Thursday, July 30, 2009
Combo guards who are 5-8 are almost commodities at this level, so they have to show a little something extra. Clara McLee, of Converse, Texas, and Team Xpress Blue, is one who does. She is long and athletic, aggressive to the rim off the bounce and excellent in transition, with either the finish or dish. She also has nice form on her shot, which is a bit flat from distance, making her more accurate from the top of the key than from the wings or corners.
Even though they spelled her name wrong, she obviously made them remember her game.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Continuing on the theme of having the right "fit", I am reminded of an old saying from Ms. Carolyn. Ms. CJ(is what everone called her) was everybody's big mama and she would say the darnedest things. One of my favorites was " Boy, your eyes are too big for your stomach". This simply meant that you are being greedy or you are biting off more than you can chew.
When scanning a message board recently, I ran across these comments concerning the recent news of the University of Cal having three transfers. The transfers include Northern California Legend, Casey Morris. Some of the message board comments follow:
-I heard that three top players left Cal and their roster is down to
five on their board. Does anyone have information on what happened and why they left.
-Because they have 7 incoming freshman. Basically, they recruited over the outgoing players who left to get more playing time elsewhere
-Happens frequently. Arizona had 4-5 transfers(actually 3 documented) this spring and Oregon had at least 3 players leave.
-Be careful when signing your scholarship. Just because the high DI offers a scholarship does not mean that you will play or that you will still be in their plans for all four years. It's cut throat because coaches have to win to keep their high six-figure income
-Scholarships are NOT 4 year deals, this isn't the pros. All Scholarships, NCAA/NAIA are 1 year contracts that may be renewed for the following year. A the end of each year, the coach, school, or player has the option of not signing for an additional year. the 4-year scholarship is a misconception. While players typically stay 4 years (sign 4 contracts) they may leave or be asked to leave at any time.
-It is true that all scholarships are one-year renewable scholarships. However, in the scholarship agreement, it says that a coach must have a reason to pull the scholarship. Technically, recruiting a better player is not a valid reason to pull a scholarship. Therefore, the coach talks to the player and tries to convince the player to leave. The coach tells the player that there is no playing time, etc. However, if the player chooses to stay, the coach cannot pull the scholarship for no reason. Some coaches try to manufacture reasons, but the reality is that a scholarship is a four-year scholarship provided the player does not do anything to warrant losing the scholarship (i.e. be out of shape, ineligible academically, bad attitude, etc).
-don't know how they(Long Beach St.) freed up the scholie, but they have offered scholies that they didn't have available when they took the job. imagine it was the polite "you don't fit in our plans, we'll help you transfer" talk.
My purpose for including these unsubstantiated comments on here is to bring to light the fact that transfers are at an all time high due to many factors, but most importantly, FIT.
The 2010 class of basketball players in San Antonio may go down as one of the most talent rich classes in the history of this city. I have speculated that as many as a dozen girls will sign on with Division 1 colleges. We will also surely see a few girls sign with major Division 1 schools.
College coaches hate to discuss the common practice of recruiting over current players. The fact of the matter is that, if a college program is not returning the starting lineup from a Final Four team, they are trying to get better by recruiting better players. Even though they may promise the world, their livelihood depends on winning. For a local athlete to not realize that college basketball is a huge business, is a mistake.
A great read for the recruitment of girls basketball is, Net Prospect. A used copy is available for few bucks on amazon.
When making their college decision, I hope that all the promising SA talent will decide with their heads and not their hearts. This will be the most important decision of their young lives.
Ms. CJ drove home this important lesson to my young mind when we were discussing the split of a beautifully famous woman and her non celebrity husband. I suggested that this man was a fool to let this dynamic woman get way. Ms. CJ repiled, " His eyes got too big for his stomach, why grab something that you can not hold". Point Taken! But, the problem is that very few of us know how much we can eat without first biting off more than we can chew.
Over time, I realized I play basketball because I enjoy it and have a desire to win but have no shame in losing when I know I played my heart out for my coach, my teammates, and especially the occasional college coaches sitting on our baseline. Playing for SA Finest is defiantly not a walk in the park at all. It takes talent and effort and more than anything, heart. We constantly speak about pride in our huddles, either at half time or at the end of a hard fought game. It’s not about “the team was bigger, stronger, faster, and older” than us, because that constantly the case in most of our tournaments, it’s about “did we play with heart? Did we leave it all on the floor? Did we look like a basketball team out there?” Frequent questions that go through my head after a game, followed by, “man, I can’t believe I missed that lay up.” And, “those refs were absolutely horrible.” Any basketball players mind would ask themselves these same questions and think about every aspect of their game and their team’s game. I know I can go home happy if I know I gave everything I could and I helped my team give everything they could.
I know that, even when I’m in pain, I hate coming out of the game. Even when I can’t breathe, I don’t want to come out. I’m not thinking about, “my legs feel like they’re about to collapse underneath me” or “my lungs feel like a vacuum is sucking all the air out me”, I’m thinking about a million other things. Like my coach said, we are computers. All these different thoughts are going through our head at once in less than 3 seconds. “Keep your dribble until your going to shoot or pass it. Would this crazy man I call coach stop shouting at me?! I need to call a play but I can attack her high foot…” All spinning around your head at once plus your tired and sweating and there’s college coaches sitting right behind the basket and teammates on the bench and parents in the bleachers, waiting for you to do something. So the last thing you need to think about is pain. You can think about how much pain you’re in after the game
Joining this level of basketball has also gave me amazing opportunities such as playing against better competition, meeting girls basketball icons in San Antonio, and of coarse the ultimate opportunity, playing in front of college coaches. It is a dream of many young basketball players to play in college and to see the coaches sitting there watching you is an amazing yet nerve-wrecking feeling. You want to impress the coaches but that’s a lot of pressure to do well. I just try not to see them there watching, but how can you not recognize them? They can give you a way into college and a good education just by being good at what you love to do.
I’ve learned, it’s easy to just stop, and a challenge to keep going. Though bumps and bruises and even back injuries, we all push each other to do better. We hate to see each other give up and not finish. I know I get furious when I see someone just stop trying. How do you get better if you never push yourself? Some people look at our team and think small and unathlectic, but they also see disciplined and determined. We all take each other accountable for our actions and we love each other through thick and thin, no matter what. And I love that about our team. At practices, we can be best friends off the court and when we get on the court we act like were the worst enemies. We go at each other because we want to all see each other get letters. I want to see them get letters and they want to see me get letters.
The thing I think most of the incoming freshmen on Finest are looking forward to getting to play on Team Xpress with Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil as a coach. I know I can’t wait to play with Team Xpress. Looking at all the players now that play for Xpress, it makes you want to be out there on the court playing. You want to be just like the girls on the team and get the chance to play with them. Playing for Team Xpress will be a chance to get even more opportunities to get looked at my colleges. I know this by going to their games and seeing every chair on the baseline with college coaches watching. I can’t wait to be out there playing in front of them.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
"Although styles make fights, the comparison can be oversimplified if you don't take into account preparation and core competency. For some reason the emphasis has shifted from kids being competent in every aspect of the game to just find a place where you fit and then succeed. So the emphasis should be the search not the preparation for what the game can throw at you. In the not so distant past, MJ had an extreme obstacle in the way of the Detroit Pistons who played a bruising, abrupt slow paced style that relied on brute strength versus poetry. In order to compensate for (prepare)success against this style, MJ beefed up and strengthened himself for the rigors of postseason play against the Pistons. The obstacle in his way was not one which could be avoid by choosing an opponent that catered to his style or a coach that catered to play against his style. The fight was the fight! Ultimately MJ taught us that we should be able to be successful in any environment. Slow down style--I can do that and beat you; fast and furious--I can do that and bet you; etc. I believe that kids (and parents) should NOT just search for a club that fits style but they should search for a club that teaches EVERY aspect of the game and allows kids to play based upon their ability to understand each possession and how to coexist with teammates, coaches, fans, and parents alike. The object is to be successful regardless of style, the object is to be successful based upon skill set. If you can shoot then whether it be uptempo or slow down...the ball doesn't lie."
I agree with a lot of the response but will expand on a few things with examples.
1. "For some reason the emphasis has shifted from kids being competent in every aspect of the game to just find a place where you fit and then succeed."
While I agree and try to teach players to be competent in every aspect of the game, how many players at the high school level are such? While you lament about the "demise" of the game, in what era were the majority of players competent at every aspect of the game? NONE!!! Of course you can name a great player that almost mastered all aspects but what about the other 90% of the players who make up elite basketball at any level? Magic Johnson could not hit the open jump shot coming out of Michigan St. Jordan himself strengthened his jumper while in the pros? Was Larry Legend handle as strong as it could/should have been? How was Wilt's face up game from 15 feet? Here are other examples of "fit".
Damon Bailey was the second coming according to Bobby Knight. He was considered by many the best high school player in the nation his senior year. He went on to a successful career at Indiana. But, what would have happened if he chose to attend UNLV or Nolan Richardsons' Arkansas Razorbacks instead of being a Hoosier. His deficiencies would have been exposed in these uptempo systems.
How about Danny Ferry? Or Christain Laettner? Could they have been NBA lottery picks coming out of a system like Loyola Marymounts' run and gun teams of the early 90's? Or vice versa, could Bo Kimble been allowed to show his repertoire at Duke?
In a more recent example, Would Stephen Curry be a current lottery pick if he had attended Kansas out of high school. Curry benefited from 3 years of having the ultimate green light at Davidson. Playing alongside the yearly first round draft picks that Kansas keeps in its stable would not have allowed for Curry to shoot 20 shots a game and hone his scoring ability. Also, why did Golden State draft Curry. Is he not the prototypical fit for a Don Nelson team. Would the Knicks of Hubie Brown or Pat Riley wanted him so much. NO!!! But, the Mike D'Antoni Knicks coveted him due to him being the right FIT for his style of play.
2. In order to compensate for (prepare)success against this style, MJ beefed up and strengthened himself for the rigors of postseason play against the Pistons.
Again, I could not agree more and I am a huge MJ fan. I am also in the opinion that the 80's and early 90's was the greatest era of basketball. But, back on topic, the example of Jordan and his increased strength to combat the Bad Boys is not valid in the situation. It is apples and oranges.
Jordan was a pro who sole purpose was to be the best player ever. He had the resources(time, money, expert training, facilities) to make sure that added whatever skill he needed to add in order to get the job done. But, what does that have to do with finding a club/coach that fits his style? Did he not lobby to get Doug Collins fired due to style? Remember when Collins moved Jordan to the point(the great MJ averaged 32 and 8 that year). That fatal experiment ushered in the Phil Jackson era and the rest his history. Even though Micheal initially bucked at the ball sharing philosophy of the Triangle offense, MJ eventually realized that the spacing of the offense FIT HIS STYLE.
To further my point, did not my favorite player of all time, Magic Johnson get his coach, Paul Westhead, fired due to style? And I quote:
"Westhead kept us loose and improvising for two seasons. But....the 1981-82 season, he introduced a whole new system. Instead of having us run, he moved us into a planned-out, deliberate, half-court offense.... As a system, it wasn't bad. but it wasn't Laker basketball, and it definitely wasn't a good use of our talent. Instead of Showtime, he gave us Slowtime. " ( My Life by Earvin magic Johnson with William Novak,1992)
Now, would you call Magic incompetent or just aware that styles can enhance or restrict players. That is all I am trying to say. I did not say that one way is more right than the other. Players are not competent in every aspect of the game. That is a fact! No player in the history of the game has truly been able to do it all perfectly. And, as long as the players are imperfect, playing style will play a huge part of a team and players success. Ask Boris Diaw how life is without D'Antoni. Or Elton Brand in his ill fated 76er role.
And I must comment on this comment that the writer left in a different writing about Allen Iverson.
BTW, Allen Iverson is out of a job, never won a championship, and quite possibly out of the NBA totally.
Did you take Allen Iversons' job ? If not, what is your beef with him or my analogy to this young girl playing his style of play. I know, I know, he is what is wrong with the game right? He is too undisciplined and unskilled right? The unemployed Iverson will leave the NBA a loser right? How is this for a loser?
Seasons Played- 13
Career scoring average-27.1 (5th)
All Time NBA Scoring List-23,982 ( 21st)
All Time NBA Steals List- 1964 (13th)
All Time NBA Mintes per game-41.44 (5th)
All time minutes played- 36719 (5th)
Career assist-6.22 (45th)
All Time NBA Career Assists- 5511 (36th)
Playoff Seasons- 9
Career steals per game - 2.2 (5th)
Not bad for an unemployed 6'0, 185 pound player. Never mind that he will retire in the Top 50 in every major category measured for guards. Oh yeah, he can't shoot. He only shoots a percentage comparable to All Time greats, Phil Ford, Lenny Wilkens and Pistol Pete. But, I forgot, he is a undisciplined loser. He only played for one of the most strict coaches in college basketball history in John Thompson and took the ultra conservative Larry Brown to the NBA Finals. And btw, Charles Barkley, John Stockton and Karl Malone have never won NBA titles either!
"Lady Rohawks point guard CeCe Harper does a little of everything for her team. The 5-7 guard has a very strong build and she uses it well. She does all the little things you want in a point guard: she sets the table for her wings, collapses the defense with dribble penetration, takes care of the basketball and makes plays when her team needs her to. A bonus is her perimeter scoring, as she demonstrated legitimate 3-point range as well as the ability to knock down the midrange shot. She has some creative handle but doesn't make fancy dribble moves just to have fun. Most of her movements have a purpose."
O.J. Mayo Playing Point Guard
July 24th, 2009 by Brian McCormick
"In Chris Mannix’s column about the USA Basketball mini-camp, he writes about O.J. Mayo’s desire to play point guard and off-season work in that direction:
Grizzlies shooting guard O.J. Mayo has made no secret of his desire to eventually be moved to point guard. To that end, Mayo said he has been working on point guard skills at USC with Memphis assistant coaches Johnny Davis and Henry Bibby. Improving his ball-handling is his top priority.
Last summer, Golden State’s Monta Ellis said something similar in an article about his desire to play point guard.
Ellis and Mayo handle the ball well enough to play point guard. Like anyone, they can improve their ball handling, and that will enhance their performance, but their ball handling skill is not their impediment to playing point guard.
Each player plays with a scoring mindset. While many great point guards score too - Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Chris Paul - point guards play with a different mindset. They score when it is the right play - they do not penetrate to score. It is a different thought-process.
Because of this thought process, a point guard sees the game differently. Most scorers tend to have a narrow-external concentration area: when they have the ball, they focus on the basket and the path to the basket. Point guards have a broad-external concentration area: they see the entire floor and do not focus on any one thing.
For a scorer to become a point guard, he needs to change the way that he reads the game. This has little to do with ball handling drills. Instead, if I trained Mayo as he attempted to make such a progression in his game, I would spend a lot of time breaking down videotape to see the visual progressions that great point guards use. Then, much of the feedback and instruction would occur in 5v5 settings: questioning Mayo on his decision-making process and trying to see how he views the game, what he sees on a particular play, why he made such a decision.
Almost any NBA player dribbles the ball well enough to play point guard. When we think about the point guard position, we grossly overestimate the technical skills (ball handling, passing) and underestimate the tactical skills, game awareness and mental aspect of the position, as these skills are harder to see and teach. However, Steve Nash is not a great point guard because he dribbles better than any other NBA player - he is a great point guard because he sees the game differently and anticipates the play based on his game awareness, percetptual skills and experience. "
Saturday, July 25, 2009
The right club for your child is the one in which your child "fits". Here is an example:
An out of town kid flies in to play with a local club recently. As always, this kid is playing up in grade a few years. Her small frame belies a tremendous ability and desire to succeed. This kid is a female version of Allen Iverson. I have personally seen this kid score 30 points on college bound kids at 10 years old. She is a volume shooter. For her to thrive, she needs to take a lot of shots but she has a remarkable ability to get hot and make a lot of them. She excels in an unstructured environment that rewards creativity. So how did her trip to play with the local club turnout? Terrible!!! This kid played with a team that is the antithesis to her style of play. This team runs a ton of set plays and is very structured. This team has little need for creativity. Creative players turn the ball over more than conservative players and turnovers spelled the end of her playing time. This player chose to play in a foreign environment in an exposure event. Instead of getting college coaches' attention, she was exposed for the negative things that she could not do. Her father called me to express his concern. He was a little disheartened that a BCS school that was raving about his daughter at an earlier event(with her regular club) was watching his daughter struggle for playing time with this new team. His 12 year old daughter already had received two letters from this major conference school and numerous smiles, winks and waves from the coach who sent them. As his very gifted daughter sat dejectedly on the bench after not playing up to her caliber, he texted me that he just received word from back home that 3 more letters had arrived from BCS Conference schools for his little bench warmer.
Now, some may say that this child is not that good. The fact is , this 12 year old made the All Tournament Team at one of the most prestigious events in the country while playing against girls 3-5 years her senior. THE KID CAN PLAY. The problem is that the kid can not play in a system that cherishes the things that she is not.
I always equate the great game of basketball to the sweet science of boxing. All boxing trainers think they are the best and that their boxers are unbeatable. Like basketball, different styles come from different regions and styles make fights.
I love Mexican fighters. The predominant style in Mexico is aggressive. It is 'straight-forward-I'm-coming -so-be-ready', style of boxing. This style makes for exciting(and violent) boxing matches, with the action being nonstop. But, a punchers nightmare is an expert counter puncher. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has made a ton of money beating Mexican trained fighters because of his unique ability to slip(dodge) punches and counter punch for points. His Detroit style brand of boxing is even more specialized since his father and uncle(both pros in their day) trained him different from the average Detroit fighter. My point is that, Mayweather has made some of my favorite fighters look like they are not very good because of his style. A bad basketball fit can do the same to certain players.
When choosing a club, parents need to make sure that the clubs philosophy lines up with theirs. More importantly, parents should make sure that the club is a good fit for their daughters talent, ability and skills.
Friday, July 24, 2009
- "If you(the parents) can not effectively MOTIVATE your child, how do you expect a coach/teacher to motivate them?"
- "I continually stress to my players that all I expect from them at practice and in games is their maximum effort."
- "I do not want players who do not have a keen desire to win and do not play hard and aggressively to accomplish that objective".
Thursday, July 23, 2009
SET PLAY OFFENSE--ADVANTAGES
1. Coach has a large degree of control over which players take the shot. Set plays are purposefully designed for specific players to receive the ball in specific spots on the floor. Usually, that player is the one taking the shot also.
2. Execution is high due to the predetermined nature of set plays. Players know exactly where to start, what to do during the play, and how to finish the play.
3. During late games or special situations, set plays can be very good.
4. Coach can determine who handles the ball during plays to reduce turnovers.
5. Set plays take advantage of players strengths and hide player weaknesses.
6. Set plays can be called from the bench by coaching staff.
7. Set plays can focus on a 2-point basket, a three-point basket, or a need to penetrate.
8. Each set play can have multiple options. One play becomes six plays by reading the defense and taking.
9. Makes for a difficult game prep for the opponent because each set must be defended.
10. Set plays can be altered each year based on player strengths and skills.
1. Motion is a "thinking" offense that requires players with basketball IQ.
2. Motion is a combination of every pass, screen, cut known to the game of basketball.
3. The Snowflake Theory--No two possessions are ever alike.
4. Can highlight your best player by screening for him continuously.
5. Offense reacts to the defense instead of moving in predetermined directions.
6. Motion is unpredictable making it very hard to guard. Hundreds of unique entries.
7. Is impossible to scout because of its flexibility and adaptability.
8. Screening, cutting, and ball movement are an unstoppable combination.
9. Multiple opportunities for getting the best shooters open.
10. Role definition is clear cut, letting players perfect their specific jobs within motion.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Texas Physical Therapists Specialists
184 Creekside Park, Suite 200
Spring Branch, TX 78070
The combination of endurance, speed, power, agility, sport specific skill and mental focus make the game of basketball a highly intense sport. By incorporating sound performance nutrition principles to these components of the game players can maximize their training and competitive abilities. As a basketball player, one of our most fierce opponents is fatigue. Therefore, one of the goals of performance nutrition is to reduce both physical and mental fatigue. Delaying fatigue not only gives us an advantage over our competitors but it also helps to prevent injury. Many injuries occur in the last few minutes of the games when players are physically drained and mentally tired. So, maintaining high energy levels throughout game and practice give a player a distinct competitive edge.
- Should be consumed 2-4 hours before practice/game and should contain lean protein.
- Players should fill 2/3 of plate with carbohydrates and 1/3 with lean protein choices.
- High fat meals should be avoided during this time period.
- 16 oz of water/sports drink should be consumed 2 hours before practice/game.
- 4-8 oz should be consumed 30 min prior to practice/game to top off.
- Sports drinks should be chosen over water in the cramp prone athlete.
Game Time Nutrition
- 4-8 oz of water/sports drink should be consumed every 15-20 minutes.
- Each “gulp” is about 1 oz of fluid.
- Players should regularly consume 32-64 oz during a 2 hour practice.
- Do not be afraid to consume a small portion of solid food at halftime to reload.
- A few bites of an energy/granola bar, orange wedges, fruit snacks or sport gel will do.
- You must make a conscious effort replenish fluid/carbs or you will be forced to accept a suboptimal performance.
Post Game Recovery
- Strive to consume half of your body weight in grams of carbohydrate within 30 min following practice or games.
- A 140 pound athlete should consume 70 grams of carbs within this window of time.
- The food label will tell you how many grams are in a serving of food/drink.
- Sports drink = 14g, banana = 27g, fig bar = 11g of carbohydrate per serving.
- Recovery snacks should be high in carbohydrate, low in fat and contain some protein.
- Expect “heavy legs” if you miss your recovery window.
- Fast food restaurants and concession stands are not good options.
- Strive to have a post-game meal in about 2 hours to continue to refuel.
- This meal should be a high carbohydrate, low fat meal.
- Fluids should be replaced at a rate of 20 oz for every pound of body weight lost during practice/game. You can monitor this by weighing yourself pre/post game to get an idea.
- If you routinely lose weight during practice/games, your pre-game and game time hydration habits are poor.
Jonathan Sams, PT, DPT
Board Certified in Orthopaedics
Certified Strength/Conditioning Specialist
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I still have not seen Leslie Vorphal play but I can no longer ignore her brilliance. The reason why came in a phone call this morning. The call went something like this:
Caller: Man, have you seen Vorphal?
Me: No, but I heard she can go. Can she really go?
Caller: Hey, the girl can GO! She gave us problems this last tournament and was a headache for us.
Me: Is she really that nice? Can she be mentioned with McKenzie, Cee', and Destiny?
Caller: For sure! She is just as good as any of them.
Now, this was no ordinary caller. The caller was coach of the best middle school team in the city. The team routinely goes to basketball hotbeds like Dallas and Houston and gives more than they take. For this coach to say that Vorphal is as good as, if not better than, McKenzie( McKenzie Calvert is a 2014 that has received college attention and is expected to be nationally ranked by Jr Phenoms later this summer), Cee'( Recee' Caldwell is a 2014 and has been getting college letters since she was 11 and recently received her first offer from a Division 1 college) and Destiny(Destiny Amezquita is a rising freshman at Jay high school who routinely scored in the 40's in middle school games) was a shocker to me. This coach is known to be objective but tough in regards to giving his endorsement. For him to cosign this kid was all I needed to know.
Now I am as anxious as a young kid waiting for the new Sponge Bob episode to see the remarkable Leslie Vorphal. Word is that, she will go to Churchill next year and I can not wait to get a glimpse of her. I am told that her basketball IQ is great and she moves extremely well without the ball. Like all three of the above mentioned girls, she is accustomed to playing up a few years, so contributing on varsity next year should be no problem. I probably would not be going out on much of a limb when I say that she is the front runner for her districts "Newcomer of the Year"(Rising Reagan freshman Moriah Mack may have something to say about that).
Vorphal plays with the SA Heat, who recently participated in the Showtime National top division. It is good to see San Antonio kids continue to be exposed to our nations' elite basketball teams and players. Girls like Vorphal will help continue the momentum that past and present SA players have generated. Hopefully the future will see San Antonio mentioned in the same breath as Dallas and Houston in regards to producing great ball players.
The exposure period is quite hectic and rather stressful. During tournaments, when I see all the scouts on the baseline, I try my hardest to not pay any attention and just play for me but it's always in the back of my head that they're watching. The hardest thing during this period is deciding which college to cut loose and which one to pursue. It's not only me that has a planned time line, but the colleges do to and I constantly have to try and work my way around so that everyone's is met. But overall, as stressful as this may be, I'm truly trying to make the most of this experience because I know that only a select number of people will have this opportunity and I definitely want to make the most of it while I'm here.
Victoria was kind enough to share some thoughts with us on her decision.
She reportedly had several other offers but based her decision on the following:
"Its kind of funny how it all happened, but one night after school I was reading my text book from history and it had a little passage about the first two schools established in America, William and Mary being one of them, and Harvard being the other. Immediately I recognized the name from one of the recruiting letters I had been receiving in the mail. After asking my parents about it, we began our research. Soon enough I was taking an unofficial visit to William and Mary, and when I walked onto the campus I immediately loved it, and what it had to offer. I really loved not only the athletics but the academics, which was key in making my decision. Before we decided to take the visit, my parents and I had narrowed down schools by creating a criteria for academics first, and then the stability of the athletic program (how long the head coach had worked there), and of course style of play. We made sure to attend one of their basketball games to see how they played, as well as how the coach directed the team. Throughout the recruiting process I heard nothing but good things about the coach as well as their program. I took a few other unofficial visits as well, but throughout them all, William and Mary was in the back of my mind.
I would definitely recommend taking an unofficial visit to any school you might be interested in. This way you can make sure you feel comfortable with the coaching staff. Try and ask some of the players that have been attending the school if they have enjoyed their experience. Also make sure you watch as many games as you can, to try and see what kind of style the team plays. Getting recruited and making a decision based on the unknown is hard. Make sure you do as much research about the college you are interested in as possible, and it will definitely ease the process, and make you feel comfortable you made the right decision. "
Congrats to the Willems' family and the SA Comets Elite!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The van we rented seems comfortable enough. Although, who am I to suppose, my eyes are barely open. Four thirty in the morning never seemed so early. Last night I climbed into bed around midnight or so, only after triple checking my things so I wouldn’t have to do so this morning. Who knows what I’d forget this early? Which reminds me…two shoes? Yes. Blue uniform? Yes. White uniform? Yes. Shooting shirt? Yes. Ankle braces? Yes. Everything else? I can live without. And with a long, dramatic sigh, I throw my pillows down and climb in.
“So Buddy, did you bring the laptop charger? Oh, and don’t forget the food? I’m hungry already. Can we eat before we go? Hey B, are you awake? I am. Wake up. I can’t go to bed. Let’s watch a movie? I brought Transformers.” So begins the absolute longest road trip of my life.
Meet my precious, little sister, Victoria. She’s a riot. She will be the lone reason I will enjoy the traveling aspect of the 18 hours ahead of us. Yet, she will be the reason it takes us 20 to reach our destination with her bathroom breaks, stretching breaks, food breaks, and, let us not forget the I-Can’t-Find-My-Phone/ipod/nail-clippers/band-aids/summer reading book (even though she’s probably not necessarily looking for that last one in the first place.)
For the past two years Victoria and I have both played for TeamXpress, a traveling basketball organization founded by Coach Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil. TeamXpress is not your normal everyday AAU team. I have played for a variety of AAU teams since I was about ten years old, and though I have the most absolute respect possible for all of my past coaches and teammates and am grateful for everything that I learned while playing for and with them, I must admit that TeamXpress is the organization in which I have grown the most. Playing for TeamXpress is not as easy as waking up one morning and deciding that you want to be the next Candace Parker. It is a long battle that requires a great amount of commitment and drive. I have heard TeamXpress criticized time and time again for the overall intensity associated with the program. In its defense, we asked for it. In fact, we need it.
For most of the female athletes involved in this family, as I have learned it truly is, their individual goal, mine included, is to compete at the collegiate level. This also requires a great amount of commitment and drive. The biggest lesson I have learned from my years with the TeamXpress family is it is easy to give up. It is too easy to say, “That’s it. I’m done. I can’t feel my legs,” and stop running, stop pushing, stop competing. The great thing about this family is that even though, giving up may seem easy, it’s too hard. Just participating in one tournament with our team, whether it is in the stands, on the bench, or on the court, you participated in success. That taste is sweeter than the nectar drunk by the Olympians. It’s addicting. You can’t quit.
The success that I plan on describing in my next few stories stem from roots watered by coaches who genuinely want what is best for the whole of the individual; who are not afraid to ask always for more from the pushing athlete; and who will be as honest as the mirror in front of the beauty queen. These roots are buried in the soil of support and love of the parents who have invested so much financially and time wise to the daughter’s basketball career. The same roots lead to the stem that grows just as the athlete grows.
Last week, I found myself in Frisco, Texas, a country town just outside of Dallas; the location, USA Fieldhouse. I always love July with TeamXpress. Some of the places we get to play are, without a doubt, just plain amazing. Last year, we played at Texas A&M University on the actual court. Anyways, we arrived on a Sunday afternoon and my dad, Victoria, and I went to check out the facility. There were approximately 16 courts in an array of 4 by 4. Each court came with two flat screen TVs; one displayed the score, clock, foul count, etc. and the other advertised the facility sponsors through commercials. 16 courts. 64 teams, all beatable. This is going to be a good tournament. I slept that night with a smile.
Our bracket was easy. Nothing worth mentioning occurred. But maybe that’s what happened. Sometimes, when a team wins and wins and wins, you can forget how crucial the little things were that helped you win. Maybe that explains the lack of solid closeouts, box outs, and rebounds. Maybe that explains the slow, excruciating process we underwent as our team separated into the individual numbers displayed on our blue jerseys.
Who knows, the fact of the matter is we left with a new fire. The more I think about last week the more my blood heats up. I’m sweating. I’ve been so engulfed, I just realized it’s super hot in here.
“Victoria! Turn the air conditioner on.”
“Ok,” her eager face darts away from the summer reading book in her hands. I could see the muscles relax in neck, which she had tensed so tightly to unwillingly hold her gaze upon the text that seemed to slowly be killing her. “Are you ready to watch Transformers?”
So maybe my fire was a little too realistic at that present moment. But on the morning of July 13, it was exactly that same fire that had my team going. We were set to play Oregon Rein as our first game of bracket. A victory for us was crucial, but the fight we had to display in that win was essential. In April, we lost by a mere 2 points to this team in the semifinal of an Adidas Grassroots tournament in Las Vegas. After that defeat, we crawled into a classroom located behind the court. Instead of a lecture, Coach Clarissa had us stand in front and face each other. We each had to begin with the prompt, “I am (name) and I am a (describe role on the team.)” If the team agreed, they’d respond in unison, “yes.” Though the sour taste of defeat was all too distinct in our mouths, we were all laughing as each girl took her turn and was bluntly honest about who she was.
There are a few things I remember from that game:
1. Our game was in the back of the complex, in a little corner.
2. The stands, insignificant in size, were packed with people.
3. Every folding chair reserved for a college scout was in use.
4. The New Yorker had a film crew there to get coverage of the match up.
5. Oregon Rein never stood a chance.
We were all too hyped, all too determined, all too ready, and all too united. We won by 20+. It’s hard to remember scores in blowouts.
With that, we coasted into the semifinal where, ironically, we lost to the Minnesota Stars, whom we had previously beaten by 20+ in the same tournament in Vegas. This was one of those games where the ball seems to be set down on an even platform, and then external forces, such as referees (just an example), push it so it is rolling in the direction opposite of you….if you catch my drift. Honestly, their one team foul compared to our 10+ in the second half is pretty ridiculous. Despite the officials pathetic preferences already digging our graves, we practically began shoveling the dirt on top of ourselves by falling into the same trap again. Our team forgot the little things, and then we forgot about each other.
After losing by eight in the middle of July, the time for defining your role has come and gone. We were asked by Coach Clarissa what we were missing in this game. Each of my teammates said rebounds, box outs, missed free throws, etc. No one said teamwork, and thank goodness they didn’t because I probably would have lost it. Yes, there was no teamwork; but we were way past just “teamwork.” It came down to playing together, trusting each other, and unity. Those were the three things I said, and with that Coach left our huddle knowing that what needed to be said had been said.
I went back to the hotel furious, but I did what I always do. Basically, the only thing I felt I could do. I took a few deep breaths, a cold shower, ate a sandwich and some carrots. Then, I laid down, and it hit me. In Vegas, I stood in front of my teammates and said the following,
“I am Liz. I am a scorer, a defender, a hard worker, a rebounder, a competitor, a coachable, team player. I hustle. I don’t like to lose. I am a leader.”
I probably should have added that I also think to much, more than what should be regarded as a healthy dose. Which transitions me into my next thought, a favorite quote of mine from John Quincy Adams:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
If my role is to be a leader, then I have some inspiring to do. We just hit the bottom again for the second time in two weeks, and this rollercoaster is beginning to feel more and more like the Scream in Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
9 PM: Sat down in front of hotel computer and began searching inspirational quotes regarding teamwork, unity, basketball, and winning.
9:30 PM: Decided my idea was utterly stupid, and I had better things to do like figure out what in the world I was going to write for She's Ballin blog.
10:45 PM: Decided I was stupid for being a chicken.
10:46 PM: After verbally criticizing myself, I sat down, said a prayer, and began.
11:52 PM: Experienced a chocolate craving.
11:52 & 3 seconds PM: Gave into chocolate graving.
12:45 AM: Printed my work, and discovered there was no color ink.
12:46 AM: Told the manager what I thought of his hotel’s No Color Ink Policy.
12: 47 AM: So tired, I got over it.
12:48 AM: Thanked God, the leader of my life, for inspiring me to do this for my teammates.
I must say, it was probably one of the better presentations I ever put together. If this wasn’t already so long, I probably would have posted it here as well because some of the quotes and stories can apply to anyone looking for a little push. In the end, the effect it had was incredible. I handed it out to everyone before the game, and they read it to themselves at first. In a unanimous agreement, we decided to read it aloud as a team a few minutes before the game. At one point in that day, each of the girls told me that they were going to save it and use it for their school teams, put it up on their wall, wished they would have thought of it, or just a simple thank you. This was the first time I had done something like this were every single one of my teammates genuinely appreciated it. I kept thinking, as is my signature trait, and realized it was because each of them genuinely cares about being successful.
We took home third place in that tournament, but that detail is insignificant. When I think about this tournament in Indiana, I will think about the true definition of a team. I will associate this tournament with an understanding of a committed athlete. I will remember how much harder this tournament was mentally compared to physically; because it’s easy to stand in front of your friends and say some words, but it is much harder to sit in front of a hotel computer, late into the night, and write a letter hoping it inspires someone to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more. The red Hoosiers court takes a back seat this time around. It’s the concrete floor we sat on as we read that packet that I’ll always remember.
We’re driving home, and true to character, I’m thinking again. This is what playing for TeamXpress does to you. You’re asked to be a better basketball player, and to do so you must understand the concept of a team. To understand the concept of a team, you must define your particular role. Maybe your particular role is to score, maybe it’s to rebound, maybe it’s to shoot, maybe it’s to defend, and maybe it’s to pull your team back together. Then again, playing for TeamXpress, you’ll do whatever it takes to be successful. That’s what I had to do.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Traveling across the country during the July exposure period has confirmed a belief that I have had for a long time; your team is as only good as your point guard.
Like with most things, there are exceptions to the rule but most teams can go only as far as their point guard allows them. One of the things that I have found most disheartening is the belief that the smallest kid on the team must play the point guard. There is an old saying that point guards are born not made. Even though I disagree with the finality of the statement, I do understand and agree with the heart of the saying. Point guards are a special breed and being small does not automatically ensure that you are capable point guard. Here are some attributes and examples of great point guards.
- Tough as Nails- A point guard must be physically and mentally tough. The physical demands of a PG are many. All positions of basketball endure the pushing, pulling, grabbing, holding, elbows, pokes and prods of a defender but none have to stay composed while doing so like a point guard. A point guard handles the ball more than anyone on the court and as many has 70-80 possessions a game. When getting outside of San Antonio, point guards must endure intense pressure for the entire game. They are also expected to be physically strong enough to impose their will on the court. A good defensive team will try and force a point guard away from what they want to do and a good PG must be strong enough to position her body in ways where she can get to where she needs to get in order to facilitate the offense.
- Intelligent- Intelligence is defined in may ways. Here is one definition that I feel applies to the ability of a good PG. "ability to adapt effectively to the environment, either by making a change in oneself or by changing the environment or finding a new one …intelligence is not a single mental process, but rather a combination of many mental processes directed toward effective adaptation to the environment.” This definition emphasizes the need for a good PG to be highly skilled. How can one effectively adapt to conditions on the court without the skill set do so? Ability implies ableness. A great PG must have the tools to fix the problem but more importantly, know when and how to fix the problem. Just because a PG can dribble and shoot does not mean that they know WHEN to dribble and shoot. A good point guard has what the old heads call "Basketball IQ". Show me a point guard that does not watch basketball, does not know its historical figures and history and I will show you an ineffective point guard. To be a great scientist, an aspiring scientist must study Einstein, Galileo and Darwin among others. I am surprised at how many so-called PG's do not watch the game and know the great PG's that have come before them. These PG's are the opposite of intelligent.
- Skilled- I have already touched on the need to have the tools(skills) required to be a great PG but I must expand. Great PG's are usually the most skilled players on the court. The must not only have to know how and when to dribble, they must have the ability to do so against extreme pressure. They must use an effective dribble to put pressure on the defense and "touch the paint". A great PG must have the ability to shoot well enough to keep the defense honest. PG's that can't shoot will always face smart defenders that will dare them to shoot and not allow them to use the dribble to break down the defense. A good PG understands high percentage shots and having an inability to shoot will decrease her ability of getting her team "good shots". A great PG must be able to defend on the ball and off of the ball. As the saying goes, " You are who you can defend". If a PG can't stay in front of an opposing PG, they are a liability to their team. Also, a PG that does not understand off-ball positioning will miss great opportunities for steals. It is no coincidence that some of the best PG's in history are on the all-time steals list. Lastly, a skilled PG must see plays before they happen. When processing data, they must analyze all the information, hit enter and come up with the solution before others. When this happens, a beautiful pass resulting in a good shot for their teammate will happen. Having the ability or skill set to not only see the appropriate pass but complete it, is one of the attributes of a great PG.
- Unselfish- A great PG must be unselfish. They must understand that they are in many ways akin to a song writer and their job is to make stars out of their singers. They must be able to go through a ton of pressure and struggle only to deliver the ball to a teammate who will get the glory for putting the ball in the basket. A great PG understands that they are the musical conductors and the beautiful sounds of the orchestra is their reward. The conductor must make sure that each musician is involved and sounding her best. When all the musicians are in a position to succeed and are involved with the melody, a conductor(PG) is satisfied and CAPABLE.
- Supremely Confident- Show me a point guard with low self esteem and I will show you an impersonator. Point guards are the kids that KNOW they are good. They are not worriers they are warriors. A great Point Guard has a certain swagger that allows them to put their teammates at ease in times of trouble. Anyone that has played the game has known when they are in over their head. Any basketball player knows the look. The look of a player that is scared as opposed to the look of a player that is supremely confident. Not only is a great PG confident, they are confident in their ability to make everyone else look good. They are confident that they can lead others into success. Great PG's are the best salesman in the world. They inevitably turn the ball over(screw up) more than any other player on the court but all that rejection does not discourage them. They must make that sale(play) despite the competitors attempts and preventing them of succeeding. They must also sell their teammates on their ability to lead them and convince them that they should follow.
Thick Skinned- Great PG's have thick skin. They are the most criticized players on the court and under the most scrutiny. They must be able to accept constructive criticism but ignore the naysayers. The are sure to get the blame for the woes of the team(at times rightfully so) and not allow it to render them ineffective. Simply put, great point guards are tone deaf. They here only what is needed for them to succeed. They hear the negativity but use it only as food for motivation. No other player disappoints their coach more than the PG for the simple fact that a PG is regarded as an extension of the coach on the floor. They must implement what the coach intends. This leads to a constant relationship of immediate feedback, a lot of it negative. Whether a coach is a yeller or not, the point guard will be constantly told what SHOULD have happened and what they SHOULD have done. This constant "should have" instruction is still ultimately criticism and very few people on earth welcome constant criticism. This is a major reason why thick skin is needed to be a great point guard.
Now here are some examples of great Point Guards and the attributes that they have.
- Tough as Nails- Gary Payton was known as the "Glove" in his playing days. His defensive ability and tenaciousness made him surely a future first ballot Hall Of Famer. Payton was known for being physically and mentally tough. Payton would not back down from any assignment. Whether it was guarding the bigger Magic Johnson or the smaller John Stockton, Payton would welcome the challenge. Payton led his 1996 Supersonics to the NBA Ship' against the mighty Michael Jordan and his Bulls. Payton and the Sonics lost in 6 games but it was Payton's nastiness that stared down Jordan and gave a valiant fight. Payton was raised and coached by a father that drove a car with the license plate inscribed with the moniker " Mr. Mean". When studying lives of tough point guards, one will find a tough father and or coach in most cases.( Bobby Hurley, Magic Johnson, John Stockton)
- Intelligent- Magic Johnson was as smart as any player ever to play the game. He knew when to get a player the ball and how to deliver it. He knew that finding an open AC Green at the three point line was not a good pass. He understood that for AC Green to be successful, he needed to get him shots in areas in which he could succeed. Magic was intelligent enough to keep Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy happy and inspire players like Byron Scott and Micheal Cooper to be their best. One of the most telling plays of Magic's career and evidence of his intelligence happened in the Western Conference finals. The Lakers were up by a couple of points and the opposition needed to foul to prolong the game. Magic secured a long rebound and instead on holding the ball and allowing the opposition to foul, he hoisted the balls high into the air and on to the opposite end of the court. My young mind did not immediately fathom that Magic had just allowed the clock to expire while the ball traveled in the air. This play was simple but brilliant. Magic had came up with a solution before anyone else could do anything about it.
- Skilled- Oscar Robinson is the epitome of versatility. The Big O is the only player in NBA history to average a triple double. He could shoot, handle the ball, rebound and score with the best of them. The Big O was the prototype big guard and changed the game. His game inspired players like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to be great passers at their terrific sizes. Cynthia Cooper was one of the most skilled players in the history of women's basketball. Her superior skill set allowed her to play into her late 30's while capturing 4 WNBA Ships' and earn two league MVP awards(at the young age of 34 and 35 years old). Cooper could score as well as facilitate.
- Unselfish- John Stockton is one of the most unselfish players in history. His unselfishness allowed Karl Malone to thrive and leave the NBA as the second all-time leading scorer in history. Stockton relished playing in a small market for the Utah Jazz and reportedly negotiated his own contracts. Players like Thurl Bailey, Jeff Hornacek and Byron Russell experienced their most success while playing alongside the unselfish Stockton. Sue Bird is another great example of unselfishness. By far one of the most skilled players in the world, Bird put her personal talents behind for the sake of the team while winning two NCAA titles at UCONN. Playing with fellow WNBA stars ,Tamika Williams, Asjha Jones, Swin Cash and Diana Taurasi, Bird sacrificed personal stats for the chance to win it all. Her unselfishness did not go unnoticed as she became the #1 in the WNBA draft.
- Supremely Confident- I must again mention Magic Johnson here. We all have heard the story. During Magic's rookie year, he helped his Lakers to the NBA title against a very good Philadelphia 76ers team. During the Finals, Laker captain and NBA all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar severely sprained his ankle and had to miss a vital game. The young, brash and supremely confident, Magic Johnson sat in Kareems' designated seat on the plane ride to Philly and said " Have no fear, the Magic man is here". Magic went on to play center the next game in the place of Kareem and finished with 42 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists in leading the Lakers to a win.
- Thick Skinned- Tony Parker spent his first couple of years in Pops' dog house. It has been well chronicled that Pop would ride Tony to no end in hopes of him developing into the star player that he is. If Tony had not been thick skinned and had taken everything personal, he would not be one of the top PG's in the NBA today. I am not putting Rajon Rondo in the same category as the previously mentioned guards but he obviously has thick skin. His coach(Doc Rivers) and his teammate(Ray Allen) have criticized him publicly on may occasions. His General Manager has attempted to trade him numerous times and yet Rondo still thrives. His thick skin allowed him to take the shots from the Boston fans and media and lead his team to a NBA title.
Great PG's are few and far between. Good PG's are also not very common. At no level is it more evident than in amateur basketball that "a team goes only as far as their point guard allows them to."
Friday, July 17, 2009
1. Skills training, with someone who knows what he/she is doing.
2. Pick-up ball, with and against boys/college women.
3. As unstructured as possible, with and against top players, in a club-basketball setting.
4. As structured as possible, in a school-basketball setting.
5. Physical training, with someone who knows the physiology of teenage girls and how to develop it.
6. Watch countless NBA, WNBA, and college men's/women's games, especially LIVE, and preferably with someone who knows what he/she is looking at.
7. Find out who can coach, at different facets of the game, and attend an occasional clinic.
8. ALWAYS play hard and have fun.
9. Shooting; dribbling; passing; REBOUNDING; man-to-man defense; off-the-ball defense; developing and sculpting an individual GAME; the Essence of Teamwork.
10. THE MENTALS OF IDENTIFYING OBJECTIVES, COMPETING, AND WINNING.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Coach Peoples is father of Cassie Peoples. Cassie is currently ranked in the Top #25 in the nation by Hoopgurlz and has already accepted a scholarship to attend the University of Texas. Whenever you talk to coaches about Cassie, you will inevitably here about her superior skill set. Her skills are no accident as it is her father who has been her personal trainer for her entire life.
Coach Peoples is now also a skills coach for the nationally ranked club, Nike Cy Fair Shock. His camp is $25 for one session or $50 for 2 sessions.
The contact for the camp is: J. Peoples @210-844-9949
Thursday, July 9, 2009
The event will be held at the Quarry Golf Club on August 3rd at 8am. The price is $400 for a team of 4 golfers or $125 for each participant. Besides perks for the first 80 players to register and Nike Golf Bags for the winners, participants will get the satisfaction of helping to continue putting San Antonio basketball on the map!
The Nike Tournament Invitational is regarded as one of the best High School events in the country. The participating teams will include nationally ranked teams and some of the best players in the nation.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Our Lady of the Lake recently announced the creation of it's first women's basketball team that will participate in the NAIA. NAIA schools can offer scholarships to prospective athletes.
The SA Comets Elite expect this to be an eventful summer in regards to recruits committing to schools on basketball scholarships.
Rumor has it that 2011 center, Sune Agbuke is attracting some heavy attention from Baylor University among many other BCS Conference suitors.
"The young ladies get their evaluations today. Each will be evaluated on the following, with scoring scale of 1-4, with 1 being excellent.
4. physical Ability
5. Shooting Ability
6. Ball Handling
7. Offensive Moves
10.Understanding the Game
These are just the titles, there are at least 5-7 bullets under each title of what they are looking for and their skill level.
Today's session was just as intense as the others. Today, they worked their offensive and defensive roles of form, footing, and positioning for your teammates success. That says is all. Sounds like cause and effect. What you do as an individual player effects the other members of your team. Though, each one has their own identity, Gannon Baker constantly reminds them of being individual thinkers in a game that requires teamwork. Sounds a bit contradicting, but he says, "when you stop waiting on your coaches direction for every play and every move, you will Read and React, causing you to become more responsible of your own game. I would not the many readers to get it mixed up, he is not saying don't listen to your coaches. He constantly reminds them that their individual game sets up their teammates up for success, and if they can only get it set up because a coach said so, and the coach is dictating the moves, then let the coach play. You lose your identity and role on the team. Always make yourself available for the team. Stay within your triangle set and keep good spacing. They could not state that enough.
Dee brown started the next session working on defense and transitioning. He states that guards must know at all times when there is a break of off the defense. I assumes he meant fast break opportunities. Get out and get moving. He continues that guards make the movement of the floor flow. Then you go and set things up, get your teammates where they are supposed to be. COMMUNICATE! He states and Read and React is not only for offense. He becomes intense about the defensive stance and foot movement, telling the girls there is no spacing on the defense, save that for offense. Be aggressive, let the opponent become intimidated with your every move. To play defense you must move your feet. When you are in a proper defensive stance with your hands up, and sitting down,you will cause them(offensive player) to pickup their dribble. He states" everyone wants to score but no one wants to play defense but it's the defense that sets up your offense."
Well the camp ends tomorrow with the last skill set of instruction. I hope that all the girls realize the opportunity given unto them, and understand to be at the top of their games, they must work. These are just a few things that I saw and paid real close attention too. This was by far an excellent camp and featured people who didn't mind telling these young ladies the truth so that their game can get better.
I could write more but, you would have to be here."
See ya soon,
Thursday, July 2, 2009
"Yesterday afternoon the girls began their second workout of the day with with the Jackie Ansley. What can I say about this women. Fit!! She has been the instructor for their warm ups. Making sure that she gives pertinent information to the success of these girls and less injury. Warming up puts it mildly. Taking her time she shows the exercise with much ease, but the expression on her face shows how involved she really is.
Now to the competition. No need to size anybody up,or make comparisons. Each girl here can play. From as far as California to New York, these young ladies love to BATTLE. And that is an understatement. Is there room for improvement, yes there always is. Five minutes of nonstop movement. These young ladies are showcasing their gifts to the next level. From Ogwumikes' 'get-that-out-here' blocks, to fast pace up and down the floor pushing of the ball, (every body is hustling) each girl takes advantage of the opportunity and puts on a show that exhibits why they were chosen to be here. Its INTENSE! No I have not seen this kind of ball play in long time. The class of 2010 is representing well. But as they say, there is a generation to follow, the class of 2011 is here in the house. There are four of the 20 girls here, and at this point and skill level, these four are running with the big dogs. I believe they will be representing USA 16U in Mexico. That will be a game to see.
Stefanie Dolson (2010) the tallest one here (6'5), a UCONN signee, is full of size and can be very dominant in the post. You better have real moves when driving in on that! She is BIG. No offense, just stating a fact. But with that, these guards have no fear. Relentless in the drive and unintimidated, even when their shot gets blocked. They battle right back in for the rebounds, and floor scrambling. I once heard a college coach say, "You don't take donkeys to a horse race', well this race surely has no donkeys. From the side, the expressions of the the evaluators is almost unnoticeable. Smiles is all you see, to cover up the real look of amazement. I wonder what they are thinking.
In closing for the day, Gannon Baker, begins his count down as the last buzzer goes off. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, he shouts, looking for HUSTLING players to come to his call. He means just that, HUSTLE!! Clapping intensely he evaluates the time and tells them this; "Ladies you cannot afford to be cripple in this game, you must have a solution, Don't just do the drills, work the skill!
Nancy Lieberman, WNBA commentator gives last minute notes as well. She states to the guards, "you can do nothing standing still, get open, move, make the game happen." Words that sound oh too familiar.
Will get back at you soon,
SA Comets- Big State Flava Jam (DFW Elite)
Lady Rohawks- Big State Flava Jam
TeamXpress-Premier Basketball Report Super 64
ST Hoyas- Showtime National Championships
SA Heat- Showtime National Championships
Good luck to all of the kids and show well!!!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
"What can I say, It only gets better. There is a cause and effect to the mental aspect of the game called basketball. I knew that before, but I am really sure of it now. From the exercise before skills sets, the trainer insist on precision and positioning, not just doing it because she said so. She informs the girls why they are doing a particular stretch and the benefit of doing it right, and not just to be the first one done. With that alone, the girls have broke a sweat. Thirty minutes of nonstop, instructional workouts. I know some of your readers will say, "yeah we do that at our practice", and my response will be, not like this. From why you go from flat foot to your tippy toes in a drill, to why you stretch this muscle to a certain degree. Pushing them past the normal routine of just another exercise, but to be accurate in their exercise benefits their performance in the game. For sure you do not see this in a high school, AAU etc.. practice. Discipline, Discipline, Discipline!
Quote of the day: (Gannon Baker)
"Effort only releases its reward if you don't quit." Wow! He does exemplify that very well. Full of sweat from the intensity he exudes, even while he is just talking to the girls. Mr. Baker made a statement I read in a blog that you wrote . He said, "Ladies you cannot allow your coach to coach you in every play, you must Read and React." I thought he must have read your blog(HA HA). It only makes the game more personal. Another coach said this afterward, "Be the best at your game everyday!" Talk about personal commitment.
Dee Brown is here also. He is just as intense as Mr. Baker, no-nonsense, pushing and instructing each of the girls he speaks with. He is sweating as well, because he is working out with them. What an example!, not just do what I say, but do what I do. These coaches are in the mix, drilling and some running with these young ladies.
No girl in the this camp is being patted. Each one or her group receives penalties for not being at peek performance. Constant, intense, movement. When they are finished I am pretty sure they are done, well spent for the time. I get exhausted just watching.
Gotta go getting ready for part two. "
"All is well here in Oregon. The first day was awesome. The girls were picked up and taken to the hotel to get signed in. Riding in a limo shuttle, that's something. Each girl receives all Nike gear, flip flops, basketball shoes, socks, bags uniforms etc.. Meighans' roommate is Odessey Sims.
They toured the Nike Facility and got a history of the company. All that was done and more,by 3pm. By 4pm, the training begins. I must say the trainer is very detailed, and is in good shape. Of the retired coaches here that I know by name, and assisting with evaluations, is Jodie Conradt from University of Texas. Also, one of the trainers is the commentator for the WNBA. Mr. Baker is every bit of what you see in is DVDs; hyper, intense, detailed, and committed. He had Meighan doing one on one, do what I do training. It was awesome. Its non stop, and demanding.
I will close with this, as we are about to depart for the days 1st training. He said, "You must be a bulldog about your game, be competitive during this camp, practice, this should not be fun...... there is a reason why you do things the way you do them, and lastly, save the fun for the game."
Will email you soon, Mrs. Simmons