Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cassie Peoples commits to Texas

San Antonio prodigy, Cassie Peoples reportedly committed to the Texas Longhorns. Peoples currently lives in Houston and plays for defending 5A State champs, Cy-Fair.

When arriving to San Antonio, I immediately was inundated with the Legend of Cassie Peoples. The story goes that she routinely scored 40 points in middle school games. One coach told me of how the SA Silver Stars players would visit her small private school gym to watch her put on a show. Others tell of her beating grown men in one on one games at the tender age of 13 years old. I was informed of her fathers rigorous training sessions and her shooting regiment. In short, Cassie was THE GOODS!

I was already familiar with the name of Cassie Peoples before moving to San Antonio. The Adidas Phenom Camp is a big deal in some basketball circles on the West Coast. When I decided to make San Antonio home, I googled San Antonio girl's basketball and eventually found the Phenom Report listing Cassie as the #2 Ranked player in the camp for 2011. Coincidentally, I knew a couple of the parents of some girls who attended the camp and who's daughters had played with Cassie. These fathers mirrored the sentiments that I would hear repeatedly upon my arrival to SA; The kid can shoot the lights out!

( Some wonder the validity of these Phenom camps and Ranking kids at such an early age. I will not give my opinion but will point out a couple of things. This report ranks Chloe Wells as the best player in the class of 2010. I watched Chloe grow up and lead her AB Miller High School team to a California State Championship as a Freshman. She is a very good player and plays summer ball with Adidas stalwart, FBC. Wells has had scholarship offers since the 8th grade. But note, the #5 entry on the list,Odyssey Simms, is currently the #2 ranked guard in her class and arguably the best. The word from camp attendees was that Simms should have been the #1 ranked player, but politics played a part in the rankings. John Wells, Chloe's father, is a West Coast power and his BTR club won AAU Nationals repeatedly...... Also, please note Chelsea Gray was ranked low as #23 on the list. Gray is currently the #4 ranked point guard in the Nation for 2010..... Also, note Kelly Gramlich at #9 for 2011. Austin Anderson's Gramlich is one of the 3 point leaders in the State of Texas)

I have yet to see Cassie Peoples in person, but was delighted to find a YouTube video of her. For those who are familiar with Elite Club Ball, you will notice that she is playing perennial national power, Boo Williams Select, in one of the clips. Her jumper has incredible arc and leaves the screen only to splash the net on the way down. She moved from San Antonio to Florida and now resides in Houston. She recently went head-to-head with SA Madison star, CeCe Harper in the Pasadena Tournament. The video of the clash is apparently floating around the city and will be posted here soon.

It is good to know that another San Antonio kid has accomplished one of her many goals and will eventually play for the Longhorns. I can not wait to see the young legend for myself, and add to her list of growing stories to tell.

An Elite mom gives Thanks and a Good Report

Marshall standout, Courtney Peay's mother sent this to share. I hope that it is as encouraging to others as it is to me.

Just to give you some insight on how Nyack College recruited Courtney. First, to understand the Peay family a little bit more, we are a family that believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom is our personal savior. To know Courtney, she does not have a problem letting people know that. While playing with TeamXpress, we contributed to the TeamXpress Media guide in which we all know went to over 600 + Colleges & Universities. Nyack College sought out Courtney from the Media guide due to her faith in the Lord. Coach Josh Thompson phone me to let me know that Courtney would fit his program & was the kind of person/player he was seeking. At this point he had never seen her play. Nyack College is a DII college & as all players they want DI schools. Several DI schools were interested but her height played major role that was not in her favor at 5'11, being a Center..... Nevertheless, God had a different plan. Courtney had prayed for a school that met her spiritual needs as well as the ability to continue to play ball. Well, Nyack never backed down she finally realized that what she prayed for was staring her in the face. She went on an official visit in October & loved the campus, the players on the team & it was an hour away from where her father lives. Needless to say this College is a Christian College that is also a Seminary graduate school. Courtney made a decision to follow her Christian walk & was offered the scholarship that would get her the education/college basketball team she prayed on having. I am proud of her focus in the Lord & believing the Power of Prayer.

I Thank God for his covering on her from the crown of her head to the souls of her feet. God Is good All the time & all the time God Is good.

Be Blessed,
Leah J Peay, A very Proud Mom

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Donavan draws admirers!

Erica Donovan is continuing the make basketball lovers take notice. One particular basketball lover drove all the way from West Texas to catch her in action. A Texas Tech coach was spotted in the Paul Taylor gym on Tuesday night gawking at Donovan's every move. She is currently ranked in the Top 10 in Scoring, Rebounds and Assists for the City. She better get used to these type of visitors.

An Elite Dad defends Local Coaches

I recently wrote a blog that blasted SOME of the middle school coaches and their curious coaching philosophies. An Elite Dad sent the following response in defense of those coaches:

Parents, I think its time to look in the mirror. We need to understand the influence we have on our own child. You may not agree with what your AAU, Middle School or High school coach does in practice or in competition but you do need to stop bashing the coaches in front of your child. The words that come out of a parent's mouth are so powerful and influential to your child. When my first child was baptized,... the Priest said something that will stick with me for the rest of my life—"You as parents, are GOD to your children" Wow, very powerful.... Think about it. You gave birth, you rear them, you provide for them, you give them direction, you are there when they need a shoulder to cry on or to share a happy moment and the list goes on. So with that being said, how do you expect your child to respect and give their all to a coach that you have basically torn down in every way possible? Some of us have very little experience, if any, but yet we feel inclined to tell Coach Popovich that he doesn't know what he's doing. Last time I checked he is a pretty successful coach. Ask yourself this, how successful will you be with a team that is comprised of :
-1 player that has played at a high level
-1 player that has decent ability
-2 players that are below average but have huge hearts
-2 players that are in their first year of playing basketball
-2 players that have no heart and show no effort and are being poisoned by their own parents.

Now you go out and make this team a champion! Please try to keep this in mind the next time you call up the Athletic Director to complain about how tough the coach is on your child or why your child isn't receiving minutes.

I agree with most of everything this Elite Dad wrote. I witnessed a game last night where a particular team was beaten badly. I sat among parents that bashed the coach but never realized a few realities.

1.Players play the games. No coach in San Antonio has scored a point for their team this year. No coach has blown a defensive assignment, nor failed to box out. No coach in the city has stayed up too late texting their teenage crush, and was too tired to perform the next day.

2. You have to have Thoroughbreds in order to win the Kentucky Derby. My favorite quote from UCONN coach, Geno Auriemma is, "There are two types of coaches; Coaches that coach good players and ex-coaches." Coach Auriemma is speaking a fact. Is John Wooden the greatest coach ever without Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton? Would the late great Red Auerbach have been so lucky without Bill Russell or Bob Cousy? Has Pop, Pat Riley or Phil Jackson ever won a championship without a future Hall-of-Famer on their roster? Jordan, Magic, Pippen, Worthy, The Admiral, Shaq, Kobe, Wade, Duncan and Kareem were the horses that these brilliant coaches rode to championships. Pop is often quoted saying that his retirement will coincide with Tim Duncan's retirement. Pop understands that he is a great coach because he has coached great players. I am not minimizing the greatness of these coaches. Riley fired Stan Van Gundy and inspired the same team of players to a championship. Del Harris had Shaq and Kobe and barely made the playoffs. The above mentioned coaches are great but the fact remains that players win games.

3. It takes a community to raise a good basketball player and have a good team. Basketball is a very demanding sport and constant improvement is needed in order to field a good team. Good basketball teams are made up of good players and good players have been nurtured over time. At a recent Wagner game, I was reminded of this. Coach Tina Camacho is one of the best coaches in the city,as I have said numerous times on this blog, but look at the help she has received from the community.

-Rising superstar, LenNique Brown never plays a local game that is not in front of her very supportive mom and very vocal dad. Her older brother sits in the crowd with a critical eye at his baby sister's every move. He has played at the collegiate level, and she is reportedly a female version of him. His younger brother is another college caliber kid that takes an active interest in baby sis and lets her have it whenever he feels that she is not performing up to the Brown Family standards.
- The very promising Arielle Robeson, has a 6'7 father who knows the game and a very athletic mother. Both played college ball, Basketball and Volleyball respectively. Arielle has one older sister who played basketball at Texas A&M and another one who plays Volleyball at UT but, also had offers to play Division 1 basketball.
-Chelsea Solis is playing very well lately. Solis played middle school club ball with one of the best young clubs in the city. Her former club coach made sure he told me that the acrobatic reverse lay up she did in a recent game was a product of his great coaching.
- Michelle Rodriguez played against some of the best players in the country this summer with her club team. She has benefited from the exposure, and has at least one offer from a Division 1 program. These are just a few examples of the Wagner's team being groomed by the community for success.

Coaches have a tough job, period. Just like most groups in life, a few bad apples spoil the bunch.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ashley Jordan, Best defender in the city?

I was very wrong. I admit it. I thought that Reagan had a shot at making Madison sweat out a district title. I should have known better. All-State picks, CeCe Harper and Monica Engleman, showed everyone thinking the same thing, that we are sadly mistaken. But, the MVP of Madison's victory over Reagan last Friday, may have been their fellow Lady Rohawk, Ashley Jordan.

Jordan is a 5'9 defensive nightmare. Jordan finished with 13 points, but her biggest contributions were on the boards and on the defensive end. Jordan gave Reagan and their All-City post player, Jessica Kuster, more than they could handle. Jordan was everywhere. She denied passing lanes, grabbed acrobatic rebounds, blocked and changed shots, stopped dribble penetration and was a major thorn in the Rattlers' backside.

In the span of two weeks, I have have now seen Jordan shut down one of the best guards and neutralize one of the best post players in the city. Is she the best defensive player in San Antonio? The jury is still out but she is making a strong case for that title.

Coach G X-mas Shopping in San Antonio for Guards

The recent Wagner vs Steele game brought an increased excitement to the San Antonio Girl's Basketball scene. The much anticipated match up of two of the top teams in the city turned into a one sided affair. Wagner is proving to be too deep for most teams in the city.

The T-Birds have very strong guard play and really turn up the heat defensively. Arielle Robeson is really becoming a force down on the blocks. The sophomore post player was an All-Tournament Selection in the Lone Star Invitational, and has kept up her solid post play. Kira Chester and Chelsea Solis are playing well in the absence of sharp shooter Michelle Rodriguez. Rodriguez is out with a hurt ankle, but the T-Birds have yet to skip a beat.

The main reason for the continuous heartbeat of the T-Birds is the play of LenNique Brown. Brown is making a claim as one of the premier guards in the NATION. The extended conversation between UT coach, Gail Goestenkors, and Wagner coach, Tina Camacho, at Friday's game should tell all in attendance what the Longhorn leader feels about Brown. Word has it that Brown has just picked up the interest of another Top 10 Program, and a very special visitor will be attending her game on Tuesday. This special visitor is at the Summit of her profession.

Coach G was undoubtedly in attendance to also get a peek at Meighan Simmons. The #1 ranked shooting guard in the nation for 2010 wowed the crowd with spin moves, step-back jumpers and explosive finishes at the rim. However, Simmons is getting little help. For whatever reasons, Steele's starting point guard,Olivia Patterson ,was not with the team. Steele's guards had trouble initiating the offense and handling Wagner's pressure. Rumor has it, that Coach G has already offered Simmons a full ride to UT. I wonder if Coach G had visions of how nice it would be to get the TeamXpress teammates, Simmons and Brown, in the Burnt Orange back court.

Coach G's Christmas List?

  • Beat Tennesee
  • Meighan Simmons
  • LenNique Brown
  • Simmons and Brown!!!!!!

(Coach G posing with future San Antonio basketball stars above)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An Elite Dad On Coaching

The following is a comment from an Elite Dad on the Middle School Madness Blog:

Good stuff on Middle School coaching. My favorite back then, was I am really the volleyball coach, but I was assigned to do basketball as well. That to me was just an excuse to say that I am really a poor basketball coach, but I have to do it anyway.

In my opinion there are a lot of high school coaches out there, that are also so so. They have learned the game out of a book. They do not adjust, and do not adapt to what is happening to their teams. All the new techniques, and ways to play the game have surpassed a lot of the old school thinking. But my biggest complaint is not being prepared. That to me is unacceptable. A lot of coaches out there do not know who their opponents are, or what is being done to their team, until they are losing by twenty. If I took that approach in my business, I would be bankrupt. That is why it is not only on the kids to constantly work hard, it is also important that coaches work hard as well. Lazy is never an acceptable excuse in anything you do. You cannot inspire others, if you do not understand what is happening around you. It creates zero credibility.

Coach Camacho at Wagner is not lucky, she is successful for a reason. Teaching kids correctly is admirable, inspiring kids to be the best they can be, is what makes her so good. She is always prepared, always adjusts to game time situations, and does not allow her kids to accept being second best. When kids see that work ethic, and are around those leadership qualities they cannot help but be successful. That is what creates the great leaders of tomorrow. How many times do you hear successful people say that a teacher, or coach is what helped them understand how to knock down walls, and build things that last. Unfortunately there are very few of her type to go around.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Middle School Madness

The Middle School Madness is driving me crazy! With the season just starting, I am perplexed as to why their is no accountability in regards to middle school coaches. I am not attempting to bash coaches but shed light on the disservice that SOME of them are doing to the girls who love and are dedicated to the game. Here are a few Middle School teachings from local coaches.

- One coach refuses to let a very promising post player use the Up and Under or the Step Through, and is adamant that it is a traveling violation. This coach also discourages the use of the Jump Hook as"it is not a good shot". This coach has been sent videos of pro players using the same move with the same footwork at the highest level of basketball. This coach refuses to condone the advanced moves because he/she can not coach/teach it. If an English teacher can not understand nor teach Quantum Physics, he/she should not dismiss the discipline as false or faulty.

- One coach is fortunate enough to have a very skilled player that is one of the only MS players in the city that shoots with the proper L-Form. Not only does she shoot with the L, she is consistently a good shooter. Her coach told her that " Girls shoot from their chest", and she needed to learn to do so. This player has had to stay after practice to "learn to shoot the right way". This coach is attempting to undue years of hard work and progress to return this player back into the dark ages. Quality coaches beg for girls who can shoot the ball accurately and with proper form.

- Another coach teaches her/his uncoordinated basketball novices to chase down defenders on break away layups and attempt to block shots. Any knowledgeable MS coach/trainer will tell you that it is very rare that middle school girls can chase break away lay ups from behind and block them at the height of the jump. More often than not, these players end up committing fouls and injuring the shooter. Instead of teaching the effective run by or beating the shooter to the spot, this coach thinks that 7th/8th grade girls are graceful and athletic enough to block shots off of the backboard without fouling and falling. I have yet to see many Tayshaun Princesses.

- Another coach instructs his/her players to shoot 15 foot, left-hand jump shots on the left side of the basket! I am all for developing your off-hand but the last person I saw shoot jump shots with both hands, is from French Lick, Indiana and is in the Hall of Fame.

-Speaking of the left hand, another coach advises his/her star player to shoot exclusively with the left hand during blow out victories. Again, I am all for developing your weak hand but what kind of message does that send to her players and competition. This coach has obviously never played the game at a competitive level. Would you tell a middle school baseball pitcher to throw the ball with his off hand because the game was out of reach. Even though this Middle School player is by far one of the better players in the city for her age group, she still needs development. How about having her work on specific skills like low post moves, passing, and moving without the ball? This coach does not realize how demeaning this is to the competition and how she is setting her player up for ridicule and potentially physical and verbal backlash. The appearance of a player "thinking" they are so good that they can beat opponents with one weak hand will cause the opposing parents and kids to categorize her as arrogant.

- One coach has a great ball handler and seasoned club guard and insists that she is a post player because she is taller than most of her teammates. I can understand if this so-called post player would benefit the team with her overwhelming height but the player in question is a 5'5 seventh grader. Never mind that she has won the best dribbler and shooter competitions in team practices and is the best passer on the team. Her "size" automatically makes her a post player?This type of philosophy handicaps players in their future development. A 5'9 Middle school post player is a 5"10 high school wing and guard in college.

With these few scenarios of madness, I often wonder if these coaches would be allowed to coach this way if they were coaching boys football? Would the local High School football coach let his neighboring middle school coach discourage a very skilled quarterback from completing a 5 step drop because they could not teach it? Would the local High School baseball coach allow his Middle School coach to stop a very promising kid from pitching because pitchers are "supposed" to be taller than him?

I would like to see more Tina Comachos. The very successful Wagner coach takes an active interest in her middle school programs that feed into her high school program. Her promising and dedicated middle school players know that she already knows of them! Her aspiring T-Birds are happy to improve with the dream of wearing Wagner Red because Camacho gets it. She understands that young players are like young trees. If they are groomed to grow upward, they will do so. The problem is that too many of these middle school basketball coaches did not grow up in basketball themselves, so they lack strong roots and their teachings are wild.

Comacho's Crew at it again!

Wagner Coach, Tina Comacho is widely regarded as one of the better coaches in San Antonio, but many people would not have picked her T-Birds as the best team in the city. Comacho lost two Division 1 caliber post players in Breanna Brock and Amber Roberson from last years state Semi-finalist team. The T-Birds showed that they still are the team to beat in the NEISD tournament by earning a close victory over the Madison. The previously #1 ranked Mavs, were missing All-State performer, CeCe Harper and nearly squeaked out a win on Saturday at Littleton. The rematch took place on Tuesday and Harper returned to the line-up. The effects of the severely sprained ankle was still evident but Wagner beat the Mavs for the second time in three days to erase any doubt who was the best team in the city. Comacho is showing why she is widely considered a very good coach. She has adjusted her offense from featuring last years 6'2 post players to this years line up that uses four guards at times. It also helps that she coaches LenNique Brown.

Brown put on a show this past weekend. I am always reminded of Chris Paul when watching her play as she uses a change of speed as well as any player in the city. No one in the city uses the retreat dribble to set up defenders better than Brown. I heard a coach describing Brown's set-up as a "fisherman reeling in her prey ". Brown has a complete command of her dribble. She puts the ball out in front of defenders and almost dares them to bite. Playing against her will teach defensive principles better than any drill. If a defender watches the ball and gambles, goodbye! If the defender stands up when Brown retreats, see ya! If the defensive player does not breakdown on an aggressive close-out, "got 'em coach"! Never mind that she passes very well off of the dribble and never dribbles with her head down. It should come to no ones surprise that she already has numerous scholarship offers and is garnering attention from a Big East power. I personally spotted a small Division 1 coach drooling over her this weekend when she floored an opposing point guard. This poor defender had not been taught how to slide her feet correctly and sit down in her defensive stance. Brown came at her full speed in one direction only to stop on a dime and hit her with a cross over that would have made Tim Hardaway smile. The sweet defender crashed to the floor while grabbing her newly tattooed ankle. The crowd was buzzing as the quiet and diminutive Brown just smiled at her YouTube worthy feat. I have said it before and will do so again, LenNique Brown is the most slept-on kid in the city.

More NEISD tourney notes:

-Michelle Rodriguez can shoot with anybody in the city. She consistently hit bombs for the T-Birds and earned all-tourney honors. A solid source indicated that Rodriguez has received an offer from UTA.

-The second most slept-on kid in the city, Liz Boyd had a very good tournament but found out that Monica Engleman can defend. The bigger, faster and stronger Engleman gave Boyd a lot of problems in the Mavs double digit win over Antonian. The Mavs smothered Boyd with great help whenever she was able to beat the first line of defense.

-Speaking of Engleman, she scored at will for the entire tournament. She did it all. Inside, outside and facilitated the offense in CeCe Harper's absence. Engleman had to shoot at least 60% for the entire event.

- The O'Connor guards can play. Arlene Cisneros and Tina Chapa are allowed to go and it causes match up problems for opposing teams.

- Madisons, Ashley Krump had a huge tournament, including one game where she had 27 points and at least 20 rebounds.