more.