Monday, June 6, 2011

San Antonio Basketball, Beautiful Buffet!!

San Antonio basketball is hot right now! That is not my opinion but the sentiment of college coaches across the country. The very deep 2010 class and the exploits of McDonald All-Americans, Meighan Simmons and Cassie Peoples(born and raised in SA) catapulted San Antonio on the national stage.

One of the reasons for the new found respect for San Antonio is that the city has an increasing amount of quality club teams, trainers, coaches and instructors. Here are SOME standouts helping San Antonio basketball rise:

TeamXpress: The "only" game in town just a few years ago in terms of having high profile kids and getting kids into school. TeamXpress is still the biggest club on a national scene in San Antonio. TeamXpress has reached across state lines to have super star players such as Kyra Crosby and Kendall Cooper in the past. Even with the new NCAA bordering state rules, TeamXpress continues to get stars from neighboring states like Louisana's, Tank Youngblood. Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil's club routinely sends double digit players to schools, many of the to BCS division one universities.

SA Lady Rohawks: No senior has ever graduated from the Lady Rohawk program and not gone on to college. While the Lady Rohawks are having a down year in regards to winning in elite events, the Lady Rohawks have a thriving young feeder system with some of the most talented youngsters in the city. Charlie Harper has created a system and style of play that endures itself to many schools. SA Greats, Monica Engleman(Kansas) and CeCe Harper(Kansas) are two of his biggest success stories. My first encounter with the Lady Rohawks was a game where University of North Carolina center Watilla Rolle's led Houstonians were beaten badly by the Lady Rohawks very young group of stars. That group included Harper, Engleman, Cheyenne Berry(SFA), Alisha Flowers(South Florida), Taylor Calvert(Winthrop) and Bobbi Talyor(South Alabama).

SA Heat: The SA Heat basically raised the entire current SA Churchill team. The Heat did a wonderful job in allowing Rice freshman phenom, Jessica Kuster to blossom. Former MacArthur star, Marquisha Sparks and current SA superteamer, Leslie Vorpahl will give The Heat at least 3 Division 1 players over the last few years. Many of the Heat players will and have gone on to college at various levels. The Heat now features the very competent trainer, Marco Rivera as a coach.

South Texas Hoyas: The Hoyas had a history of getting kids like Stacy Mammel, Leslie Phillips into Division 2 universities. Now the past success had led to more high profile players joining the team and going Division 1. Tulane bound Danielle Blagg blazed a trail by joining the Hoyas and collecting over a dozen offers from D1 institutions in the the very first event with the Hoyas. Coach Theresa Nunn followed that up with getting Michelle Rodriguez(UTA)and Asha Hampton-Finch exposure and eventually a full ride with Paraie View A&M. The current roster features some of the best kids in the city and two of the best kids in Louisiana. The scary thing is that the middle school/elementary aged Hoyas are two of the best teams in the state of Texas.

Sophia Young Elite: This organization has made major moves in its short existence. Being sponsored by one of the brightest stars in the WNBA has added brand recognition to this talented group of players. In its first year of existence, EVERY one of the Sohia Young Elite players will go on to play in college next season, including three Divsion 1 kids. Coach Mike Ekenam reloaded with arguably the best 2013 in the city in Chamaya Turner and Top 10(2013) in the city, Moriah Mack. Coach Ekanem has at least two more Divsion 1 players in Endia Peterson(2015) and Seguin star, Tabitha Richardson. Ekanem's expertise in strength and conditioning adds additional value to the emerging club.

San Antonio Finest: Started in 2007, SAF in arguably the best in the city in terms of developing young stars.The three current SAF players with Divison 1 offers have not been trained by ANY other trainer or played with ANY other club team. The Finest has one of the best 2014 classes in the country with a front line that goes 6"2(Avery Queen, heavily recruited), 6"0(Tanaeya Boclair, heavily recruited), 6"1, and 6"0, teamed with Team USA u16 member, Recee' Caldwell. Add New Comer of the Year for 29-5A, Carlie Heineman and Wendy Knight(D1 offers), San Antonio Finest 2014 can play with anybody in the country at that grade level. The Finest has turned former middle school post players, Heather Hormuth, Brianna Jones, Jacki Anderson and LB Brown into college bound perimeter players. At 5"5, Brooke Allemand(led Texas in 3 pt makes in 2011) is easily one of the most recruited kids in the city in 2013. This is another organization that has younger groups that MAY be better than the currents stars, with young stars Amber Ramirez and Erica Sanders leading the way.

SA Comets(Leornard): The Comets are one of a few clubs that are successful on the boys and girls side of basketball. SA Comets are loaded with talent in the class of 2013 and 2014. With at least four Divsion 1 players in Elexus Allen(2013), Antania Newton(2014), Samantha Allen and Mykel Costly(2014), the Comets are a huge reason why San Antonio is continuing to gain national respect. After a tremendous showing a a Nike Showcase event in Chicago last summer, the Comets established themselves on the national scene. Coach Cavin Leonard does a great job developing his young groups and is a terrific defensive minded coach. He partners with Marcus Peoples(Cassie's father) and his NU2BU training camps to add value to his program and his players.

These are just a few examples of why SA basketball is growing. A mention must go out to the following:

-SA Comets(Alba)- Placed many kids into schools including D1's Victoria Willems(WM) and Sune Agbuke(Baylor)

- Jaguars-(Tim Calvert, April Calvert and Pops Lambert)- Some of the best kids in the city cut their teeth as Jaguars including McKenzie Calvert, Kyra Lambert, Ashley Ross, Elena Gumbs, Asha Hampton- Finch, Corrina Monchado, Aleeya Harris, and LB Brown to name a few.

Monica Gibbs- The greatest player in UTSA history has hit the ground running with her Crossfire club. She goes as hard as a coach/trainer as she did while leading the Roadrunners.

Tim Stringer- Stringer has integrated himself with some of the best trainers in the country like Alan Stein and Steph Wood. He has parlayed his networking ability to an internship with the Silver Stars. He work ethic must be respected.

I have not included all the bright clubs and people/players that are making San Antonio a destination for college coaches. The emerging dedication to the great game of basketball is highlighted with all the good choices that are present in the city. Monopolies are unAmerican. The more QUALIFIED options that our youth have, the better served our basketball community will be!