Global Squad Basketball hosts three-day academy

LEVELING UP: Global Squad Basketball, led by Director of International Operations Brandon Rogers, pictured center, hosted a three-day academy for middle and high school hoopsters at the Guam Basketball Confederation Training Facility in Tiyan from Nov. 1 to 3. Justin Bennett/For The Guam Daily Post

Global Squad Basketball was on Guam, hosting a three-day academy for middle and high school players at the Guam Basketball Confederation Training Facility in Tiyan from Nov. 1-3.

Global Squad, founded in 2011, aims to expose motivated student-athletes to collegiate level training. There was an increased focus on improved physical and mental toughness, life skills and offered recruiting opportunities for players with the drive and discipline who want to play at the college level.

The organization runs camps all over the world, recruiting players to the Global Squad summer academies in Pennsylvania. The 2018 GS summer academies attracted 142 athletes from 60 different countries. The summer academy is a month-long immersion in basketball with athletes living in dorms, training eight hours per day and playing in showcase tournaments that give them access to over 1,000 coaches.

The three day academy on Guam was led by Global Squad Director of International Operations Brandon Rogers, who led participants through specialized drills and also spoke with players about the importance of setting goals and having a coachable mindset if they want to play beyond high school.

Rogers grew up in Tokyo and graduated from the American School in Japan in 2014, so he understands the challenges to prep athletes for exposure to play college sports. Rogers is also an alumnus of Global Squad and was recruited to play at Division III Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, after attending the GS academies while in high school in Japan.

“This program is a great opportunity for kids coming from areas where they don’t get the exposure that kids in the mainland have available,” said Rogers.

Rogers said the summer academies represent the next step up, adding “It gets the kids in the system and gives them an idea of what to expect when they go to college. We help the kids with what they need to do to get recruited and get a chance to play in college.”

One notable Guam alumni is Jahmar White from St. Paul Christian School who participated in the summer academy in 2018.

Rogers says he is always on the lookout for talent, but it’s usually the mental approach that separates the players who make it to the college level.

“The kid that I want to recruit, it’s the ones who can focus on the fundamentals and want to learn. If I tell them to do a drill and I see the negative body language and eye rolls I know instantly they aren’t going to make it in college,” emphasized Rogers.

“It’s all about drive and developing year by year … the kids who come to us as eighth graders and stick with the program are almost certain to play in college at some level,” he said. “It’s a great vehicle for kids that may not be academically gifted to go to college and get an education.”

Rogers is hoping to get a Guam team to attend the summer academy and play in tournaments and plans on returning to Guam on his next recruiting tour of Asia.

Dominic Sablan, GBC National Basketball Development Officer, stressed more Guam players need to take advantage of visiting off-island coaches.

“The opportunities are there … it’s having the talent, but it’s also understanding the work ethic you need to play at that level,” Sablan told The Guam Daily Post.

“We definitely want to grow this relationship over the years,” Sablan added.

Matt Fegurgur, a senior at Father Duenas Memorial School, attended the academy and emphasized the benefit for Guam players to get out of their comfort zone and take advantage of academies like Global Squad.

“It opens your eyes to what to expect out there … so they know it is possible. I feel like they need to have their eyes open at a young age. It motivates you to work harder and take steps to the next level,” said Fegurgur, who has also attended academies in the mainland.

Fegurgur stressed it’s the next level up, something he has embraced.

“These academies show you a total different level and different type of play,” he said. “It’s a mental awareness and I learn things I’ve never learned from coaches on Guam.”