Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
New Semipro Team Offering Up to $1 Million for McDonald’s All-Americans, But Players Say They Haven’t Heard About It
Kentucky-bound Isaiah Briscoe and South Carolina pledge P.J. Dozier competed in this year’s McDonald’s All-American Game. AP Photo
NEW YORK — Cerruti Brown, the mystery man who is the head of the fledgling Las Vegas Dealers semipro basketball team, says he is willing to pay up to $1,000,000 to get at least one 2015 McDonald’s All-American to play for his team this coming year.
In fact, he told SNY.tv on The 4 Quarters Podcast Monday that he’s “shooting for five” McDonald’s All-Americans.
“If we feel comfortable about giving $1 million, then that’s something my partners and I will have to sit down and come to an agreement to move forward, but I think going forward these kids feel or know what they’re worth,” Brown said, adding that he and his three partners have $10 million in startup money. “In the conversations we’ve had, we’ve had great conversations with parents and guardians.”
All 24 McDonald’s All-Americans have committed to colleges, and the overwhelming majority have signed National Letters of Intent.
For Brown’s plan to work, one of those players — such as a Kentucky-bound Isaiah Briscoe, a Kansas-bound Cheick Diallo or a Mississippi State-bound Malik Newman — would have to forego at least a year of college before entering the NBA Draft in order to play for a fledgling team that is aiming to play 35 games in Las Vegas (possibly at the Cox Pavilion) and then 15 games in Europe against to-be-determined competition.
The only problem is that after reaching out to about half a dozen 2015 McDonald’s All-Americans — or their parents or mentors –none had even heard of Brown or the Dealers.
“I can’t speak for anybody else, but we’re going to Kentucky,” George Briscoe, Isaiah’s father, told SNY.tv. “I never heard of it and I don’t have any comments on that. I know we’re going to Kentucky.”
“I never heard of them,” a mentor of another McDonald’s All-American added.
“First I heard of it,” a third person said.
“Is it real?” a fourth asked.
“What’s the deal with that?” a fifth inquired.
When I asked one McDonald’s All-American if the Dealers had reached out to him, he simply said, “No.”
I didn’t contact all 24 McDonald’s All-Americans, but it certainly doesn’t seem like Brown’s offer has caught fire yet with the kids.
Still, Brown insists he will have at least one current senior McDonald’s All-American on the Dealers next season.
“Yes, I do,” he said. “We fully expect that. This is our first year. We’re shooting for five. And the talks that we’ve had, everybody feels that they’re worth X, Y, Z amount of money. Now it comes down to do we fell do we have to go beyond what we set the bar at [$700,000]. With that in mind if we feel a a kid is worth more than $700,000 and we feel comfortable giving $1,000,000 that’s something my partners and I will have to sit down and come to an agreement to move forward.”
Brown offered few other concrete details in the Podcast interview, other than to say that former Seton Hall and Manhattan assistant coach Scott Adubato would be coaching the team. Adubato was not immediately available for comment.
Meantime, Brown remains a bit of a mystery man, as an Internet search of his background reveals little more than a handful of sunglass ads and several recent stories on him, including one by the Sporting News that does a good job detailing how little is known about Brown or the Dealers.
Our friend Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News also does a pretty good job of explaining some of the potential pitfalls facing the Dealers, summing it up thusly.
“That sounds like a pretty dumb way to give away your money,” he said. “Give it to me, I’ll take it.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.