CBA (Canarias Basketball Academy) is an international high performance center specialized in basketball which can only be understood by naming his President and owner Rob Orellana, alma mater of this impressive sports program, purely based on the American style, one of a kind in the world.
Though CBA was formed in the 2007-2008 season, Orellana had already had it in his mind a few years before, with a different hint since his first idea, whose details are gathered in Chapter 25 of “Big Game, Small World. A Basketball Adventure” by Alexander Wolff, consisted of opening an Academy in Europe, exclusively though for African players. This project was motivated by his former job C.B. Gran Canaria youth recruiter, where he discovered the ex NBA player Joel Freeland.
CBA’s first steps were in September 2007 in the Gran canarian town called Agüimes, in which the local authorities, and above all its major and sports councilor, Antonio Morales and Salvador Ruano, respectively, bet on this promising initiative, which only needed to get started.
In this season, CBA welcomed 20 players from Great Britain, France, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Ireland and Lithuania, in addition to the local club ones, launching two senior teams in the 1st Autonomica and 1st Regional, as well as the possibility of playing the CB Agüimes’ U18 players in those leagues.
From that group, eight got a sports scholarship to play in the NCAA Division 1 at the same time they studied a degree in the USA: Ashley Hamilton (Loyola Marymount University), Sam Ferrnley (Fairleigh Dickinson University), Phil Wait (St. John University), Tom Ward (St. Francis College), Richard Clark (St. Francis College), Kamil Surdlik (Fairleigh Dickinson University), Bandja Sy (New Mexico St. University) and Gilvydas Biruta (University of Rhode Island).
CBA’s success in the first year was so spectacular that in the next 2008-2009 season, the Academy had to move to Santa María de Guía, in the Grancanarian northwest, and more concretely to the old school where the Dominican Sisters founded to double the boarding students capacity (42).
The large amount of enrollment applications exceeded the forecasts and as a consequence CBA had to establish a new venue in the Campus Universitario de la ULPGC (Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) residence, where the Academy experienced an exponential growth from 2009 to 2013. Besides in January 2013 the prestigious TV program “Informe Robinson” (from Canal +) shot a documentary about CBA’s history and evolution which registered a successful share of audience.
Today, CBA is located on a big residence in Tafira Alta (in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) with a 85 boarding students capacity and very close to the practice gym: ULPGC Sports Hall.
On the other hand, CBA has a new section called ‘CBA School’ from the 2013-2014 season with the aim of the coordination of the out of school basketball activities in different education centers in the island and its method has dazzled every player. Furthermore, it also offers basketball teaching in English, an advantage over the island contenders.
Regarding the organization chart, CBA has also been strengthened in all the areas because of the size it has gained.