Straight off the heels of my last blog about agents steering players to camps, tours or summer leagues, I have a new blogpost with a similar topic. This time it is about certain agents who are steering players to Leagues that have no FIBA accreditation nor are they backed by the NBA such as the BAL in Africa. I know of 2 of these types of leagues, but there may be more.
The usual process involves going to a combine that has a connecton to the league. There are usually a few combines in different cities in America. The organizers use the combines to decide which players are “good” enough to be put into a league drafting system which divides the players onto the teams of the league.
After you go to the combine, if you are selected in the draft and assigned to a team, you have the possibility to play a short season since there are rarely more than 6-8 teams in the league.
While these tryouts may offer a chance for players to showcase their skills and potentially secure a contract, there are several important considerations that need to be addressed.
Agents and Their Motives:
It has come to my attention that some agents, are actively encouraging players that they do not have signed to their agency, to participate in these tryouts. The motive behind their push remains unclear, but my experience suggests that these agents may receive kickbacks for each player who enters the combine. While this practice is not illegal, it raises ethical concerns and seems to prioritize financial gain over the players’ best interests.
The Nature of Tryouts:
The concept of tryouts and showcases in different regions is not inherently flawed. However, questions need to be asked to ensure transparency and fairness. Firstly, it is crucial to understand the ratio of players attending the combine tryouts to the number of available draft spots. If there are significantly more players in the combines than draft spots, to me it raises suspicions of a money-driven enterprise rather than a genuine opportunity for aspiring athletes.
When evaluating these overseas leagues and tryouts, it is important to consider several factors. Firstly, it is essential to authenticate whether players who did not attend the combine tryouts also have a chance of being drafted. I have heard this has been an issue.
Understanding the salary structure for selected players is also crucial, as financial compensation plays a significant role in decision-making. Is there compensation for all players or are some players actually paying to play in these leagues?
Additionally, the duration of the season and the availability of game film for player development are vital considerations for players weighing their options.
Implications and FIBA Recognition:
Given that these leagues and tryouts are not likely to be FIBA or NBA backed or it is reasonable to assume that their overall standard, statistics, and film might not be highly regarded by GM’s, or reputuable agents. This lack of recognition may impact the perception of players who have participated in these leagues, potentially limiting their opportunities in countries that prioritize FIBA-sanctioned competitions.
Having personally reviewed contracts from two events, I must admit that they were not as unfavorable as expected. However, two fundamental questions remain paramount: the potential earnings for selected players and the number of games played in a season. Before committing to a tryout, it is essential to have clarity on these crucial aspects to make an informed decision.
While these tryouts may serve as a platform for showcasing talent, the practices of certain agents and the lack of FIBA recognition raise valid concerns. It is crucial for players to ask pertinent questions, evaluate the competition dynamics, and carefully consider contractual details before committing to such combine tryouts. By being well-informed, players can make decisions that align with their long-term basketball aspirations.