Saturday, January 31, 2009

San Antonios' Kids at the Next Level

Here is a quick snapshot at how some of San Antonio's kids are playing at the next level:

Christine Flores- Missouri- Churchill HS- TeamXpress

Games Played=17 Minutes= 8.5 Points= 3.9 Rebounds= 2.3

BreAnna Brock- Missouri-WagnerHS- Hidden Talent

Games Played= 5 Minutes= 1.8 Points= .8 Rebounds= .4

Shavon Walker-UT Pan American- Clemens- Lady Rohawks

Games Played= 14 Minutes= 4.9 Points= 1.2 Rebounds= 1.4

Krystal Stirrup-Tennessee Tech- MacAurthur

Games Played=7 Minutes= 23.3 Points= 9.1 Rebounds= 5.7

Sarah Miles- West Virginia-Sam Houston- TeamXpress

Games Played= 19 Minutes= 32.9 Points=11.6 Rebounds=4.9 Assists= 3.06

Lacey Klause-Texas St- O'Connor

Games Played=13 Minutes= 5.8 Points=1.5 Rebounds= .9

Bree Dawson- Texas St- Stevens- Team Dynasty

Games Played= 16 Minutes= 9.4 Points=1.3 Rebounds= 1.3

Amber Holmes- Southeast Missouri St- Cornerstone- CyFair Comets

Stats unavailable- Possible Redshirt

Jasmine Malone-Missouri St- Antonian- TeamXpress

Games Played=19 Minutes=22.6 Points= 6.2 Rebounds=4

Rebecca Davis- Texas A&M International- Boerne HS- South Texas Hoyas

Games Played=17 Minutes=6.6 Points= 1.9 Rebounds= 1.0

Chanice Scott - Tulsa- Sam Houston- TeamXpress

Games Played= 19 Minutes= 10 Points= 2.4 Rebounds= 2.4

Lesleigh Phillips-St Mary's- Stevens- South Texas Hoyas

Games Played= 14 Minutes= 7.3 Points= 2.4 Rebounds= 1.5

Deanna Patterson-St Mary's- Roosevelt- Texas Breakers

Games Played=14 Minutes= 9.2 Points= 1.1 Rebounds= 1.2

Monday, January 26, 2009

R.I.P. Kay Yow

The entire girl's/women's basketball world is mourning the death of legendary N.C. State basketball coach, Kay Yow. Yow courageously fought cancer for over 20 years before succumbing to the illness on Saturday.

Yow was a major part of the V Foundation and spearheaded the PinkZone . Everybody associated with girl's/women's basketball needs to take a moment to familiarize themselves with Yow's accomplishments and struggle. We all have benefited from her amazing life.

Rest in Peace Kay Yow.

We Thank You for helping our little girls fulfill their dreams.

AP Photo/Al Goldis, File) (Al Goldis - AP)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Alicia Houston Commits

Reagan's defensive catalyst and point guard, Alicia Houston has accepted a scholarship offer to attend the Texas A&M International. Houston reportedly attended the DustDevils game in San Antonio tonight against St. Mary's University. The Division 2 school, is located in Laredo and is part of the Heartland Conference. Houston had a great summer with the Lady Rohawks and received a lot of interest from numerous universities before committing today. The Rattler star will sign during the late period of April. Houston will join fellow San Antonians, Rebecca Davis and Tasha Yancey next year in suiting up for the DustDevils.

Congrats to the Houston family. All that hard work has paid off!

Fox Tech's Winning Ways

The young ladies at Fox Tech have won four games in district play! They also have lost four games, but that is no surprise since the Lady Buffaloes have been synonymous with losing. That is until a "new sheriff came to town, and she goes by the name of Anissa Hastings" ( Sorry for the "Name that Movie" moment).

Coach Hastings is not accustomed to failing. She was an All-State performer at Sam Houston before going on to start at the University of Texas. Her brief pro career was cut short by a knee injury. Hastings decided to come back to San Antonio and start from the bottom. Fox Tech was the definitely the bottom.

The Lady Buffaloes went winless in two previous seasons. WINLESS! Even upstart programs(see Johnson) find a few teams to beat on, just to earn a couple of wins before going into district play. Fox Tech was that "pad your record" team, up until now. Coach Hastings is putting a stop to that.

The Lady Buffs have won 4 out of their last 7 games. Most telling, is the games against Jefferson High School. The first game against Jefferson had the Lady Buffs on the wrong side of a 66 to 48 defeat. A few weeks later, the Lady Buffs turned the tables and earned a 54 to 33 victory. The 39 point turn-around is indicative of Coach Hastings' determination.

Hastings is a tough and demanding coach to play for. She expects success. She inspires. She is very vocal and intense. These are some of the attributes that made her a standout basketball player, and the same things that are making her a wonderful coach. She treats her players as though they were playing for a tradition that is expected to win. She refuses to let them make excuses and look for a way out.Hastings is a coach for TeamXpress in the summer. She can be seen as a role model and mentor for some of the very best players in the city. They understand that they want to go where she has already been. The unique thing about Hastings is that, she coaches her Lady Buffs the same way she coaches the TeamXpress players that are nationally recognized and much sought after.She and her dedicated staff, expected their high school players to run bleachers and train themselves over the summer, where temperatures and humidity were horrible. She encouraged her girls to find capable skills coaches and play in open gyms. She expected her returning players to push the underclassmen during unsupervised summer sessions. One of the leaders, Anna Macias, would attend morning sessions at the track, go help her father in his restaurant business, and then return to evening sessions of skills work. Consequently, Macias is among the city leaders in scoring(9th) and rebounds(5th). This dedication and hard work is something that Hastings inspires. As hard as she is on her players, her players know that she will fight for them with the same intensity. It is no surprise that the Fox Tech program is going in a new direction.

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Why AAU sucks"

The following is an entry from a popular message board.

"Mother has a kid in aau since 7 or 8th grade, pays crazy money , program director tells the mother don't worry, we can get your daughter in to a D1 school ,no problem! Kid ends up D3 and paying for college, this is why you are a fraud ! You should be put in jail for robbing these people of their money! I hope the mom is smart enough to sue the h-- out of you, because I know you guys are only about one thing... people have realize when they are getting scammed! Everyone doesn't always do the right thing!"

The above rant is an often heard complaint about"AAU"ball.( A reminder, AAU is not the governing body for youth basketball. Club teams can join AAU for sanctioned events and benefits such as insurance coverage. Not all Club teams are members of AAU.) I have heard these proclamations again and again. Here is the flip side of the coin:

1. Girls' Club Ball is not very lucrative- Very few, if any, girls club directors can make a living strictly with Club money. The numbers just do not add up. For instance, some Club teams charge between $1000- $3000 a player for a club season. If we took the higher end fees of $3000 and multiplied them by 15 players, you can see a a $45,000 profit! Not Bad, but hardly retirement money. But wait, we forgot overhead. Clubs pay an extraordinary amount of its fees for gym usage, tournament fees, insurance, equipment, uniforms, marketing(web sites/business cards), coaching stipend, etc. Now, I took the high end of $3000 dollars a player. I know very few clubs who charge these rates. However, I have heard of numerous Volleyball clubs who charge in the $5000 range for a season. Why does Club basketball get such an unsavory reputation over money when Volleyball charges as much as 5 times what the average Club Basketball team does. The answer is THE BOYS.

Boys basketball is where the money is. The NCAA is a money making machine and it's schools earn a lot of money off of the sweat of their male basketball and football players. Having daughters, I am very thankful for Title 9 ,and the positive repercussions of the act.(It also has some negative repercussions). But, the reality of the matter is that the golf team, the rugby team, the swim team and in a lot of cases, the women's basketball teams of most colleges are paid for with the help of the men's basketball team.

"While $15 million per ACC team may not sound like a lot, consider this: The money brought in by most men's basketball teams sometimes support as much as half of its schools' athletic budgets."

My point is that AAU basketball has earned such a bad reputation because of the money that is generated on the men's side of the game. Derrick Rose was worth at least $1,000,000 to the University of Memphis.( Factor in NCAA Tournament revenue, Nike Contract, Ticket Sales, Memorabilia Sales etc.) With all that money being generated by so few people, 15 players, it is no wonder that so called corruption occurs. Before it was AAU, the high school coaches, street agents and "uncles" were seen as the corrupting influences on the great and pure game of basketball; not the rich college booster with the bag full of money or keys to a new car. Moving on, The NCAA is trying to take back control of it's precious commodities and put them back into the hands of the true caretakers of the game. Care takers like the great Adolph Rupp and his point shaving team. Or Tim Donaghy. Or Tates Locke, the former West Point coach, who hired Bobby Knight to his first coaching job. I am not casting stones, I am only emphasizing that "AAU Ball", money-hungry reputation is a product of a billion dollar business and when so much money is involved, backroom deals are bound to happen. There is simply not enough money involved on the girls/women side of basketball for such corruption to be so prevalent.

2. A club director has never made a jump shot for one of his/her players. Colleges will find the talent. No logical person can blame a club director for a player falling from a Division 1 scholarship to a Division 3. Parents must be more educated on the developmental and recruiting process. If the above mentioned young lady was training like a Division 1 player since the 7th grade, I find it hard to believe that she could not have earned at least an NAIA ride, to help with college. The problem is, most parents expect club coaches to work their children out two times a week and feel that is sufficient in earning a D1 ride. That may be sufficient if your child is Britney Griner and is 6'7. D1 players eat, drink, think, and sleep basketball. Do not blame club coaches or directors for the lack of dedication of your child.

Now I will say that playing for a good club and a director/coach, who is well connected, is a major plus. I know of club directors/coaches that can get a hidden gem on a college coaches radar with with a phone call. However, the players still have to perform. Spurs GM, RC Bufurd, can not make his colleague and friend ,Bill Self, sign a player that can not play at the Kansas level. Self will take his phone call and respect his recommendation but the kid is going to have to show and prove.

Parents should make sure of the following when finding and staying with a club:

- The club emphasizes development in the Middle School years. Fundamentals should be paramount and games should be secondary. I have read that some European youth basketball leagues will not allow coaches to run set plays up until High School. The purpose of this is to teach kids HOW to play instead of teaching kids PLAYS.

- High School club teams that claim to be Elite should have an Elite schedule. If your so-called Elite team is not playing in exposure events against the best of the best, you are not playing on an Elite team. Furthermore, if you so-called Elite team is playing in one of the lower divisions of Exposure events and chasing trophies instead of college letters, your team is not Elite. These clubs are not getting kids looks and are waisting parents money.

- Look for track record. Has your Club put kids in school? How many kids have gone on to college from your club? If the answer is none, you probably should find another club. However, if your club has a track record in sending kids to schools and you do not earn a scholarship, then your child's ability and dedication is most likely to blame. If you are with a newer club that is playing an ambitious schedule and training accordingly, you are probably in a good club.

- If your child is in her junior year, and her club director/coach is telling you that your child is going D1,with no college interest up until that point, you probably are playing for a director that is either, dishonest or naive. D1 Caliber kids have usually received at least some college interest by their junior year.

Most good parents teach their kids not to play the blame game. We all have heard the saying
" When you point the finger, there is always three fingers pointing at you". Parents need to be more aware and proactive in regards to Club Ball and the recruiting process instead of automatically blaming the "crooks in AAU" for their failure to inspire 'Elite Basketball' dedication in their kids. I promise you that your $1000 a year did not make anybody rich.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Getting Defensive

An old coaching saying goes, " A player who can rebound and DEFEND, will always find playing time". These following young ladies really take this saying to heart.

Serena Reyes- Lee HS-
I have seen Reyes play four times and she has never had less than 10 blocks in those games. I have seen her play against 6'0 girls on two occasions, and she made it her personal duty to let them know that she was not having any nonsense in her paint. Reyes is no taller than 5'11(MAYBE 6'0) and she has to lead the city in blocks. She has incredible timing, very long arms and is very agile. The Lee parents play a game of keeping her running block total during games. One enthusiastic dad from Lee,sits on the front row and yells" Yeah buddy, thats 8" and "There goes number 9"! This DAD always goes hoarse after counting so many of Reyes's blocks.

Alicia Houston-Reagan HS-
Houston is a nasty defender. Nasty being good! She is a very physical guard with great feet. She plays defense with a mischievous smile as she frustrates her opponents.It seems as though she delights in wearing opposing guards down with her constant pressure. She reportedly studies tape of some of the better players in the city, to familiarize herself with their offensive tendencies.

Alexis Govan- Stevens HS-
Govan can guard players 1-4. I have witnessed her give a hard time to an immensely gifted player who is a very strong 3-4, and shut down a very quick point guard in the same game. The 5-8ish Govan, is long and very athletic. She has the defensive swagger to match her athletic ability and plays for a great coach, who knows how to utilize her strengths.

Christina Harris- Brandeis HS
Harris is a 5-9 beast on the boards. She is one of the city's leading rebounders and has a good nose for the ball. Her impressive vertical jump allows her to grab boards in traffic and block or alter shots on the defensive end.

Courtney Peay- Marshall HS
Peay is a very strong power forward who gives opposing bigs a nightmare on the block. Peay is too strong for most post players to establish good position against her. She fronts the post as good as any in the city, and disrupts passing lanes with her long arms.

Ashley Jordan- Madison HS
Easily one of the most athletic players in the city on the defensive end. Jordan is another kid who can guard multiple positions and rebound with a passion. Her vertical leap and explosiveness allows her to jump twice to secure rebounds while opposing players are still on their first jump. She gave headaches to one of the most promising "Bigs" in SA a few weeks ago while holding her to single digits in scoring and rebounding.

Olivia Patterson- Steele HS
Speaking of headaches, Patterson is a defensive migraine for ball handling novices. Patterson uses her small but strong frame to harass opposing point guards into submission. She "turns" more guards than any player that I have seen this year. You could make a case for Patterson being the best on-ball defender in the city.

Felicia Jacobs- Roosevelt HS
Jacobs is another one who can claim to be the best on-ball defender in the city. She has track star speed that she translates well to the court. Jacobs has very fast hands and deflects numerous passes that enable her teammates to get steals. She too can guard players that are a lot bigger than her by using her great vertical leap to pick off errant post passes and dislodge bigger players with her strong lower body. I have seen her expose the weaknesses of a few elite prospects.

Liz Briones-Antonian HS
One of the most intelligent defensive players in the city. Briones is very strong and uses her solid 5-9 frame to be aggressive on the block against bigger opponents. She play angles well and rarely gets beat off of the dribble by smaller and quicker opponents. She is another kid that plays Nasty defense. She runs hard through picks and makes sure to leave an impression on the screener. She is arguably the best in the city in "boxing out". Her efforts allow her teammates to get a lot of rebounds because of her tenacity on the "box out" Her designated player WILL NOT get an offensive rebound.

Kira Chester- Wagner HS
Chester plays on the best defensive team in the city and she is a major reason for their success. Chester is one of the best at jumping passing lanes. Her teammates put such great pressure on opposing guards, it allows Chester to play a free safety and pick off bad passes. Chester rebounds very well for her size and does a great job against bigger opponents.She is an "extra possession" kid . She will earn Wagner an extra possession or two every game by chasing down a loose ball, throwing the ball off of the opposition's foot or taking a charge.