Friday, October 2, 2009

Centex Skills Academy Part 2

Last weekends skills academy has continued to be a hot topic in the city. A major reason for the continued discussion is the future; the clinic featured some of the best players this city has to offer over the next few years. A quick run down follows:


Chamaya Turner- One word, "BEAST. The 5-9 forward for Canyon is a problem for opponents. I predicted the New Comer of the Year for her district would be another player a few weeks ago but I had it wrong. Turner is a 15 point 10 rebound kid out of the gate! Her size and strength create match up problems for defenders. She can hit the mid range jumper and her low post foot work is advanced enough to allow her to score over taller defenders on the block.

Elexus Allen- A very long athletic freshman at Stevens. Her 5'11 frame and quick feet enable her to be effective on the glass and very active on defense. She is built in the mode of SA great, Annissa Hastings. Hastings is now the asst. coach at Stevens and will surely help the talented Allen realize her vast potential.


Carlie Heineman- Arguably the best shooter in the clinic(and city). Carlie has tightened up her handle enough to allow her to create her own shot. She has been a great spot up shooter for the last couple of years but now she has added ball handling and a very effective runner. Her step back jumper is quite impressive. She had a great weekend!

Recee' Caldwell- Caldwell is legit. Her handle, basketball IQ and three-ball make her easily one of three best players in middle school. The fascinating thing about her clinic was her attention to her future. She has been exclusively working on shooting like a boy this summer. She has made thousands of shots while maintaining an "L" and releasing her shot at the top of her jump. Needless to say, she is struggling to make the transition. Her trade mark step back and three-ball makes her one of the best shooters, regardless of age, in the city. She scrapped the comfort of her old shot and used her new shot over the weekend. The consistency was not there but the willingness to keep the future in mind was impressive.

McKenzie Calvert- Calvert, the scoring machine, was on full display. Her speed, toughness and swagger ensures that she is one of the best three players in middle school. Very few girls can take contact and still finish at this age like Calvert can. Defenders can almost chalk it up as two points when guarding her in the open court. Calvert "gets buckets"!


Kyra Lambert- I have always loved Lambert's game but I am now more smitten. She is not only a great athlete but her skill set is impressive. The most impressive thing about her in the clinic was her willingness to learn. She looks instructors in the eye, asks questions and works on new techniques while waiting her turn. Her handle, explosiveness and court vision make her the other player in the argument for being the best in middle school. However, she is younger than the other two players in the argument. She is 11 months younger than Calvert and 3 months younger than Caldwell.


Lexi Rich- Besides having a great basketball name, Lexi Rich is going to be nice! The young guard already has a good handle and decent jumper. She also has the swagger that goes along with her name and game. She attacked the drills and stationary work with a passion while helping struggling campers with encouragement during the process.

During the clinic, I observed something that I forgot, ballers like to play with fellow ballers! This fact was evident in the clinic. While separating teams for transition drills and scrimmages, some of the players started manipulating the drill lines. Manipulating is the wrong word, they started initiating their own lineups. When it was all said and done, one team featured 5 of the girls mentioned above: Turner, Allen, Caldwell, Calvert and Lambert. Simply put, this group was amazing! They put on a show!The unselfishness, communication, level of intensity and cohesion was something to see.

Then the wrong of San Antonio reared its head. Some of the upperclassman at the event started complaining about mixing the teams up due to an unfair advantage! WOW!!!! One particular upperclassman was pleading for the instructors to break up a team consisting of two freshman, two 8th graders and a 7th grader! Now I admit, this team was a very good one but to claim that a team of kids 3 to 4 years younger should be broken up due to THEM having the advantage is nauseating. This is the type of mindset that we must change in San Antonio. Running from teams, forfeiting games and ducking competition in an effort to salvage self esteem and bragging rights must stop. If this city is ever going to truly challenge areas such as Dallas and Houston for state supremacy in girls basketball, we must raise our young ones to fear none and take on all challengers. When you take that inevitable butt kicking, go back to the drawing board and KEEP IT MOVING! But as the saying goes, "Old Habits Die Hard"!