Monday, June 22, 2009

Ladies First!

The 3rd Annual "Ladies First" event is now in the books. Over 60 teams in various divisions made the event a very competitive one. Some Happenings follow:

  • TeamXpress swept the event. All three teams went undefeated and captured the championship in their respective divisions. TeamXpress Black had the opportunity to play some local teams and confirm it's dominance over San Antonio teams.They beat Cy-Fair Comets and the SA Lady Mustangs on their way the the Ship. They also had a rematch with the Lady Rohawks and it turned out to be much more competitive than the last game. ( I have been accused of giving TeamXpress too much time on this blog. I find it comical that some complain that their players and program are mentioned so frequently on here. If some clubs resent the attention that I give them, please give me a reason to get them off of my mind. Please send more kids to college than them. Please recruit and have more elite players than them. Please get your girls in national publications and rankings like them. Better yet, BEAT THEM!!! Until these things happen, try to recognize game and go easy on the envy.)

  • The first time this year these two teams met, it was a massacre. I questioned whether CeCe Harper, sitting out with an injury, would have made up the 50 points her Lady Rohawks lost by. I reasoned that she could not make up the 50 point difference by herself and I was right. Barely! The Lady Rohawks lost this time by 10 or so points and it was reported by many that this game was worth the price of admission. By most accounts, CeCe put on a show on her way to 29 points. I entered the gym immediately after the game it was still buzzing. All I kept hearing from fans and unaffiliated club coaches was that CeCe and LenNique Brown(20 points) had a personal duel and stood out above the rest. Frequent readers know how much I love LenNique's game and feel that these two are hands down the best point guards in city. But when I asked about Meighan Simmons, the report I continuously received was that she had an off game. I found out later that she only had 30 points(25 by one set of books) in the game! Sarcasm aside, since when does a player have 30 points in a club game featuring nothing but eventual college players and it's an off game? I wrote about the downside of Simmons constantly being overseen by us( Halle Berry) and we fail to continue to appreciate her accomplishments. I also later found out that Erica Donovan had 20 points for TeamXpress and Arielle Roberson played very well(12 points). Again, it came down to the fact that TeamXpress has more bullets than the Lady Rohawks to fight with. That is not bashing kids, it is a fact.( see Express News Super Team. Meighan Simmons was named player of the year and is joined by Brown and Donovan on the Super Team. Harper is the only current Lady Rohawk on the Super Team)

  • Schertz Jaguars left no doubt as to who is the best 2013 team in the city. I anticipated a match up with SA Finest in this event and got what I wanted to see. I wrote that viewers should bring popcorn when these to two met. It turned out to be not much of a show. The one sided affair was over before it began. The Jags were attacking from the tip off. Their usually subdued coach was animated to say the least. He had reason to be. The SA Finest coach called the tournament director and asked to play the Jags after both teams were eliminated from the championship contention by losses to the two DFW Elite teams. The DFW Elite teams refused to play each other in the late scheduled championship and went home. That left room for the two second place teams in their respective pools, SA Finest and The Jags, to lock up. The twenty point thrashing that the Jags gave the Finest should remind the Finest coach to be careful of what you ask for; you just might get it!

  • Speaking of the DFW, Dallas area guards are on a different level than the guards in most parts of the country when it comes to defense. The pressure and intensity that their guards put on the ball for the entire game is almost unfair. In my brief stay in Texas, I have observed that Houston has the bigs(Britner Griner, Kelsey Bone) but Dallas has the guards(Odyssey Sims, Alexis Jones). I am not trying to over simplify things but the guards that I saw at a recent Dallas event started shaping my opinion as to who has the best guards. Now here is the question, what does best imply? In a recent Q&A with a Division 1 college coach, she stated that the main thing she looks for in guards is their ability to "lock up" on the defensive end. If that is what you are looking for, Dallas is where she should pitch a tent and camp at any number of schools in that area. They "lock up" in that DFW area. But, here is an interesting thing that I have observed. I watched Jasmine Dixon grow up in Southern California. She was always bigger, stronger and faster than her competition and she led the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits to national prominence. However, many in the basketball community wondered how she would do in an environment where everyone was as big and as fast as she was. She went to Rutgers and left in the beginning of the the season. Another All-American that dominated high school with athleticism, Dallas area and DFW Elite alum Brooklyn Pope, also went to Rutgers and played very little as a freshman. She too just transferred. The Big East is full of players that are very athletic. The players that thrive in the Big East are those athletic kids that are also skilled. I have never seen DFW Elite teams run one single set. I just wrote about the problem with running too many sets but, how about no sets? Do their players READ and REACT to the game well enough to instill basketball IQ or will they get to the next level and discover that they are just great athletes. Time will tell if the Dallas area is preparing their guards well enough to thrive in college, but as for now, they are making a strong case for being the best.

  • Houston Elite also chose not to play in the Championship due to the late schedule. Coach Howard Randall brought out his big guns for this event. He won the semifinal over Texas Top Prospects(another Dallas area team with tremendous guard play) behind the play of the #18 ranked player in nation, Karla Gilbert. Gilbert was joined by fellow Texas A&M commit, Rachel Mitchell. Mitchell, the 6'5 rising junior, excited the crowd in pregames while trying unsuccessfully to throw one down. The most impressive sight was that of Houston Elite point guard, Courtney Williams. The 6'0 point guard is problem for all defenders. She has a great handle and good mid range game. She has tremendous upside for a rising sophomore. Williams was one of just 34 players invited to try out for the USA u16 team. She did not make it but an invitation is an accomplishment.

  • All roads will go through Jay on the High School scene this upcoming year. The Lady Mustangs are made up of mostly Jay players and they kept games respectable even though they did not beat any elite teams. They lost to TeamXpress Black by 12 points. Whether Black took them lightly or not, the Lady Mustangs should get some respect. Especially considering that the best Jay player, Super Teamer Erica Donovan, was playing for TeamXpress Black. Wagner Coach, Tina Comacho and Thunder bird stars, LenNique Brown and Arielle Roberson, will have something to say about who will be the team to beat next year.

  • Overall, the event was a successful one. Any event of this size is going to have some problems, but the competition was good. Getting good teams from the Dallas and Houston area is always a good thing for San Antonio basketball.

I had a moment of clarity this event. It confirmed something that I first realized at a soccer event a few weeks ago. I know nothing about soccer. I went to a game to support a kid that I am close with and saw an interesting thing. The parents that talk the most crap, have the kids that do the least. This soccer game had parents that were bashing other kids and bragging about how good their team was but their kids were riding the coattails of more productive kids. I saw this phenomenon at the Ladies First event too. The parents of the kids that were actually performing and playing well, typically cheered but did not talk crap. However, the parents that were doing most of the yapping about how good their team was and how bad the competition is, daughters did very little. What is my point? I do not have one. Just reflecting on something that makes me wonder. I wonder what would happen if these parents spent more time making sure their child was developed instead of popping off at the mouth, how good would their child be? HMMMMM?