Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Skills Academy Success Part1

The Centex Skills Academy was probably one of the most exciting events in this area in a long time. One simple word why the event was a joy; TALENT! This event featured some of the most gifted young players in the city and a few of the best older ones too. The amazing thing was that club affiliation was not a deterrent to the kids learning, competing, getting along and most importantly, GETTING BETTER.

A quick roll call of some of the clubs who had players in attendance:

SA Comets(Leornard), Schertz Jaguars, Liberty Hills Dream Team, SA Finest, Next Level, SA Comets( Alba), ST Hoyas, SA Heat, SA Impact, TeamXpress, Lady Rohawks(asst. coach attended to support)

Not a typical skills clinic, this event concentrated on instruction then playing. At least 2 hours of ball handling was stressed both days. Drills included: stationary ball handling, two ball dribbling, tennis ball, straight line attack moves, dribble combinations into advanced finishing moves, getting open against pressure defense on the wing and in the post, transition offense and defense and each player took hundreds of shots in the two days. The attendees even learned a 5-Out Open Post Offense that allowed them to concentrate on moving without the ball while attacking and exploiting scoring opportunities. All that talent made the weekend one to remember. Some players who shined in the event follow:


Michelle Rodriguez- The sharp shooter for Wagner had a good event. Besides displaying her reliable jumper from deep, she impressed with her ball handling. The All-District performer has obviously tightened up her handle and is no longer just an outside threat.

Jordan Collazo- Collazo was my surprise of the event. I knew she could play but this was the first time that I had the opportunity to see her entire skill set. Though her shot is a little unorthodox it certainly is effective. She hit the three as well as anyone in attendance and her handle is nice. She passes the ball well also. Collazo wowed the attendees with her passing including one where she did an In & Out dribble to shift the defense and went into an off-the-dribble Behind the Back pass only to hit the running teammate in stride for an easy lay up. She should have a big year for Marshall.

Chelsea Solis-The All-District slasher for Wagner has enough sauce to her game to make you appreciate her. She may not be an automatic shooter from deep but her jumper is good enough to keep you honest. She can get hot in a hurry! Her good handle is complemented by creativity. She takes and makes shots that some girls are too afraid to take. This creativity makes her fun to watch.


Asha Hampton-Finch- Hampton-Finch has had multiple Division 1 coaches visiting her school the past couple of weeks. The reason why was very evident. She loves to get better! The 6'1 wing/post for Roosevelt utilized the opportunity to sharpen up her post skills by working tirelessly with New York Liberty Big, Tiffany Jackson. When grouped with the guards, Hampton-Finch attacked the ball handling drills like she was on a mission. But, the true joy was watching those never ending strides eat up the court in transition drills. She runs the lane with a passion. The scary part is she is only going to get better!

Alison Salmon- When Salmon is on, she can shoot with any girl in this city. I watched during one break where she hit 13 out of 16 from three while the ball touched the rim 4 times. Her arch on her shot allows her bombs to frequently hit nothing but net. She is another kid that should have a break out year for Smithson Valley this year.


Ebony Easter- The New Comer of the Year for her district last year displayed a different set of skills this event. She faced the basket and went to work. The 5'9 post player for high school and club team showed that her future is using her great athletic ability to beat kids off of the dribble. Her strong frame allows her to finish in the paint. Her improved handle made her a difficult player to hold.

Raven Reyes- Reyes has to be the most improved player in this city over the last year. The 6'2 Big from Fox Tech has grown leaps and bounds. This future star has worked hard to get into shape and get her skills up to par. Her size allows her to exert her will on the block. An improving drop step and jump hook gives her enough tools to be an offensive threat. She gobbles up rebounds like it is a game. Prediction: Reyes will lead the city in rebounds this season at 15 per game!

Nike Regional Evaluator and DFW Elite founder, Marques Jackson initiated the event. This fact caused a lot of insecure club directors and coaches to cringe. I was called "stupid" for not understanding the implications of my support. Why invite the fox(DFW) into the hen house(San Antonio)? I fully understood what I was doing with my support. In fact, I welcomed it! The fact is that DFW and the hundreds of kids that they have helped get into school are a formidable organization with national contacts. If we(San Antonio) are going to start producing kids that are on par or superior to Dallas, we are going to have to step our collective game as a city. NOT RUN!!!! They(DFW staff) asked me about a few of "My"(that word again) players at this event. I know that they may eventually contact "MY" players with the intent of recruiting them. Oh Well! I hope that I am pretty enough to keep "MY" girls. If not, I should probably do all I can to get prettier, instead of locking up "My" girls and brainwashing them into believing that everybody else is ugly and I am the only pretty one. This scared and disingenuous philosophy reminds me of the movie Waterboy.

The insecure and ugly mother in the movie always taught her brainwashed child that everything that provided competition to her control over her son was "The Devil". When her son wanted to play football she would yell, "Foolsball! Foolsball is the Devil". When her goofy son found a girl that he liked, his insecure mama would yell, " Girls are the Devil"! But, just like the girls that are playing for insecure and mind controlling club coaches, The Waterboy eventually saw that it was his mama who had the issues. Football nor girls were the devil. The only deceitful happenings were being perpetrated by his mama, aka, insecure club coaches and directors!

This camp reached across club lines to assemble a lot of local talent in an effort to continue to push each other (clubs, players, coaches) in to getting prettier. All that young talent was a sight to see!

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Worse and Worse"

In a recent conversation with an assistant coach/manager of one of the elite ball clubs in the city, we discussed the increasing animosity and hate among clubs. This coach had a terrific quote. It sums it all up:

" The more talented the kids in this city gets, the nonsense becomes worse and worse".

Unfortunately true!

Head Of The Class!

R.V. Baugus Texpreps Basketball annual addition is out and some local kids have been recognized as being among the TOP 50 ball players in the state. They follow:

Meaghan Simmons- First Team
CeCe Harper- Fourth Team
Jesica Kuster- Fifth Team
LenNique Brown- Sixth Team
Sune Agbuke- Tenth Team
and San Antonio bred
Cassie Peoples- Second Team

The magazine features a small article on Simmons. The cover of the magazine includes the sub-title Terrific Trio, featuring Chiney Ogwumike and Odyssey Sims.

John Jay is ranked #6 in 5A in the preseason poll in the state.
Cibolo Steele is ranked #5 in 4A in the preseason poll in the state.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Great Basketball Site!

I am pasting the link to Inside Women's Basketball. This site is amazing. Some of the content includes:

  • Epiphanny Prince's decision to forgo her senior year to make six figures overseas. She will still graduate on time. The only difference is that she will get paid this season while playing the game she loves.

  • The great father-daughter story of former NBA pro Antonio Davis and his very gifted daughter, Kaela. Davis now coaches his daughter and the daughters of a few other professional athletes( Ken Griffey Jr, Dee Brown, Delino Deshields).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A local Club Director chimes in!

The following is from a club director of an elite program in the city. Bold emphasis added bt me:

"A quick way to solve the problem of some coaches using their influence to manipulate a kid, is for all parents to simply let the coach know that any communication to their child, should either go through them, or that they be copied in on any correspondence to the player. That would generally eliminate texting as a form of communication between player and coach, since there is no easy way to copy the parent in on the conversation. Any parent that lets their child directly communicate with any adult is a fool no matter who they are, unless it is in a controlled environment like a practice with lots of other players around. A coach should also have this policy. The coach that directly communicates with someone else's child, without a parents direct knowledge of what is being said, is also a fool. The coach could quickly find themselves in a situation that is not comfortable. It would also be wise for a parent to attend things like skills workouts, and other events that might have a coach directly communicating with a player on an individual basis. This way there is never any misunderstandings of what was said, or implied by a coach. A parent should always expect to pay for things like individual skills training and club dues. In fact they should insist on that arrangement if possible, with any coach or organization. This goes for kids just starting out, all the way up to stars of the game. That way it is always a business arrangement, and if things do not work out, both parties can part ways, without anybody owing anyone anything. On the other hand, if a kid becomes a star, a smart coach, or program, does not need to claim they got a kid anything. They just need to ask that parent if they would not mind if they could give out their phone number to any prospective players parents in the future. Nothing like getting new business from satisfied customers. Obviously this is a perfect world scenario, and we all know that individual family situations can sometimes not support this arrangement. Things like paying the rent, and electrical bills sometimes get in the way of paying a coach to teach our kids basketball. That is the challenge of good club teams and youth organizations is to come up with sponsors to help bridge this gap. This will create a level, healthy playing field out there for all kids that want to master the game, without someone else's agenda getting in the way. "

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Happenings!

  • 8 NCAA Championships and 4 WNBA titles are in Cibolo today. Pat Summitt and Van Chancellor are at Steele High School to observe Meighan Simmons today at school.

  • UTSA is reportedly heavily recruiting Alamo Heights Stephanie Whittman. Whittman, the former #47 ranked player in the nation by Hoopgurlz, is recovering from a knee injury. The perfect sized combo guard punishes smaller defenders. She has one of the best mid- range games in the city.

  • PLAYERS PLEASE READ CAREFULLY! College coaches check your My Space and Facebook pages. In conversations with a few college coaches over the past couple of days, they all confirmed that they check these social networking sites in regards to potential recruits. Youthful indiscretions may haunt you in a huge way so beware of the messages that you are projecting to college coaches!

  • PARENTS PLEASE READ CAREFULLY! While the majority of club coaches do a lot of good and are in this for the right reason(s), some coaches use text messages to manipulate and exert control over your child. Mentors and role models are much needed in current society but the question is this, was that texting coach so interested in your child's well being before your child became an elite ball player? If not, there is an agenda. Is it a negative agenda, probably not, but the fact still remains that there is an agenda. Parents should probably make sure that the texting coach has the same agenda as them, THE PARENT! Another negative thing affecting girls basketball is coaches that CLAIM credit for a basketball players success. For instance, club coaches like to say, " Such and such got a letter or a scholarship because of me". In some cases that may be somewhat true but the majority of the time it is a LIE!. Unless a coach develops and showcases a kid from a very early age, they can not claim credit for them. For instance, Leslie Vorphal has one of the best personal trainers in the city. She has been working with him since 8-9 years old. She has also played for her father in the SA Heat Organization since the same age. Vorphal will garner a ton of college attention soon playing for SA Heat Director and Head Coach, Kobe Cantu. While Coach Cantu has helped get kids in school by providing a positive place for them to showcase their skills, can he claim Vorphal as his creation? NO!!!! Can he insinuate that Vorphal will get a college ride because of him, NO!! For the record, I have never heard of Coach Cantu doing such a thing. In fact, when Jessica Kuster committed to UTA, he wrote a very humble email about being privileged to have been able to coach her. Other coaches are not so humble. Please listen to a club coach talk and they will give themselves away with "I did this for her" and " She went to this college because of me". Also, please be aware of coaches who offer to pay for things. Frequently, these "things" come attached with strings. These situations can later come back to haunt you! The litmus test is this, " If your child does not play for them, will they still pay for "things". If no, there is an agenda. Whether good or bad, an agenda is still an agenda and you may want to know what the coaches agenda is.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall League notes and Area Happenings!

Some quick notes from the fall league and city-wide follows:

  • I was out of my mind to rank Arielle Roberson as the 11th best player in the city. In my defense, I did so because I have yet to see her be Batman(Batgirl). She has been a great Robin and has always had the luxury of playing with the best pure point guard in the city, LenNique Brown. Every player that I ranked ahead of her has had to face constant double and triple teams at the high school level. However, even at the time of the rankings, I noted that #11 is too low. The fact is that she is a Top 5 player in this city NOW! It can be argued that she is the best player in the class of 2011. Sune Agbuke and Erica Donovan are legit, but are the better than Roberson? Debatable! But probably not! Word is that NC State was on campus yesterday to visit the long athletic junior from Wagner. I could not help but to think of Roberson as I watched the Mercury eliminate the Silver Stars Monday night. Roberson reminds me of a smaller Dewanna Bonner.

  • I finally had the opportunity to see Leslie Vorphal. Even though it was a fall league game, her skill is set still evident. She is savvy beyond her years. One of the better on-ball defenders in the city, Hillary Lumpkin, was guarding her and Vorphal held her own. Lumpkin is a nasty defender with quick feet and grabbing hands. Vorphal did not dominate but showed glimpses of her extremely bright future.

  • Marquisha Sparks has apparently used the summer to get better. Imagine that! A player who developed her individual skill set in the summer. Who would've thunk it? While she plays in the post area for MacArthur in the past, the 5'6 super strong guard enhanced her skills on the perimeter this summer with the SA Heat. She looks good! Sparks is due for a huge year!

  • MacArthur will be a Top 10 team in the city this year. Depending on how well Victoria Willems, Karissa Cantu,Nicole Kindred, Sparks and company gel with their new coach, they should challenge Reagan for the top spot in district. Watch out for Roosevelt too. MacArthur, Reagan and Roosevelt probably would want all of us to not count out Madison and CeCe Harper. The last time I predicted that Harper could not do something, she put on a show that people are still talking about. I heard that the tape of that game is floating around, can someone please give me a copy?

  • Camacho's crew is still the team to beat. The poll on this site confirmed what most people know, Wagner is the most respected team in the city. Why? How about a successful coach that saw her fall league starting five go with: LenNique Brown, Arielle Roberson, Michelle Rodriguez, Chelsea Solis and Ebony Watkins. Now, that is two of the Top 10 players in the city(probably Top 5) in Brown and Roberson. One of the best shooters in the city and four time letter winner, Rodriguez. One of the most exciting players in Solis and one of the most gifted kids in town in Watkins. I have said this before and I will say it again, with Ebony Watkins, Wagner would have beaten Pflugerville last season in the playoffs. They were one athletic body away from a state trip. Oh yeah, I have yet to mention the head strong and emotional leader of the Thunderbirds, Ashley Catlett, who is back from knee surgery. However, Jay and Steele may have something to say about the best team in the city when all the fun begins.

  • Boerne Champion looked good and will be tough again this year. The Dribble Drive Offense is going to be problematic for most teams this year. The Chargers return All-District performers Hillary Lumpkin and Paige Grandjean. The Chargers have added the 5'3 spark plug, Brooke Allemand. The kid can play! The encouraging thing about the leadership of this team is the way Lumpkin and Grandjean have behaved. Both seniors have reportedly taken the young pups(Allemand and Heather Hormuth) under their wings and helped acclimate them to high school. Instead of hazing and ostracizing the rookies, Lumpkin and Grandjean have reportedly been spotted around town with the youngsters in tow. The babes probably have to pay for the smoothies but the that should be expected.

  • TeamXpress is reportedly playing in Frisco during the Fall Exposure period. However, they will be without the #12 ranked player in the nation, Kyrstal Forthan, who is reportedly playing with Georgetown in the same event. Word has it that TeamXpress founder, Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil may coach both Georgetown and her club team in the same event. Hopefully we will get the chance to see them lock up with US Elite 2013(also in Frisco) again. The last game ended in a four point win for TeamXpress but was worth the price of admission!

  • Speaking of TeamXpress, they are are it again! IF they can keep their underclassmen for next year, they will be scary good. Oregon's Kyrstal Forthan(6'4), Arielle Roberson(6'2), Erica Donovan(5'11), California's Kendall Cooper(6'3 freshman) and Danielle Blagg(6'0), will be a handful to say the least. If Davis-Wrightsil is able to recruit some of the California guards from the same club(GBL, 2005 & 2008 AAU National Champions) that she got Cooper from, this is potentially a Top 15 team in the country. Davis-Wrightsil already has flown in an End of the Trail all-tournament selection, GBL's Chyanne Butler(2014) for an event. Another potential 2014 phenom that may be an option is GBL's Jordin Canada. The 2014 guard is already getting attention from major universities and UCLA is reportedly in love with her. I have seen Canada dominate older girls since she was 9 years old and is HANDS DOWN one of the best 2014's in the nation. A couple of these Cali guards could put TeamXpress in a position to challenge DFW(Moriah Jefferson, Alexis Jones) and Nike Cy-Fair Shock(Cassie Peoples, Alexia Standish) for state supremacy.

  • TeamXpress and Sam Houston guard KiKi Ageous is reportedly headed to Arizona. KiKi will shine in the Pac-10. This may be a great FIT!

  • Ashley Perez(TeamXpress and Lytle) is reportedly taking an official visit to Arkansas St.

  • Asha Finch( ST Hoyas and Roosevelt) has had a little company these past few days. UTA and Rice have reportedly visited campus to see the athletic wing participate in P.E.

  • Clemons guard Brandie Hurd can play! Hurd has a decent handle and can hit the open shot. I have seen her in the summer and saw some good things, but Sunday showed me that she has extended her stroke to become a consistent threat from deep.

Friday, September 18, 2009

More recruiting advise from a local club director

A local club director offers advise on the Fall Exposure Period:


On October 3rd and 4th will be the last NCAA eval period for this year. In my opinion, for an uncommitted Senior, it is the most important event of the year. This is where the majority of schools will fill in the last pieces they need for next years class. It is no secret that if you are six foot, or taller, chances are you have already received a lot of attention from schools, or have already committed somewhere. If you are under six feet, and are not a phenom, this is your time to shine. Schools at these showcase events are playing lets make a deal. Some of the D-I's are now looking for kids to fit specific needs. The D-II and smaller schools are now up to bat, since a lot of the D-I's are done. This is also the time to close the deal with a school that might have shown interest in you, but that has not offered. Remember, interest from just one school is not a great position to be in. Because if that one school does not offer, you are in trouble. However, if you can get another school, or more interested in you, it creates the auction type effect for your services that you want in a hurry. This Fall event offers a great opportunity to generate that interest. If you can get at least one offer, it now gives you the leverage you need to try and make a deal with a school you are really interested in, or allows you to decide if that is the school that will work for you. Options are very good thing at this time of the year. The more the better. As the window closes on this school year, your options will get smaller and smaller.

If you are a senior, it would probably not be to wise to wait for High School ball to begin to try and generate interest in you from colleges. That is a risky bet. Most High School coaches do not have the connections that most elite club teams have. There are a few exceptions to this statement. The point being if your high school coach actually could generate interest from colleges, they probably would have already exercised this ability for you, before your senior year. Now here is the other important thing to understand about your high school coach. They might not get you a scholarship, but they can prevent you from getting one. Once a college starts zeroing in on you as a scholarship athlete, they are going to want to talk to your high school coach to see if you are a team player, if you get along with your teammates, and generally what kind of person they might be getting. Parents also be aware, most colleges are going to be asking the high school coach about you. If you are pain the rump, that might generate a red flag that you might not want. High school sports in general generates constant complaints from parents about everything. Just remember to not complain to loudly, because it could come back to bite you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

NCAA Guidelines!

This info was taken from the NCAA website for recruitment. The recruiting process is complicated and involves plenty of restrictions. Some club coaches do not know the rules,while others try to limit the information that parents have. Some of the faleshoods that I frequently hear are addressed below. Things like phone contacts, type of permissible contacts,verbal commitment(non-binding by both parties) and letter of intents(totally voluntary). Here are the basics:

NCAA Recruiting Regulations


College coaches must follow the rules outlined in this section. You
are expected to follow these rules as well.

Recruiting Terms

Contact. A contact occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face
contact with you or your parents off the college's campus and says
more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact
with you or your parents at your high school or any location where
you are competing or practicing.

Contact period. During this time, a college coach may have in person
contact with you and/or your parents on or off the college's
campus. The coach may also watch you play or visit your high
school. You and your parents may visit a college campus and the
coach may write and telephone you during this period.

Dead period. A college coach may not have any in-person
contact with you or your parents on or off campus at any time
during a dead period. The coach may write and telephone you or
your parents during this time.

Evaluation. An evaluation is an activity by a coach to evaluate
your academic or athletics ability. This would include visiting your
high school or watching you practice or compete.

Evaluation period. During this time, a college coach may watch
you play or visit your high school, but cannot have any in-person
conversations with you or your parents off the college's campus.
You and your parents can visit a college campus during this period.
A coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this

Official Visit.Any visit to a college campus by you and your
parents paid for by the college. The college may pay all or some of
the following expenses:
• Your transportation to and from the college;
• Room and meals (three per day) while you are visiting the
college; and
• Reasonable entertainment expenses, including three
complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest.
Before a college may invite you on an official visit, you will have
to provide the college with a copy of your high school transcript
(Division I only) and SAT, ACT or PLAN score and register with the
Eligibility Center.

Prospective student-athlete. You become a "prospective
student-athlete" when:
• You start ninth-grade classes; or
• Before your ninth-grade year, a college gives you, your relatives
or your friends any financial aid or other benefits that the college
does not provide to students generally.

Quiet period. During this time, a college coach may not have
any in-person contact with you or your parents off the college's
campus. The coach may not watch you play or visit your high
school during this period. You and your parents may visit a college
campus during this time. A coach may write or telephone you or
your parents during this time.

Unofficial visit. Any visit by you and your parents to a college
campus paid for by you or your parents. The only expense you
may receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to
a home athletics contest. You may make as many unofficial visits
as you like and may take those visits at any time. The only time you
cannot talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead

Verbal commitment. This phrase is used to describe a collegebound
student-athlete's commitment to a school before he or
she signs (or is able to sign) a National Letter of Intent. A collegebound
student-athlete can announce a verbal commitment
at any time. While verbal commitments have become very
popular for both college-bound student-athletes and coaches,
this "commitment" is NOT binding on either the college-bound
student-athlete or the institution. Only the signing of the National
Letter of Intent accompanied by a financial aid agreement is
binding on both parties.

National Letter of Intent

The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a voluntary program
administered by the Eligibility Center. By signing an NLI, your son or
daughter agrees to attend the institution for one academic year. In
exchange, that institution must provide athletics financial aid for one
academic year.
Restrictions are contained in the NLI itself. Read them carefully. These
restrictions may affect your eligibility.
If you have questions about the National Letter of Intent, visit the Web
site at www.national-letter.org or call 877/262-1492.

Summary of Recruiting Rules for Women's Basketball-Division I


Recruiting Method-Recruting Materials

• You may receive brochures for camps and questionnaires.

Recruiting Method-Telephone Calls

• You may make calls to the coach at your expense only.

• College coach cannot call you.

Recruiting Method-Off-Campus Contact
• None allowed.

Recruiting Method-Official Visit
• None allowed.

Recruiting Method-Unofficial Visit
• You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits.


Recruiting Method-Recruiting Materials
• You may begin receiving September 1 of junior year.

Recruiting Method-Telephone Calls
• You may make calls to the coach at your expense.

Recruiting Method-College Coaches May Call You
• Once per month in April,May and June 1-20.

• Once between June 21 and June 30 after your junior year.

• Three times in July after your junior year (maximum of one call per week).

Recruiting Method-Off-Campus Contact
• None allowed.

Recruiting Method-Official Visit
• None allowed.

Recruiting Method-Unofficial Visit
• You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits.


Recruiting Method-Recruiting Materials
• Allowed.

Recruiting Method-Telephone Calls
• You may make calls to the coach at your expense.

Recruiting Method-College Coaches May Call You
• Once per week beginning August 1.

Recruiting Method-Off-Campus Contact
• Allowed beginning September 16.

Recruiting Method-Official Visit
• Allowed beginning opening day of classes your senior year.

• You are limited to one official visit per college up to a maximum of five official visits to Divisions I and II colleges.

Recruiting Method-Unofficial Visit
• You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits.

Recruiting Method-Evaluation and Contacts
• Up to five times during your senior year.

Recruiting Method-How often can a coach see me or talk me off the college's campus?
• A college coach may contact you or your parents/legal guardians not more than three times during your senior year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tom Browns Speaks!

When doing research on the girls youth basketball scene before moving here a few years ago, I happened upon a website of an organization that was ran by Tom Brown. He helped facilitate an initial team for my child before I even set foot in San Antonio. While attending the state tournament the first weekend of my local residency, I asked struck up a conversation with a successful Houston HS coach about San Antonio girls basketball. He told me to make sure that I talk to a guy buy the name of Tom Brown. "Tom Brown is a great guy" the coach continued. In a later conversation with the director of one of the most successful HS clubs in the country, he asked if I knew Tom Brown. This director was too from Houston and spoke very highly of Tom. Of course by this time, I already knew that Tom Brown is one of the more respected people in the San Antonio girls basketball scene. In an environemnt that is increasingly competitive(hostile), I have never heard any dispariging remarks about Tom. He is a man of respect and his efforts enable many youngsters the opportunity to play their first compettitive basketball. A quick Q&A with Tom Brown follows:

1. From your perspective, please describe the state of girls youth basketball in San Antonio.

TB:Basketball for girls in this city is under supported and its overall talent level lags behind Dallas and Houston. We simply do not have enough girls playing competitive-level basketball, given that the Alamo City hosts a WNBA team. I can fill an eight-team boys’ division for a tournament, nearly year-round, in a few days; it would take me weeks to achieve the same for a girls’ division. Young ladies here seem more interested in volleyball as a primary sport when, in fact, many have the attributes to better excel at basketball, the sport that offers nearly double the number of full-ride college scholarships by comparison. As for those girls who called themselves “ballers” or hardcore basketball players, most don’t place adequate emphasis on playing year-round club basketball. They typically play club and school ball for a few months each and vacation for the remainder of the time. Meanwhile, serious basketball athletes in Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, and many other areas are playing the sport at a demanding level almost 10 months a year. There is a reason why our top high school teams continually concede State championships to Dallas and Houston. You cannot necessary blame demographics or geography, because Dallas is smaller than San Antonio in population and land mass. The city’s largest basketball facility, Factory of Champions, typically does not host girls’ basketball events because demand is, sadly, low. Girls’ participation in competitive B-ball is very seasonal here. I think more parents ought to encourage their daughters to choose basketball over volleyball or play both.

2. Having also been involved in the girls youth basketball in Houston, please describe some of the differences between the cities in terms of development, talent, teaching.

TB:As I previously stated, girl athletes in places like Houston live and breathe basketball. They tend to play the sport at a more aggressive and fundamental level. They also can be found playing select ball nearly year-round in leagues and tournaments. Also, our girls start playing basketball competitively at a later age; we have fewer than 10 national-caliber girls’ teams under 14-years-old in San Antonio. Houston boasts that many in one organization. As a direct consequence of their greater commitment to and involvement with basketball, the Houston girls typically excel sooner and better. I have not discovered too much of difference between how coaches in the two cities teach the sport. Both focus much on fundamentals, although Houston coaches tend to push more man defense and less scripted offense. Also, you tend to find more post-oriented coaches in Houston, largely so because bigger athletes are more prevalent there. I do not know of any trainers in San Antonio who profess to be post-play specialists; teachers for guards can be found in abundance. Coaches’ clinics are rare in San Antonio, but fairly popular in Houston. To better mentor and train our girl athletes, San Antonio coaches need good, relevant instruction. Our city could definitely improve in this area.

3. In what ways can the youth coaches in San Antonio ensure that our future players are prepared to play against other basketball cities?

TB: First, our coaches must continually study and become masters of their trade. They must read, seek advice from others, and attend coaching clinics. Second, they must demand athlete compliance with fundamental skills, man defensive play first and zone as an exception, and motion offense to encourage basketball IQ growth via comprehension of taking what the defense gives you. Third, our club coaches must run active programs year round versus shutting down for most of the year. Fourth, our youth coaches must do a better job of working with public school coaches in order to acquire responsibility for coaching full or partial school teams year-round.

4. What is your opinion of High School ball in the city, and what programs are getting it right in your opinion?

TB:High school basketball here would be of higher caliber if its coaches encouraged players to participate in club ball throughout the year. Many school coaches view clubs as a threat to their programs when most would greatly enhance the overall value of the athlete to both the high school and club team. A lot of our high school programs don’t work hard enough to help the athlete qualify for college scholarships. Over the past three years, club programs have accounted for most of the scholarship offers extended to the city’s female basketball players. John Jay and Southwest are two examples of high schools that have demonstrated an understanding of the importance of its female athletes playing nearly year long. Both high schools have encouraged and enabled their varsity and junior varsity players to play lots of basketball via effective club programs.

5. Being that you are heavily involved with boys too, what are the biggest differences that you see between the genders in San Antonio.

TB:My opinions about the gender differences here apply to many other places nationwide. Boys’ basketball is played all year long; girls generally play on a seasonal basis. Girls start playing competitive ball about two years later than their counterparts. Girls shutdown in response to harsh criticism; boys use the same feedback to work harder. Girls avoid physical play, while boys welcome it.

6. Compare the youth seen today to five years ago. Youth today become more quickly bored with repetitive practice drills.

TB:They are more likely to give up if skill success cannot be quickly achieved. Today’s athlete feels like he can’t play or practice if the gym lacks air conditioning. Of course, there are ways in which our kids are better than those of five years ago. Nowadays, athletes participate more in specialty “velocity” training to improve speed, quickness or agility, jumping, and endurance. They tend to catch on a lot quicker to complex offenses and defenses, and seem better equipped to execute in the absence of set plays.

Fall Finishing!

Some local teams and players are playing in the October exposure period (October 2-4). For many, this period will allow some seniors to show their stuff on the travel circuit one last time. Local teams and destinations follow:

SA Lady Rohawks- Cy-Fair Texans Fall Finish (Houston)
SA Comets Elite- Cy-Fair Texans Fall Finish ( Houston)
St Hoyas- Texas High School Invitational (Dallas)
SA Heat- Premier Future Stars Showcase ( Frisco)
SA Finest- Premier Future Stars Showcase ( Frisco)
TeamXpess- ????????

I have yet to receive word about where TeamXpress is playing. However, I am happy to hear that two area kids were invited to one of the most prestigious clinics in the nation during the exposure period.

Meighan Simmons has been invited to attend the Gannon Baker Skills Select Exposure National Invitational Camp. Simmons has respectfully declined the invite since she will be on her official visit to the University of Tennessee that weekend. Also invited, is Central Texas Big, Krystal Forthan. The 6'4 Oregonian is currently living in the Austin area with TeamXpress founder, Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil. The ultra talented Forthan was leaning towards verbally committing to Texas A&M in July, but has yet to do so for whatever reason(s). The Gannon Baker event has invited some of the best players in the nation and is sure to be competitive.

Good luck to all the young ladies pursuing their dreams of playing beyond high school. Train hard over the next month and show well!

Great Blog by McCormick

Here is another great one by Brian McCormick. The first paragraph is taken from another great blogger, Vern Gambetta.

Acquiring, learning and perfecting skill is more than motor learning, it requires recognition that the body is a complex system that is continually learning and adapting to ever changing environments. It is not a computer to be programmed, rather it is a self organizing problem solving organism, always learning and growing. The body learns through exploration….In reality as coaches what we need to do to insure continual adaptation is to change constraints so that we keep challenging the athlete to solve increasingly complex motor problems. The solutions are as varied as there are athletes performing skill. Be especially aware that you are not creating robots.

I think basketball coaches are guilty of developing robots. Many coaches try to make the game black and white through running plays, the type of drills that they use to teach skills and the amount of feedback that they offer during games and practice. I often see youth coaches who stand and direct the entire game: “Pass here! Dribble! Shoot! Get back!” They treat players like puppets that they can control from the bench.

As I read through a skill acquisition book last week, a water polo coach said that he can pick out which players played another sport as a child (usually rugby) as opposed to those who transitioned from competitive swimming to water polo. The players who had experience in another invasion game (rugby, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey) had a better sense of spacing and timing – they knew when to deliver a pass and when not to pass and lead a teammate into trouble.

When I watch youth basketball players, I see the same thing in youth soccer players who transition to basketball – they seem to understand spacing, especially in transition and against presses and zone defenses. Many players who strictly play basketball fail to develop these skills because their coaches treat them like puppets.

Attacking zones is a weakness of many players and coaches. Rather than teach players how to find space and play in space, using some basic cues, coaches typically teach a structured zone offense/press break.

Playing against a zone is the evolution of a complex skill – teaching players how to play against man defense and developing a high basketball I.Q. leads to playing against a zone and developing a high basketball I.Q. against a zone.

With young players, rather than start with a structured zone offense, I prefer to use advantage games: 5v4, 4v3. When the offense has the advantage, someone is always open. The offensive players simply move and pass the ball to find the open player in a dangerous decision. The coach presents the challenge (finding a good shot), and players explore their environment to find solutions to the defense.

In an offense-advantage game, players have space to explore and see where and how to exploit the open spots. The space also affords offensive players more time to execute developing technical skills, like ball handling, passing and shooting.

Soccer teams use these drills all the time. They play 3v3 with two neutral players who play offense, creating a continual 5v3 game focused on players learning to control the ball and make quick passes as the defense closes out. Basketball players face the same situations and must develop many of the same skills, yet basketball coaches rarely use these types of games.

This idea translates to any number of skills – for instance, rather than specific instructions for quickness and agility, play tag to develop these skills. To develop more game-like ball handling skills, play tag with a basketball. To develop passing skills, play passing games in tight spaces rather than three-man weaves or stationary passing drills.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

They Stole my players:( AGAIN!

I had to republish an article I previously wrote about "stealing players". There has been a lot of coaches complaining about this lately. The ironic thing is that some of the coaches who cheered the article last time it ran, are now on the other side of the fence, complaining that others are now stealing their players. The blog from March follows:

There is nothing more ignorant in the Club Ball scene than the belief in "stealing players". For those of you that are new to this lazy excuse, I will expand.

Suzie Q plays for Team#1. She eventually has a change of heart and decides to join Team#2. All hell breaks loose as Team#1 cries foul and starts bad mouthing Team#2 and Suzie Q. Of course Suzie Q's parents are also described as traitors and a disgrace to the human race.

The problems with this train of thought follows:

1. No team OWNS any players-

Youth basketball players are not slaves or indentured servants. Clubs can not own them. They can not sign a legally binding contracts that restricts their participation with a different team until they are adults. A young player changed their mind and you want them flogged for it! A parent did what they felt was best for their child and they should be grouped with Benedict Arnold! Get a grip on reality . Unless you have groomed this kid since the inception of their basketball playing days, you have piggy backed off of someone too. Any elite player in the high school ages has played for other coaches before you. That 6'0 freshman that you claim, is not yours to claim. Thank her parents for her genetic make up that made you seem like a genius for discovering her. Never mind that any fool can discover a tall teenager and figure that they might be successful on the basketball court one day. Next time you are updating your resume, keep in mind that your employer owns you and your new company will be considered thieves if you decide to leave. How ridiculous is that?

2. Step your game up in order to keep the players that you want

Why is Angelina Jolie called a home wrecker. Maybe Jennifer Aniston should have stepped her game up and not LOST her man to someone who was obviously more suitable for him. I know that I am getting carried away with this analogy but you get my point. Club Coaches act as though they are jilted lovers when a player is "stolen". That player was not stolen(neither was Brad), they LEFT on their own free will. They apparently felt that the grass was greener on the other side.

3. Healthy competition is the American Way-

This beautiful country thrives because of opportunity. Opportunity results from competition. Consider how much the average citizen would pay for a car if only one car manufacturer was allowed to produce cars. This monopoly would benefit few at the expense of many. Healthy competition provides incentive for business owners(Club Coaches/Directors) to make a product that is helpful to many. More than one manufacturer means more jobs. With more jobs(capable clubs) we have more prosperity(scholarship players).

The club coaches that claim that another team stole their players are akin to the old robber barons who tried to monopolize free enterprise. Everyone claims that they are in Club Basketball for the girls. If Clubs are truly in it for the girls, they should promote the entire sport of girls basketball and stop with the nonsense. So what, your former player chose to play elsewhere. How about this, try to remember that this young girl is being a productive member of society. She is trying to advance her standing in life through this great game we all love. She is being physically active in a community that is increasingly obese. She is staying away from the ills of society like drugs and teen pregnancy.

And that evil coach/club that stole your player. Never mind that they spend enormous amounts of time with our future. They are grooming the leaders of tomorrow to lead, build, produce and contribute to our social security. The majority of them have good intentions, just like you. Even if they are in it for the wrong reasons(money, fame, influence, ego), they still have a positive effect on many young lives.

(A side note about Dirty Macks:)

"Dirty Mack" is a slang term referring to the practice of hating the competition so much that you are all they speak about. When you are recruiting (stealing ;-) a player from a different club, you should not concentrate on the negative attributes of their current club, but focus on the positive attributes of yours. A dirty mack will say " He is not half the man that I am" or " She is not as pretty as me" or " He is a dumb such and such". Coaches and Directors should up sell their clubs with factual attributes like the number of games played against elite competition, shoe affiliations, college alumni or practice facilities. To recruit a player or parent by spreading rumors and innuendo is just plain dirty. Coaches and Directors should have enough competence and confidence to recruit or keep a player without bashing the competition. You can always tell which coaches are the "Dirty Macks" because their players repeat their ignorant rants.)

No sane person likes to lose and no coach wants to lose players. However, the truth is that the players were never ours to begin with. We all have been placed in their lives to have a positive effect on them for the short amount of time that they are in our care. We all go about it in different ways and the beauty is that the players can take a little from all of us and build upon it to become great coaches and leaders themselves. By constantly bad mouthing fellow coaches and former players, we are teaching these kids that animosity and hating is the way leaders function. As coaches, we are in the business of kids. We do not buy, sell and lose them. We influence them, right or wrong. You either build character or groom haters. Which one are you doing?

Great response to Clarkson blog!

A local Club Director sent the following response to the Right Fit for Clakson Blog:

Good article on Clarkson kid. But whatever happened to picking a school because it is an awesome place to get an education. I much rather my child be influenced by an All American kid that is smart enough to own the McDonalds from where they are from, than a McDonald's All American any day. With that said, being a McDonald's All American is a great and noteworthy accomplishment. However in the end when school is done, a cup coffee for both kids still costs around $1.50 at any Mickey D's. It might be a good thing for parents to start concentrating on how their kid is going to eventually earn the $1.50 to enjoy that cup of coffee in the first place, or even more if they have Starbucks taste.

Your other points about getting to play a lot in college are well made. Here is another reason why a female basketball player might be interested in getting as many game minutes as possible. Unlike males, a female is usually going to stop playing ball at whatever level they plateau at. You can go to any health club in town that has a basketball court. If you see a female there practicing, it is almost always someone who is working to get better for a team, whether it be middle school, high school, or college. Rarely do you see thirty and forty year old women standing around a gym waiting to get into a pickup game. Guys will enjoy the game till their joints just don't work anymore. Luckily for most of us, that is a long time after college ends, even if we were not fortunate enough to get to play at that level. If that is the case, and you are a female basketball player, wouldn't you want to also pick a school that you are going get to play a lot at. Since once you graduate, chances are, for whatever reason you are going to be doing other things than getting to play the game you once loved. Of course you can always turn to coaching. Even if that works out, talking about making that game winning shot in college to your future players, would probably be a lot more fun than discussing when I rode the bench at the University of Wherever, I sure wished I was playing more.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Right Fit for Clarkson!

On a blog dedicated to south and central Texas girls basketball, I must talk about a boy. Better yet, a young man. Wagner High School standout Jordan Clarkson, has committed to play basketball at Tulsa next year. The reason that this commitment warrants mention on a girls basketball blog is that Clarkson chose Tulsa over Texas A&M. No disrespect to all the Aggie fans out there but I applaud the decision. The Clarkson family considered Fit over Fancy.

Elite basketball prospects are also elite dreamers. Thousands of hours working on their game has seasoned their minds to always believe that they"CAN". They envision hitting countless game winners at the last second while representing a particular university. Rarely is the university in the fantasy not a major program. TV, print media, Internet, and sports memorabilia ingrain certain schools into the brains of these young dreamers. Vince Young's Rose Bowl exploits spawned a legion of future would be Longhorns. AC Law is built similar to Clarkson and I am sure that he has, at some point, envisioned himself playing in an Aggie uniform in one of the best conferences in the nation. As these dreams become reality and schools like Texas A&M are sitting on a prospects couch, making its pitch on why they are the latest greatest, it is a tough decision to use intelligence over the emotional appeal of playing "in the big time".

Can Clarkson thrive in the Big 12 and earn considerable minutes? Why not? His skill set is advanced and his upside is tremendous. The scoring machine from Wagner has yet to hit the weight room. His frame can use 10-15 pounds of muscle, which would make his already capable game tough to guard. Obviously Texas A&M felt the same way as they pursued him heavily. However, Jordan understands that "All that glitters ain't Gold".

Tulsa is led by Doug Wojcik. Wojcik is a hot name on the coaching scene and was an instrumental assistant for Michigan St. and North Carolina. Wojcik let the Clarkson family know that Jordan is his number one priority. Besides recruiting him for a long time, Wojcik brought both his assistant coaches with him on the first day allowed for home visits, to show him that he was a priority. Tulsa also made sure to bring up the facts. They have done a tremendous job with another San Antonio product, Ben Uzoh. Uzoh has shined in the Tulsa system on his way to earning second team all C-USA. The guard from Warren has started in all but one game as a player at Tulsa with a career average of 13 ppg. Uzoh has had the opportunity to play against big time schools Texas A&M(16 points in a win),Oklahoma St. (20 points in a loss), and Illionios(11 points in a low scoring close close). Uzoh and Tulsa have also been able to play against the highly ranked Memphis Tigers in conference play. The recent success at Tulsa earned the Hurricanes a NCAA berth in 2009.

A number of different factors are involved with the decision making process, but lets look at some local girls and their recent basketball choices.

A local Big chose to play in the highly esteemed Big 12 as a freshman in 2009. The Big 12 is an alluring destination for local ball players. The talented post player saw very little minutes as a true freshman, playing in 6 games and earning and average of 2 minute per game. A fellow Big chose to attend the same institution and saw a little more success by playing in 28 games and averaging 10 minutes a game. The school that they chose had a record under .500 overall and won less than a quarter of its games in the competitive Big 12. Needless to say, the school did not play into the Big dance.

Now compare that to the success that UTSA had last year. The Lady Roadrunners have made consecutive trips to the Big Dance, while almost shocking the world by upsetting Baylor in the first round last year. If the above mentioned local kids, chose their school on having the opportunity to play extensive minutes and win, UTSA would have been the better choice. I know that I do not have all the facts but if judged on wins and playing time, hindsight shows that the local Roadrunners were a great option.

One of the problems that local kids and parents have when choosing a school is that they become infatuated with the name. We all see the big schools on TV and it is difficult to say no when they come calling. However, big does not always mean better. McDonalds is a big burger place. All of our kids love the golden arches. They are programed to do so through clever marketing and constant exposure. But, we learn as we get older and our taste buds get wiser that a good burger from Chester's or Chris Madrids put Mickie D's to shame. Mom and Pop shops provide some advantages that franchises can not. Good for the Clarkson family for not letting others and their agendas prevent them from making a decision based on Wisdom and Fit!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I was watching NBA TV recently and saw something fascinating. The 1991 San Antonio Spurs were led by Larry Brown at that time. The team featured stars David Robinson and Sean Elliot. The fascinating thing that I observed was that the offense the Spurs ran was some sort of Motion Offense. This was not a continuous offense such as the Triangle Offense, this offense was out of a Bobby Knight book. Continuous passing, cutting, screening with very little dribbling. Hall of Famer, David Robinson had a great year and averaged 25 points a game while playing in the equal opportunity offense. Of course, Robinson had more opportunities to shoot than Paul Pressey, but the offense was not your typical NBA offense that ensures that your best players dominate the ball.

Take the current Spurs. Tony Parker dominates the ball. Most offensive possessions go through him. He is held responsible for getting the ball in to the future Hall of Famer, Tim Duncan's hands. Duncan gets touches on most possessions. Through pick and roles and simple isolation sets, Duncan's hands will be on the ball in some way. The next in touches or set plays is Manu Ginobili. The All Star guard's ability ensures that he gets his set plays. The Bruce Bowens and Matt Bonners play key roles in the offense at times but the Big 3 are sure to get the bulk of the touches.

The thing that made the Larry Brown Spurs interesting is that they had some success with the college styled offense. They finished first in the Midwest with a record of 55-27. Then Larry Brown did a Larry Brown, and quit. When he resurfaced later, HE HAD ADAPTED.

Larry Brown coached one of the best shooters in NBA history in Reggie Miller. Brown led the 1993-95 Pacers to their best two seasons since joining the NBA. He did so with an offense that was significantly different than his Spurs system. Brown spaced the floor and ran Miller off of a ton of screens. He also brought in the New York bred and dribble happy Mark Jackson to handle the ball handling duties. Brown left the Pacers to only to return later with more ADAPTATION!

When Brown became the coach of the 76ers, many thought that the match was wrong from the start. Brown had inherited the poster boy of the new NBA, Allen Iverson. The scoring machine in a point guards body was everything that Brown was not; a flashy, tattooed, shoot the first shot you get leader of the new school. Brown adapted his offense to utilize the immensely talented Iverson and led the 76ers to the NBA Finals against the Lakers. Brown surrounded Iverson with solid role players like, Aaron Mckie, Tyrone Hill, George Lynch and Theo Ratliff. He anchored his defense with Dikembe Mutombo. Brown put Iverson in the right spots to shine and he responded by leading the league in scoring and earning the MVP award. Brown then went out and chose to Adapt Again!

Chancey Billups was a journey man. He and Richard Hamilton were nothing special in NBA terms. That is until Larry Brown came to the rescue. Brown came in to coach the Pistons and gave these two ,now all-star guards, the platform and system to thrive in. Brown also took a skeleton framed Tayshaun Prince, a weed smoking technical foul machine named Rasheed Wallace and a poor shooting center called Ben Wallace and won a championship. ( Respect must be given to Joe Dumars who assembled these spare parts from other teams and knew they would gel) Again, Brown used a system that was totally different from his Spurs days. Billups dominated the ball while Hamilton ran a track meet around screens. Unlike his Detroit system, he had no dominant scorer. Billups, Rasheed and Hamilton were his Big 3, with Prince and Wallace playing key roles.

All that Larry Brown history was to detail how a good coach will adapt his system to FIT his players. Most NBA coaches do not have the luxury that college coaches have. College coaches have the ability to recruit certain players that FIT their systems. NBA(WNBA) coaches have to coach the players that are on the roster. Of course trades, draft picks and cuts will help an established coach get some players he/she wants, but the coaches must learn to cook with what's in the refrigerator.

In a conversation with a college coach, I was told that the recent struggles of a successful program was due to the fact that the head coach did not adapt. The coach to whom I was speaking with, put the failure of the program in the lap of the outdated coach and her inability to step into the new millennium and change her style. The head coach in question had been at a school for a long time and apparently refused to update her system, teaching techniques, and personality to FIT her new players. This coach had the luxury of recruiting "her type" of players but still could not duplicate past success because she continued to run the same old sets and teach an outdated philosophy.

This conversation made me think about the need of club coaches to also ADAPT.While most club coaches have the luxury of recruiting players that FIT their system, ADAPTATION is still needed. Take Cal Swish coach Russ Davis for example.

Russ Davis is a college coach at Vanguard University in California. The NAIA school has experienced great success under Davis. He also coaches the Hoopgurlz #1 ranked club team in 2009, Cal Swish. Davis juggling role of college coach and club coach is great example of Adaptation.

Cal Swish has some of the best HS players in the nation(Cassie Harberts, Bonnie Samuelson, Lyndsey Sherbert). His Vanguard University team is filled with NAIA kids that could only dream of being recruited by some of the schools that pursue his Swish players. His Swish players are made up of players from around Southern California. While people assume that that these kids are all from Orange County, they live and attend high schools all over the vast southern California cities. This travel distance and hectic schedule does not allow for constant practice time. Coach Davis has the opportunity to run intricate sets with his Vanguard girls because of the plentiful practice time that he has with them. He must adapt his successful system and dumb it down for his club players due to less practice time. Also, he has to allow for his very gifted Swish players to showcase their individual skills on a national stage ,whereas his college kids play a more defined role on the his team. Davis has shown us the importance of club coaches who have the ability to adapt.

Club coaches must be able to put all of their talent into one pot. As the team blends together and the soup is mixed, a good club coach will ensure that they use the right spices in order to enhance the flavor of each ingredient. Just because salt was best for the stew a few years ago, does not mean that it is the best for the meal this year. Coaches must buy a new cook book or two and head back to the grocery store. Sometime, some of those old seasonings go bad and ruin the meal.

Larry Brown knows this. That is why I recently read about his attendance at a Dribble Drive Offense clinic ran by Vance Walberg. Apparently, he and fellow NBA coach, Lawrence Frank, sat in the front row of the clinic and asked countless questions like eager school students. A Dean Smith disciple attending a clinic on a new street ball influenced offense that emphasizes dribbling over passing is almost unthinkable. But, despite success at every level he has coached at, Brown continues to seek opportunities to learn in order to ADAPT.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Another great one by Mark Lewis!

ESPN's Hoopgurlz Mark Lewis just wrote another great column about the recruiting process. The former college coach includes great advise including the following:

Weigh your coach's words carefully. The involvement of your high school or club coach is entirely up to you. You are under absolutely no obligation to include them in the process. Your recruitment is not a school activity and the fact that you may have played for a particular club team doesn't entitle them to participate in any part of your decision-making.

However, your coach's experience, background or relationships with college recruiters can be, and usually are, a great asset. If you choose to involve one of your coaches in the process be sure they know what kind of help you're looking for from them and how you and your parents would like things handled.

The NCAA doesn't limit calls to high school and club coaches outside of the summer evaluation period, and some recruiters will call them daily looking for insight and updates. It's not uncommon for some high school or club coaches to get caught up in the attention and forget that they're supposed to be in your corner, first and foremost. Don't hesitate to remind your coach that he or she isn't the information superhighway for college recruiters.

The choice of what school to attend is often the first major decision that a young individual will make. Looking for help from other relatives or friends isn't necessarily a bad thing, but be sure they have something constructive to offer. The ones who have been recruited or were college athletes themselves can share their own recruiting or playing experiences with you. You then have to connect the dots and figure out how that information might help or impact your own situation. Always be careful of overanxious and self-proclaimed experts who say you "need" to do this or "should" do that. The only person who knows what you need or should be doing is you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Meighan Simmons with good problems!

Meighan Simmons has apparently went from being the #9 ranked player in the nation to being the 24th best player in the land according to Hoopgurlz. While she has lost ground according to the evaluators at Hoopgurlz, she is gaining where it counts. A look at her Top 5 shows that she is still easily one of the most sought after kids in the country. Here is an update:

  • Meighan WILL NOT sign early. She will not sign in the November period. She wants to concentrate on her senior year and is dedicated to helping the Steele Lady Knights win the state championship.

  • Her Top 5 in no particular order are: Tennessee, LSU, Maryland, Duke and Rutgers. Texas A&M is still in the mix. She will take official visits to all five schools.

  • She is in weekly discussions with every head coach on her list. Every school is planning to make a home visit. LSU is coming to town in September to strengthen its case. She is planning to visit Tennessee on October 2nd.

Tennessee's recruitment of Simmons happened in a special way. Simmons grew up idolizing Candace Parker and the Tennessee program from afar. Up until August, she had received little interest from them. Anyone that has ever had the opportunity to speak with Mr. or Mrs. Simmons, will know that they put all of their faith in a higher power. You WILL never have a conversation with Mr. Simmons and not hear him invoke God into the discussion. The Tennessee recruitment came from a decision that put that faith to a test.

Meighan had the opportunity to visit Japan with her club, TeamXpress. She also had the opportunity to go abroad with an adidas sponsored team of select all-stars. The team would be called the Candace Parker Aces. Simmons faced a difficult decision of choosing to play with her friends and club coach that she has been with for three years or go with a team named after her basketball role model. She had to choose between the comfort of known chemistry with her club team and the uncertainty of playing with unfamiliar all stars from across the nation. She chose to play for the Candace Parker Aces and things fell into place.

Simmons reportedly caught the eye of Parker in Los Angeles. As the team prepared for their Japanese trip, they played in exhibitions. In one of the these games, Simmons put on a show that led to Parker immediately calling Pat Summit and wondering why "this girl" was not going to be a Volunteer. Parker was informed that Tennessee was very aware of Meighan but no scholarships were available. Two weeks later, a scholarship opened up.

Now Simmons speaks with Coach Summitt on a weekly basis. One interesting call recently came as Simmons sat down to watch her favorite player, Parker . Game time was interrupted by a phone call. Coach Summitt had called to discuss the game with Simmons. She wanted Meighan to carefully analyze how Candace played and reacted to game conditions. The amazing thing is that without a difficult decision, perseverance and faith, this call would not have been possible in July.

With that being said, Simmons has no front runners. Maryland's Brenda Freeze has been consistent with her pursuit. Like Dukes' Joanne McCallie, her strong family values are a huge plus. Dukes' academic reputation is hard to ignore. LSU has been on Simmons since her freshman year and former Texas star, Travis Mays, has watched her grow up as a player. His daughter plays in the same club as Simmons. Legendary coach, Van Chancellor has already made the trip to Cibolo to show his interest. Another visitor has been Hall Of Fame inductee, C.Vivian Stringer. Coach Stringer has been to Steele's' campus a couple of times. Her resume', conference and stature makes her a major player in the pursuit of Simmons. Throw in Gary Blair and what he has accomplished at Texas a & M and this is going to be interesting.

Meighan Simmons has a lot on her plate; A senior year of high school, a quest for a third state trip, a pursuit for her first state championship, becoming San Antonio's all-time leading scorer, and choosing between great schools led by great coaches. She must decide on attending a program that is a perennial Top 25 team, all while still trying to decide what outfit she is going to wear to school tomorrow.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cen-Tex Skills Academy!

Cen-Tex Skills Academy is coming to Wagner High School on September 26-27 2009. This camp is designed for advanced middle school and high school players. National talent evaluators have been invited to get a look at the future local stars. Regional Nike Skills Director will be attending to evaluate players for recommendation to the 2010 Nike Skills Academy. (This is the same academy that lead to Sune Agbuke being discovered by Baylor)Unsigned seniors are also being invited to participate. The skills sessions will feature numerous Division 2, Division,3 NAIA and JUCO coaches in attendance. Visit www.texasbigtymegirlssports.com/ to register. Send any questions to txskillsacademy@yahoo.com