JBA League

The JBA USA Team Could be in for a Tough Road Ahead


Fans and Big Baller Brand supporters are waiting in anticipation for the unveiling of the first JBA USA Team, which begins their quest to represent their country tomorrow against the Svendborg Rabbits of Denmark. While the team is composed of some of the league’s best, there is still cause for concern as to how they will fare against their competition.

Like many, I too waited to see how the final roster would stack up. While I was privy to some who had made it — I was virtually unsure of how the entire roster would look until it was officially released.

Overall, I’m pleased with the members who comprise the team. The most impressive aspect of the team is the backcourt. With LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball headlining this group, that gives this team two players who have been there and done that as it pertains to playing overseas. Additionally, players such as Je’Rell Springer, Deon Lyle, and JaMicheal Morgan are all high-caliber guards who will play professionally beyond the JBA League.

The worrisome part in all of this stems beyond a couple positions though. Basketball is composed of not just a backcourt, but a frontcourt as well. My concern is the lack of size and inexperience in the frontcourt could spell doom for this JBA USA Team as the season gets underway. In addition to this, I have a few reasons why this team could have a long and hard stint.

Lack of Familiarity

At the end of the day, basketball is a team sport. No matter how good players are individually, they are nothing without the players surrounding them. In order to be a good team, camaraderie and familiarity have to be essential ingredients to create the perfect dish. The players are talented no doubt, but they’ve had virtually zero time to learn tendencies and their one practice leading up to tomorrow’s game could very well be troublesome. The saving grace some of these players will have is they did play together during the regular season. However, a team of 12-14 players not having enough time to gel is a hurdle they will have to overcome.

Inexperience vs. Experience

As previously mentioned, the JBA USA Team will be led by two players who have competed overseas prior to this tour. The others? Not so much. They will be playing teams who like them, are paid to play this game, and train year-round to ensure their bodies can withstand the rigors of a tough basketball season.

Not only that, the biggest weakness (no pun intended) is indeed this team’s big men. Leading this area will be former Ole Miss big man, Nate Morris, who saw very little action during his short stint with the Rebels. He stands 6-foot-9 and has good mobility, but there are other aspects of his game that need developing before he’s able to lead such a young team as their dominating big man. Behind him is Cameron Clark, who prior to joining the JBA League, played one year of junior college basketball at Independence Community College where he averaged 3.8 PPG.

Overall, this team will face its challenges to learn the intricacies of the pro game overseas. It’s a different beast altogether, and not for the faint of heart. The JBA USA Team will not have the fortune of having a training camp like their opponents to gain the necessary experience prior to competition.

Travel, travel…and more travel

The experience these young men are gaining is beyond commendable. Having the opportunity to see the world before the age of 25 is a feat many of us could only dream of. However, while that’s all fine and dandy, they still have a mission, and that mission is to win. The travel constraints these players will face will be nothing like they’ve ever experienced. Sure, this past season of the JBA League was rough at times, but going from one country to the next with little time to rest and recover can have an affect on even some of the world’s greatest athletes.

Combine the fact that their practice time will be limited, these players will have to muster up the mental toughness required to play against men who will be salivating at the mouth at the chance to knock these players down — every opportunity they get.

How will they fare?

That is to be determined. The schedule is not yet completed, therefore it is hard to gauge the remaining opponents. As it relates to their first contest against the Svendborg Rabbits, they are not the highest caliber of opponents — but not necessarily barbecue chicken either.

The Rabbits have a few players on their team who played Division I basketball in the U.S. The others appear to be players who have been in the league as youth players as well as other European leagues. I had a chance to preview a few of their games prior to the JBA USA Team’s arrival, and if I had to equate their level of play, I’d say they are on par with a low to mid-major collegiate basketball team.

With that said, they’re still a professional ball club. These players have been practicing and preparing for this team longer than the JBA USA Team has had to prepare for them. There’s enough film on the uptempo system the JBA USA Team is expected to run to figure out a plan to attack them, that I expect a competitive game from start to finish.

In the end, there is reason to believe why this won’t be a cakewalk season for these young men. Will they fare well? Or will it be an unpleasant farewell? We’ll all have to tune in to see.

Brandon Williams is a columnist for the JBA League. Follow him on Twitter at @TalkinWithFresh.

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