Sunday, August 15, 2010

Alexis defends my rankings!

I published my annual ranking for this year a couple of hours ago and my email and text messages have been continuous. I will reiterate that all rankings are opinions and disagreements are expected. What I love is that the spirit and enthusiasm behind the comments shows that girls basketball is growing in the city. San Antonio fans are starting to care more about girls basketball and this can only be a great thing. To illustrate rankings, I will briefly bring up Alexis "The Great."

Almost one year ago, the late DFW founder , Marques Jackson was discussing with me and a couple other coaches his great stable of guards in his organization. While we laughed and enjoyed asking him stories about the guards that he has had, he changed his jovial banter when one name was mentioned. He smiled at the Odyssey Simms tales and delighted in talking about Moriah Jefferson. A grin as big as the sun stayed glued to his face as he mentioned so many great guards until I asked about Alexis Jones. Coach Jackson immediately stopped smiling. He looked me right in my eyes and stated, "Alexis is the best. As ESPN called her, she IS Alexis the Great".

The last time I saw Alexis was a few years ago. She was an 8th grader playing on the same team with Odyssey Simms(Baylor), Lauren Flores(Texas/Houston) and Britney Griner(Baylor). She was putting on a complete show. I could not believe that she was just a rising freshman.

Everyone I have spoken to about Alexis has the same opinion. The kid is head and shoulders above the rest. A college coach that scouts for the WNBA swears that she can play in the League right now. I questioned this as hype until a former WNBA great and current Division 1 coach agreed that she can not only play in the WNBA right now, but she is an all-star to boot!

Alexis was cut last summer by the 16u USA team. All she did was come back and get cut by the 17u team this year. The kicker is that she was asked to stick around to try out for the 18u Team and not only made the team, but played a vital role in us capturing the Gold.

This summer Alexis truly did the incredible. Jones led her HIGH SCHOOL team to the tournament title(Premier Super 64) of one of the most competitive events in the nation. She followed that up a few weeks later by leading her team to the championship game of what has been called THE most competitive summer event(Battle on the Bayou). Please sit back and digest that. She led a team with ,at most, one other Division 1 player to wins over teams that will send entire rosters to Division 1 institutions! For those of you that will counter that NIKE Nationals was the most competitive event of the summer, let me remind you of this. Two of the Final Four teams in NN both played in the Battle on the Bayou. The same Battle on the Bayou that Jones led her team to a title game that was eventually forfeited. Please recall that Nike national champ, Tennessee Flight(however they were missing two stars to USA teams) attended the Premier Super 64 event that Jones and her high school team won. Now I will get to the point and how she puts rankings in perspective.

Jones is ranked no higher than #5 in all the major services. How can this kid be that good and ranked no higher than the third guard by most services. I have asked a dozen or so college coaches who they would take at the guard position and ALL have yet to name anybody other than Jones. How can this young lady have an almost cult-like following among club coaches, club directors, current college players( one current college D1 player sent me a text from the New Orleans event while viewing Jones and said that she is the best high school guard that she has ever seen) and not be the #1 kid, let alone the #1 guard in the country in the ranking services. Again, it all depends on who you are asking and whose opinion really counts.

Jones also helps me validate my rankings. I have received some feed back in terms of certain kids deserving to be higher than I have them. Maybe so but here is my reasoning. The best players WIN! While we can blame high school coaches and systems for holding some kids back, reaching the playoffs is not all that difficult in most districts in the city. If a player is truly great, shouldn't she lead her high school team to the playoffs? After all, Alexis the Great has shown us the way!!