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Intricacies of International Scouting

International Scouting is a very complicated part of the scouting landscape. For NBA teams as well as college,
high school, etc there are many more factors to deal with. Not only are we talking about coverage in a much
greater area but each country has its own culture. Below we will highlight the many facets involved in scouting
globally. We will highlight the primary tournaments I encourage for discovering talent.

International Scouting Structure: Every NBA team works differently. Generally NBA teams have someone
based in Europe and someone based in South America. Some teams have someone full time on every continent.
Some teams even use part time staff in many corners of the world. We believe it is smart to have a native of each
region due to many cultural aspects as well as the ability to get real information more efficiently. At one time
while I was scouting for the Minnesota Timberwolves I oversaw the world with nobody else employed to scout
INTL basketball other than me. This was a major challenge. Luckily I have many relationships on all corners of
the globe however it was still very hard to cover this amount of ground.

My Ideal NBA INTL scouting structure:

 Europe: Two scouts full time (one eastern and one western Europe)
 South America: One full time scout
 Asia: One part time scout.
 Africa: One part time scout
 Australia: One part time scout

* The reason for this is as follows: Mathematically, the majority of INTL talent is coming from Europe. This is
the reason for two full time INTL scouts. Next is South America. Very close is Australia however the reason why
it is next is that many of their talent goes to college in the states. A part time scout or scouting service is sufficient
for Australia, Asia and Africa.

Good information wins: Get to know coaches, GM's and league execs. (understand that many league execs are
territorial and are sometimes guarded) It takes time to develop the necessary trust to be able to give and share
information. The real value of an NBA INTL Scout is having the ability to get good information quickly. It is easy
for a Croatian scout to get information from Croatian coaches/execs/media however can he still get the same
quality information from people in Sweden, Ukraine, Russia, Brazil or Argentina? It takes years to build up
relationships at this level. Former players or coaches are usually hired quicker than most due to their depth of
friendships around different leagues.

Background & Contract info: The hardest thing for an NBA GM to get is background intel, contract info &
medical information. The INTL scout for that team needs to be able to get that information and get it quickly &
accurately. Getting the information this quickly is only possible if a scout has all of these relationships in place.

Can you get into a practice? When your GM is making the trip over, can you get into any practice so that your
GM can get a look at the player in a practice environment?

Story: Mid 2000's. Pau Orthez France. Leaving the hotel I ran into 4 other NBA scouts. All good guys that I
happen to enjoy spending time with. All were headed to the Pau Orthez practice. We crammed in my rental and
headed there. We got to the door and the team manager said that the NBA scouts are not welcome due to their
team rules of no scouts at practice. I happened to know the GM and coach at the time and asked to speak to either.
The GM came out and gave me a big hug. He asked me to come in and watch practice as their guest. I did not feel
comfortable leaving my friends/scouts outside so I asked the GM for a favor. We negotiated for 5 minutes as to
why it was important for me to have them attend as well. He accepted and allowed them into the practice. As a
competitor and the fact that I worked for another team, I could have easily been selfish and told the guys "sorry,
it's a relationship game and I am the only one allowed in today" but I didn't. I understand how challenging it is
when traveling outside the USA. I felt better about the situation once I was able to get the scouts access to the
The moral of the story is, if you don't know people, you cannot do your job efficiently.

Agents: How well do you know the power brokers in each country? This is critical for information such as
contracts, what the players plans are in terms of expectations or what he may or may not be looking to do. Agents
have the direct line to teams decision makers. They also are the first point of contact for the player. Remember,
countries are similar in size to states in the United States. Usually, agents within each country are people who
have grown up with league & team execs. The relationships usually go back decades.

Travel: This is a very interesting category. Flying into Paris, Milan, Frankfurt, Barcelona or Madrid is a walk in
the park. Flying into Podgorica, Bucharest, Brasilia, Montevideo, Caracas, Beirut, Tehran, Wuhan, Nizhniy
Novgorod or Dakar is not a walk in the park. Even cities in Europe like Budapest, Istanbul, Belgrade, Kiev and
Moscow are at times challenging if you do not know the lay of the land and/or do not have relationships in place.

INTL College Scouting: We have watched this closely for many years. College coaches have made many
mistakes early not knowing the real process. Many went over, watched games and tried to recruit players they felt
were good enough for their program. Finding out later that none of them were even eligible. You don't "recruit"
INTL players. For example: You will not out recruit Real Madrid, Barcelona or Milan. They have budgets to offer
a lot of money. You are offering a free education and the opportunity to play college basketball. In order to recruit
players internationally you will need relationships in these countries.

Contracts & Influence: The INTL structure is much different than that of the American market. INTL players
can sign a "pre pro contract" before 18 yrs old however once they turn 18, the contract they sign is now officially
binding with FIBA. (FIBA is the governing body of INTL basketball). Most contracts have a "buyout" put in. A
buyout can range anywhere from a few thousand euro to a few million euro or dollars. Depending on the talent
level and the expectation level of the team/player, teams will put the highest buyout number they can to help
protect their investment. Players like Yao Ming, Tiago Splitter, Ricky Rubio have all had documented high
buyouts exceeding 1 million dollars. The NBA has a rule in place that states that each NBA team has a max they
can pay for an INTL buyout and from that point, the player is responsible for the remaining amount left on his
buyout. Although technically the team could exceed the limit, the remaining would automatically come out of the
players paycheck. An example: in 2017-2018 the max an NBA team can pay towards a contract buyout is
$675,000. If the INTL player has a $1Million buyout, he is personally responsible for the remaining $325,000.
The higher the draft pick the more money he will have to help pay his buyout however later in the first round
salaries become much smaller making it more difficult for the INTL player to pay his buyout efficiently. INTL
players with high buyouts often find themselves in the second round. Second round picks are non guaranteed
contracts but have very few restrictions to what a player can be paid. INTL agents have a lot of influence on
contracts and buyouts. It is important to have solid relationships with INTL agents. They usually have lifelong
relationships with GM's, Coaches etc that can often help navigate a sticky situation. Knowing the buyout situation
for INTL players it makes it that much more important to know the agents and develop a real genuine relationship
with all of them if possible.
**Eurocamp Influence: I felt that I had a unique advantage due to the fact that I had the Eurocamp as a leverage
device. Many coaches & execs around the world wanted to be part of this exclusive event. Many wanted to be
behind the curtain. We tried to take care of as many people as we could in terms of real access, floor time,
speaking opportunities or simply VIP treatment. This helped me get information quickly and efficiently over the
years but it also enabled me to develop real genuine relationships with people. I was having longer lunch or dinner
meetings with prominent Intl coaches/execs to learn about things happening with their team or league. Having the
ability to invite executives and coaches from all around the world as my special guest most certainly help my
"good information" gathering. To this day I am very lucky. Having so many friends around the world and being
able to share and help many has been a great feeling.

Recommended Tournaments & Events

U18 & U20 (A & B Divisions) & U17-U19 World Championships: A staple on the scouting calendar for INTL
scouts. Many have an average of 16 national teams in one tournament. This gives scouts the ability to cover a lot
of the better players for many of the best european basketball countries. The most interesting part for me over the
years was to eliminate players to help the scouting efficiency & travel. It is also an opportunity to identify players
that may not be playing much on their respective club teams. 16 teams with 10 per roster. U18 A and B division.
U20 A & B division gives you around 640 of the best european talent to evaluate during the summer circuit. The
other important component is becoming more friendly with many of the coaches in these tournaments. Many of
them are also coaching at the senior level and in many cases are also coaching one or two of the better players.
This kind of inside access is very important as the player bio / book grows.

Albert Schweitzer (Every other year): It is the unofficial U18 world championship held in Mannheim, Germany
every two years. A great event to see players from other continents. USA has a team represented also. It is not an
official USA basketball team, rather a team made up from regional AAU coaches/players. The tournament is easy
to access, just a short drive from Frankfurt, Germany. The credential process is very professional. They have two
gyms running at once however all scores, stats and standings are updated frequently. The atmosphere is also better
than most junior tournament venues due to the local military base in Mannheim. The gym is usually filled with
1000 or more americans living abroad.

Euroleague junior tournaments: (adidas Next Generation Tournament) This tournament includes four qualifiers
which are typically in January & February. They occasionally change locations. My favorite of all the tournament
locations has never changed, Hospitalet Tournament in Barcelona Spain. No knock to Kaunas, Munich and
Belgrade because I love those as well but Barcelona is my favorite. These tournaments can be hit or miss in terms
of top talent from Europe. These are club teams and not national teams so you are at the mercy of the clubs having
top talent.

The locations this year are:

 Hospitalet, Spain
 Kaunas, Lithuania
 Munich, Germany
 Belgrade, Serbia

I have always enjoyed these mid season tournaments. They are not heavily covered and are very comfortable to
scout as well as set meetings with coaches of various club teams. If you are really ambitious you can go to the
Tenerife tournament (Torneo Junior Ciudad de Santa Cruz de Tenerife) two weeks prior to the Hospitalet and
cover many other junior club teams. This tournament is not part of the Next Generation Euroleague, however it
has been around for over 20 years and is very reputable.

Eurocamp (NBA INTL pre-draft event) I am honored to say that I started this event in 2003 with amazing help
from some very prominent people such as Maurizio Gherardini (Fenerbahce) and Donnie Nelson (Dallas
Mavericks). The idea was to duplicate the NBA pre draft camp in Europe for all draftable INTL players. To date it
is the most challenging thing I have ever tried to do. These players are already professionals. There is no such
thing as sending an invitation and getting a "yes" or "no" answer. There are many factors such as club clearance,
national team clearance, agent clearance, playoffs, etc. We developed a formula and executed very well for many
years. In my 9 years running the event we had over 80 players drafted in the NBA. The event consists of drills,
measurable, testing and of course 5 on 5. We always invited NBA coaches and top INTL coaches to assist in the
coaching efforts. Every NBA team was represented from scouts to General Managers. Evaluating talent for the
current NBA draft as well as getting a look at the next generation of talent. The event still exists today with more
of a priority on the next generation of talent.

Euroleague Final Four: Every year the Euroleague final four moves to a new city/location. The event has a final
four junior tournament during the day. These are fun to watch and important to attend due to the different junior
coaches across Europe that attend. It's an added bonus to a fantastic weekend of basketball.

U18 All Star Game at the European Championships (Eurobasket): Every other year the Eurobasket takes
place. It showcases a select group of U18 players from around Europe. It is a good time to see some of the select
players play against each other in one setting.

Scandinavia Junior Tournament: An under the radar type of tournament. The talent is lower than most.

Basketball Without Borders (Africa, Asia, South America, Europe)

There are many junior tournaments all over the world but in order to maximize your coverage and time you must
have the ability to get "good information". I have been to "one off" type of tournaments that aren't published and
are not "official" tournaments. The only way to know about these tournaments is to be invited or hear about them
from your regional or local contacts. These type of "friendly games" are in every country. Of course it is important
to be efficient with time and to try and stay away from the wild goose chase however it is also important to
turnover every stone. I have had some luck over the years seeing players early or early/often. This also helped me
develop a meaningful relationship with many coaches around the world. Often times at friendly games there aren't
other NBA scouts. This means that a typical day would consist of watching practice or game then going to dinner
with the coaching staff. Real relationships were developed.

Senior level tournaments

 Euroleague Final Four

 Eurocup Final Four
 Adriatic Basket championships
 Mid season cups- Spain (ex: Copa del Rey), Italy, Serbia and France
 Eurobasket (European Championships)
 Asian Championships
 African Championships
 South American Championships
 World Championships
 Olympics

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