Sunday, October 30, 2011
Olivia Balderas( SA Hustlers)- The 2017 guard is nice! She is the rare young kid that possesses ball handling and body swag to accompany it. She moves defenders with her head , shoulders and eyes. This enables her to set defenders up for her tight handle. Her go to move is a nasty hesitation dribble that freezes defenders. She counters the "hezzo" with a hard cross over that leaves defenders left standing still. On top of a handle with swag, Balderas can shoot the 3 ball, off of the dribble! In the face of defenders! She's real, a Box & 1 kid that has a bright future.
Demi Colon( Da Bomb/2017)- Colon has been on the radar for a while but know must be respected as one of the most talented pups in the city. She is long guard with very good instincts and plays with the street ball flare of a girl who plays with and against boys often. She does things like jumps to pass, while not the most fundamental thing to do, it helps her create opportunities to set up her teammates very well. She plays under control and has added a deft runner from 8-12 feet. Her arms and legs seem to go on for days. Defensively, she is an aggressive ball hawking defender that times her on-ball steals like a seasoned veteran. Her name will ring out at South San HS in a few years!
Tony Cuellar(SA Finest/2018)- Cuellar put on a show with a display of mid-range jumpers, forays to the rack, and coast to coast set ups for her teammates. The smooth lefty was a zone buster all tournament with huge jumpers from the high post. She rebounds well and has the ability to lead the break. Cuellar has the advanced ability to finish lay ups outside her body with an assortment of baby hooks, finger rolls and timely scoops.
Roland Perez- The head coach of "Da Bomb" is one of many club coaches that live for the weekends. He reportedly is coach, driver, trainer, financial supporter and father figure to many of his players. Anyone that has seen "Da Bomb" since it's inception has seen the progression of his kids. Coach Perez should be applauded. He is the kind of guy that reminds all of us why we got into girls basketball. Coach Perez is not paying for 6 foot 5th graders to play in a hopes of earning props for winning AAU National Championships. He does not have a website to broadcast how many D1 kids he has in his stable, in a pursuit of a shoe contract or personal glory. He wakes up on Sunday mornings and coaches 8am games for a lot of kids that will use basketball as a constructive activity to be productive. Kudos Coach! Thanks for the slice of humble pie, a lot of us need it!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Knocking on the Door:
Roosevelt- Coach Rhineberger had arguably the most talent in the city last year. The senior laden team lost 3 college basketball players but Roosevelt is still a factor. Niaga Mitchell-Cole can lead the city in scoring if the stars align. Hidden gem Maunyea Melancon(2014) is a star if she wants to be! 2015 wing Endia Peterson is a Top 5 kid in the city for that class and the watch out for 6'2 big body rebounding machine, Ayanna "Yani" Atkins. Roosevelt CAN be very good and one of the top teams in the city.
Boerne Champion- Johnathan Tate and his high scoring system will win well over 20 games and challenge for a district title. Brooke Allemand is making her case as the top player for 2013 in the city and Heather Hormuth is a potential double double kid this season. Amanda Willoughby and Jamee Jorgenson will make names for themselves this season.
Incarnate Word- Tori Villareal will have her Shamrocks ready to play. The loss of "Mo" Zuniga may be too much to overcome for Incarnate Word in an attempt to duplicate last years success. Coach Troy Patterson defense is traditionally stingy and his offense causes problem for most teams to defend.
Brandies- John Ince has some quality returners in seniors Rose Maldonado and Alysse Brown. Talented sophomores Hannah Thompson and Mykel Costley give the Broncos at least 4 players that will have the opportunity to play beyond high school.
Taft- Any school in the city with multiple college bound PLAYERS must be considered and respected. Monet Neal is bound for Houston Baptist(D1) and Kiara Smith will surely play at the next level. They combine to form an athletic presence on the wings.
Clemens- Coach Tackitt has an athletic team that features D1 commit Senobia Winbush. "TT" Booker and Sabrina Cantigal are young and aggressive off of the bounce.
6. Johnson- The Lady Jags are in new territory. Basketball respect is now due for the recently opened school. After a D1 college coach visited the campus and told a competing local high school coach about the talent at Johnson, the coach howled that he beat Johnson by 30 twice last year. An exaggerated claim but those days are over. Baylor bound and USA 16u guard Recee' Caldwell has some help in El Paso transfer and D1 bound Gabbi Bowie. Bowie is as athletic a kid as any in the city. Her pull up jumper from 15 is text book. Johnson also has a Top 3 Player in the city for 2015, Erica Sanders. Sanders is another D1 bound and very athletic guard with great open court scoring ability. Coach Audra Bredemeyer has added another quality transfer in 5'11 soccer star, Morgan Stern. Katie Burcham and Brie Foresman give Johnson a team of at least 5 players that are capable of scoring double digits on any given night. The unknown dynamic of going from little talent to possibly too much is the only thing keeping them out of my Top 3 in the city. If pecking order and offensive cohesion are established, Johnson could be the best team in the city. However, they are probably still a year away.
7. Floresville- The Floresville Tigers can play with bigger schools because of two words; Talent and Coaching! Southeastern Louisiana bound scoring machine Erica Hernandez will be out to put an exclamation point on a great HS career. Hernandez is one of the few kids in the city who can consistently create her own shot off of the bounce. She is joined by another efficient scorer in Brittany Aikens. Aikens is poised for a big senior year to help solidify her eventual college standing. Add the very physically strong post , Shelby Leinneweber and the Tigers should make noise on the city's scene. Coach Greg Williams is a disciplined tactician that allows his best players to do what they do best, play. A one point loss to a Top 5 Reagan team last season and blow out over a good young Brennan team shows that
8. Brennan- The Bears return all of their players from a district championship team last season. The super gifted Tanaeya Boclair gives the Brennan the best post scorer in the city. 2013 guard Alyssa Crockett is not only one of the most improved players in the city but she is the spiritual leader of the team. Her tenacious attitude and play makes her one of the toughest guards to contain in the city. She will live at the free throw line. Coach Randy Evans is a very adept coach and employs numerous defensive strategies to disrupt opponents. Watch for the emergence of 6'1 2014 post player, Eliza Martinez. She is a rebounding space eater that can blocks shots and will allow the aggressive guards of Brennan to pressure all over the court. The supporting cast at Brennan is impressive and they will go 8-9 deep. If Evans can hold off a strong Boerne Champion team, Brennan has a great shot at winning 4 district titles in a row.
9. Judson- Judson is always loaded with athletic players that play hard and this year's team is no different. The difference in helping the Rockets realize their potential is this is year two of the Triva Corrales era at Judson. Corrales is arguably the brightest coach in the city in terms of game adjustments and dictating tempo. Judson has a very capable PG in Samantha Allen. The wing play of LB Brown and Shameka Brown will produce defensive steals and create the type of turnovers not usually seen in local HS basketball. Sharp shooting guard Krissy Chavez will get a ton of open looks due to the slashing of the Brown sisters and Allen. Look for a breakout year from forward Simone Fields, who must make up for the huge loss of Cheyenne Miller to injury.
10. Stevens- Anissa Hastings is a coach that kids will run through walls for. That type of loyalty, defensive intensity and passion will make Stevens one of the best teams in the city. The very talented young players from Stevens will help veterans like Niclole Salazar and Elexus Allen. Allen is long and terrific on defense. Salazar is a savvy PG that is a tough and spirited leader. Keep an eye on Amalya Lewison and Deleesha Monroe at the 4 & 5 positions. Knowing Hastings, this will be one of the best defensive teams in the city. Losing Western Kentucky guard Alexis Govan and the sharp shooting Alexis Sendejo will be impossible to replace but the current Falcon team can not be taken lightly.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Its a great feeling knowing that all of my hard work in the gym and sacrifices I've made have paid off. I'm extremely thankful and blessed to have the opportunity to play at the next level!
2. What made you decide on UTSA and how hard was the decision to make in terms of choosing them over the other suitors?
The decision was tough because I'm a very analytical person so it really came down to the small details. In the end I decided to pick UTSA because it was what I felt,was the best fit for me.
3. You are the 1st high profile kid in the city's recent history to choose UTSA, how does it feel to be a trail blazer and how do you think your decision will affect others players in the city.
"Trail Blazer"??? Ha...I'm just little ol' Niaga(Ni-ah-zha)...No but seriously, I feel it's an honor to open the door for many young girls who may have the perception of staying close to home as being an "underachievement"...I view it as the complete opposite. It's a huge accomplishment because to me, there's no greater feeling than to live out your dream with the support of the people you love right by your side.
4. With UTSA set to join the Western Athletic Conference next season, did that have any impact on your decision? And how does the move help enhance your future college career.
UTSA moving to the WAC did have an impact on my decision. While I respect what they've done in the Southland Conference, the WAC will bring a different style/level of competition and in turn, challenge me to be a better player.
5. The recruiting process can be overwhelming at times, was the experience a good one for you? If so, what did you enjoy about the process?
Even though the recruiting process was a little overwhelming at times, my experience through the process,as a whole, was great. I had the opportunity to meet new people and travel to new places. I also had an enormous amount of expertise from Coach Nunn & Coach Berger to keep me sane and level-headed and they really made the process run a lot smoother!
6. Without going into specifics, what did you not enjoy about the recruiting process?
The rejection process was the hardest for me because even though those schools weren't the best fit for me, it's always hard telling someone that you're choosing to go a different route.
7. What role do you see yourself playing for the Roadrunners?
Their lineups have typically been smaller, and I feel I will bring size and length on both ends of the court at the guard spot.
8. Even though the saying goes that you should not choose a school based on a coach, what was it about Coach Blair and her staff that made you see that UTSA is the place for you?
I'm huge on fit and being around Coach Blair and her staff made me feel like I was in the right place because of their style of play, combined experience, and resources to take me to the next level!
9. Do you know the fight song yet? And if so, will you sing it on this blog in the upcoming weeks?! If not, WHY?
Yes I heard it at a recent football game and SURE I'll sing it on the blog ...IF you sing it with me! :)
10. How many official visits did you take? How would you rate that experience?
I took 3 official visits and each visit brought their own uniqueness...of course UTSA prevailed because of the overall experience and great atmosphere the coaching staff,players, & administrators provided while I was there.
11. A few new schools became very interested in you over the past couple of weeks, what made you decide to not pursue the new opportunities?
Even though I was thankful for the new interests from schools, I was already leaning toward my decision and because of that I decided to not pursue those other options.
12. What advice would you give local prospects in terms of the recruiting process?
The best advice I could give is to Do your research, take your time, take everything in...and stay in control of the process don't let it control you!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
1. John Jay
Jay will be the team to beat this season due to their experience and culture. The Lady Mustangs expect to be the best in the city and their approach reflects this mindset. Coach Mike Floyd does the best job in the city at establishing pecking order. The Jay players know who the boss is on and off of the court. The ball will be in the hands of scoring machine Destiny Amezquita . Destiny will bring her trademark range and play making ability to bear this season as she is fully recovered from an ACL injury. One of the most improved players in the city and a “hot” kid is Aleeya Harris. Harris will have a breakout year for the Mustangs. Add 6’3 rebounding machine and space eater, Raven Reyes to the mix and the Mustangs have a physically strong team. Sophomore Antania Newton will show why she entered high school with such a great reputation. The bully ball toughness of the Lady Mustangs was at its best with NC State player Erica Donovan in the fold, however, that same tenacity and toughness is still ingrained in the current team.
Talent wins, ask Phil Jackson! Steele has 3 of the Top 20 players in the city in Elena Gumbs, McKenzie Calvert and Freshman Kyra Lambert. Kari Wallace has balanced the incredible amount of talent that she has inherited the last few years with great success. If another top freshman in the city, Bri Millett fits into Coach Wallace’s plans, this would give Steele four D1 players on the same team. That SHOULD spell success. Gumbs does not have the pressure of playing for a scholarship as she is already slated for Rice. Calvert is committed to Baylor and Lambert should have her pick of schools when all is said and done. If these players can play together and Coach Wallace has the system to keep all of this talent pacified, Steele could find their way to Austin. The lack of size in the middle should not hurt much in the area as few teams have post players that can score effectively in the post.
Wagner must always be in the discussion for top in the city honors. The Thunderbirds are fresh off of another trip to Austin. They return 5 major contributors from that Final Four team; Corinna Moncada, Adriane Davis, Aundrea Davis, Kiarra Rivera and Ashley Ross. Ross is a Top 10 talent in the city, regardless of class. She is unfortunately out for the first portion of the season due to injury. When Ross returns, Wagner will play its trademark pressure defense and wear teams down. Coach Tina Camacho has not lost a district game in 4 years and can strategize with the best that the city has to offer. Camacho does a great job off mixing up her defenses in the flow off the game to keep teams off balance. The culture of Wagner girl’s basketball promotes success. Camacho instills an ethic that encourages her players to go beyond. The constant attacking of the Davis twins, coupled with the tough inside play of Kiarra Rivera will prove to be a tough out. Moncada is a fearless defender and gives the Thunderbirds four capable ball handlers against pressure. The loss of Arielle Roberson (Colorado) and Eboni Watkins(UTA) will surely hurt but Wagner does not rebuild, they reload.
Terry Barton is one of the better X & O’s coaches in the city and has the talent this year to match. Many think that the Rattlers will be the top team in the city. Reagan has three D1 players in Sabrina Berry (UTSA), Moriah Mack and Wendy Knight. All three players scored in double digits last season. This balance allows Coach Barton to solve junk defenses employed by some teams to slow down star players. Three proficient scorers prove very difficult to defend. The ability of all three players to attack off the dribble makes Reagan a nightmare matchup for most. Post player Corrigan Tibbs is much improved and should average double digits in rebounds. Point guard Tessa Ramirez should step into the void left by Marissa Rodriguez and provide scoring and leadership. In a city where 50 points is enough to win basketball games on a consistent basis, Reagan’s big three gives them a leg up on most teams in the city. Come play off time, no local coach is going to want to see Reagan on their schedule.
The “Wulf” howled and prowled his way to an outstanding season last year. Coach Cal Wulfburg was masterful in his strategies and sideline politicking in his inaugural season. No coach lobbied officials and made them compete against each other for his favor like Wulfsburg. The way he employed his “1-3 Denial” defense had many opposing coaches baffled. He put the play making decisions in the hands of the purest point guard in the city, Leslie Vorpahl. Vorpahl is a coach’s dream with her ability to make others better. She will have to score a lot more this season with the move of Carly Truesdale. Jordan Holub is back and is a very proficient high school scorer. Dani Espinoza should make up for Truesdale’s missing shots (points) by averaging a double double in her senior year. Churchill will not have the same firepower as last season but that may be a blessing in disguise. Look for The Wulf to unleash Vorpahl for a monster year. Ironically, his team has gotten easier to defend with the loss of Truesdale. His own Box and 1 like tactics may know be used against him to disable his attack. Look for Vorpahl to face constant double teams and rack up the minutes going into play offs. How she holds up for 35 games will determine the success of the Chargers come February.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Why Weber State?
Weber State has a brand new coaching staff. The Utah school is led by former Louisville assistant coach, Beth Ord. Coach Ord has coached at BCS schools Colorado, Pittsburgh, and Auburn before landing at Louisville. I had a great opportunity to get to know Coach Ord while she was at Louisville and her passion is infectious. She has brought that same enthusiasm that she recruited McDonald All-American Shoni Schimmel to Louisville with to San Antonio a few weeks ago in her pursuit of Mitchell-Cole. Her staff has been recruiting Niaga for years even before landing at Weber State. Assistant Margaret Richards was previously at North Texas and took her love for Niaga to Utah. The staff also has more Texas ties with assistant coach Devan Newman. Coach Newman father is Don Newman, assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. All three previously mentioned Weber State coaches visited Niaga a few weeks ago. That kind of presence is not the norm. Niaga would be a MAJOR recruit for the Weber State staff to land as she is a BCS caliber talent. They showed a strong presence in San Antonio to illustrate the importance of her to their future plans. Niaga reportedly enjoyed her official visit to Weber State.
Why Texas State?
Texas State also has a new head coach in Zenarae Antoine. Coach "Z", as she is known, is also a former assistant with BCS ties in Louisville and more recently, Arkansas. In her previous role in Arkansas, I had the pleasure of getting to know her through the recruiting process. She is a tenacious recruiter and has a great knowledge of game. She has reportedly expressed to Micthell-Cole that she is the most prized recruit for her staff and the ball would be in her hands from day one. The close proximity of Texas State to San Antonio is a plus. Former Stevens guard Bree Dawson was the Niaga's tour guide during her recent official visit. Texas State is moving to the Western Athletic Conference and the move is presumed to be an upgrade on the national scene. Texas State has been to San Antonio on numerous occasions to show their intent to land Mitchell-Cole. Texas State would be just far enough to get away from home without getting too far away from home. Coach Z has had helped numerous players develop into outstanding players including WNBA star, Angel McCoughtry.
UTSA has put on the full court press for Mitchell-Cole. The football game with 30,000 people, Roadrunner Ruckus featuring enthusiastic students and hanging out with team veterans on her official visit all help the case of UTSA. Head coach Rae Blair is a players coach. She is not an exaggerated yeller and allows her players the freedom to create. Her offense is guard friendly and features four guards at times. Her staff is diverse and competent. Assistant Coach "Luby" is a former D1 head coach at Radford and assistant for the WNBA Washington Mystics. UTSA is too moving to the WAC to face better competition and that also helps their case. Niaga would be able to play in front of her family, friends and high school coach, whom she is reportedly very close with.
The winner is?
In MY opinion, I am predicting Michell-Cole chooses...... UTSA. The Roadrunners will land the best payer in her class for the first time in recent San Antonio history. In fact, They will have the best two players in the city for 2012 with Mitchell-Cole and Sabrina Berry. Mitchell-Cole will become a great player under the personal development of UTSA assistant Koty Cowgill. Koty is a bright young strategic mind but his ability as a developer is very impressive. Niaga will add a tighter handle and learn to shoot "with a pause" under his training. Assistant coach, San Antonio great and former pro, Tai Dillard is the kind of mentor that will help a young Mitchell-Cole navigate the college landscape and help her thrive. Coach Blair has historically spread the court and allowed her perimeters players to eat. Mitchell-Cole, at 5-11, is a great rebounding guard and will be allowed to push the rock and create for others. The UTSA back courts as of late have been small with Roadrunner great Amber Gregg and the dynamic Whitney "LuLu" York. Niaga will allow UTSA to play big, if they choose to, with the the ultra talented Judy "Judo" Jones in the back court at the same time.
Of course, this is all speculation! Stay tuned! Decision coming October 23rd.
Friday, October 14, 2011
In the "Really?" moment of the young high school season, a high school coach has reportedly made a bold and probably illegal proclamation. This coach has apparently given his/her star player an ultimatum! The ultimatum is to choose a school to commit to by a certain day or NOT be allowed to practice. Again, let me clarify what you just read. This high school coach has put a player on notice that she is to choose a college by an upcoming date or she WILL NOT be allowed to practice with the team!!!....... Please read that again. And again. And AGAIN!!!!
The college decision can be overwhelming for many players. This decision is worth potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. This decision will affect the lives of players in ways that they can hardly understand. For an adult, a high school coach, to put additional pressure on a child to make a decision or face consequences is absurd!
Imagine if the Reagan boy's coach told Tre Demps to choose it or lose it last season. How would have Demps' NBA executive father have reacted? Imagine is Malcolm Brown was told that he better choose a school BEFORE the high school season last year or he would have to sit out until doing so. What kind of publicity would this have received? Furthermore, the Steele football coach and Reagan boys basketball coach would not have made such threats because of the likelihood that Brown and Demps would have called their bluff. Steele would not have won state without Brown and Reagan would have been far less successful without Demps. In the ultra competitive world of boys football and basketball, these boys coaches are not allowed to remain mediocre and keep their jobs! To prohibit your best player from playing for reasons that have NOTHING to do with ability would lead eventual dismissal on the boys side.
As the lyrics to 'If I were a Boy' go, "I'd.... make the rules as I go". And since few administrations appear to have great expectations from girls basketball programs, SOME coaches know that they have impunity to be underachievers and held to a standard less than the boys.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
The first article features the exploits of McKenzie Calvert, Kyra Lambert, and Recee' Caldwell.
The second write up appears on Girlz Prep Report Blog and details the promising games of Amber Ramirez and Desiree Caldwell.
I have said this often, all of these 5 guards guards will finish among the Top 50 players in the nation in their respective class. I will be surprised if at least a couple of these kids are not McDonald All-Americans.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
The 2011 Pan American games will be held in Guadajara Mexico in October.