Prior to my trek down to the 2018 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Virginia, my good friend Dan (‘Murph’ for short) urged me to text a friend of his who was also in town. Described to me as the “Polish Connect” by Murph, I received a text with a contact that simply read Bronislaw.
After sending the unknown recipient a text introducing myself and how I received his contact, we were able to meet up and chat for a bit. Donning a white Eurpospects shirt, Bronislaw told me he was there on behalf of his scouting service, the aforementioned Eurospects.
One year later, after launching NoneandDone, I knew that I wanted to write about Bronislaw and his lane in the scouting world.
“The journey to get where I am at the moment is a combination of grind, knowledge, and luck in equal proportion,” Bronislaw says of his journey. “I always knew that this job [scouting] existed, and thought that it could be my dream job but I had never really done anything towards achieving it.”
For Bronislaw, things began to change a bit in July of 2015 while vacationing with some friends in Italy. “They enjoyed the summer time while I was spending entire days in the gym observing scouts, players, and just fully embracing the vibe of youth scouting events.”
“Whenever I could, I was hitting the road between my loaded work schedule and college schedule. After a year-and-a-half, I was able to get some connections in Europe and the NBA. [Then I] decided to take the next step and create my own brand: Eurospects.”
Once placing a strong emphasis as helping find a pipeline for European talent to play collegiality in the States, Eurospects has gone through a metamorphosis over the years, now with strong roots in the professional ranks both in Europe and America.
And that’s where things get interesting for Bronislaw.
“You can often hear that scouting is the business of making the least mistakes. No one is perfect in this job, and to some degree, it’s just anticipating the future and there’s so many obstacles down the road that you have no influence on. You simply can’t predict if someone has bad luck or made the wrong decision.”
“At the end of the day, basketball is not rocket science,” Bronislaw said. He stressed how important it is to compile data for future use, as it can help streamline the process once you begin to find your footing.
“If you have a large database, then you can often identify similarities and that could give you a solid idea for the ultimate level [of a players ability.]”
For casual basketball fans here in the States, every year there seems to be a can’t miss European prospect who is destined for greatness. And each year, around Draft time, said fan does research only to be underwhelmed when their team is linked to a guy in the lottery who averages 6.4 PPG, 3.5 APG, and 3.2 RPG.
Then that same guy, in this instance it’s Ricky Rubio, will go on to flirt with a decade long NBA career by the time he’s closing in on 30 years old.
Simply put, numbers don’t really hold as much weight overseas which might be tricky for some fans to grasp.
“America, in my eyes, is all about creating heroes, ridiculous stats and numbers,” Bronislaw said when discussing the cultural differences of basketball between the two continents. “That’s what you can sell. The game is more ISO heavy and spacing makes it a different game at times. There is a lot more up-and-down than relying on tactical concepts or teamwork.”
Despite the different styles of play, there is something both cultures emphasize when trying to discover talent; the process begins early. In America, by the time a player hits 9th grade they’ve been all over the country in front of countless talent scouts, college coaches and media outlets. And it’s not very different in Europe. However, the difference is in America, young players are not allowed to seek representations or risk losing their amateur status thus negating any career in the NCAA.
That’s not the case in Europe.
“Some players also have agents very early, which is forbidden in the USA,” Bronislaw noted when discussing how up-and-coming European prospects gets scouted sometimes as early as 12 years old. “Often players are scouted by agents or their employees rather than team scouts.”
For American prospects, their main goal is likely to land in the NBA or the NBA G-League, which puts them in a position on the national stage. But for European players, and consultants such as Bronislaw and the Eurospects team, it’s important to know what translates.
And sometimes what translates may differ depending on the league you plan on sending reports to. Unlike the NBA, there isn’t one league that blankets all of Europe, but countless leagues ranging in size.
Be it International Leagues such as the EuroLeague and EuroCup or subregional leagues such as the Adriatic League or the Spanish ACB, there’s an abundance to cover. For instance, in Italy alone, they have upwards of seven different leagues.
And knowing what these leagues value is key for the Eurospects squad.
“It’s all about knowing the levels,” Bronislaw said when discussing the multiple leagues. “If you write a scouting report for a Polish 2nd Division team, you can write that I have excellent quickness and can create my own shot. But if you write that for a Bundesliga team, that would make you look silly. Besides having an eye for discovering talent and knowing what translates, you have got to be aware of how good of a skill or physical potential it requires to succeed at a given level.”
One key thing that anybody will tell you for those trying to get a foot in the door, it’s that networking and being available are two major requirements. Something Bronislaw knows very well.
“There are very few places [events] I don’t like attending. Usually, the better the level and networking makes the events noteworthy. We don’t really have time to see anything besides the gym, hotel, and airport so destination isn’t a big factor. I actually like camps a lot. It’s a different evaluation setting, which sometimes is refreshing and you have more time to connect with people. There is usually a practice and two scrimmages, rather than six games which forces you to sit from 9am to 10pm in one place.”
And that’s the same exact grind that paid off for Bronislaw during a trip to visit some friends in the Czech Republic.
“It was a Friday, they all went to work. I had seen Prague many times before and the weather was bad and I didn’t feel like sight seeing so I went to the gym,” Bronislaw recalls of the trip.
“I approached a guy in a team uniform for Ratiopharm Ulm, which turned out to be the founder of the club and their General Manager. We talked, exchanged contact information and were in touch since then about players.”
“During our second meeting, he told me about a unique project he wanted to build. I came to visit again shortly after that, decided I wanted to be apart of that and we found an agreement.”
“I help to bring the most talented players from all over Europe to their Orange Academy and at the same time I have the opportunity to learn pro scouting on BBL [Basketball Bundesliga] and EuroCup level, which are very prestigious leagues in Europe.”
At 28 years old, Bronislaw has already achieved so much and seemingly has a bright future in the wild world of scouting basketball talents on the Global level.
Be it running his own scouting service with Eurospects, or providing his professional insight to help build a foundation that will benefit Ratiopharm Ulm for years to come, it’s safe to assume that Bronislaw has found his footing.
Not bad for a kid who decided to take an Italian vacation.