Monday, January 17, 2011

Nurturing the Game!

This past rainy Saturday Stevens faced off against Brandeis in a district game. The Stevens starting point guard is Nicole Salazar. Nicole's father, Nick, did not attend his daughters game. Nick Salazar is usually a fixture at all of Nicole's games but on this day he was too busy nurturing the future of girls basketball in San Antonio.

Nick is known as Coach Nick to his NS Mustangs basketball team. Coach Nick has guided not only girls, but boys over the years. This past Saturday was no different. Coach Nick led a team full of green fourth and fifth graders at the Eastside Boys and Girls Club. The logical explanation why he would miss his beloved Nicole's high school district game to coach a bunch of 10 year old girls is that he has another young daughter that he is now guiding. It makes sense that he would miss Nicole's high school game to now make sure his younger daughter is playing the sport that his family loves. However, Nick does not have a younger daughter on this team.

When asked why he started over with another young group, he replied that his boys(club players) have younger sisters that needed a team. Coach Nick started a team full of very raw young players made up of kids that are related to the boys that he coaches during the club ball season.

What Coach Nick is doing emphasizes all that is good with club basketball. The costs of running a club team leaves most club organizations in the red and the coaches/directors inevitably coming out of their own pockets to continue helping kids play this wonderful game. None of the kids that he has coached have the physical attributes that would make college coaches drool. He is not doing it for the glory of claiming that he has the #1 player in the country and getting the accolades that goes with it. He is doing it because it needs to be done!

Not only has Coach Nick helped these young kids, he has helped elite high school programs and some of the most successful high school coaches in the city.

Stevens is ranked in the TOP 10 in the city and its point guard is Nicole. John Jay is the #1 team currently in the city and NS Mustang player, Vanessa Orr(her father is also a coach for the NS Mustangs) plays an important role in Jay's success. Madison's Tracy Hastings is one of the most successful coaches in the city in terms of career wins and her starting lineup includes a sophomore guard who averages double digits, NS Mustang Monica Perez. Hasting also has another pretty good young(sophomore) NS Mustang player in "Peechy" Alcibar.

Grassroot coach's like Nick Salazar are why this city continues to grow in terms of gaining ground on basketball national hotbeds. As younger kids are continually exposed to this great game, the city will consistently produce better players. Better players will produce better high school teams. Better high school teams help high school coaches win more games.

Also seen at the East Side Boys and Girls Club cheering for 10 year old girls playing basketball, Stevens coach and former University of Texas standout, Anissa Hastings. Like Nick Salazar, Anissa Hastings gets it!