Baldonado at Tropic's practice this week
After being suspended indefinitely by Duquesne Stuard Baldonado has signed with the Miami Tropics. After playing in the ABA last season the Tropics are now playing in the International Federation of Basketball, (FIBA) this season. Tropics president and CEO Art ''Pilin'' Alvarez, originally helped bring Baldonado, a Columbia native, to Miami back in 2003. Alvarez traveled to Pittsburgh after Baldonado was shot last year to be by his side and clearly has taken a big interest in helping Baldonado get back on his feet.
Baldonado was a junior college All American before he accepted a scholarship to play at Duquesne for Ron Everhart. Baldonado sat out last season after being involved in the now infamous on campus shooting which rocked Duquesne and all of the NCAA last year. Baldonado was shot in the arm and the bullet became lodged in his back, he was lucky to have survived and still be able to play competitive basketball. Things wouldn't get much easier for Stuard as he was involved in two drug related incidents in Pittsburgh as well as charges of aggravated battery and false imprisonment in a domestic case that led to his arrest in Miami in May. Following these brushes with the law he was indefinitely suspended by Duquesne.
Signing with the Tropics makes a lot of sense because Baldonado can work with Alvarez who Stuard has a close relationship with, while still playing basketball and earning a paycheck while he fully recovers from the shooting. FIBA actually seems like a competitive league, unlike the bush league ABA or CBA, so maybe something good will come of this for Baldonado. I wish Baldonado was playing for the Dukes this year but things just didn't work out at Duquesne.
Good luck with the Tropics Stuard, Dukes Court wishes you well.
One interesting side note:
The Tropics run a AAU travel team for high school players which includes several famous alumni including O.J. Mayo, and former Duquesne recruit Luis Colon who eventually matriculated to Kansas State. 8 former Tropics players are now playing pro ball, 2 of them are in the NBA, former Northeastern star Jose Juan Barea is playing significant minutes for the Dallas Mavericks, and Guillermo Diaz plays for the LA Clippers.
I also want to give props to Walter Villa the Media Relations Director for the Miami Tropics, he runs a great website.
There is actually a Ron Everhart quote about Villa on the website: "Nobody in the country does a better job than Walter as far as writing about basketball in a positive way. More writers should follow his lead."
Miami Herald article on Baldonado