Thursday, September 29, 2011
City is deep in 2014 -According to the magazine, 3 of the top 10 players in 2014 are SA area kids. "The Bakers Dozen" for 2014 has Recee' Caldwell #2(Johnson), McKenzie Calvert #3(Steele) and Wendy Knight #10(Reagan) in the class of 2014.
Featured-Wagner gets some major love with a glowing write up and featured pictures of three players, Adriane Davis, Aundrea Davis, and Kiarra Rivera.
Stats- Some local coaches do a great job at providing info on players and stats to the magazine. This helps increase the awareness of their programs and players. Reagan, Champion, Marshall, Steele, Jay, Stevens, Brennan, and Canyon are SOME of the schools that do a good job with working with the magazine.
No Top Teams?!- For the first time in while, no are teams are considered preseason Top 10 in the state by the magazine. Perennial Top 10 preseason teams Wagner and Steele are missing. John Jay has made the list the last couple years.
I would be very surprised if Steele is not a Top 10 team this season. Talent wins games and Steele has two legitimate McDonald All-American candidates in McKenzie Calvert(soph) and Kyra Lambert(frosh). They also have Rice commit and one of the best kids in the city in Elena Gumbs. Add talented freshman, Bri Mallard and Steele SHOULD make a legitimate run at Austin. Kari Wallace is used to coaching overwhelming talent and should be able keep everybody going in the same direction.
Monday, September 26, 2011
According to her SA Lady Rohawks coach Charlie Harper, Winbush had a number of suitors but decided that The Islander program was the best fit for her.
Winbush's size and skill apparently made her a much wanted prospect. She can guard on the perimeter and her length allows for her to rebound against bigger opponents.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Hernandez reportedly committed to Southeastern Louisiana today on her official visit. The road to her Division 1 commitment has been a long one.
The first time I saw Hernandez was in a Georgetown tournament when she was in the 7th grade. Even then, Hernandez was torching the nets and scoring almost at will. Hernandez has a knack for inspiring others. In that Central Texas gym five years ago, the middle school scoring machine walked up to a 10 year old and said, " You are gonna be good, you remind me of Diana Taurasi". The 10 year old smile lit up the gym and she remembers that encounter with Hernandez to this day. Hernandez status is almost legendary in Floresville as she inspires the future Erica Hernandez's to achieve.
Hernandez was a Top 5 scorer in the area last season and has to be considered one of the favorites to lead the city in scoring this season.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Alan Stein does not know Charlie Harper and his Lady Rohawk program. Stein is one of the most respected and recognized strength and conditioning trainers in basketball. Stein may not know Coach Harper but his tweet this morning provided a perfect description of Harper and his relevance to San Antonio girls basketball.
Noelle Kindred is a Lady Rohawk. Even though she has moved on to college basketball, she will tell you that she is a Lady Rohawk to the core. Kindred has an older sister, Nicole, who also played for the Lady Rohawks and matriculated to Our Lady of the Lake to play basketball. The Kindred sisters have a younger sister name Natasha. Natasha is too a Lady Rohawk and she is the most talented of all three sisters. Nathasha and Nicole have size, length, athleticism that college coaches look for. They also play(ed) major minutes for MacArthur High School. Noelle is not blessed with the same physical attributes as her two sisters. She played sparingly for MacArthur during her time there. However, Noelle is PLAYING college basketball for free. Noelle is attending Iowa Community College and her first two years of education are being paid for. This is the type of significance that Charlie Harper and his Lady Rohawk program has on the lives of his players.
Gone are the days when Coach Harper had BCS caliber players like his daughter CeCe(Kansas), Monica Engleman(Kansas), and Sune Agbuke(Baylor). Many believed that Harper's days were numbered as a successful club director when CeCe left to college. Since CeCe's departure, Harper has HELPED 11 out of 11 seniors graduate to college basketball programs!
The Lady Rohawks played in the ShesBallin Extravaganza this past April. The Rohawks took a beating on the court. An opposing coach was overheard saying "mismatch" after his team beat the Rohawks by 50 or so points. No onlooker could claim that Harper was being successful at that time; except Coach Harper.
Harper puts little significance into winning and losing club basketball games. He can care less if kids barely earn playing time for their high school teams. In fact, he is almost "blinded" by his mission. The first time I saw this perceived "lack of foresight" was two years ago. We were sitting in a gym watching his daughter CeCe play against Reagan. Reagan had a junior guard on the team that barely played. He leaned over to me and whispered, "I'm going to get that kid into school." I thought he was crazy! This kid looked good in warm ups and at halftime but played no more than 10 minutes in a high school game. I wondered how a kid that could not garner playing time as a junior in high school basketball was going to thrive on the ultra competitive club circuit that the Rohawks play on. By that June, I saw how shortsighted I had been. I was the one who was apparently blinded by perception. I saw the Reagan bench player hold her own against a loaded TeamXpess team that featured BCS guards in Len'Nique Brown, KiKi Ageous and Meighan Simmons. I had to take notice of the newly transformed player and learn her name was Alicia Houston. Houston went on to have a great summer and played major minutes for Reagan her senior year. More importantly, she went on to earn a scholarship to Midwestern State, a Division 2 school in Central Texas.
Speaking from a SUCCESS standpoint, one could make the argument that Harper has not achieved what other clubs in the city have as of late. Harper can not claim dozens of BCS kids on his website. Harper can not claim to have beaten the so called best club teams in the city over the last few years. What Harper can claim is that every senior kid in his program has graduated to a college basketball opportunity. Just as important, his impact on their lives is evident.
When Harper is working his graveyard shift, he gets frequent text messages from his former players seeking his advice. Some text how much they miss him and learned from him. One recent text was from Ebony Watkins. The UTA freshman quit the Lady Rohawks going into her junior year. She came back for a senior season that catapulted her onto the national scene. Those who know Ebony can not deny the maturity that she developed under the tutelage of Harper.
Success is relative. The same coach who beat the Lady Rohawks badly and yelled "mismatch" is having success with the help of Harper. Harper taught a young recent grad to dribble. He paid trainers to work with this kid when his job would not allow for him to work with her and his team. This player chose one of the most prestigious schools in the country and will be playing basketball this season at this school. The coach who yelled mismatch helped train this kid for a short period of time, yet put her matriculation on his website as one of his success stories. True, this coach helped her but it was Charlie Harper and his Lady Rohawk program that nurtured this kid and had the most impact on her BASKETBALL destination.
In a recent meeting with Harper, I found him to be kind of rude. He takes dozens of calls in the middle of conversation. He can be loud, his laugh at a decibel that can be heard two blocks away. He will leave his guest waiting; waiting on him to take calls from coaches as he constantly promotes his players. His phone calls and interruptions during meetings are a humbling experience. I found myself listening to call after call from former players who just wanted a little of his time. They seek his advice, they thank him for his frequent text messages of encouragement.
In a day where some club coaches charge exorbitant fees to provide recruiting assistance for their own kids to get in school, Harper is winning. In the day where club coaches constantly recruit over their own players to chase trophies, Harper is successful. In the day of kids playing for club coaches and despising the experience with regret, Harper is leading the pack. Unfortunately, some of us are so far behind that we think we are winning!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
QB- A good quarterback throws to areas and leads his receiver to success. A good point guard leads her teammates with passes that also enables success. Passing to Bigs at half court vs aggressive traps is setting them up for failure. Like a good QB, a good PG will give a "catch and shoot" shooter a pass that flows into her shot. While a QB may throw a few jump balls , the elite QB's throw passes that allow for yards after a catch, the same way a good PG will make passes that lead to easy scores.
Offensive Linemen- Contact is a good thing. When training young girls to play in the post, it can be difficult to teach them that sealing a defender and holding that seal is advantageous. A lot of kids want to play what I call "hide and seek". They make a basket cut and try to run away from defenders. This allows defenders to shoot the gaps and intercept late passes. Instead of cutting and running away, good cutters and post players seal opposing defenders by initiating contact. In football, offensive linemen understand that contact is the only way for them to do their job successfully.
Running Backs- A good running back plays low and changes direction by planting their outside foot. A good slashing basketball player has a tight enough handle to NOT let the ball hinder their change of direction or pace. Playing low and planting the outside foot allows for north south plays. Like a good running back, a good slasher constantly reads the 'secondary" by having her eyes up and ability to beat more than one defender.
To prepare for these visitors, some high schools coaches have been doing their part to HELP their kids get in school.
According to conversations with a few Division 1 coaches this past month, the name of Raven Reyes has continued to come up. The reason for the added interest in "Rae Rae" is a major push from Jay assistant, Kieth Taylor.
Coach Taylor has apparently been sending numerous emails and providing video of Reyes to Division 1 coaches lately. Reyes has a number of schools already on her trail due to her participation with her club team, South Texas Hoyas. However, Coach Taylor has dutifully been beating the bushes to increase her options.
This is a stark contrast to a story a Division 1 coach told me recently. Reportedly, a local high school coach whom has significant tenure, yet has not won at a successful level, was contacted by colleges often. This complacent coach failed to HELP her star athlete in anyway in terms of communicating and working with colleges. This coach uses the kid to chase wins, but does not help her in her pursuit of using basketball to gain an education. This kid, a 2012 player, recently committed to a Division 1 University. Now her high school coach wants to enjoy the ride and throw celebrations in November for the Letter of Intent signing.
I was encouraged last year when I visited Madison High School's new gym. The sparking new foyer to the gym contained a beautiful case. The case did not contain recent district titles from the girls basketball program because Madison has not won district recently. What the case did contain were pictures and the accomplishments of CeCe Harper and Monica Engleman. Both of the Division 1 players for Kansas are being celebrated for their contribution to the Madison program and THEY are the true trophies for that program. The Madison program allowed both kids to flourish while both kids established Madison as a Top 10 team in the city. This was mutually beneficial relationship.
It is great to hear of coaches like Keith Taylor and his boss, Mike Floyd, who care for their kids beyond high school. I hear that some high school coaches have problems with overvaluing their players when marketing them to colleges by claiming a Divison 3 walk-on is a High Major Division 1 starter. However, overvaluing players is surely better than under appreciating them and their contributions by not HELPING them pursue a college education.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
McKenzie Calvet ( T.I.)
Calverts game resembles the self proclaimed King of the South. Skilled and confident galore. Started off independent with her fathers club team but was wooed by a major(DFW Washington's) like T.I.(Def Jam). Calvert was the great young rapper named Tip, tons of potential, when she starred for her fathers Jaguar team. Her game then matured to become a true combo guard with her DFW Washington team that features some of the best players in the nation. Like T.I did with Def Jam, Calvert moved to a new plateau with DFW Washington.
Kyra Lambert (Ludacris)
Game is smooth but can be explosive too. Basketball IQ resembles the marketing savvy of Luda. Also is versatile enough to play both guard positions like Ludacris acting, rhyming and running a a highly successful biz. Like Luda has an impressive Vocabulary, Lambert is skilled and clever with her handle and ability to attack the defense. Luda has the knack for making hits, whether streets anthem or radio hits. Lambert also has this gift as she can run sets(radio) or play a run and gun style(street).
Brooke Allemand (Kanye West)
Game and persona is confidence personified. Kanye started off as a supreme beat maker like Allemand did as a shooter. Now Kanye can rhyme with best best of them like Allemand can play the point and score with our city's best.The Louie Viton Don carries himself with an aura that Allemand plays the game of basketball with. She can have a bad game like Kanye's last album(808's and Heartbreak) and still the brilliance is evident. Like Kanye, she is comfortable stepping outside the box and playing with flare.
Sabrina Berry (Rick Ross)
Uugghh! Whatever the sound that Rick Ross, The Boss, makes is the sound off Berry's game. She is powerful. Strong in her game like Rick Ross in his delivery. She is an Alpha like Ross is the Boss. Plays for an independent in the summer in the well respected Austin Elite like Ross has his own label that garners great revenue and success. Her boldness and aggressive attacking style is Rick Ross-like with his dominant beard, imposing frame and straight forward delivery.
Amber Ramirez (Jadakiss)
Like Kiss, "Jelly" Ramirez takes a back seat to NO ONE in a lyrical(scoring) stand point. Like Kiss, Ramirez has been the anointed one for awhile. Ramirez will lead the city in scoring for at least two years and chase Meaghan Simmons scoring record with a passion! Like Kiss is one of the rawest lyricist in the game, Ramirez is one the purest scorers that San Antonio will ever see. The way she disables defenders is like the raspy and potent punch lines of Kiss at his best.
Destiny Amezquita(50 Cent)
Like 50 Cent accomplished with the mixtape circuit , Amezquita put in the work on the SA scene for many years. Her local respect is almost legendary. I can confidently say that no one has scored more points and won more games IN San Antonio leagues, events and club tournaments over the last 5 years than Amezquita. Like 50, she can get grimy and tough but also has a smooth game that resembles 50 Cents' 2001 flow.
Drake lyrical content, song writing skills and hit making ability mirrors Caldwell's game. She is versatile, smooth and possesses the raw skill of a Drake track. She can carry a team like Drake when he is solo but truly thrives in a setting where she can enhance a song(game) like Drake does when he provides a song hook and a 16 bar verse on a feature. Drake can rhyme with a juggernaut like Lil Wayne, Caldwell skill set and killer instinct allows her to show and prove against any "Lil Wayne" in the nation. Like Drake, she is a great ghost writer that prefers to play in the back ground and enable others to shine.
Monday, September 12, 2011
- Brennan point guard Allysa Crockett(2013) looks good. Crockett is already considered one of the better players in the class of 2013 for the city and looks intent on putting in more work. Her constant attacking style will guarantee her multiple trips to the free throw line.
- John Jay is back! Jay looked very tough against a Reagan team that was missing UTSA commit, Sabrina Berry. Jay is loaded, again! Destiny Amezquita looks like she has fully recovered from the knee injury and has something to prove. Amezquita and her customary volleyball line range was on full display. Aleeya Harris(2013)looks ready for a breakout year and has added an improved skill set to her already impressive athletic ability. Raven "Rae Rae" Reyes(2012) played all of her 6'2 frame and also looks poised for a great senior year. Antania "T" Newton(2014) has a year of elite HS ball under her belt and teamed with Amezquita to form a potent back court. Don't sleep on "Moose" Leonard(2015). Her range and tenacity will earn her some minutes for the Mustangs.
- Johnson's Katie Burcham must be respected. The senior shooting guard can hit the open jumper well. She is also deceptively quick when slashing into the paint. Her ability to spread the defense helps Johnson's small ball attack.
- Another player that looked primed for a major breakout year is Reagan's Moriah Mack(2013). Mack looks to have sharpened up her handle and hit some impressive shots over bigger defenders yesterday. Mack is gonna be a problem for opposing defenders this season!
- Watch out for Judson sophomore Shameka Brown. The younger sister of Judson standout and former district New Comer of the Year, LB Brown(2013), Shameka has star written all over her. Shameka is still young in the game but her naturally ability and improving skill set had her doing some very impressive things yesterday.
- MacArthur guard Amy Saucedo showed that she is one of the better guards against full court pressure in the city. Her handle and habit of playing low makes her tough to stay in front of for defenders. Mac looks to have some young athletes in the pipeline that should make for a promising future.
- Chamaya Turner will lead the city in scoring this season. the all-everything guard for Canyon lost a lot of help from her play off team last season. Turner is too much a competitor not to go down swinging. She will lead the city in scoring if she is able defeat the nightly Box and 1's that she will surely face.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
All this "big timing" by these young girls and their parents begs for more Len'Nique Brown's. Nique was the most humble but self confident kid in the city's recent history. Nique played like she was a great player but NEVER exuded cocky defiance. She was soft spoken and a consummate good sport. She encouraged others! So many young players drew inspiration from Nique because she always had a kind word and took time to be approachable. You never saw Nique get technical fouls, trash talk, beat on her chest and openly defy her coach(es).
Nique's humble nature is turning out to be the exception instead of the rule. How unfortunate that is to a city that still has a long way to go to truly be considered a hot bed of talent in regards to girls basketball. Girl's basketball in San Antonio is "feeling itself" a little too much. What the GOD-fearing Len'Niue Brown realized was that, the ONE who did walk on water believed the greatest among us should be a servant to others. Instead of more great servants, we are creating overrated roosters; strutting, cackling, and inadvertently begging for a slice of humble pie.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Today the landscape of San Antonio basketball has changed. Instead of one or two organizations having all of the talent, many local clubs now send kids to college. In an ESPN article in regards to the 2014 released yesterday, ESPN analyst and Peach State founder, Brandon Clay, makes this statement:
"Our initial 2014 Terrific 25 features several kids who have taken the less-traveled approach to the grassroots scene. playing with teams in their area or primarily individual events as opposed to playing with well-established national programs. Jenna Burdette, Recee' Caldwell, Courtney Ekmark, Keyona Harris, Mychal Johnson, Lauren Moses and Mikayla Venson all have made their way onto the list this way. The evolution of events including the Nike Skills Academies, Elite Basketball Academy Camps and USA Basketball trials have opened the door for players to take a different approach to the exposure process. Caldwell started for the USA Basketball U16 team in between leading a San Antonio's Finest team where she was the leading scorer. Ekmark's shooting propelled the Arizona Warriors which also doubles as her high school team. Burdette and Johnson play on a West Virginia Thunder team that, thanks to their play. was competitive all summer. The same applies to Moses with Philly Triple Threat and Harris with the Miami Suns. Venson is the outlier in that she doesn't play on the national scene. In the meantime, this group has shown that the road to our rankings widen by the day. "
Brandon Clay is detailing the fact that has been largely assumed by any intelligent basketball observers over the last few years. The fact is that the basketball rain makers must realize that the traditional national powerhouses do not, nor can not, have all the talent. Diversity and competition is good for the game! With Nike downsizing to supporting only 20 teams and adidas not funding its grassroots girls basketball programs like the days of old, INDEPENDENT organizations will continue to rise. The advancement of the game through so many talented young players demands that some kids earn their just do, despite not being affiliated with the "powers that be".
Here are a couple more insights on the initial 2014 ESPN Hoopgurlz Rankings:
Independents- In addition to the above mention players that primarily play for Independents, add Jordin Canada(#3), Lajahna Drummer(#6), Mariya Moore(#14), Brooke McCarty(#16) to the lists. Canada and Drummer play on the Mike T. White circuit for Cal Sparks. McCarty plays for Cy-Fair Premier. Moore plays for Bay Area Warriors. Add Gabby Green to the discussion as well. Green was groomed under Mark Anger and his EBX program. She moved to Nike Team Taurasi for one event and unfortunately broke her ankle in her only event with them.
Nike- Nike has been and will continue to be THE circuit to play on. Nike Teams will always be stacked with a great portion of the elite kids in the country. However, here is an interesting fact. According to ESPN Hoopgurlz 2013 rankings, the Top 4 players in the country did not play at the Super Bowl of club basketball, Nike Nationals, this season. Mercedes Russell, Kaela Davis, Diamond Deshields, and Taya Reimer were not in Augusta, Georgia for Nike Nationals this past July. To dispel misinformation about who is sponsored by Nike, visit the BlueStar site. Nike ONLY sponsors two oranizations in Texas, Cy-Fair Shock and DFW Elite. That's it!
However, The River City Hoop Scoop is in essence a ranking entity and this site is not. This site has ranked players since 2008 with great accuracy when analyzed against results. The intent of this site has not changed since its inception.
This site has helped put the shine on some great local kids that were not receiving ANY national love. For instance, when Baylor commit McKenzie Calvert announced her commitment, this site was the ONLY online entity that had mentioned and wrote about Calvert up until that point.
While ShesBallin will continue to do a once a year rankings for the city, rankings will not be the main content. Observers have assumed that ShesBallin was affiliated with River City Hoop Scoop because of the obvious similarities with rankings and verbiage. But the similarities are necessary since the game, is the game. The best players will stand out. Any political agendas and or favoritism will damage future credibility of either site.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
With two months from tipping off the high school season, here are a few happenings/observations on the local scene.
- Former Smithson Valley Star and Tulane player, Danielle Blagg is in good company. Seen here in the weight room with NBA and New Orleans Hornets star, Chris Paul!
-HoopGurlz Terrific 25- ESPN HoopGurlz just debuted its first ranking of the 2014 class. Johnson's Recee' Caldwell is considered the #8 player in the nation with a 94 rating. Caldwell is ranked #10 by Blue Star Report. She is currently ranked #5 by All-Star Girls Report.
-BlueStar Ranking- Steele's McKenzie Calvert is ranked #21 in the country for 2014. This would put her on pace be a McDonald's All-American if she stays in the top 25 players in the nation.
-Speaking of Caldwell, The Johnson High School team will be the sleeper in the city this season. The Lady Jags will follow up their first 20 win season with two future D1 additions in Gabbi Bowie(2014) and Erica Sanders(2015). Bowie ,the New Comer of the Year in an El Paso district last season, is being recruited by New Mexico St., North Texas, and University of Texas Arlington. Sanders has a Division 1 offer before playing her first high school basketball game and is being pursued by UTSA, North Texas, University of Houston, Tulane, UAB and UTA. The Lady Jags also have two new 5-11 sisters to help make the race for the NEISD title a great one.
- NEISD will be hotly contested this season:
- Defending champs Reagan return three D1 kids in the line up in Sabrina Berry(UTSA), Moriah Mack and Wendy Knight. Add future college player and much improved Corrigan Tibbs in the post and the Rattlers have to be the favorite to win district. Coach Terry Barton is one of the better coaches in the city.
- Churchill is still stacked even with the reported lost of Carly Truesdale. The Lady Chargers sill feature point guard extraordinaire, Leslie Vorpahl. Danni Espinoza had a monster summer and has at least one D1 coach calling San Antonio area coaches and inquiring about her. Jordan Holub is one of the better high school 2 guards in the city. The Chargers main asset is Coach Cal Wulfsberg who seems to have most area coaches intimidated by his colorful sideline personality. No local coach rides referees and influences games like Wulfsberg. His 1-1-3 zone gets the ball out of the hands of the oppositions best player by using a full court defender to essentially play full court man. He and his team will be tough to beat.
- Roosevelt lost a seasoned senior class but still has the ShesBallin #1 player in the class of 2012, Niaga Mitchell-Cole. Lookout for a monster season from Mitchell-Cole. She must be the Alpha in the city if Roosevelt is to have any success. Roosevelt has one of the Top 5 freshman in the city in Endia Peterson and the well respected but little known, Muanyae Melancon.
- Watch out for Lee. The new coach William Taylor, is father of former Jay star and Texas Southern player, Kiarra. He, like his brother Keith(asst. for John Jay), are dedicated developers and GO HARD! Lee has a capable leader and will surely not be an easy out in the next few years.
- Madison should surprise many teams this years with a terrific 1-2 punch in Briana Jones and Monica Perez. Ashton Gulczweski and "Peechy" Alcibar will help fuel pretty good back court. Perez and Jones are much improved and had great summers that will have college coaches visiting the campus this fall.
-Speaking of Roosevelt, Coach Rob Rheinberger apparently gets it! According to numerous college coaches, Coach "Berger" is very proactive in the recruiting process of his players. He works with club and college coaches with providing video and updated stats. He actively calls colleges on the behalf of his players and does not try to "oversell" his players. He is getting the same reputation with some college coaches that Wagner's Tina Camacho, Jay's Mike Floyd, Triva Corrales and Steven's Anissa Hastings has, and that is of a GIRLS high school coach who takes the job seriously and goes above and beyond for his kids.
- Visits-Some local players are taking official and unofficial visits soon:
Boerne Champions' Brooke Allemand is reportedly planning on taking an unofficial to UTSA, University of New Mexico and Rice this fall.
Roosevelt's Niaga Mitchell-Cole is reportedly visiting Texas State on Friday. She is said to be attending the inaugural UTSA football game on Saturday followed by an official visit at a later date. She has official visits set up for Weber St. and Fresno St later in the fall.
Floreville's Erica Hernandez recently visited Southeastern University last month.- High School preview coming soon!
- The best two players in the city for class of 2015, Kyra Lambert(Steele) and Erica Sanders are attending the prestigious EBA Rising Stars Camp in Georgia this upcoming weekend. The event is an invite only camp by Peach State Hoops, one of the most respected entities in girls basketball.