Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Upcoming Events!

  • Former WNBA coach Linda Hargrove is heading a professional free agent camp on April 3, 2010. The event will be held at Johnson High School.

  • The McDonald's All-American game is tonight and will be televise on ESPN. Meighan Simmons advanced to the finals of the three point shooting contest before losing to champ, Maggie Lucas a couple of nights ago.

  • The owners of Alamo City All-Stars (YBOA), in conjunction with the San Antonio Storm Basketball Club, are fully donating their time and resources to host a Memorial Tournament in memory of Sierra Felan, a 17-year-old Churchill High School junior who was tragically killed in an automobile accident on March 20, 2010. Sierra played high school and select basketball; she began her competitive basketball career with the SA Storm.

    Please sacrifice your current plans for April 24 and 25 by entering your team in this 3-Games-in-One-Day Tournament for a worthy, community cause.

    The cost is only $100 per team.

    The following girls’ divisions only will play as indicated: 13U/8th Grade & 14U/9th Grade on Saturday, 24 Apr, and Junior Varsity and Varsity on Sunday, 25 Apr, at Eisenhower MS (NEISD). We will only host up to 6 teams per division, contact me right away to sign-up; deadline is 10 Apr.

    All proceeds will go to the Sierra Felan Foundation. Contact Tom Brown @ 210-325-1720

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shes Ballin Extravagnza this weekend!

This weekend's She's Ballin Extravaganza is upon us and over 35 teams will participate. The event will have some of the best local teams squaring off against a couple of the best club teams in the nation. Some intriguing happenings include:

Cassie Peoples is coming home!- The UT commit and #24 ranked player by Hoopgurlz in the class off 2011 is playing in front of her family and friends in her home city. The lights out shooter helped guide her Cy-Fair High School team to a state title earlier this month. Peoples will star in the back court for Nike Cy-Fair Shock Elite.

Speaking of Nike Cy-Fair Shock!- The club is perennially ranked among the top teams in the nation and is bringing four teams to the event. Besides Peoples, this club features Alexia Standish(# 16 Hoopgulz ranked, 2011 Texas A&M commit) Britney Hardy( Hoopgurlz #40 ranked is 2011), Kamy Cole ( Brock HS State Champ, 2012 Oklahoma commit), and Aley Rohde ( 6'5 University of Arizona commit), among many other high caliber players. On a local note, San Antonio 8th grader, Recee' Caldwell is playing with the Nike Cy-Fair Shock 15u team. Caldwell recently received an invite to the prestigious Nike Regional Skills Academy on May 1-2 in Houston.

Another 2014 Nike Regional Skills Academy attendee and Nike Cy-Fair Shock player is Olivia Ogumike. If the name sounds familiar, it is because Olivia is the younger sister of the #1 ranked Player in the Nation, Chiney Ogumike. Both Chiney and Olivia are following in the the foot steps of their older sister, Pac- 10 Player of the year, Nneka Ogumike. The young Olivia will be in San Antonio playing in the She's Ballin Extravaganza this weekend and hopefully cheering for her Big Sis' and the Stanford Cardinals the following weekend in the Final Four!

New Teams- The event will feature a few new faces to the SA club scene.

OT Select is headed by Mike Ekanem. Ekamen is the head of the Sophia Young Elite team that is made up of players from different clubs and will play in exposure events.

Texas D1 Ambassadors is led by Billy James. Coach James is the founder Centex Starzz and has collaborated with Max Ivany and his accomplished boys organization. Vanessa Winston is a lightning quick guard with heavy looks from numerous D1 schools. Katherine Tolbert has great size for a slasher and is All-Centex. The 5'11 kid can stroke it from three.

Key Matchups- Cy-Fair Shock (Amboree) vs South Texas Hoyas. This game will feature a great matchup up at the point guard as Stephen F Austin signee and Lytle star, Cheyenne Berry will suit up for the Hoyas and face off with Cassie Peoples. Smithson Valley forward Danielle Blagg will put her athleticism on display in a match up with Oklahoma commit Kamy Cole. The highly recruited Jasmine Parker will face the explosive scorer Shana Holmes of the Hoyas in what is sure to be a shoot out.

Another key match up may take place in what may be the game of the tournament. Baylor commit, Sune Agbuke and her Lady Rohawks Elite will face Britney Hardy and her Cy-Fair Shock on Sunday at 11:45. The OLLU gym will be rocking as rumor has it that a Big 12 battle between Kansas bound CeCe Harper and UT bound Cassie Peoples will take place. Both Harper and Peoples were recently named to the TGCA All-State 5ATeam.

Reps from the Spurs and the NCAA Womens Basketball welcoming committee will make an appearance to hand out promotional items featuring camps, clinics and NCAA Final Four activities.

Visit for details and game times.

Free Agent Camp in San Antonio!

Wagner High School is the site of Merit Sports Free Agent Basketball Camp. The camp will feature women's professional basketball personnel looking for hidden gyms. The event will open to all viewers. Click here to visit Merit Sports.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Brian McCormick on Development!

The following is another great blog from Brian McCormick:

Clay Kallam wrote an interesting column after the Cal vs. UCLA women’s basketball game that set a record for first-half futility with a 14-8 half-time score.

Clay, a passionate women’s basketball fan, writer and coach, and I have argued on this topic for years. His stance remains consistent, as he expressed in his column:

Recruit athletes, regardless of skill, and run them like attack dogs against opposing offenses. The superior athleticism will render the offense hopeless, and eventually the superior athlete will score off some offensive rebounds, get some steals for easy layups, and now and again, deliver an actual basketball move.

To put it another way, athleticism erases skills. A 6-1 athletic wing who can’t make a jumper, can’t really dribble with her left hand, and has more turnovers than assists, will dominate a skilled 5-10 wing who isn’t as quick, as strong, as fast or as tall as the defender.

I see a different problem: why can’t we develop athletic players with actual basketball skills? Why is it one or the other? Of course, there are the exceptionals like Maya Moore, Jayne Appel, Tina Charles, Skylar Diggins and others. However, generally-speaking, why does one have to sacrifice skills to recruit athleticism or athleticism to recruit skills? The depth of talent is very shallow.

The problem is not that college coaches recruit athletes over skilled players. The issue is that these athletes have played year-round basketball for six years and have developed virtually no technical or tactical basketball skills.

What are we teaching during practice when players reach the college level without any footwork, ugly shooting technique, no left hand and no general understanding of how to play the game?

I watched a nationally-ranked high school point guard, and she lacked any sense of running a team. She’s reasonably quick and has decent shooting technique, but she did not make good decisions in transition or when trapped and she did not know how to run a pick-and-roll.

I watched a top 25 future Division I small forward who caught the ball on the wing, immediately dribbled and jumped into the air when she reached a defender to pass or shoot. She had no fundamental skills – poor passer, poor ball handler, no shot – but she was athletic and played hard, so she’s coveted at the next level. Why can’t a player like this who plays year-round develop well-rounded skills? What is inhibiting this development? She plays for a respected AAU program and a respected high school team. What’s missing?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Young Legends! Hard to Follow!

In a recent conversation with UTSA asst. coach, Tai Dillard, I asked her for her opinion on how San Antonio has changed in terms of basketball over the last 10 years. The former UT standout and Sam Houston alum simply stated that current basketball in the city is "much better". She went on to count, on one hand, the Division 1 players from her graduating year. The evidence of how far the girls basketball scene has come was very evident this weekend and was highlighted by the young legends that have put San Antonio on the lips of college recruiters and ranking services across the nation.

Len'Nique Brown put on a show against Jay. In my previous blog, I failed to fully describe the performance that Brown had vs Jay on Saturday. Brown, the smallest kid on the floor, was brilliant. She finished with 25 points and played the entire game. Something was obviously aching Brown as she limped into the fourth quarter to put it all on the line. She hits threes, she made crucial steals, and she sliced through defenders for her patented runners. In a game that was extremely physical, Brown made a huge three point play by jumping into the fouling defender for a huge bucket plus the foul. The performance has become routine for Wagner fans over the last 4 years. Nique has become a legend.

I spoke with four different club coaches at the elementary school level on Saturday. It just so happened that when speaking to all of the coaches, they brought their players(daughters) to see Nique! Nique has inspired the next generation of San Antonio point guards just the way her big brother inspired her.

To see the impact of Nique on this cities basketball players, the end of the game tells the whole story. After the buzzer sounded and Jay had officially won, Nique broke out in tears and wanted to be alone. She attempted to walk to a secluded spot and cry. A school administrator embraced her and comforted her but did not allow her to walk away. Then it happened. The entire Jay team, feeling elated and better than ever, walked the entire length of the floor to pays respect to Nique. Young Jay star, Destiny Amezquita, politely asked Len'Nique's big brother if she could take a picture with her. She did not want to interrupt the Len'Nique while she was agonizing over the defeat but Destiny went on to explain that she "looks up to Nique so much". This is the kind of presence and influence that the "little guard that could" has on girls basketball in this city.

CeCe Harper was not at any of the three regional playoff games on Friday night. Despite all her efforts, her team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in her high school career. CeCe averaged a career high in points this year but came up a little short in leading a young and inexperienced Maverick team to the playoffs. While CeCe hates losing and understandably wanted to playing on Friday night, she did the next best thing; she worked like crazy to be prepared for the new chapter in her life.

The new chapter is Kansas University and the glory of Big 12 basketball. The KU commit will enjoy some of the best amenities in women's basketball next year. She will play in a conference that is widely considered the best in the nation. She is getting ready to make her progression to the big time by going back; back to the gym to add new skills and sharpen up on old ones.

Friday night, while most high schools seniors are socializing in some way, CeCe was in a small church gym filled with tables and chairs. On one side of the court, young ball players went through a clinic. CeCe was on the other side running a series of demanding drills. Wearing a Kansas shirt as a reminder of why she was there, CeCe worked out until she was drenched. She made her basketball cuts as if she was being closely guarded by Big 12 defenders. She perfected dribble combinations as if she was playing live of TV. While she was not playing in front of a national audience, she had plenty of eyes on her. Two young promising players, already getting correspondence from college coaches, worked hard to shag her rebounds. They were quickly replaced by a 9 and 10 year old who delighted that they were allowed to participate in CeCe's workout. These two young ballers competed to see who could throw CeCe Harper the best pass. They competed to see which one could make her notice them! During a break, CeCe walked up behind one of the youngsters and slapped the ball away. The smile on this kids face told the story. She turned to her mother, who along with 10 or so other parents sat and watched CeCe's entire work out, and gave the biggest grin. It said, " Hey mom, CeCe Harper just played with me! "

Madison Coach, Tracy Hastings has over 350 wins in 16 years as a head coach. Close to 1/3 of those wins have come over the last 4 years, the CeCe Harper years! This is another young legend that will be surely missed.

Meighan Simmons is leading her team to state for the third year in a row. She has been her usual self in the post season by scoring at will. This season has been the most decorated in SA history. Signing with her dream school, becoming the city's all time leading scorer, District Co-Champs, McDonald's All-American and another trip to Austin makes this season remarkable in every way.

Her legend is firmly established and I find it interesting to see how her status has become tabloid-ish. You can find blogs about her father! You can read the comments of jealous parents on the SA sports sites complaining; they cry that she is still in the game when the game is already decided as if there is a YMCA mercy rule .They complain that she is too animated on the court. They measure their child's stature in Meighan comparisons like, " My daughter scored 10 points on her when they were in diapers!" I guess this is when you know that you have made it, when adults bash you, a kid, on public sites.

Simmons has amassed over 3200 points. Records are made to broken but this one will last for a long time. I will address in a later blog why I feel this record my be unreachable for future players. What is not up for debate is Meighans status as a San Antonio legend.

These three players have impacted San Antonio in ways that they can not fully comprehend. These girls have inspired little Niques, little CeCes and little Meighans across this city. What these three have done is help plant the seeds of greatness into the soil of girls basketball. And while greatness will undoutedbly grow, these three are tough acts to follow.