Bass Builds A Basketball Mecca

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bassEast Hills resident B.J. Bass is turning Basketball City, located at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, into New York’s basketball mecca.

Last Sunday, Bass, who is managing partner of RBA Sports, hosted the fifth annual RBA Sports Showcase at that location.
The event drew dozens of professional basketball prospects and scouts from nine NBA teams, including the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets. At the same time, the courts were full of youngsters playing in organized games from the grade school to high school age levels.

“The turnout was great,” Bass said of the Sunday event. “From the standpoint of the scouts, the level of talent just gets better and better each year.”

The players who participate have a chance to be drafted by one of the NBA’s 30 teams, while others, some of whom are already playing pro ball, have a chance to sign on as free agents.

During the showcase, teams play a series of abbreviated games for the scouts. Before the contests, Bass gave a pep talk to the players, reminding them that this is their big chance to hit their shots and impress the scouts. The action, as one might guess, was fast and furious.

In addition to the Knicks and Nets, the showcase attracted scouts from the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers.

The showcase has become one of the preeminent professional basketball combines in the country, featuring numerous up and coming stars from the New York City area. Bass has used to showcase talent that often flies below the radar NBA prospects.

Following the inaugural RBA Showcase in 2010, RBA’s Vernon Goodridge, a forward from LaSalle University, was signed by the Golden State Warriors. After the 2012 RBA Showcase, Phil Jones, a forward from UNC Charlotte, was signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Last year, after the showcase, 12 RBA players were drafted into the NBA Development League.

A partial list of free agent players whose talents were on display included: Kyle Hunt (Austin Toros), Vernon Goodridge (Golden State Warriors Training Camp), Phil Jones (Minnesota Timberwolves Training Camp), Orion Outerbridge (Sioux Falls Skyforce), Akeem Ellis (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), Isaiah Wilkerson (Tulsa 66ers) and Rashad Bishop (Milwaukee Bucks Summer League).

Draft eligible prospects who also participated include: Orlando Sanchez (St. John’s), Branden Frazier (Fordham), Adam Kemp (Marist), Zeke Upshaw (Hofstra), Halil Kanacevic (Saint Joseph’s) and Naofall Folahan (Wagner).

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Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

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