Barquisimeto, Venezuela.- Dominican-American assistant coach Chad Baker (full name Derrek Chad Baker Lopez) was contacted by Latinbasket.com Venezuela through a phone call to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and the current member of the coaching staff of Leones de Santo Domingo (LNB), expressed his happiness about coming back to Venezuela in the near future to resume working for Guaros de Lara, heading towards LPB 2013, as a first assistant coach.
Baker had to take over coaching duties in the latter part of the LPB 2012 regular season, prompting Guaros from nearly eliminated to almost in the playoffs, building a winning streak that allowed the team to finish with a 17-19 record. The general management had expressed that he'd be the head coach in 2013, but then changed their mind and said they preferred to have him back at his first job with the team and bring an American coach, yet to be named, who's got experience both in FIBA and NBA leagues.
"I'm happy to go back to Barquisimeto, because for me personally, it went well there. I'm a team player. When I played, I would play in any position the coach would want me to, so this time, there's no difference. I know they first told me I'd be the coach, then they changed their minds but kept me in their plans", Baker said.
"They told me that they want me to get more experience for a year or two. In Guaros, we're a family and I have no problems at all with it. Jorge Hernandez, Abraham Hernandez, Tomas Morris and Giovanni Carrara (owners and managers) were very honest with me. They gave me a chance to coach the team last season and that's a confidence I gotta return with my compromise to work for them".
He even expressed that he's been talking with Pablo Machado (207-C-77) about coming down a month earlier than expected, on October 20th, so he can work closely with Machado, getting him into proper shape for the beginning of preseason, set to start on November 20th in Barquisimeto.
Baker said he doesn't know who the head coach will be, but that he's going to adjust to him and work properly, while he also expressed happiness about the acquisition of Dominican player Jack Michael Martinez (201-F-81). "He's a proven winner down there. He can guarantee us at least 10 points and 10 rebounds per game. He's more like a 16-point 16-rebound per game player. With him and with John Millsap (198-F-82) and Hassan Adams (193-G-84), who can play the 2, 3 and 4 positions, we're going to be able to win lots of games".
"Martinez will take off the pressure from Pablo Machado, plus we also got Kervin Bracho (204-F/C-78)", he added. Baker said that in 2012, the team finished off very strong even though the owners acquired the franchise 5 days prior to the beginning of the season. "And we finished in seventh place. That's not bad. Good teams begin early, like Cocodrilos and Marinos, and that's what we'll do".
He also said that when he coached the team, players bought into his concept of the team as a family. Some players would play a lot and others wouldn't, but everyone was important. "I remember that if things were going well with all Venezuelan players on court, I'd left the foreign players in the bench and they'd joke about. One day, John Millsap got up and asked me as a joke: do you remember me?. I also remember we won a game thanks to Edgar Lugo (189-G-82) even though he didn't play a minute. But he was focused and saw things on court and made suggestions. I would ask them their opinion during the games".
Baker also expressed interest in setting up clinics and encounters with younger talents between the ages of 15 and 18, thinking ahead about Liga Especial (LEB) and due to the fact that several youngsters would approach him after the games, asking about the possibility of an academy or training sessions. "It'd be great to help them both inside and outside of the court. Hopefully we get to work it out and do it at least 2 or 3 times a week".
Panteras tab Anthony Kent, ex Welcome - 5 hours ago
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Panteras de Miranda (LPB) inked experienced 34-year old American power forward Anthony Kent (208-102kg-83, college: Ball State). He played recently at Welcome in Uruguayan LUB league. In 14 games he recorded very impressive stats: 19.4ppg, 10.6rpg, 2.5apg and 1.4bpg this season. Kent also played earlier that season for another team Knicks in U.S. semi-pro league D-League where in four LUB games he averaged 3.8ppg and 1.8rpg. His team was Runner-Up of Japanese BJ League Western Division Re... [read more]
Panteras de Miranda (LPB) inked experienced 34-year old American power forward Anthony Kent (208-102kg-83, college: Ball State). He played recently at Welcome in Uruguayan LUB league. In 14 games he recorded very impressive stats: 19.4ppg, 10.6rpg, 2.5apg and 1.4bpg this season. Kent also played earlier that season for another team Knicks in U.S. semi-pro league D-League where in four LUB games he averaged 3.8ppg and 1.8rpg. His team was Runner-Up of Japanese BJ League Western Division Regular Season 2015. Kent has played also professionally in France, Japan (Kagawa Five Arrows, Ryukyu Golden Kings Okinawa, Akita Happinets and Aomori Watts) and D-League (Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Maine Red Claws). He attended Ball State until 2006 and it is his eleventh (!!!) season in pro basketball.
Gregory Vargas selected the top Venezuelan playing abroad in last week's games - 16 hours ago
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Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of Venezuelans who are currently playing abroad. This week's number one is an international point guard Gregory Vargas (180-86, agency: Pro Sports). Heto an easy victory against the league outsider Maccabi K/G in the Israeli Winner League in Monday night's game.
Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of Venezuelans who are currently playing abroad.
#1. This week's number one is an international point guard Gregory Vargas (180-86, agency: Pro Sports, currently plays in Israel). He led Maccabi Haifa to an easy victory against the league outsider Maccabi K/G (4-19) crushing them 99-78 in the Israeli Winner League in Monday night's game.
Vargas scored 14 points, made 9 passes and 3 steals in 33 minutes on the court.
Maccabi Hunter Haifa (12-12) is placed sixth in the Winner League.
It was his team's third consecutive victory in a row.
Vargas has individually a very good year with high stats. He averages: 15.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 6.7apg, 1.9spg, 2FGP: 51.8%, 3FGP: 35.4% and FT: 65.9% in 11 games he played so far.
Ex-Protectores de Miranda BBC player is currently a member of the Venezuelan senior national team.
#2. Second place goes to former international swingman Francisco Centeno (201-85, currently plays in Chile). Centeno could not help AB Ancud (0-2) in their last game on Saturday. Despite his very good performance the first-placed AB Ancud (0-2) was edged 95-92 on the road by the leading Osorno Basquetbol in the Conferencia Sur.
Centeno was the top scorer with 32 points. He also added 4 rebounds.
This season Centeno has very high stats. He averages: 20.3ppg, 7.1rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 59.6%(257-431), 3FGP: 36.0% and FT: 61.6%.
Centeno played for the Venezuelan national team in 2012.
#3. The Venezuelan player who performed third best last week abroad was an international forward Juan Coronado (203-90, college: Liberty, currently plays in Argentina). Coronado was the major contributor in Huracan's victory against the second-ranked Alianza Viedma (21-12) 87-85 in the Argentinian TNA (second division) in Thursday night's game.
He recorded 21 points and grabbed 7 rebounds; quite an impressive performance considering it's only Coronado's third season in pro basketball. It was the game of the round between two top 3 ranked teams in group South. Huracan Trelew (19-13) is placed third.
It was his team's fourth consecutive victory in a row.
The Regular Season already ended.
Coronado has relatively good stats this season: 13.4ppg, 8.9rpg, 2FGP: 64.7%(75-116) and FT: 55.1%.
He is also a member of the Venezuelan senior national team.
#4. Guard Jhornan Zamora (196-89, currently plays in Spain) was not able to help Palencia Baloncesto (19-10) in their last game. Despite Zamora's good performance Palencia Baloncesto was edged 79-78 in S'Arenal by the lower-ranked (#9) Palma.
He was the second best scorer with 14 points in a mere 19 minutes.
This year Zamora has relatively solid stats: 11.0ppg, 2.3rpg and 1.6apg in 29 games.
He used to play for the Venezuelan national team
back in 2015.
#5. International forward Miguel Ruiz (197-90, also represented by Pro Sports, currently plays in Argentina) managed to help Libertad Sunchales to win against the sixth-ranked Obras Basket (21-22) 84-78 in the Argentinian LigaA on Saturday night.
Ruiz recorded only 4 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
Libertad Sunchales (20-20) is placed seventh in Norte group.
It's Ruiz's first season with the team.
His overall stats this year are: 5.7ppg, 7.3rpg and 1.2spg.
Ruiz plays currently for the Venezuelan national team.
#6. Forward Luis Valera (202-88, agency: Duran International, college: UTRGV, currently plays in Spain) contributed to Azuqueca's victory against the leader Real Canoe (20-5) 85-78 in the Spanish EBA (fourth division) in Saturday night's game.
He recorded 5 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 18 minutes.
Isover Basket Azuqueca (17-8) is placed fifth in Group B.
It was his team's third consecutive victory in a row.
Valera has reliable stats this year: 12.4ppg and 6.9rpg in 24 games.
He is a former international player as he played for the Venezuelan senior team two years ago.
The list of other players, who all have Venezuelan passport but never been selected to any of Venezuelan national teams:
#1.Juan Fontena (196-F-87, currently plays in Chile) led Osorno Basquetbol to a 3-point victory against the second-ranked AB Ancud (19-13) 95-92 in the Chilean Liga Nacional on Saturday night.
He recorded 11 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists in 35 minutes.
It was the game of the round between two top 3 ranked teams in group Conferencia Sur. Osorno Basquetbol (22-10) is placed first in Conferencia Sur.
Fontena has relatively good stats this year: 11.2ppg, 7.0rpg and 1.3apg in 47 games he played so far.
He has a dual citizenship: Venezuelan and Chilean.
#2.Rafael Melgarejo (184-G-91, currently plays in Spain). Melgarejo could not help AEC Collblanc (10-11) to beat Olivar (9-12). He cannot count Saturday's game as one of the best ones.
Melgarejo scored only one point.
AEC Collblanc (#8) was badly defeated 77-60 on the road by the lower-ranked Olivar (#9) in the Group C-A.
It was AEC Collblanc's sixth consecutive loss in a row.
There are only three games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
This season Melgarejo averages only 4.9ppg.
Trotamundos de Carabobo (LPB) inked 30-year old Venezuelan-Dominican power forward Jhoyfer Diaz (200-87, agency: Basket Management Solutions), as a loan from Toros de Aragua. He played recently at Parque Hostos in La Vega League in Dominican Republic. Among other achievements Diaz's team made it to the El Salvador Liga Mayor Clausura Semifinals in 2015. He received also Latinbasket.com Venezuelan LNB All-Newcomers Team award back in 2008. Diaz has played also professionally in Venezuela (... [read more]
Trotamundos de Carabobo (LPB) inked 30-year old Venezuelan-Dominican power forward Jhoyfer Diaz (200-87, agency: Basket Management Solutions), as a loan from Toros de Aragua. He played recently at Parque Hostos in La Vega League in Dominican Republic. Among other achievements Diaz's team made it to the El Salvador Liga Mayor Clausura Semifinals in 2015. He received also Latinbasket.com Venezuelan LNB All-Newcomers Team award back in 2008. Diaz has played also professionally in Venezuela (Cocodrilos, Toros, Estudiantes and Araguenos), Dominican Republic (Plaza and Bameso) and El Salvador (San Miguel). His game is described as:
A very promising player, who is very good back-to-the basket, because he started playing at center. Now, he plays at the PF position, and needs to improve his perimetral game, because the future is at 3. He is very coachable, however, and is enough quick and smart to learn soon. Has also leadership, and can defend well.
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