By Ruben Alcaraz
Eurohopes was invited to live a practice day at Canarias Basketball Academy, sited at wonderful island of Gran Canaria (Spain). The CBA is the first basketball academy located at Spain and one of few that works in whole Europe. The director and the academy’s brain is Rob Orellana, well known for his many years like assistant coach at D1 colleges like UNLV, Cal-State Fullerton, Fairleigh Dickinson, St. Francis College and more. In its only fourth year of life, the CBA can boast about having sent 22 players to NCAA Division 1 and two of his former players, Joel Freeland and Ryan Richards, were NBA drafted.
Eurohopes had a very interesting talk with Orellana about functioning of the CBA.
-What is CBA?
CBA is more than a team, is a step, a bridge to America or pro teams for the players. We have two under 18 teams and three senior teams competing at top island leagues. However we do not demand results, we demand player development. We are a very viable option for players that want to go to States or players that want to be formed to play in Europe. CBA is 100% private, we receive no money from any public state.
-Why en Canarias?
Canarias is a very recognized place in all Europe, weather is fantastic all year. Here we have a wonderful facilities to train, a nice chalet where guys are living and the Oakley College where boys study is only at 10 meters to that house. Besides familiar reasons.
-What’s the difference between CBA and American academies and prep schools?
The biggest difference is that we work nine months, and those schools only train during winter season, three months. Some European players lose their time at those prep schools. If you have aptitudes, those aptitudes won’t improve in only three months. At this academy, arrived players with aptitudes to develop and they had the necessary time to work and develop their skills.
-Who are your crown jewels?
Boris Bojanovsky (’93) have a tremendous future. For his size have a impressive coordination, he needs to hold the level of requirement. Oskars Reinfelds (’94) has the chance to become a great player too. They are the youngsters that will stay more time here with me. Charli Klein (’90) has evolved really good. Malick Cisse (’92) too. The best thing about this group of players is that veterans and best players control the locker room and the residence, and are those that they work more.
-Any of the current players are committed to college?
Nerijus Anglickis (’90) will go to Rider University. Harald Karlis (’91) committed with Seton Hall. And the rest of the players have options, we are in process still. The next month will be a key. Gonzaga, Washington, Butler, Maryland, between 20 or 30 colleges will come to recruit players. Normally they are searching big guys. This year we will send minimum eight players to Division 1 colleges. In last three years we sent 22 players. In Europe, nobody has never sent 22 players to college in three years.
-What offer the CBA to the players?
We offer expert training, both on and off the court, physical conditioning, nutrition, etc. Also we work every day to find a good opening for our players. I put all my experience recruiting more than 15 years to find the best way to our guys. A few examples: Patrik Auda (’89) came here from Czech Republic third division, work a lot, never have a bad day, and this year he played 16 minutes per game at Seton Hall University. We changed his life. Other example: Marek Soucek (’90) have not team, one year at CBA and is possible that next year he will play against Duke University if finally Maryland sign him.
Inside Canarias Basketball Academy part two coming soon.