SPL News & Headlines

Keeping Up With (Coach) Jones

Coach Roland 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.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/drinkbodyarmor
Twitter: @DrinkBODYARMOR


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.


LA Summer Pro League Tryouts 2014

[ Download the 2014 SPL LA Team Tryout flyer ]


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 barry@winwayspro.com.


SPL Players that have moved on to play in the NBDL

Player SPL Team NBDL Team
Ra’shad James Sacramento Pros 2013 Reno Bighorn 2013
Note: Came in 2nd in the NBDL 2014 All-Star Game Slam Dunk Contest
A.J. Davis Sacramento Pros 2013 Sioux Falls Skyforce 2013
Kiwi Gardner Attended the SPL Post Pro Tryout 2013 Santa Cruz Warriors 2013
Ronnie Aguilar 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).


2013 SPL Champions
SLAM Online
First Chronicles Concierge Services
Images by Mo Morning
The SPL in Dubai - January 2014

SPL in Dubai