SBJ/May 13 - 19, 2002/Labor Agents

Superprep Stoudemire heads strong NBA class for Rudoy's firm

NBA agent Herb Rudoy has signed high school power forward and expected first-round NBA draft pick Amare Stoudemire for representation in what could be one of the strongest draft classes ever for his company, Interperformances Inc.

The company also signed Mississippi State forward/guard Kei Madison, Valparaiso forward/guard Lubos Barton, Marquette point guard Cordell Henry and University of Tampa center Sylvere Bryan. Rudoy represents all the players with the exception of Stoudemire, whom he shares with Interperformances agent John Wolf.

Interperformances client Amare Stoudemire is projected as an NBA first-round pick.

In addition to those players, the company may announce some European players for the draft in the near future, Rudoy said.

"I think this could become one of the best drafts I have ever had," said Rudoy, who has been in the agent business for about 30 years and has represented two first-round NBA picks.

Rudoy and partner Luciano Capicchioni founded Interperformances more than a decade ago. The company, which is based in Chicago and the European republic of San Marino, represents about 450 athletes worldwide, many of them European basketball players.

"He is for sure one of the most powerful agents in Europe," Rudoy said of Capicchioni. Rudoy, who speaks Spanish, French and Italian, also works on European player contracts, although most are done by his partner.

The two partners were pioneers in bringing foreign players to the NBA, representing Arvydas Sabonis and Toni Kukoc.

Rudoy noted that it was not long ago that the NBA had an aversion to foreign players.

"People thought they were not athletic enough or not skilled enough," he said. "They have since found out they are athletic enough and are very skilled. ... The world of basketball has changed drastically. We have a lot of European players playing now."

All of which is good for business for Interperformances.

  CAC SIGNS UP PAC-10: The Collegiate Athletes Coalition, a group pushing for changes in NCAA rules, has recently signed members of the men's football and basketball teams for the University of Alabama, as well as at Washington State, Oregon State and Cal-Berkeley, giving it players at every school in the Pac-10 Conference.

"The most accurate name to put on us is an advocacy group," said Ramogi Huma, chairman of the coalition. "I think we have the potential to be a very powerful advocacy group."

Among other things, the group wants scholarships that cover the costs of education, increased medical coverage and more safety measures for summer workouts for college athletes.

As the membership in the organization grows, Huma hopes the group will have a voice in influencing NCAA decisions that affect student athletes. Huma has testified before Congress, and the coalition has been featured on "60 Minutes." But so far, the NCAA has refused to meet with the group.

"We have a system in place that is called the Student Athlete Advisory Committee," NCAA spokeswoman Jane Jankowski said, referring to committees of student athletes from Division I, II and III schools who advise the NCAA. "It was the decision of the students on that [Division I] committee that they didn't want to meet with the Collegiate Athletes Coalition.

"I think he [Huma] is working with a union, and our student athletes have been concerned about the appropriateness of a union being so involved."

The coalition has received support, including legal, communications and organizing advice, from the United Steelworkers of America, Huma said. He said the NCAA agreed last year to meet with the CAC, but the meeting was canceled.

"I don't believe the [Student Athlete Advisory Committee] had anything to do with the cancellation of the meeting," Huma said. "The NCAA was looking for a way to back out, and they are trying to pit the student athlete groups against each other."

Huma recently sent a letter to the NCAA board to schedule another meeting and is waiting for a response. "The ball is in their court," he said.

"We are going to find ways to put pressure on them," Huma said. The coalition is considering working with lawmakers on NCAA reforms, legal action and other options, which Huma declined to reveal.

  BOBER SIGNS TWO WNBA PLAYERS: Bober Associates Inc. has signed WNBA players Ruth Riley and Semeka Randall for representation.

Riley was the fifth player selected in the 2001 WNBA draft, by the Miami Sol. Randall was the first player selected in the second round of the draft, by the Seattle Storm.

David Bober, head of the company, specializes in representing female athletes and is the agent for soccer star Mia Hamm.

Contact Liz Mullen with labor and agent news at lmullen@amcity.com.

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