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!