Former St. Anthony stars Mike Rosario, Jio Fontan and Chris Gaston were all chosen among the Top 10 picks Wednesday in the draft for the Baloncesto Superior Nacional de Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican professional league, the oldest professional basketball league in the world.
Rosario, a senior shooting guard at Florida, was the No. 3 pick behind Renaldo Balkman and former Nebraska big man Brian Jorge Diaz.
Fontan, a senior point guard at USC, went No. 8 and Gaston, a senior forward at Fordham, went No. 9. Rosario and Gaston were both chosen by the Ponce Lions, while Fontan went to San German.
“The way this has worked in Puerto Rico is that the draft happens and until players exhaust their NCAA eligibility, they don’t sign a contract, practice or play,” said Todd Washington, a family friend of Rosario and Fontan and the founder of the Puerto Rico Playmakers AAU team. The draft began in 2003; prior to that players were assigned.
The league, which begins play April 1, is considered a fallback in case the players don’t make an NBA roster.
But some players have springboarded to the NBA from the BSN.
Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea, who won a title with the Mavericks in 2011, played in the BSN after his senior year at Northeastern in 2006 and then signed with the Mavericks.
“These players can make a decision to play in Puerto Rico in advance of the NBA Draft and use that as a platform to stay in shape and showcase their abilities to NBA teams,” Washington said.
“Mike and his family and Jio and his family will ultimately have to make the decision as to what’s best for them.”