Monday, December 20, 2010

Quick Quips!

-In an article from ESPN Hoopgurlz, the nationally respected St Mary's of California head coach, Tom Gonsalves, is chronicled. The article goes on to detail the success of the St Mary's program despite losing two high school All-Americans from last year's team. The article goes on to state the following:

"It's understandable that others didn't see this coming, but Gonsalves maybe should have. For a given group, his 32-minutes-of-hell, freewheeling style is anywhere from six to eight years in the making. The club teams that feed into the St. Mary's program start running the frenetic defensive traps and taking 500 shots a day in the fifth grade."

- Speaking of coaches that get it, Judson Coach, Triva Corrales gets it! A high school and club coach told me an encouraging account of Coach Corrales recently.

Apparently, Corrales had a conversation with a father of one of her players. This father went to Corrales to complain that she was playing "post" players at the guard position. His daughter is a guard and the playing of "post" players at the guard was a concern of his. The "post" players in question were in the 5'9 range. While this may be a suitable height for post players in some parts of San Antonio, it is hardly the size needed in the post to be an elite team. It is definitely not the appropriate size for playing the post at the next level.

Coach Corrales reportedly went on to explain to the father that these 5'9 "post" players have the ability to play after high school and that she would not put them in the post and sacrifice their future as basketball players. That is HUGE!!! Not only does she understand the X's and O's, she can see the forest by making sure she remembers to nurture the trees.

- Roosevelt is the best defensive team in the city. They held Jay to 17 points under(39) their average in a win a couple of weeks ago. They held Steele to 11 points under(45) their average in a close loss. Friday night vs Churchill, they held the opposition to 28 points, or 25 points below their season average.(Churchill was missing two starters and lost Leslie Vorpahl early to an ankle injury). Coach Rob Rheinberger does a great job at teaching helpside principles. His man defense looks like a zone with the way the weakside clogs the paint in order to help. However, the teaching, length and athleticism of his defense are not the main reason for its success. The main reason for Roosevelt's stingy defense is its OFFENSE!

In Fridays game vs Churchill, both teams combined to score 5 points in the second quarter. Churchill won the second quarter by scoring 3 points to Roosevelt's 2! The main reason for the lack of point production was Roosevelt's offensive strategy. On consecutive possessions, the Rough Riders passed the ball 11 times before hoisting a three point attempt. Churchill was not playing an aggressive zone. In fact, the 2-3 zone used by Churchill barely moved and almost dared Roosevelt to shoot. The constant ball reversal did little to break down the Churchill defense and allow for penetration of the gaps or uncontested three point shots. The three point shots that resulted from the numerous swing passes around the perimeter could have been shot on the first pass. The strategy left many scratching their heads.

Analyzing the Roosevelt offensive philosophy deeper, the brilliance of it comes to mind. Keeping the ball out of the hands of the opposition is as old as the game itself. However, very few teams can do it as effectively as the Roosevelt. They do a great job at stagnating the momentum of the opposition by making sure that they do not touch the ball often. John Jay and it's high scoring offense can not score if they do not have the ball. While this may not be pretty, it has been somewhat successful. Rheinberger capitalizes off of the lack of shot clock in Texas. He is playing by the rules. This type of basketball was prevalent in the late 90's in the NBA. The game became so physical that a lot of teams used every second of the shot clock and final scores would be in the 80's. David Stern realized that this type of basketball was killing the popularity and excitement of the game and enacted rules to counter the continuance of this style of basketball. The high school game does not have David Stern to police the brand of ball in the city of San Antonio so Coach Rheinberger is doing his best Jeff Van Gundy impression and doing very well with it.

- The Meighan Simmons Effect- Why am I still talking about Meighan Simmons? Because everybody else is! Her effect on this city is very evident:

The Steele Lady Knights are 9-6. They have played a tough schedule but not having Simmons is the main culprit in the losses. They averaged over 70 points a game last season. They are averaging 25 points less this season. The missing 25 points per game is about what Simmons averaged last year. I underestimated the Simmons effect on the current Steele team and thought that they would still score in droves. So far, I was very wrong.

The father of one of the best young players in the country sent a text to me during the Tennessee vs Stanford game that read, " M.Simmons Representing S.A. big time!" This father lives in what most consider a basketball hotbed for talent. His text illustrates how important Simmons current accomplishments are still having on the city. Her success screams that SA can not be ignored.

For instance, last Tuesday, Texas A&M and Texas Tech were at the Johnson HS gym. The main reason for their visit was to see freshman, Recee' Caldwell. However, consider the context of the visits. Caldwell can surely go and if she remains focused, the sky is the limit. But, of the two schools that were playing, Johnson and Brennan, neither school has a reputation for success nor overwhelming talent. Brennan is a brand new school and Johnson is only a few years older. Johnson current record of 15 wins is almost double last years total output of 8 wins. I find it hard to believe that these Big 12 schools(Oklahoma St. viewed Johnson's Friday loss to Reagan) would have been making personal high school game visits to view a freshman 5 years ago. Simmons has shown that the city has some players that can make a major impact nationally and should be recruited as heavy as more recognized talent hotbeds.

Simmons has the youth of the city energized. Seeing so many kids at the Texas vs Tennessee game screaming her name was a thing of beauty. She has became a symbol of success for many of the aspiring young girls in the city. Simmons has also converted the nonbelievers. Sitting in the stands and listening to so many haters criticize Simmons over the last few years was nauseating. Watching these naysayers now jump on the Simmons bandwagon is very satisfying. As Kanye raps, "Hater Parents make Hater Kids" and the love for Simmons is stopping that generation curse:)!!!!

- Stephanie Whittman, former Alamo Heights star is coming home tonight to face UTSA.

- How did Reagan celebrate the first district win of the year? By watching film early the next day. Coach Terry Barton made his squad get up early Saturday morning to study game film of the previous night's win over Johnson. While this is the norm for most elite schools across the nation, it is encouraging to hear of a SA coach preparing his kids for the next level where chopping film is such an integral part of the game.

In a visit to Devine last week, I was a bit envious. I toured the weight room of the football team and it was a sight to see. The size of the building and equipment that the football players in this small town have access to was amazing. What was really impressive was the sound system and film projection area that the weight room included. I know that this is Texas and boys but I wished for a short amount of time that girls basketball was taken as seriously and supported like football. However, I know that is a silly notion. Back to reality.

- A friend of Abileine Wylie head coach, Tri Danley relayed interesting insight from the successful coach. Coach Danley's squad was the 3A State Runner -Up last season and features the ultra-talented scoring machine, Peyton Little. Little has already committed to the Univ of Texas. Coach Danley is a respected X & O guy but apparently understands that he needs to allow his star to be a star and not mar her brillance with too many structured sets. He also tells those that will listen that his team "wears the Gunn out EVERY PRACTICE". For those that do not know, the Gunn is a shooting machine and allows for players to shoot hundreds of shots in rapid succession. Apparently, the Gunn is set up on half of the court and in use almost the entire practice. There is no wonder that his team was in Austin last year and Little can shoot with anybody in the nation.

- UTSA is hosting the Christmas Classic Monday and Tuesday night. The event features UTSA, Kansas St, Middle Tennessee St and St Bonaventure.

- Besides Oklahoma St, Texas A&M and Texas Tech visiting, Rice, North Texas, UTA and UTSA have all been seen repeatedly in local gyms over the last couple of weeks. Their presence validates the Field of Dreams quote, "If you build it, they will come". SA is definitely building!!!