Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More Thoughts and Observations!!

This blog has been hinting at what should have been obvious to all; District 26-5A is the toughest in the city this year. Here is the evidence:

  • With Churchill's defeat of the John Jay last night, they must be considered the best team in the city. Wagner may rise to #1 in the SA Express rankings but Churchill probably should get the nod. Churchill has defeated 4 of the Top 10 teams in SA Express rankings(Jay, Stevens, Reagan, Steele)

  • 30% of the Top 10 are 26-5A teams(Churchill, Reagan, Roosevelt).

  • MacArthur beat Top 10 Stevens last week. Stevens was an extremely tired team but the fact remains that Mac beat them. Johnson High School lost by seven points to Top 10 New Braunfels without Recee' Caldwell, who is averaging 21 points and 5 assists for Johnson.

- One of the best high school coaches in the city recently shared with me that the city has come a very long way in terms of progress since the mid 90's. He went on to talk about how advanced the kids are compared to then. He spoke of a freshman that he currently has that is "the most complete" freshman that he has ever coached. This assessment of the cities improvement mirrors a conversation that I had with SA great and current UTSA asst coach, Tai Dillard. Coach Dillard talked of how more quality kids are coming out of the city in terms of being able to compete in college. These two opinions serve as a direct rebuttal to the "AAU is the worst thing to happen to Basketball" comment that a local high school told local referees recently. That comment is absurd!

Take the success of Churchill for instance. The bulk of the Churchill point production is a direct result of the SA Heat. Leslie Vorpahl, Danni Espinoza and Carlie Truesdale all have played for the SA Heat for a number of years. In a quote by Jordan Holub to the SA Express, “New season, new coach, new team,” Holub said. “We're going to state. That's what we want.” While the coach and the season may be new, the players are not. In October of this year, I watched the above mentioned SA Heat players play against a TeamXpress team that featured Krystal Forthan(LSU), Brianna Bogard( East Tennessee State), Elena Gumbs(Steele HS/D1 guard), Darreal Youngblood( 6'4 Top 150 player for 2012), Jasmine Sborov(Colarado), and Arielle Roberson( Still considering multiple D1 offers). The Churchill kids will not face a team in the entire state that can come close to the talent level of that TeamXpress team. When the Churchill team was down by double digits against Jay, they did not panic. They had no need to panic. They knew that they have faced stiffer competition than what local or state high school teams can produce. Where Erica Donovan is the Sun for her extremely good high school team, she is just one of many stars on her club team. This puts the no-fear factor in perspective.

This reminds me of a comment from a local high school coach who stated that he was surprised at the start of Recee' Cadwell this season. This coach stated that he thought Recee', being a freshman, would be intimidated by Stevens star Alexis Govan(Western Kentucky). My reply was a resounding "Are you serious"?! Though Caldwell is only 14, she has played with and against Meighan Simmons(Tennessee), Cassie Peoples(Texas), Tyler Scaithe(#1 pg 2013), Jada Terry(2013 Texas commit), Moriah Jefferson(#1 player in 2012 in multiple services) and Courtney Williams(Texas A&M commit) to name few, since she was 11 years old. All the above mentioned players are ranked in the top of their classes nationally!

- In another example of that absurd comment, let's look at the best players for the Top 3 teams in city according to SA Express:

1. Jay- Donovan(TeamXpress), Destiny Amezquita(Lady Mustangs), KiKi Taylor(Lady Rohawks)

2. Wagner-Roberson(TeamXpress), Eboni Watkins( Lady Rohawks)

3. Churchill- Vorpahl, Espinoza, Truesdale (SA Heat), Holub(?)

Last year 2010 class sent close to 30 kids on to play in college at all levels. EVERY one of those kids at some point played club(AAU) ball.

- Moving on, Jay is still the team to beat in the city. The Lady Mustangs were beaten last year during tournaments by Wagner, only to beat the Lady Thunderbirds to go to Austin. Mike Floyd does a good job and having his team peak at the right time. The Lady Mustangs are missing one of the very best players in the city in Destiny Amezquita. When she returns to full form, Jay SHOULD be unbeatable locally. Especially if 2013 post, Aleeya Harris continues to play like she did last night. The ultra gifted Harris had 17 points . Jay has 3 six-footers(Harris, Vanessa Orr and Raven Reyes) that all can produce in their own way. Harris is athletic, strong and blocks a lot of shots. Orr can hit the open 15 footer and is a solid rebounder. The 6'2 Reyes is a rebounding machine and effective space eater. Getting 20 points and 20 boards from these three will make it even tougher for SA teams to unseat Jay at the Austin table.

- Arielle Roberson is leading the city in scoring at over 24 points per game.

- Bob Springer's Texas Basketball Magazine is out and features some local kids on the all-state teams:

1st Team- Elena Gumbs(Steele/2012) and Erica Donovan(Jay)

2nd Team- Arielle Roberson(Wagner) and Shana Holmes( Southwest)

3rd Team- Ebony Easter(O'Connor)

It is always good for SA area kids to get state wide recognition but I questioned the accuracy of this publication last year when it named Meighan Simmons 3rd Team All-State. Of course we all know what the McDonald All-American Simmons went on to achieve. The publication spells Ebony Easter name as (Eboy) and has Donovan attending Taft and being 5'7.