Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Louisville Mentioned in SI Report Linking Foreign Trips to Landing Recruits

The University of Louisville and nine other college basketball programs are mentioned in a Sports Illustrated report that links foreign exhibition tours and landing recruits.

The portion of the article that talks about Louisville focuses on sophomore big man Matz Stockman.

Other schools mentioned in the report include Minnesota (where Richard Pitino coaches), N.C. State, Oklahoma State, Troy, UAB and UNC-Greensboro. Private schools in the report are Loyola Marymount, Portland, Seton Hall and Valparaiso.

Here is an excerpt:

What did these 11 colleges have in common, aside from booking travel with an obscure Spanish company with a rudimentary website? Each school signed one or more recruits who had played at Canarias Basketball Academy, a private, amateur academy that was founded in 2007 by Rob Orellana, a former assistant coach at Cal State-Fullerton, Fairleigh Dickinson and St. Francis. Not only is Canarias Basketball Academy (CBA) registered at the same business address in Gran Canaria as Promosport & Tours, but also one of CBA’s assistant coaches and its operations director, Samuel Sosa Cruz, is listed on contracts as Promosport’s president. Promosport’s college clients added at least 19 former CBA players to their rosters over the last six seasons, and in multiple cases, colleges signed Promosport contracts or took Promosport trips within months of adding former CBA players.

The article goes on to say:

Pitino’s father, Rick, had a similar CBA-Promosport connection at Louisville. On Nov. 19, 2013, the Cardinals signed 7-foot Norwegian center Matz Stockman out of CBA in what multiple news outlets called a “surprise” addition to Louisville’s 2014 recruiting class. Five months later, on April 25, 2014, the school signed a $167,850 contract with Promosport for a minimum 30-person trip to Madrid, Zaragoza and Barcelona that was scheduled for August 2015—the first summer the Cardinals were eligible for a foreign tour after traveling to the Bahamas in ‘11.

SI obtained emails between Promosport and Louisville indicating that in 2014, the school paid two installments on the tour totaling $75,000. According to Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein, the school then canceled the Spain tour on Feb. 24, 2015, in favor of internally arranging an August 2015 trip to Puerto Rico for exhibitions against the island’s junior and senior national teams—the latter of which Rick Pitino had agreed to coach in that summer’s Pan American Games and Olympic qualifying.

As a result of canceling the Promosport trip, Louisville lost a $25,000 deposit and half of a $50,000 payment, thus forfeiting a total of $50,000 to Promosport. Klein said that the Cardinals worked with Promosport on a recommendation from another school, and that “there were no connections on signing Matz Stockman and our plans to use the company.”

Stockman appeared in 23 games as a sophomore reserve for Louisville this season. In December, Pitino called Stockman the most improved Cardinal and said, “We’re going to need him down the road in this program. He’s going to develop into an outstanding basketball player.”

Complete Article

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