Tuesday, October 14, 2008

UD Hot Prospects Basketball Preview

I once made the statement that I'd try to work on Basketball and Baseball for Gellman. Here's the official preview of UD Hot Prospects Basketball:

Press Release Follows:

New Rookies Turn up the Heat in 2008-09 Upper Deck Hot Prospects Basketball

Autograph Rookie Patch Cards of players like Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and O.J. Mayo will have collectors saying ‘Flame On’ this Fall

North Las Vegas, NV (October 14, 2008) – What makes a player a “Hot Prospect?” Draining six three-pointers, leading all scorers and catapulting his team to victory is a good answer. That’s what O.J. Mayo did this week for the Memphis Grizzlies against the Indiana Pacers. Mayo leads one of the NBA’s most talented rookie classes in years and Upper Deck is the first to bring Autograph Rookie Patch cards of each of them in 2008-09 Upper Deck Hot Prospects Basketball. Each hobby box will include one of these coveted Autograph Rookie Patch cards on average.

There are two other key rookie-themed inserts that pack plenty of sizzle. First are the “Rookie Materials” autographed letter patch cards that will afford collectors the opportunity to put together the player’s full name or team name. Hoop fans will also see the return of the extremely innovative autograph insert set, “Draft Day Postmarks.” This set will be limited to just 50 copies of each card.

If the opportunity of finding autograph cards of the top rookie talent wasn’t enough, 2008-09 Upper Deck Hot Prospects keeps the heat on with other exciting autograph inserts. The “Numbers Game” are comprised of autograph memorabilia cards numbered to the players jersey and spotlight top stars like Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. There are two parallel versions of these cards numbered to 25 and 1.

“Sweet Selections” cards chronicle where some of the biggest stars were picked in the draft and include names like Chris Paul, Baron Davis, Dwight Howard and Yao Ming. The “Road to Springfield ” set is a tribute to the players already enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame or those who are destined to arrive there featuring autographs of Jerry West, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. Both the “Sweet Selections” and “Road to Springfield ” cards will be numbered to just 25 copies with parallel versions numbered to 10 and 1.

“The world was captivated by NBA talent this summer during the Beijing Olympics,” said Tone Stakes, Upper Deck’s associate brand manager for Basketball. “The talent that this rookie class will bring at tip-off time will likely catch their attention again. Some of the most sought after rookie cards in the market will surely come from 2008-09 Upper Deck Hot Prospects Basketball when the season begins. Pick them up now before they get any hotter.”

The heat wave begins today as 2008-09 Upper Deck Hot Prospects Basketball arrives in stores. Each five-card pack carries a suggested retail price of $6.99.


o Find one Autographed Rookie Patch per box! (on average)
o Find 2 additional autograph and/or memorabilia cards per box! (on average)
o Look for Hobby-exclusive Autograph and Base Set parallels!
o Find Rookie Materials autographed letter patches and the return of Draft Day Postmarks, signed by the top rookies and limited to 50 copies!
o Each box contains a variety of box-break inserts, including Cream of the Crop, Hot Tandems, Alumni Mates and Supreme Court!


Autographed Cards

o Rookie Autographs Red Parallel (# to 25)
o Rookie Auto Patch Red Parallel (# to 25)
o Rookie Autographs White Parallel (# to 1)
o Rookie Auto Patch White Parallel (# to 1)
o Numbers Game Auto/Mem (# to jersey #)
o Numbers Game Auto/Mem Red Parallel (# to 25)
o Numbers Game Auto/Patch Parallel (# to 1)
o Rookie Materials Auto-Letter
o Sweet Selections (# to 25)
o Road to Springfield (# to 25)
o Sweet Selections Red Parallel (# to 10)
o Road to Springfield Red Parallel (# to 10)
o Sweet Selections Spectrum Parallel (# to 1)
o Road to Springfield Spectrum Parallel (# to 1)
o Draft Day Postmarks (# to 50)

Memorabilia Cards

o NBA Game Issue (# to 149)
o Property of… (# to 199)
o NBA Game Issue Red Parallel (# to 25)
o Property of… Red Parallel (# to 25)
o NBA Game Issue Patch Parallel (# to 1)
o Property of… Patch Parallel (# to 1)

Inserts and Parallels

o Base Set Red Parallel (# to 25)
o Draft Night Red Parallel (# to 25)
o Rookie Non-Auto Red Parallel (# to 25)
o Base Set White Parallel (# to 1)
o Draft Night White Parallel (# to 1)
o Rookie Non-Auto White Parallel (# to 1)
o Cream of the Crop
o Hot Tandems
o Alumni Matea
o Supreme Court

Regular Cards, Subsets and Rookies

o Base Set – 90 Cards
o Draft Night (# to 499)
o Rookie Non-Auto (# to 199)
o Rookie Autograph (# to 199)
o Rookie Auto Patch Level 1 (# to 399)
o Rookie Auto Patch Level 2 (# to 199)

Opinion Portion

I'm guessing that this is what's now a "mid-level" product, and though I don't see that it's a dual hobby/retail release, I'd venture to guess that it is with retail packs running $2.99 at Target/Wal-Mart for 3 or 4 cards instead of 5.

The Good: Is there any? I suppose that the inclusion of HOFers and near HOFers is good, but in Basketball the attention span is much shorter than other sports, so "legend" players don't really have the same cachet as in other sports. Birds, Jordans, Magics and the other greats of the 80's and 90's have PLENTY of cards out there already, including autogamers.

The Bad: A 90 Card base set for a mid-level release is just horrible. Especially considering the state of the NBA at the moment. It gets worse though, there are three levels of parallels, "red", "white" and "blue", though the press-release and the checklist differ as to what is "blue" and what is "spectrum". Whatever. At least the parallels are numbered (from 25 for red and 1/1 of white. No clue on the blue).

The Ugly: The cards themselves. I'm sorry, I cannot get truly excited over this design. Sample cards are attached.

Plus, there's a cool idea for a subset called "Alumni Mates" where two players from the same college are featured on the same card. Too bad there's no "Jordan Farmar/Russell Westbrook" or "Baron Davis/Jordan Farmar" or ANY UCLA players on the 20 player checklist. Nope, we have to get a Shaq/Glen Davis card.

In a sport where every player is a "skill position" and there are less than 15 guys on each team you could theoretically have a set that contained every roster player and it would still be under 500 cards. Unfortunately we don't get that, instead we'll get 15-20 releases from both Topps and UD, and none of them will thrill anyone that much. Time for the NBA to limit releases again, and maybe, just maybe, get another licensee to bring some much needed new ideas to the table.

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