SPL News & Headlines
VINCENT CAN GO
Vince Camper will never be mistaken for an impressionist painter or a chiseled fitness expert, but whether you like him or not his self-determination trumps all preconceived notions forcing those in his way to appreciate his game.
The Los Angeles Summer Pro League has witnessed his ability first hand over the last three years and he is truly one that stands out from the crowd. He credits his mother, Jacqueline Harden-Gainer and his grandfather, Dr. and Pastor - Garon Harden who have guided him. Also, he gives credit to former USC and LA Laker star, Duane Cooper, who never gave up on him. One former coached commented, "Frankly, I never saw a bit of rankness or foul talk, saw some dirty looks shot to players or coaches, and one time he did have a fit of temper, which I wouldn't blame him for, because he believes he's the best and he always playing with an edge – he simply wants to win, I like that about him."
Mr. Camper's basketball career blossomed after he moved from laid back Long Beach, California to rural Oxford, Mississippi, home to the University of Mississippi. There he realized as a sophomore in high school that he had a special talent to be a very good basketball player. That year he would lead his high school team to a Mississippi State Championship. He would gain many accolades that landed him an invite to the elite ABCD Adidas Camp. "Kobe came to speak at the camp. I played against LeBron, Sebastian Telfair, Charlie Villanueva, Big Baby Davis and Raymond Felton. I'm not going to lie, I got destroyed, my butt was handed to me, but it was a lot of fun," Vince commented. "But, that's how you get better," he would further comment. Vince would go on to have a successful high school basketball career and be named to the "New Channel 12 State Player of the Year", which included NBA early entry players, Travis Outlaw and Jackie Butler. Vince would earn a D1 scholarship to Tulane University. "Steve Lavin came around, USC and SEC schools too, but Tulane was the first to recruit me and I'm a loyal guy, so I stuck with Tulane," Camper said. His first year at Tulane he started some, but didn't quite understand why the coaching staff didn't start him all the time because as he stated, "I was clearly better than the upper classman." Coaches told him that his time would come, but that clearly frustrated him. In 2005, one of the most deadliest and destructive hurricanes hit New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina. Tulane University was closed for the second time in school history for four months, the first time was during the American Civil War. Camper remarked, "That season we played our games at Texas A&M, in front of no fans…plus we had a new coach. I was feeling less comfortable there, I soon asked for my release." Vince would roll the dice on his collegiate career; he would learn that no D1 schools would take him with one year of eligibility left. His talents would take him to a D2 school, Cal State Los Angeles, but that was after sitting out a year to file a grievance with the NCAA to give him back a year. The ruling was in his favor and he was granted another year of college eligibility to play basketball. "If I had known that I was going to be granted another year, I would have signed with a D1 school, but at the end of the day Cal State LA turned out to be a perfect fit for me, it restored my confidence", Camper would assuredly say. Vince would have an excellent college career being named D2 All-American and earning "Player of the Week" four times during conference play. After college his sights was set on playing professionally overseas or the NBDL. "I was a little naïve, I thought I could get $10,000 per month from a pro team. Germany came calling first, they offered me 2,500, then 3,500 and then their final offer 3,700 per month and I turned it down. That was a big mistake. After not getting any more offers of worth, I attempted to call the guy back, but he wouldn't return any of my calls. I learned the hard way and it humbled me. It wasn't until a lady I had never spoken to at church approached me out of the blue and told me to stop complaining and start praising him [God] – that's when my fortune would change. It was less than a week when I received an email from a team in Columbia to play professional basketball in Bogota for $4,000 per month", Camper explained. After a successful season in Columbia, he would have pro stops in Durango, Mexico, Poland and touring teams in China and Japan, but he still itched to play in the NBA. Vince would get his chance with the NBA's NBDL teams - Bakersfield Jam and the Reno Bighorn lasting until the final cut. He acknowledges part of the reasons he's not playing in the NBDL is partly his fault. Camper explains, "My attitude may have rubbed some people the wrong way, but I'm rebuilding my image. I thought it wouldn't matter with my size. I'm beating people that they say are in better shape. Now…I'll do anything to get a real contract. That's why I play so hard, no surrender…no backing down, which I learned from my former coach, Marlon Wells. I feel I'm in a fight for my life. I don't want to be known as the best-kept secret that did not get that chance to play professionally."
This summer the 6'3 point guard, Vincent Earl Camper II played in the LA Summer Pro League and led his SPL Pros team, coached by Doug Marty and Dwayne Bates to an inspired championship victory over CIX Xpress based out of Indianapolis and Chicago. He scored 38 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and handed out 10 assist in victory – (even though he would say he scored 40 facetiously), and earned himself MVP of the league. "Everyone was telling me that the best point guard in the SPL, was CIX's Keith Dean out of Robert Morris. The SPL this year was a proving ground, so many diamonds in the rough – a lot of good teams and players. But, I can play too and I proved that", Camper expressed while conducting this interview on a stationary bike.
He's definitely listening…
2014 SPL MVP, Vince Camper
Keeping Up With (Coach) Jones
As pro basketball leagues kick into gear this summer, one man continues to be a guiding light for many pro players in Southern California.
When you first meet Roland Jones, the first thing you see is an infectious smile and a stocky built man who could easily line-up as a strong safety on any given Sunday in the NFL. Roland’s roots began in the Dominican Republic. His family would move to Dallas, Texas where his world would soon develop.
Roland first picked up a basketball at the age of four – peculiarly not a football. "I drifted to basketball because my father played for the Dallas Chaparrals of the ABA", said Roland. A little history on the Chaparrals – they soon would become the San Antonio Spurs in the American Basketball Association before joining the NBA and your current World Champions.
As a precocious basketball player, Roland didn't standout during an era where most players played multiple sports in high school – especially at a football power high school. "I attended Dallas Carter High School, if you ever seen Friday Night Lights, you know what Carter High School is all about", Roland explained. His junior year he played JV basketball where he averaged 40 PPG. He thought this would be a critical moment for him to move up to Varsity during the season, but it didn't happen. Swallowing his pride, Roland didn’t give up and made his name in the summer playing on one of the top AAU teams in Dallas where recruiters began to take note. "I thought it was strange that colleges all over the country were contacting me or sending me letters during my senior year and I didn't play that much", Roland shared. His only self-redemption was his past efforts assisted fellow teammates in getting recruited. We are all familiar with the story, a recruiter comes to see one player, but because he’s not playing – they find another player and the rest becomes history.
After his senior year, Roland's basketball career would take him to Panola, a JUCO in Carthage, Texas, where he received a partial scholarship. After his team went a dismal 3 – 27, the head coach released all players from their scholarships. Luckily Roland would receive a basketball scholarship from Cochise Community College in Sierra Vista, Arizona; there he became an All-American. He would finally settle at D2 Central Missouri State where he became an All American averaging 22.3 PPG, 6 APG and 5 RPG. "I knew I could play this game. After spending summers with Donnie Nelson Jr. and him giving me a chance to workout with Finley [Michael], Dirk [Nowitzki], Samaki Walker, Pack [Robert], Nash [Steve] and Strickland [Erick] and playing in the LA SPL, my game evolved even more, this prepared me to play overseas in Estonia, Germany and Venezuela. I also learned that you can’t take nothing for granted and if you’re always prepared a door will open for you," Roland said.
Now a head coach, Roland has been extremely successful in his young pro coaching career where he has won tournaments in the JBL, West Coast Basketball League, the SPL and has always had one of the top teams in the Drew League. Roland acknowledged, "What I look for are players that are coachable, good character and take good care of their bodies. I like physically fit and sound minds – that's how you win. To be honest with you, just yesterday my wife's agent contacted me, but the conversation suddenly turned to me. A coach who remembered me from playing in Germany and Venezuela a couple years ago – said if I got into basketball shape that they would sign me to a team in Brazil – I laughed, I knew one of the reasons why they were interested is because I created great relationships while playing." If you are curious to know, Roland is married to Delisha Milton-Jones, a two time Olympic gold medalist and a two-time WNBA Champion.
"My highlight of my short coaching career has been representing the SPL in the 25th International Dubai Tournament held this past January. We took 12 guys that I will always cherish the rest of my life. It's always about getting better and when we go back in 2015, we will be better – as a coach and the personnel." Roland went on to say, "If I can give one bit of advice to players, people with good character will always get the call – just like what happen to me yesterday. Believe me, coaches overseas have told me they would rather have a solid player with a good work ethic and character vs. a really good player that brings a lot of drama. That's how it is these days."
You can catch Roland Jones and his pro free agent team, Nation Wide, as they attempt to repeat as champions in the Los Angeles SPL. Also, Coach Jones coaches the SPL touring team. League begins on July 23rd lasting through July 26th.
Chasing the Dream
LOS ANGELES, CA – Coming from a small town in Texas – Tyler, Texas to be exact, where football dominates the town's landscape, is not an easy proposition for a lanky kid that saw basketball as his way out. If the 6'8 – 220 lbs. Mr. Kerry Jones has anything to do with it – he's going to make his on way. "I wasn’t supposed to get this far in my life, most of my friends are in jail or not in a positive situation. I'm just lucky that basketball has been my outlet", Kerry explains. "If it wasn’t for my mother, Ms. Brenda Dearman or my AAU coach, Orin Bailey out of Houston, Texas, I don't know where I would be today."
Early on his basketball career as a sophomore in high school, Kerry was ranked in the top 25 in the State of Texas. "Man...we were really good at Tyler Lee High School. We went to State my sophomore year. I also credit my AAU team as well. We beat two top AAU teams -- one lead by Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz) and the other one lead by Xavier Henry (LA Lakers) for the championship in Las Vegas. Our team wasn't a well known team, but we came to play", Jones said. The former Texas College standout originally signed with the University of Texas in Arlington, but because of low SAT scores he eventually signed with Texas College, an NAIA school.
Jones is one of several basketball players participating in the 2014 Los Angeles Summer Pro League that takes place on July 23 through 26, 2014 at Marquez High School in Huntington Park, California. Jones first came to the SPL in 2013 on the advice of Steffond Johnson, a former NBA player and player representative out of Texas. "Steffond told me about the SPL and I read up on it. I liked the history and hearing about the players that have come through," Jones remarked. Jones had little pro experience; he played for the ABA Texas Fuel out of San Antonio, Texas. Jones averaged 18.9 PPG and 9 RPG in his SPL debut. Jones says, "My advice to other players, invest in yourself. Don’t wait for someone to give you something. Keep the drive and faith in yourself, but be careful of those people that try to promise you deals that never come through. At the SPL, I was happy with the talent – big and strong. It was a good experience that's why I'm coming back."
Kerry will be heading to Venice, Italy on June 21 to play in a summer league. He hopes to land a professional job while there. "When I return to the SPL this summer, I hope to have good news", Jones stated.
Dreams can still happen – sign-ups for the 2014 Los Angeles Summer Pro League tryouts on July 20 and 21 at Marquez High School are taking place right now! Only $100 gets you in and there are limited spots.
Kerry Jones slams it home
BODYARMOR SuperDrink™ becomes the latest sponsor to team up with the 2014 Los Angeles Summer Pro League this season. BodyArmor, known as a premium sports drink packed with electrolytes, vitamins, coconut water and natural flavors is endorsed by a long list of athletes. That list includes; Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, Richard Sherman of the Super Bowl Champions - Seattle Seahawks, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots, LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants. Earlier this year, Los Angeles Lakers future Hall-of-Famer, Kobe Bryant, announced he was investing in BodyArmor. According to Forbes Magazine, Bryant discovered BodyArmor while rehabbing from his torn Achilles. Taking a page from Magic Johnson, Kobe now sits on the board of directors owning more than 10% of the company. His investment makes him the third largest investor in the company behind co-founders Mike Repole and Lance Collins. Repole and Collins are no strangers to the beverage world. Repole was the co-founder of Vitamin Water, which was sold to Coca-Cola for a whopping $4.1 billion dollars in 2007 and Collins sold Fuze Beverage and NOS Energy Drink to Coca-Cola for $250 million dollars in the same year.
BODYARMOR SuperDrink™ is sold by select convenience, natural foods, fitness, drug and grocery retailers across the country.
Pushing the Boundaries with AQUAhydrate
AQUAhydrate®, the official water of the Los Angeles Summer Pro League’s Athletes, is a Southern California-based health and fitness water brand founded on innovative technology and science. Through a proprietary process, its water is purified to some of the most rigorous standards in the industry, supplemented with key performance electrolytes in significant amounts, and raised to an alkaline pH of 9+. It is this powerful synergy between alkalinity, electrolytes and minerals which fuels ultimate hydration, balance and performance, and which has made AQUAhydrate the water of choice for myriad health/fitness authorities, athletes, and celebrity endorsers. AQUAhydrate is available through a variety of grocery, health and natural foods stores throughout the U.S. and at www.aquahydrate.com. For further info on AQUAhydrate check out www.aquahydrate.com. Find them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/aquahydrate and Twitter @AQUAhydrate.
SUBSTANCE OVER STYLE
When you think of substance over style what does that really mean? Perhaps something that is far better than the actual truth. When you first meet Barry Mestel the impression that you get is a gentleman that is passionate about his work and extremely loyal to his network of close associates. Two years ago the Los Angeles Summer Pro League became a better league when Barry came aboard. Barry who lives in the Orlando, Florida metropolitan area, has always been a fan of the SPL for many years. His influence and business astuteness convinced the SPL that expanding to Florida was definitely a “no brainer”. Last season, Barry successfully introduced the SPL to the Orlando market – where seven professional free agent teams played in the inaugural 1st SPL East at the Winter Park Center in Winter Park, Florida. This season the SPL East will return on July 12 through July 21. Sign-ups for tryouts and pro free agent teams have already begun.
When Barry is not coordinating basketball efforts with Richie Adubato or former NBA great, Tree Rollins or directing players to international scout and recruiter, Dave Baker – you will find Barry running his own basketball program, "Winning Ways Pro". Winning Ways Pro -- which has been around for over 20+ years, provides full services for aspiring professional basketball players. So if you are a player wanting to prepare for a professional pre draft camp, the SPL or participate in an evaluation camp – Winning Ways International is where pro players should attend to receive the best skills training and most importantly, an accurate assessment of their basketball ability. "It is indeed an honor and most exciting to be associated with the SPL. The SPL is the premier stage for the aspiring professional Basketball Player and is in direct alignment with the objectives and initiatives of Winning Ways", said Barry. We did say "Substance over Style."
In addition, you can find Coach Barry Mestel on the radio, hosting his own show on 810 CBS Sports, Orlando (home to the Jim Rome Show and John Feinstein Show) on Tuesdays' and Thursdays' nights from 8p to 10p – discussing about the world of sports with "Substance". Later this month Barry will feature a one-hour show exclusively on the SPL and of course, that will be a great show. You don't have to live in Orlando to hear the show, 810 CBS Sports is also a part of the Iheart network.
For more information about the SPL East, continue to visit this site or contact Barry Mestel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPL Players that have moved on to play in the NBDL
||Sacramento Pros 2013
||Reno Bighorn 2013
Note: Came in 2nd in the NBDL 2014 All-Star Game Slam Dunk Contest
||Sacramento Pros 2013
||Sioux Falls Skyforce 2013
||Attended the SPL Post Pro Tryout 2013
||Santa Cruz Warriors 2013
||C1 Group 2012
||Bakersfield Jam 2012
Note: Signed with the LA Lakers 2012
Ra'shad James takes off on a hapless defender in the SPL 2013
The Los Angeles Summer Pro League 2014
The Los Angeles Summer Pro League returns for an exciting 2014 season with new opportunities and a new format. The SPL, an NBA sanctioned event for 41 seasons, assists in the development of professional players i.e. free agents, international players and undrafted talent wanting a shot at playing for a professional basketball team domestically or internationally. Last summer several players secured professional jobs all over the world from the NBDL, Ireland, Argentina, Japan and Russia to name a few. What the SPL offers is a great basketball environment, a dedicated staff, the opportunity to play against talented players from around the US and most importantly, each game is filmed.
This summer the SPL will offer two locations; Los Angeles and Orlando. The SPL in Los Angeles will feature 16 pro free teams. Each team will play in a 16 team bracket tournament July 23 - 26, 2014. All teams will be guaranteed four games unless your team loses both 1st and 2nd rounds. The championship game will be played at the world famous Venice Beach, California where 100,000+ people on a given summer weekend day walk through the Venice Beach courts.
The SPL in Orlando will commence on July 11 - 20, 2014 at the Winter Park Community Center. Up to 16 teams will be invited to play in a round robin event and each team will be guaranteed 6 games.
To Gain Direct Entry (no tryout) onto an SPL Team
(1). Player is on the roster of a participating agent team.
(2). Player is a member of a National Team that is participating in the SPL.
(3). Attended one of the following (2011, 2012, 2013 or 2014) post season camps: Portsmouth Invitation and/or Chicago Pre-Draft
(4). Played in the NBA, NBDL or highest professional divisions in Europe, Asia, Latin America or Australia during at least one of the following seasons (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014).
SPL Preseason Training and Evaluation Camp
September 5-7, 2014
Winter Park Community Center
POSITION SPECIFIC WORK
GAME SETS TO BE VIDEO TAPED AND POSTED
TRANSITIONAL TRAINING – COLLEGE TO PRO
PRO TESTING PACKAGE
WEIGHT ROOM TESTING AND ASSESSMENT
DIRECTED BY BARRY MESTEL – Tele: (321) 439 - 1199
GREG KITE – FORMER NBA PLAYER
RICHIE ADUBATO – FORMER NBA AND WNBA COACH, COLOR COMMENTATOR ORLANDO MAGIC
COACH BRITTANY CAMPBELL – GENERAL MANAGER ORLANDO LIGHTNING
Click here to register
2014 SPL Award Winners
2014 Champions: SPL Pros
2014 SPL MVP: Vince Camper, SPL Pros
2014 Coach of the Year: Douglas Marty, Long Beach, CA
2014 Assistant Coach of the Year: Dwayne Bates, Los Angeles, CA
2014 New Coach of the Year: Kason Whitten, CIX, Chicago, IL
2014 SPL Rookies of the Year: Dashawn Ford - Pro 1/3G's World Basketball, Anthony Ussery - SPL Pros, John Bohannon - BTG Xpress, AJ Harris – Venice Basketball League All-Stars
2014 ALL STAR 1st Team:
- Aaron Perez - SPL Pros
- Taylor Darby - Reapers
- Robbie Robinson - SPL Pros
- Keith Dean - CIX
- Fred Durr - CIX
- Corey Levett - Inland Empire
- Mike Martin - Nation Wide
- Cameron Clay - SPL Pros
- Eric Williams - Nation Wide
- Brandon McGee - Limit Nation Basketball
- Van Girard - SPL Pros
- Mike Jones - Reapers
- Jamelle Tolliver - Exec Sports
- Triston Wilson - Venice Basketball League All-Stars
2014 ALL STAR 2nd Team:
- Kerry Jones - Inland Empire
- Brandon Hassell - CIX
- Gene Myvett - Exec Sports
- Mark Dawson - Nation Wide
- Isaac Jones - Global All-Stars
- LeDonte Body - BTG Xpress
- Ephraim Ekanem - KC U-HOOPS
- Luke Evans - International Pros
- Nate Gibbs - SPL Pros
- Jamal Rodgers - Limit Nation Basketball
- Jordon Crawford - West Coast Pros
- Phillipe Thomas - Pro 1/3G's World Basketball
- Moe Thomas - KC U-HOOPS
The SPL in Dubai - January 2014