Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Player Assessment Questions!

A coach sent these questions that he poses to his college players. They are relevant to players at all levels. They follow:

1. Why am I here?
2. Have I put 100% effort into game preparation?
3. Have I taken responsibility for my actions?
4. Has basketball been a top priority?
5. Do I love this game?
6. Have I misjudged others for my mishaps ?
7. A leader or follower, which am I ?
8. Are my work habits as good as they should be?
9. Who(or what) is stopping me from displaying my skills?
10. Have I expressed myself to others effectively?
11. Have I been reacting to others criticism or my own?
12. Do I support my teammates positively ?
13. Am I hungry for success or content with failure?
14. Do I spend the extra time getting better?
15. Am I focused on basketball ?
16. Do I practice as hard as I play ?
17. What do my mannerisms say about me ?
18. Am I being criticized by my current coach over the same issues that former coaches criticized me about? If so, what is the obvious reason?

Playoff Quick Hitters!!!

- Southwest star, Shana Holmes has played her last high school game. Holmes has scored over 2500 points in her career dispite being sidelined almost half of her senior campaign recovering from a knee injury. Congrats on a great career!

- Speaking of recovering, Brennan sophomore guard, Ashlynn Graham spent Monday night in the emergency room with stomach related issues. The 5'1 defensive pest put on a show in a huge victory over Clemens a night later. Graham had 4 steals which she converted into big buckets in the second half to elevate her squad. A couple of the finishes were acrobatic And 1's in traffic. She was marvelous!

- Brennan freshman Tanaeya Boclair played the entire game and finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds in a very spirited effort. In addition to being one of the best 2014's in the city, she is also a great communicator. She constantly talks and helps direct defensive assignments throughout the game. UTSA was in the house to see the 6'0 gamer.

- In a game featuring a lot of young talent, Clemens freshman Sabrina Cantigal stepped up in a big way. Cantigal finished with 16 points and exhibited her much improved skill set. She is super strong for a youngster and has one of the best Euro-Steps in the city on the girls side.

- Clemens junior Senobia Winbush looked like a Division 1 kid last night displaying a solid handle and impressive jump hooks in the lane. Brennan sophomore Alyssa Crockett looked like a D1 kid for the Bears. She showed a knack for making difficult shots and sturdy frame allows her to touch paint often.

- The Brennan vs Clemens game featured two great coaching efforts. Clemens head coach, Coy Tackitts ran a motion offense that featured numerous pin down screens and flex cuts. He called out sets to ride the hot hand on numerous occasions. His game plan was executed well early and his team enjoyed a double digit lead the entire first half. Brennan head coach, Randy Evans came out in the second half with great adjustments to counter Tackitts. He clogged the lane with a soft man defense to eliminate the effectiveness of the flex cuts. He then switch to a match up zone to neutralize the pin down screens and dared Clemens to beat him from the outside. The adjustments worked. The game was refreshing.

-Speaking of Evans, he comes from the boys side of high school and club ball. He did something interesting last week. Evans reached out to the club coaches of a couple of his players to ask them to send words of encouragement to his players. He invited the club coaches to the game in an effort to help booster the confidence of his young ball players. Evans was looking for any mental edge to help propel his team to victory. The Lady Bears are in good hands.

-The last time Smithson Valley won a district championship, none of the current players were born. The Lady Rangers followed up their district title with a blowout win over Kerrville. Tulane bound star, Danielle Blagg(18) and Alison Salmon(12) combined to outscore the entire Kerrville teams themselves, 30-25.

- Jay will face Churchill in the next round. The playoffs are shaping up as many of us initially thought. My Top 5 in the city in a September blog:

1. Jay
2. Steele
3. Wagner
4. Churchill
5. Stevens

I mention Reagan and Roosevelt while arguing that 26-5A was the toughest district in the city. Now Reagan will face Stevens in what is shaping up to be a 6 team race for the city crown. Two teams from 26-5A(Churchill,Reagan) two teams from 27-5A(Jay,Stevens) and 25-5A(Wagner,Steele).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

McDonald's All-Americans!!!

San Antonio born basketball star, Cassie Peoples has been named to the 2011 McDonald All-American. Peoples currently lives in Houston and help lead her Cy-Fair team to a state title last season. Peoples committed to the University of Texas as a sophomore. Cassie is easily one of the best shooters in the country.

Also making the McDonald's All-American team is Georgetown center Kystal Forthan. Forthan moved to the Central Texas area in the summer of 2009 with San Antonio basketball legend, Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil. Forthan is one of the most athletically gifted players in the country and stands a legitimate 6 foot 4 inches.

Congrats to both Cassie and Krystal!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Playoff Time!

The high school regular season is over and now the real festivities start. Here are some intriguing match ups:

Stevens vs Southwest- San Antonio Top 5 scorers Shana Holmes and Alexis Govan will go at it in the fist round. Both scorers are averaging 20 plus for the season. Holmes surpassed 2500 points for her career last week. Both Holmes and Govan tallied 38 points in their high point scoring games this season. Govan's 38 point outburst came against John Jay in an overtime lost. Holmes' 38 point effort came in a 1 point win vs East Central. The game has another interesting subplot.

Stevens coach Anissa Hastings started her coaching career as an assistant to Bill Avey. Hastings left Avey to become the head coach at Fox tech before landing at Stevens. Hastings and Avey go back even further than her role as his assistant coach. While in high school, Hastings club basketball coach was none other than Bill Avey.

Steele vs Churchill- Churchill was ranked in the Top 10 in the city for the majority of the year. There is NO WAY that they are not among the Top 10 teams in the city. With previous wins over Stevens, Reagan, Jay, Roosevelt, and Steele, Churchill is not a team that should be take lightly. Steele is always dangerous due to having three D1 players and another college bound star in Lauren Zoldey.

Jay and Wagner- Jay and Wagner are on a collision course. The game between these two teams in the regional semifinals was a great one last year. However, Roosevelt may spoil the party if they can get back on track. Jay must go through a very tough out in the Rough riders.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Discipline Creates Freedom!!

"Discipline creates freedom." Dan Charnasin 'The Big PayBack'

My ten year old club players were confused. I was in the middle of teaching them a '4 -out 1-in' continuous offense. The newness of the offense seemed overwhelming. The offense had 3 basic rules. When a player passed from top to top, they screened away. When a player passed from top to wing, they basket cut. When a player left an area, the nearest player replaced the area. Above all rules was the constant reminder that the offense was a no-mistake offense and was designed to let them play.

These simple rules seemed to restrict the kids into being robotic. They were thinking too much. They passed and ran around with a purpose, but without purpose. They failed to see the forest for the trees. While being robotic, I still was full of pride. They cut to get open on the wing using the cuts that we previously worked on. They caught the ball and used pivots to face the basket. They faked a pass before making the requisite pass. They cut to the basket with conviction while calling for the ball. They moved, they talked and they helped each other remember the "rules". When I was comfortable that they understood the discipline, I yelled "rack it" to my best dribble penetrator. She was isolated on the wing and easily took her defender off of the dribble and drew a secondary defender near the basket. She dropped off a beautiful bounce pass to her open teammate and the flood gates were now open.

In that instant they all realized that the discipline of the new offense created spacing and spacing meant freedom! My big girl who plays the "1-in" in the offense smiled the biggest smile. Her "rules" left her initially feeling unimportant in the offense. Now she understood all the opportunities she would receive because of these "rules". Her smile said " Ohhh, now I understand Coach". The offense had allowed them to play basketball. All of the dribbling,passing, cutting and communication drills that we constantly work on came to life. The 10 year old kids who tire of my lectures and silly rhymes constructed to help them remember principles were now having a ball, playing ball. All the discipline created a beautiful freedom.

This freedom through discipline reminds me of UTSA Assistant Coach, Tai Dillard. When speaking to those that played with and against Dillard in high school, they never fail to mention her discipline. They mention that she shot and shot when others were not shooting. She "always had a basketball in her hand" is the common reply. Dillard's discipline allowed her to matriculate to the University of Texas and play for coaching great Jody Conradt. Her discipline allowed her to be drafted into the WNBA. Her discipline allowed her the freedom to eventually enjoy the world. She took her services to Europe and was paid handsomely to "play" a game that she loves.

Coach Dillard now gets to enjoy her freedom. She learned the rules and the discipline that it took to achieve her goals. She has a professional life that allows her to make a great living while impacting young women. She gets to travel across this great country and connect with young kids that share her passion for the game. At a recent UTSA practice, Dillard was involved in one of the daily scrimmages against the players and was going to "work". Her work consisted of schooling her current players with the tools that she has sharpened for years. Coach Dillard rained pull up jumpers and open three point shots with ease. Coaching college basketball has more than its share of stress, however, Dillard seems to be enjoying herself. She is a great example of how the discipline of the game can create freedoms that most of us can only wish for. At some point, she, like my ten year old ballers, had to have an "Ohhh now I understand" moment. I have been told that Coach Dillard gave up a six figure salary as a player to enter coaching and broadcasting. Why? She was ready to move one. How about that for freedom?!!!!!

Cheyenne Berry comes home!

Former San Antonio area great, Cheyenne Berry is coming back to play UTSA on Saturday at 2 pm. The SFA guard is coming off of a great game vs A&M Corpus Christi where she tied a school a school record with 7 three point baskets. Berry finished with a career high 21 points.