George Raveling jumps on the international bandwagon

Seemingly everywhere on the Internet is a USA Today article by Greg Boeck about International players taking over the NBA. Now, forget that I first sounded the alarm in 2002 and criticized Dick Vitale in 2003; my favorite part is this quote by George Raveling:

“NBA teams are realizing it’s less risky to draft internationals because they’re more coachable, more socialized, have no posses and have not been Americanized,” says former college coach George Raveling, Nike’s director of global basketball. Raveling’s prediction: International players will comprise 50% of the NBA by 2010.

What’s amazing is that Raveling stands aside Sonny Vaccaro as the people most in charge of destroying the fabric of American basketball. One could make an argument that the system which has developed through greedy businessmen building on Vaccaro’s success and exploiting the dreams of American teenagers is the major reason the European players have relevance in the NBA today. Basically, Raveling is criticizing himself, and he probably doesn’t even know it. Raveling is among the group that “Americanizes” American players through the AAU/exposure culture.

Further in the article, former Penn State guard Joe Crispin said:

“I’d love to tell every coach in America you need to learn how to coach like this,” he says. “It’s not the same mentality, but college and high school coaches have to learn how to develop guys. Frankly, they’re not.”

My recently published book, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development, makes this point over and over and illustrated a model of long term development not unlike the one used in European clubs. I, for one, would love to coach in this manner in the United States, however, I cannot get hired for a coaching job, which is why I run my own training business and write books to make a living.

So, while Crispin has not yet read my book (email me if interested, Joe), I’ll take his statement in this article as an endorsement of its ideas. And, I’ll laugh at the absurdity of Raveling criticizing the American basketball landscape he helped create (BTW, maybe Raveling can talk to Vitale about the “backlash” to International players Vitale predicted in 2003).

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