Kenneth Rodríguez: the high-profile 16-year-old who could make his BSN debut this year

Do you remember the years when the National Superior Basketball fairly frequently featured the debut of youth players who literally looked like children playing around men? It is enough to remember, to mention only two cases, those of players like Eddie Casiano and Orlando ‘Guayacán’ Santiago. They are memories of yesterday in the Puerto Rican league that ceased to exist more than a decade ago when the organization placed a limit of 16 years as a requirement to enter the New Enrollment Players Draw.

After that, the phenomenal cases of players with 14 or 15 years in the league ceased to occur, as were the cases of the aforementioned Casiano and Santiago. But equally, there are almost zero cases of 16, 17 or 18-year-old players who have made an impact at the tournament.

Everything could change this year.

Entered in the raffle is a young Carolinian named Kenneth Rodriguez that he has all the teams pending to select him if they find him available, although it remains to be seen if the BSN grants the Carolina Giants to sign him as a franchise son.

Rodríguez, a setter of almost 6’2 in height and only 16 years old, draws attention because he has been signed since he was 14 and developing both academically and sportingly under the umbrella of the Baskonia club of Spain, which is based in the city of Vitoria -Gasteiz.

Former player of the De Diego school and of the Novice and Youth categories of Carolina, where he played under the direction of his father Ángel Rodríguez, Kenneth was recruited by Baskonia and other Spanish teams after playing in a couple of tournaments with a team from the boricua tour Puerto Rico Elite Basketball, which is directed by Raymond Lugo.

The player’s father explained to Primera Hora that his son received an offer from Baskonia that convinced them to opt for that alternative over others he had from the United States. There he studies every day at a school that pays for the team and trains every afternoon. Currently, at the age of 16, he plays in the Spanish U18 league but has had the opportunity to do pre-seasons in the past two years with the Baskonia teams from the LEB Plata leagues, which is the third division of basketball in Spain, and the EBA , which is the fourth division.

“He still does not play in those leagues because he has not yet processed the Spanish passport,” said Ángel Rodríguez.

But the young man, as has been the case for most of his life, already trains and practices against men, as was the case with many legendary Puerto Rican basketball talents of the past.

Ángel tells that he himself directed the development of his son from the age of 4-5.

“The boy was always one of the biggest and I was in charge of putting him as point guard. He thus avoided being put in the center. And when he didn’t put him to play in bigger categories. And he gave himself to me, ”he proudly mentions.

Without going into details, Ángel explains that Kenneth is about to complete his third year in Baskonia and has an agreement that could keep him in Spain for many years.

There he lives in a sports residence with more than 60 players, four of them from the soccer program, and another 20 from the basketball program. He is the only Puerto Rican and American in the registration.

Reports indicate that the development of the youngster in Baskonia in recent years has been very positive. A strong young man with a good jump and a good shot.

During the past summers, during the study break, he has come to continue training in Puerto Rico. He’s even practiced several times with the Giants this past season.

If Carolina is able to claim the player as a franchise child, Rodriguez will not be available to start the season. His father has said that he would be able to come between June and August, if the Giants reach an agreement with Baskonia whereby they transfer him for that period.

“They have said that they would agree. They would love for him to come to continue developing playing against that level of competition”, said Rodríguez.

Ángel hopes that he can be a part of the Giants.

“I live a few steps from the Sports Center and I have always been directing for Carolina’s Novice and Youth program. We even won the Novices championship, although that year I couldn’t win it with him because he went to Spain”, said the coach who is also a leader in Puerto Rico Elite Basketball.

Know that Rodríguez was about to debut in a Puerto Rican uniform for the Centrobasket youth tournament recently but was unable to do so because he had to travel to Spain to deal with his visa issues.

Keep it pending. It seems that he will be the next great Puerto Rican talent in Spanish, European and Puerto Rican leagues.

And by the way, know that Puerto Rico Elite Basketball will open its new tryout process on January 29 for its next trip to Spain in the summer. For more information look for the organization’s networks on Instagram.

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Elton Gardner

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