It is not every day that young Canastero has the experience of going to the NBA Academy to hone his skills.
Especially since the agency’s basketball training program is designed for the best prospects from different regions.
For this reason, Bayamon’s Yaniel Rivera takes full advantage of the opportunity he got this year to train and study at the NBA Academy in Latin America, located in La Loma Centro Deportivo, San Luis de Potosi, Mexico.
“It was a unique experience. Very cool. I feel happy to be here because this is an opportunity not given to just anyone. It’s unique. I think it’s the best for me,” via Zoom to speaker.
Canastero, 16, said he had the opportunity to visit the league to the island, where they watched him play and were delighted with his talent, letting his parents Javier and Oudale know.
Now, he is using the experience to learn and improve his game in order to get a college scholarship.
“It has improved my habit of training more and spending more time on the field. My goal is to go to college (in) the first division (of the NCAA) and then go to the NBA,” Rivera said, who is in the tenth grade there at the NBA Academy.
A graduate of Bayamon Military Academy has among the most prestigious universities in North Carolina, Duke and Kentucky the most prestigious universities.
Rivera wasn’t the only Puerto Rican in the NBA Academy, which came out in 2017. A few years ago there was Jermaine Miranda, who currently plays at California Baptist University. “I keep talking to him all the time. He is like a brother to me. He told me that I should benefit from everything and learn and train hard.”
Canastero, a Puerto Rican, hopes to stay in Mexico until he finishes high school. This is despite the fact that he misses his people a lot on the island, commenting, “What I miss most is the food of my family, my friends and my grandmother (Carmen).”
Rivera, who before playing basketball began practicing boxing when he was between five and six years old, was active in the lower classes of ABB and Pitirre under various leaders such as Jorge Otero, Roberto Casiano, Luis Ruiz and others.
“Before playing basketball I used to boxing. I lived with my mother in Santorsi and although I love basketball, I got into boxing. It was like five or six months and then my mom pulled me out and put me in basketball and stayed there. I started boxing at an age. The sixth or seventh, “I could never fight,” he said.
His favorite players are Carlos Arroyo and Kevin Durant, and he hopes a presence in the NBA Academy will open the doors for him to fulfill his dream of reaching one of the best leagues in the world.
“I hope so because there are people here from the NBA watching us,” he concluded.
NBA Academy Latin America has vistas from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Canada.
Since 2017, 12 participants from the NBA Academy in Latin America have committed to NCAA Division 1 schools in the United States.
The NBA Academy program includes six academies in Australia, China, India, Mexico and Senegal to gain the best prospects from their countries and continents.
In March 2018, the National Basketball Association launched the NBA Academy Women’s Program.