Sunday, January 31, 2010

Do's and Don'ts of Club Ball from Elite Parents #2

With the high school season winding down and club ball ready to start, I have asked some of the parents of college bound kids to provide advice selecting a club team.

This advice comes from William & Mary committ Victoria Willems:

After my daughter, Victoria played the YMCA circuit as a youngster, on a team that I coached. At age 12, we figured it was time for her to play club ball. To be honest, I did not realize how intimidating this quest was going to turn out to be. The girl’s club basketball community is actually very small, and everyone knows everyone. The hard part is getting into it in the first place. I figured since she was the tallest kid in her middle school grade; it would be a piece of cake to get her on a good team and besides, I figured club ball was not that big of a transition from YMCA. Wrong!

Victoria was cut from the first three club teams she tried out with. It was discouraging for her and quite honestly very depressing for me.....You will be surprised how much better you can get, when you have no other choice. We were very fortunate to find the right fit for her by accident. I now understand that if she would have made some of those other teams she tried out with, her development could have been much slower, not only from a playing time perspective, but also the way some those teams played the game. Example: If she was fundamentally poor as a post, and got on a guard orientated team, she would have never developed, as a player. She needed to learn how to be confident in the post, before ever taking on the nuances it takes to be a good guard.

In November 2009 she signed a Division-1 scholarship to play basketball at William & Mary in Virginia. It has been a great journey, filled with memories that our family will get to share for many years to come....Below are Twelve Do’s and Ten Don’ts we have learned on that journey. Many of them are lessons learned the hard way.

What you should do:

1. Do make sure you have a clear set of goals laid out when you start looking for a team. There are recreational club teams, and very competitive teams. Make sure you know what you are looking for, to avoid getting on the wrong one.

2. Do make sure you understand what it takes to be successful playing on a club team. Are you willing to sacrifice the time it will take for practices, and tournaments? Are you willing to work and pay for a skills coach in order to improve?

3. Do talk to everyone you can to find out about a particular club team and coach. Nothing's worse than not being able to get along with a coach or players/parents on a particular team. You will spend a lot of time with each other. Make sure you are compatible to start with.

4. Do understand the style of play a team emphasizes. Up tempo, is a lot different than a set orientated team. Make sure you know the difference, and how your athlete fits in that system.

5. Do understand where your daughter needs to be at the end of the journey not just the beginning. Just because she is tall when she is 10 does not mean she will be tall when she is 18. Remember tall in college is well north of 6 foot. If chances are she is going to be short, she better develop some really good ball handling skills. There are NOT too many wings in college that are less than 5’3”. That size is almost always a point guard. Remember no matter what size a player ends up, the more positions a player can play, the more attractive they become as a college prospect.

6. Do understand it is very expensive to play club ball. Especially at the Elite level. Are you willing to invest the many thousands of dollars it takes to play at a very competitive level? Or, are you willing to give up the time it takes to run effective fundraisers.

7. Do be punctual and fully participate. If your daughter is always missing practices, and or games, nobody is getting better, the player, or the team.

8. Do show respect to the people that run these teams. If you have not done it, you have no idea in the world how much time it takes to run a successful club team. Pay attention to details being sent out. Nothing is more frustrating to team management than going over things multiple times.

9. If you Do decide to start your own team, understand point #8 explicitly. Also make sure you have really thick skin. Nothing brings out the Best and the Worst in people than their kids and their money. That is exactly what you are dealing with when you are running a club team.

10. Do emphasize getting good grades in school. After all your daughter is a student first, and an athlete second. Trust me, if you plan on playing in college, this will be one of the important factors in the choices you have.

11. Do have balance in your life. Playing in a tournament every weekend is going to burnout everyone.

12. Do enjoy these special years, they go by quick.

What you should not do:

1. Don’t jump around from team to team, or chase the latest fad team. Make decisions based on the future, not what seems like a great idea at the moment. Also, if a team is being coached, and or run by parents, make sure they are on the same timeline as your daughter. Otherwise you might be scrambling to find a team when you need it the most.

2. Don’t confuse winning at the moment with achieving long term success at playing the game. They have nothing to do with each other. Many kids development has been compromised by coaches that just want to win, especially at an early age. A college coach could care less how many games a club coach, or team has won. They only care about how fundamentally correct a kid has developed, and how that kid fits and helps their team.

3. Don’t burn Bridges. Everyone knows everyone. Your reputation precedes you.

4. Don’t be ugly. Remember our kids learn by our example, and nothing is magnified like the emotion of sports. It is easy to get stupid, even for a moment.

5. Don’t be afraid to meet with a coach to express your concerns about your daughter’s development. A good coach will tell you the truth.

6. Don’t stiff a team for money. For the most part nobody is making money here. If you do not pay your fair share, it normally comes from the folks running the team.

7. Don’t be the coach in the stands, or the team manger in the background. If you are that smart, run your own team, don’t compromise someone else’s efforts.

8. Don’t live the sport through your daughter. Your daughter is not you. She might be an artist of another type. Making her play a game that you love is not going to make anyone happy in the end.

9. Don’t just rely on your club team to open up college opportunities. The more proactive you become in this process, the more success you are likely to have.

10. Don’t just rely on the club team to make your daughter better as a player. If she is not working out on her own, and constantly touching the ball, other kids will progress right past her.

Having been a parent on a club team, and a club director for three seasons, I can tell you that it is ton of fun, and a lot of work. It is also a great way to share time with your kids as they are growing up. Not only do the kids get to find out a lot about themselves, so do the parents. ENJOY THE RIDE!

Do's and Don'ts of Club Ball from Elite Parents #1

With the high school season winding down and club ball ready to start, I have asked some of the parents of college bound kids to provide advice selecting a club team.

The first is from the mother of Tenneesee commit Meighan Simmons:

"AAU, YBOA, Primtime etc..... what is that? All we knew was that our child wanted to play ball; Basketball. Like many other parents we began to ask questions, hopefully the right ones that would lead us to that one special team. What were we really looking for? What should we be looking for? What type of coach do we want, male or female? How many times do they practice? Where do they practice? Oh yeah what about are they a non-profit group, cause this is volunteering and I am not paying no-one to coach my child. The list of questions goes on and on of the does and don'ts. Initially we just wanted a place where our child could just play basketball, and gain a better understanding of the game to prepare for high school.

The circuit of teams and organizations begin showcase such things like; we travel, learn fundamentals, preparing for the next level, and yes college coaches will be there. At 8 years old why do we need all of this. Is there really a difference once they get older? Surely the child has no thought of what to look for or expect. But as parents we think it would do our child some good. Never really counting the cost in the beginning we just take off running.

In retrospect we personally have gained a better understanding of the do's and dont's in this process of looking for what is sometimes noted as "good team", the "right fit".

Here is a reflection of things we gained through our experiences in club basketball

Do- maintain your role as a parents, decision makers when it comes to the overall status of your child

Do-look for good character, integrity, and commitment of the person(s) your child will come to know as "coach".

Do-ask questions, you will never go wrong. Your friend may have said great things about the club, team and even the coach, but what does your gut say?

Do-encourage your child to play if they want to play, not just because the coach needs players.

Do-show up to practice to see whats going on, whats said, and how the coach interacts with the team

Do-TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!! they are usually right.

Do- look for progress of players. Ask them what they like or dislike

let a coach have more control of your child, their talent, and most of all their time. You may not know much about the game, but you must be involved more than just being a fan in the stands.

Don't get lost in the accolades or team wins, or how many kids got scholarships.
Don't just trust your friends words more than your personal judgement. Most of all listen to your child.

Don't put your concerns on the back burner because someone seems to know about what they want to do as coach, when it comes to your child.

Don't let a coach use talent for their gain. Just so they can have the right to say...

Overall with each moment and each team, did your child progress, are they a better player(emphasis mine). If you go in blindly you cheat your child from getting the full experience of what a well balanced team should have. They look to you to know the answer when they have a question about their coach and team. "

Mrs. Simmons

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quick Hitters!

- Incarnate Word at Antonian was as spirited, no pun intended, as any game that I have witnessed this season. Each school had their respective Cameron Crazies that stood up the entire game and cheered or jeered every possession. The contest between the two best Catholic schools in the city made me a convert. I now believe in the abilities of Maureen Zuniga.

"Mo" Zuniga has had the tall task of following one of the best point guards this city has produced in the past few years, Liz Boyd. Boyd, now at St. Mary's, was one of my favorite players with her high basketball IQ and leadership ability. Unfortunately, it has been hard for me to watch Antonian and not question Zuniga's decisions based on what Boyd would have done.

That is no longer the case. Zuniga earned hers Friday night. The performance she put on in the second half was as good a performance in a meaningful game as anyone is this city this year. She WOULD NOT let the Apaches be defeated. She hit at least five 3's on her way to 22 points. She found open teammates and hit the occasional floater in traffic. She was GOOD! Her performance helped Antonian prevail 64-60. Her performance was , I have to say it, very Boyd-like!

- Incarnate Word's Tori Villareal can play! The sophomore will be a star. Her court vision is only matched by a few guards in the city and the smooth lefty is too strong for most local guards. She plays out of position in the Shamrock's offense and should get more opportunity to play with the ball in her hands with the graduation of senior PG, BreAnna Alba.

- Speaking of point guards, two of the best young point guards in the city(state/nation?) sat and watched the game a few feet away from each other. Churchill Freshman Leslie Vorpahl and Tejeda 8th grader, Recee' Caldwell were in attendance supporting their club teammates. 26-5A is going to be full of fireworks for the next few years as these two young leaders will clash often. If Steele is redistricted to 26-5A, incoming freshmen McKenzie Calvert(Steele) and Wendy Knight(Reagan) would make this district backcourts' as good as it gets in San Antonio.

- Steele spanks Clemens. The neighborly match up and rivalry game between two of the Top 10 schools in the city turned into a massacre. The Lady knights doubled up Clemens 76-38. Taylor Calvert had a big game with 22 points. Basketball is indeed a game of match ups!

- Big Raven Reyes(Fox Tech) grabs 26 boards and scores 23 points in a close loss to Burbank.

- Wagner superstar point guard, LenNique Brown, took one for the team. Brown reportedly caught in inadvertent elbow from friend and former club teammate, CeCe McLee in the battle on Friday night. The USC bound point guard reportedly fractured her nose in the win. Wagner won the contest by double digits over Judson but not with of shedding a little blood in the process.

- Speaking of Judson, freshman La'Qeisha "LB" Brown is getting hers! The ultra athletic freshman scored 11 points in the game against the top rated team in the city, Wagner. Brown is contributing 8 points a game in a starting role for the Lady Rockets.

- Over 9,000 people witnessed the University of Texas beat Baylor Sunday night. It was a joy to see so many fans supporting women's basketball. It was also eye opening to see the " Griner Effect". Many of the fans were there to see the freshman sensation and a potential dunk. Some things I noticed from the game:

1. " The future of women's basketball will be dominated by jump shooters". This statement is taken from a college coach who imparts these wise words to me in almost EVERY conversation that we have. This game indicated that he is on the right track. The amount of shots by players taken IN THE FACE of opposing defenders was reminiscent of the men's game. More female players are rising up and elevating to hit "jump shots" on opposing defenders. The game is getting more athletic every year and the old set shot from the chest will soon be a distant memory at the highest levels of women's basketball.

2. "The basket is 10 feet,everywhere you go!" This is a maxim that was instilled in me as a young player and it rang true tonight. Griner is an awesome presence as she scored almost half of her teams points and almost single-handedly fouled out two post players for Texas. But without consistent three point shooting for Baylor, they are VERY beatable. Basketball in still a team game and while the Griner Effect is huge, she can not do it alone! Teams will continue to pack the paint and dare Baylor to beat them from the outside. That is what UT did and the strategy worked.

3. San Antonio has a lot of talent! San Antonio players that I saw in attendance of the game included in no particular order: Meighan Simmons, CeCe McLee, Olivia Patterson, Elena Gumbs, Taylor Calvert, Recee' Caldwell, Wendy Knight, Asha Finch, Raven Reyes, Alison Salmon, and McKenzie Calvert. Two of the three best 2011 kids the city, Arielle Roberson and Erica Donovan were sitting behind the University of Texas bench. I am sure that they were special guests of the UT staff!

- Speaking of the best 2011's in the city, Cornerstone Big and Baylor commit, Sune Agbuke is now on the SA Lady Rohawks! When I broke this news to a club director of a local team, he responded " I thought the Rohawks were not going to even have a team this year". Many people have underestimated the momentum that Charlie Harper and his movement have produced. Besides adding Sune, his squad returns Super Sophomore, Niaga Mitchell-Cole( Roosevelt), Taylor Calvert and two new bright stars from Killeen. His also reportedly added a D1 level point guard from a different state to try and fill the shoes that his Big-12 bound daughter, CeCe, left to be replaced. The icing on the cake is that the Lady Rohawks now have a college coach on their coaching staff. Our Lady of The Lake(NAIA) Assistant Coach, Christopher Miner is now a coach for the Lady Rohawks. For those of you who question the legality of this, please know the the top club team in the country last year, Nike Cal Swish, is coached by Vanguard University's(NAIA) Russ Davis!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Big Numbers!

The past week featured some exciting developments including some BIG numbers:
  • Wagner put up 102 points on Highlands last Friday night. Michelle Rodriguez went for a season high 27 points in the blowout. The great thing about the feat is that Wagner's girl team outscored the boys team on the same night. The boys only scored 101 points in their game!

  • Meighan Simmons gave Alamo Heights 45 points last Friday night! It is not often that San Antonio High School games have three D1 players from one class on the court at the same time. That was the case in this game with Heights' Stephanie Whittman(Kansas St) and Steele's back court of Simmons(Tennessee) and Olivia Patterson( Southern Illinois).

  • Speaking of Patterson, the lead guard for the Knights reportedly dropped 17 dimes in the Heights' game. She broke her previous school record of 12 assists with that performance.

  • The latest TABC rankings have the following local teams:


-Wagner #8

-Jay #21


- Steele #7


Lytle #10

Private Schools(Large)

- Incarnate Word #7

- Antonian #9

-Holy Cross #16

  • Must see games this week:


-Churchill at New Braunfels (Tied for first with 2 losses each in 26-5A)

-Wagner vs CC King ( Top 2 teams in 27-5A)

-Devine at Lytle ( Rivalry game)


-Clemens at Steele ( Two Top 10 teams in the city battle)

-Incarnate Word at Antonian (For all the marbles!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Quick Hitters!

- Speaking of elite coaches, Churchill's Stacey Moore is doing a great job. Very few preseason opinions had Churchill fighting for the 26-5A title. Moore is one of the better coaches in the city and made a trip to Austin a few years ago. Her former star, Christine Flores is playing well in her sophomore year at Missouri. The intriguing thing about the Chargers current success is that they are balling without the special freshman point guard, Leslie Vorpahl.

- The city scoring race is a good one. Shana Holmes(Southwest) leads with 24.7ppg, Meighan Simmons(Steele) is a close second with 23.8ppg, and CeCe Harper(Madison) comes in third at 22.6ppg. Who is this years scoring champ? Vote at the top.

- I was right about Raven Reyes leading the city in rebounding but I was wrong about the numbers. Instead of 14 boards, Reyes is averaging 17 boards a game!

- Speaking of boards, Christina "Mena" Harris is a rebounding machine. She may be pound for pound the most explosive leaper in the city. Mena is 5'9 on a good day and plays a very competitive district but stills owns the glass. She currently ranks 2nd in the city at 13.8 a game.

- Jessica Kuster is the MVP fantasy player. She is 9th in the city scoring, 4th in the city in boards, and 11th in the city in assists. I would find it hard to believe that she not also top 10 in both, steals and blocks.

- Where will they go? While the early signing period has come and gone, there are some quality players that are still on the board. The MacArthur duo of Marquisha Sparks and Nicole Kindred can and will play at the next level. Judson kids Ciara McLee and Paisely Spencer are definitely college players. Bigs are always in demand and I am very surprised that Antonian's Kathryn Galindo and Lytle's Ashley Perez have not been snatched up by someone. Galindo and Perez have similar frames at 6'1 and 6'2 respectively, and are space eaters. Antonian guard Liz Briones is a coaches dream in regards to intelligence and effort and at 5-9, she surprisingly strong on the boards board and can knock down open threes. Boerne Champion duo Hillary Lumkin and Paige Grandjean should be able to help teams beyond high school. Jay's Julissa Garrett and Maretta Stubbs can play and will definitely get theirs at the collegiate level. Lastly, the O'Connor duo of Arlene Cisneros and Michelle Navarro should end up helping some college next year.

- Jay freshman Aleeya Harris has her hand in her mothers pockets. Aleeya's mother pays the athletic 6'1 post player $10 for every block that she gets. Harris totaled 8 blocks in a game vs. Holmes recently. While her mother is proud of her defensive accomplishments, Aleeya is costing her a pretty penny with her deeds. However, all the accumulated money has not just benefited Aleeya. It turns out that the young Sylvia Fowles is a philanthropist as well as a defensive monster. She has used the proceeds from her blocks to purchase "Holy Bears" for the orphans of Haiti. She is actively looking for ways and reliable organizations to deliver the bears to Haiti. The bears are inscribed, "Thinking of You" and include the bible verse, Philemon 1:4. Keep blocking those shots young lady and great job mama!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Elite Coaches!

A recent phone call reminded me to write a blog that I have been intending to do for some time. The call came from a respected trainer and part time middle school referee. He called to ask me if I have I seen Ashlin Ross. Of course I am familiar with the ultra talented Ross and wrote about her last year. He went on to say that Wagner coach, Tina Camacho was in attendance at the middle school game where Ross put on a show. Ross will be a freshman at Wagner next year and is part of a very deep and talented 2014 class. The call was a reminder of why Camacho is one of the best coaches in the city. She invests into her program.

While Camacho coaches the #1 ranked team in the city, she spent the summer raising money for a trip to Arizona for her Thunderbirds to attend the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions. Eventhough she is chasing another trip to Austin, Camacho takes the time to attend middle school games. She encourages her kids to play club ball and get individual training. The thing that is most impressive about Camacho is that she works for her kids. Coach Camacho has a board in her office that allows her to keep track of individual kids and schools pursuing them. For instance, when superstar Len'Nique Brown was being heavily recruited by multiple schools, Camacho kept track of each school, when and what video tapes were needed for duplication, scheduled visits,etc. She does this for ALL of her kids getting college attention. This may seem like what a coach is SUPPOSED to do but it is far from they all do.

Here is an email from a frustrated dad sent to me a few weeks ago:

"I have a child playing High School Basketball. I have been TRYING to coordinate information and requests for visits from a college to the High School Coach. I thought the HS Coach would be appreciative of this and felt compelled keep all parties on the same page, working in unison for the benefit of the student athlete. What I have experienced is a total lack of assistance from the HS Coach. The coach gives the impression (which goes a long way with me) that the process of setting up visits to observe the player in practice is a headache and they have other things to do. ..... It seems some coaches use the kids to win games, ensure the kid meets minimum academic standards (to be eligible to play) but when it comes time to assist with getting the kid in college (academically or athletically), their involvement and interests dramatically decreases" .

Like Camacho, John Jay coach Mike Floyd knows the happenings of his middle school coaches and kids. He knew that he was getting freshman stars Destiny Amezquita and Aleeya Harris and monitored their grades while both were still in middle school. He encouraged his high school stars to become mentors to the young pups even before they arrived on his campus. He visits the club practices of his kids to determine if he agrees with what is being taught. He too orchestrates fundraisers to ensure his program looks as good as it plays and has the resources to play in great events in order to showcase his kids. Coach Floyd also develops relationships with trainers to help his kids in the summer. The recruiting madness that accompanies a star like Erica Donovan is embraced by Coach Floyd and his staff instead of treating it like a burden. I am personally familiar with the lengths that Coach Floyd goes to keep his players in positions to succeed.

I am sure that plenty of coaches invest in their programs. Reagan coach, Terry Barton is active in his middle school programs and personally takes interest in his up and coming players. Boerne Champions, Johnathan Tate is another coach that is often seen at middle school games. No coach gave more to her program than former Fox Tech coach and current Stevens assistant, Anissa Hastings. Hastings is one of the brightest young coaches in the city and her energy and passion for her kids is limitless. I saw incidents of her becoming a second mother to many of her underprivileged players at Fox Tech. Not only was she instilling basketball skills but she spent a lot of time developing her girls as young women and helping them overcome social ills.

These are just a few coaches that deserve some mention. I personally would like to see girls basketball coaches be held to the same standard as we hold our football coaches. Then we would see ALL of the coaches go above and beyond for their kids and take pride in their development.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Quick Hitters!

- Incarnate Word is 6-0 in league play with close wins over Antonian and Holy Cross. Incarnate Word is led by Kaela Lippo, who is averaging 12 points per game. Lippo is aided by the very talented sophomore Tori Villareal. Villareal has battled several injuries recently and is appearing to be back to the promising young player that she is.

- Boerne Champion Freshman Heather Hormuth recorded 16 points and 5 rebounds in a blowout win over #9 ranked Clemens last week.

- Madison Freshman Brianna Jones pulled down 18 rebounds against Churchill. She hit the go ahead 3 that put the Mavs up by 1 with less than 2 minutes to go against Roosevelt . The 5'8 lefty is impressive in her pursuit of boards. The skilled guard is playing out of position for the Mavs and her post defense is spirited given her size.

- Wagner's Michelle Rodriguez is visiting Southeastern Louisiana next week.

- The University of Kansas is town tonight see Wagner Big, Arielle Roberson. Could we see a San Antonio connection of Monica Engleman, CeCe Harper and Roberson for the Jayhawks?

- Fox Tech Big, Raven Reyes is averaging a double double with over 14 points and 14 boards a game. I predicted in the preseason that Reyes would lead the city in rebounding.

- Does anybody in the city go harder than John Jay's Erica Donovan? Probably not. I first wrote about Donovan last year when witnessing her basketball intensity in the SAISD tourney for the first time. She goes all in, all the time. A promising and impressionable young guard from Ruters MS was in attendance at the Jay vs. Marshall game last week and sent me a message beginning with " Erica is Beasty!". My reply was simply, "I know".

- Expect Tivy to get the brunt of a ticked off Steele team tonight. The Knights are not accustomed to losing and will definetly be out to show all that the Champion loss was a stumble and not a fall.

- Some good games tonight and tomorrow:

Smithson Valley at Roosevelt( SV won a close game on a clutch shot by Danielle Blagg last )

New Braunfels at MacArthur( The first place team faces the preseason favorite in 26-5A)

East Central at Judson ( Athleticism will be at a premium in this one)


Jay vs O'Conner at Taylor( Two of the best teams in the city lock up in what should be a high scoring contest. The guard play should be a treat to watch)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Champions' Dynamic Duo!

On November 23, 2009, I wrote "Boerne Champion is underrated!" . They are no longer such as the new EN Top 10 Rankings have them catapulting from being not ranked to #5 in the city. That is what happens when you beat Steele convincingly on their own court. Champions' success is no surprise to those that took time to see their dynamic duo; Hilary Lumpkin and JOHNATHAN TATE!

I took a poll of local teams and their dynamic duos. In that poll, I grouped Lumpkin with Paige Grandjean. While Grandjean is a good player, it is her coach that compliments Lumpkin. The same way Jay's coach Mike Floyd lets his star, Erica Donovan, shine or Wagners coach Tina Camacho puts the fate of her team in the hands of her star, Len'Nique Brown, Johnathan Tate's offense lives and dies with Hillary Lumpkin. Last night against Steele, she not only lived but did so at the expense of the two time state semifinalists.

Lumpkin is not your traditional point guard. She rarely dribbles with her left hand and frequently has her head down while dribbling. Her jump shot is not text book by any means. It has a hitch in it that defies the conventional wisdom of shooting. She has the confidence(or lack of focus to naysayers) to do a little dance while laughing immediately before tip off and throughout the game. Her neon colored shoes are as loud as her heckling mother in the crowd. All these quirky things leaves one to underestimate Lumpkin. That is until the game starts! Try these numbers:

vs. Jay(then ranked #1 in city)- 10 points and 3 assists in a low scoring close loss 44-38

vs. Stevens( then ranked in the city)- 10 and 3 assists in a low scoring win- 49-37

vs New Braunfels(ranked #4 in city) 18 and 4 assists in close loss 49-45

vs Madison- 18 points on 12 shots a blowout win

vs Roosevelt(then ranked in the city) 5 points and 7 assists in a snail paced loss 33-28

vs Reagan(then ranked in the city) 11 points 5 assists in a close loss 46-43

These numbers are not gaudy but do illustrate that fact Lumpkin PRODUCES. The above mentioned teams are either highly ranked or led by Division 1 bound stars. Last night's game was her most impressive thus far. Lumpkin faced three Division 1 caliber guards and did not blink an eye. She faced a full court press featuring one of the best on-ball defenders in the city in Southern Illinois bound, Olivia Patterson, one of the best and quickest young guards in the city in Elena Gumbs and the female version of Usain Bolt in the Tennessee bound, Meighan Simmons. All Lumpkin did was go out and handle the ball 90% of the time while scoring 20 points against this pressure, all while leading her team to a win in hostile territory. If the city had relay races featuring the back courts of girls basketball teams, Steele would smoke everybody. They are that fast! However, this track speed athleticism did not stop Lumpkin from LIVING in the paint. Steele could NOT stay in front of her. She broke down defenders and "Steve Nashed" the defense repeatedly. Like Nash, Lumpkin does a great job of penetrating and stride stopping while establishing her outside foot as her pivot foot. She then uses the defenders momentum against them as she pivots away from pressure for an easy score. It is a great tool to have when playing against athletic defenders and Nash has made a living using the move. Lumpkin used it to perfection and her D'Antoni enjoyed every minute.

Like Mike D'Antoni, Johnathan Tate has a system. His system is tough to guard. I first mentioned his version of the Dribble Drive Motion after watching his team use it to beat a very athletic Roosevelt team with it last season. His DDM offense and his scheduling MUST be respected. Here are some facts:

-Champion has played 8 games against teams that have been ranked in the Top 10 in the city at some point this year( Stevens, Jay, Marshall, New Braunfels, Reagan, Clemens, Steele, Roosevelt)

- Champion is 18-8. Their 8 losses have come by a combine total of 31 points

- Their largest margin of defeat came at the hands of a very good Jay team by 6 points

The DDM is a headache to guard if a couple things are happening; the defense is playing man and three point shots are falling. Both things were happening last night against Steele.

A side note:

( I must salute Steele coach, Kari Wallace for sticking with her man defense the majority of the game. A zone would have help contain dribble penetration but her PLAYERS GOT BETTER last night defensively. She is undoubtedly trying to prepare them for the next level. Olivia Patterson and Meighan Simmons will have to guard VERY GOOD players next season at their respective schools and Wallace allowed them to work on that last night. Elena Gumbs is playing for one of the top club teams in the state next summer and will face some of the best guards in the nation. She too got better last night. )

Back to the topic, I sat in a section of sideline coaches who yelled out instructions of ways to guard the DDM. They assumed that the weave(circle back) action of the offense is so easily stopped. If that was the case, UTSA should have been blown out by Baylor instead of taking them down to the wire in OT of the NCAA tournament last year. When the three ball is falling, how do you defend it?

1. Switch- You can switch continuously on the circle back motions but this allows for eventual mismatches.

2. Fight over Top of Screens- This is what Steele tried to do but it is difficult because of the screening action of the ball handler. Proper spacing also makes this difficult.

3. Fight under the Screen- This may be a good strategy assuming that the three ball is not falling. If the three is falling, going under the screening action is futile as this would lead to uncontested three point shots.

4. Deny/Overplay/Chuck Cutters- This strategy would lead to numerous back door opportunities.

5. Solid Help Side Defense- Probably one of the best ways to guard it but leaves teams susceptible to giving up open threes with the skip pass.

Simply put, this is a difficult offense to guard when executed well. I heard a dad say," They only run one play". That is the beauty of the offense. IT IS NOT A PLAY!!! It is a continuous motion offense that LETS THE KIDS PLAY!!! Coach Tate has put his ego aside and let his kids go. Better yet, he understands that Lumpkin is at her best when she is uninhibited by traditional sets, so he allows his eccentric point guard to create. Together, they are are force to be reckoned with.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Local Stars Televised!.

Fox Sports West will televise a few local stars on Saturday.

11am -Kansas vs Kansas St. Monica Engleman- Madison/ Lady Rohawks

1pm -Missouri vs Colorado Christine Flores-Churchill/TeamXpress
BreAnna Brock- Wagner/ Texas Breakers

Hoops for Hope!

Players with a Purpose is holding its 1st Annual Hoops 4 Hope basketball clinic on February 13, 2010. The clinic will raise money for the Susan G Komen Foundation . The Komen Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Breast Cancer.

Clinic participants will receive quality instruction from experienced trainers/coaches.

DATE: Saturday, February 13, 2010
TIME: 9 am – 4 pm
PLACE: Johnson High School
23203 Bulverde Rd, SATX, 78259
COST: $50 per participant

Campers will receive lunch and T-shirts.
Campers are invited to the UTSA Women's Think Pink game on February 17, 2010 and will be able to purchase game tickets at a discount if wearing Hoops 4 Hope T-Shirt.

ALL PROCEEDS will be donated to the Komen Foundation at halftime of the UTSA game.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Good or bad for the game? You decide!

On a popular message board post, these Britney Griner dunks against an over matched Texas State are called embarrassing to women's basketball. Should the athleticism and excitement of the Griner dunks be applauded or condemned as showboating? You decide.

Great Article on Hoopgurlz!

HoopGurlz just posted a wonderful article full of great advice for young sheballers. Some following excerpts are from the article written by Seattle University Assistant, Joy Hollingsworth:

-You're a student first and athlete second.

-If you want to become a better basketball player, the two-hour practice after school will not cut it.

-Every now and then you might look up in the stands and see a college coach checking you out. Don't get nervous, get tough!

- It's the little things that matter the most when you have an "off" night.

-Be gracious, stay humble, smile and don't act a fool in public.

-Don't be the hot-head parent no one wants to sit near.

More Progress!

The following was sent to me by a club director. The great thing about this email is that it speaks of a kid that did not play for his club. His shout out to her is what we should all be about!

Below is one you left off your latest blog. Might be the success story of all, considering she missed her junior high school season with an ACL injury, and did not play club ball at all the summer between her junior and senior year. She is averaging 7.9ppg, and has started 10 games on a pretty good team.

Katherine Frost -Incarnate Word University-

The other interesting thing, is that Katherine like a lot of other guards did not get her scholarship until well into her senior high school season. The coach was familiar with her from basketball camps she had attended at Incarnate Word.

Progress Report-2009 Grads!

The transition from high school to college can be enormous. Here is a report card of how some of our local 2009 stars are doing:

Monica Engleman -Kansas- GP( 13) GS(0) Minutes(12.2) FG%(43.5) 3ptFG% (52.9) Pts(4.2) Reb(2.1)

Lyndsey Cloman -Oklahoma- GP(9) GS(0) Minutes (11.2) FG%(36%) Pts(2.2) Reb (3.2)

Alexis Williams -Cameron- GP(12) GS(8) Minutes (24.8) FG%(41.3) 3ptFG%( 40) Pts (9.0) Reb(4.2)

Aleshia Flowers -South Florida- GP(8) GS(0) Minutes (7.5) FG% (28.6) Pts(o.9) Reb(1.6)

Alicia Houston- Midwestern St.- GP(6) GS(0) Minutes (9.0) FG% (14.3) Pts (0.5) Reb (1.2)

Felicia Jacobs - St. Mary's- GP(14) GS(0) Minutes(10.3) FG% (41.7) Pts(2.9) Reb( 1.7)

Liz Boyd- St Mary's- GP(14) GS(6) Minutes(20.8) FG%(42.9) 3ptFG%(48.6) Pts(7.7) Reb(3.1)

Courtney Peay -Nyack- No stats available online

Sabreena Denure- UTA- GP(13) GS(0) Minutes(7.5) FG%(0.83) Pts(.5)

Bobbi Taylor- South Alabama-GP(5) GS(0) Minutes(5.0) FG%(41.7) 3ptFG%(80) Pts(2.0) Reb(2.1)

Chelsea McMeans-Lipscomb- GP(13) GS(1) Minutes(9.6) FG%(48.7) Pts(3.3) Reb(2.2)

Alisha Crump- OLLU- GP(10) FG%(46.8) Pts( 10.2)