Sunday, December 9, 2012

Si'(Yes) to USA intervention in GirlsBB!!

'This is an attempt by USA basketball  to take all the elite players away from club and eventually high school basketball teams.' This is the sentiment of some of the most influential people in amateur basketball about the creation of IHoops and the increasing role of USA Basketball in the summer.

USA Basketball announced that it will partner with IHoops by saying the following: "the partnership will expand USA Basketball’s focus on elite players and the fielding of national teams for international competitions to a broader group that encompasses the entire youth basketball community".  To which I say, Thank God!!!

While some "influencers" feel that the move would mean "bigger government" and more regulation, so to speak, I feel that this is whats needed in girls basketball. Here is my argument.

Elite Environment- USA Soccer program selects kids at an early age and keeps them incorporated in training groups throughout the year. Johnson high school has two elite soccer players that leave school periodically to go train with Team USA. Regardless if they are in the middle of their high school or club season, these elite soccer players pack up and leave when called to Team USA.  These kids benefit from going to an environment that is conducive to their aspirations. They receive elite training in an elite environment, numerous times a year. Why not implement the same program(s) in girls basketball?

Locally, many observers have seen USA trial participants, Recee' Caldwell and McKenzie Calvert perform. What many have not seen is them perform on the level in which they do while at USA trails in Colorado, among the best players in the world. Watching these two kids in that environment, where every kid in attendance is cut from the same cloth, is hard to explain. I would equate it to a young Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie learning to master Jazz by being in a club where their improvisational skills are encouraged and understood. It is like a young Biggie Smalls and Jay Z learning to rhyme without writing their lyrics on paper, memorizing complicated stanzas and experimenting with unique word play. Watching 50 or so kids that all subscribe to the dedication and sacrifices that it takes to be on that level, is inspiring. Now take these kids out of this environment, where they face 6'2 guards that can handle and shoot with the best of them and place them back into a scene where they face 5'8 post players that play basketball for recreation.

High School- The typical high school basketball program in most of the country is not designed to develop elite basketball players. Take a look at the USA Today Top 25 HS teams in the country, 3 of top 5 and 6 of top 10 teams are private schools. Last year's Nike Tournament of Champions hit me over the head with the fact that most of the best high school teams in the country are private schools with open enrollments and very qualified coaching.

Schools like Mater Dei or St Mary's in California are known to churn out high major players(elite). The coaching staffs have helped produce dozens of D1 kids and the teams are ran like college programs. These private schools across the country are breeding grounds for elite prospects matriculating to elite college programs. Let's face it, a large portion of high school coaches across the country can not equip elite basketball players with the tools to help them achieve on the next level. To back up that statement, just look at the heavy concentration of talent from the same programs across the country. Kids transfer to the Mater Dei's, St Mary's(CA), St Mary's(AZ), Christ the King's(NY), and McEachern's(GA) to play in an environment that fosters growth. In Texas, why has Ducanville and Georgetown been so good and produced so many college players for so long? These high school coaches are much sought after. While some cry foul, the same hypocrites will applaud a music or theater student for being accepted into LaGuardia Arts. USA Basketball should become the ultimate private school and even the playing field for the elite kids that are not fortunate enough to attend a private or public school where the coach and the environment are not elite.

Club Ball- In some circles the reputation of club ball is akin to drug dealing! That is mostly among the old pharisees that used to control the law but the point is that club ball is probably not the best place to grow elite girls basketball players as well. From a club coach/director, many club coaches could not diagram a multiple action set if their life depended on it. I have seen so called elite program coaches that DO NOT OWN a white board. Most college programs run dozens of sets and each set has multiple actions that demand for players to read and then react accordingly. A lot of club programs are glorified talent recruiters. These "coaches" load up on talent, full court press, scream, and blow inferior talented teams out. This is what makes them "elite"?! Hardly!!

Here is the fact of the matter, go to the Top 100 of any respectable ranking service and you will find that MOST of these girls were considered elite in middle school! I challenge you to do the research and you will surely discover that a trainer(mom/dad/good skill coach) had skilled up the Top 100 kids and had them on the path of being elite before their eventual club team "claimed" them. Obviously, club serves a purpose and allows for the 3% to separate themselves and sharpen each other. Club is where almost all of the 3% of eventual college players test their skills against each other on a frequent basis. However, if USA Basketball was to identify the top prospects while they were in middle school and invite them to be part of a national training and playing program, this would better equip these kids with the basketball IQ to better transition to the next level.

Win/Win- The USA program would be a Win/Win for all involved. Here is why:

Kids: Most kids that play basketball are not elite. They lack the resources( financial, opportunity, discipline) to become elite. They want to play basketball for fun, past the time, social standing etc. That is terrific and is another reason why our country is so great. We have scholastic opportunities that kids can take advantage of to help them set goals, be active, learn teamwork etc . However, it is when an elite kid attends the same school when problems can arise. The elite basketball players are like the self made super rich leaders of industry. They have worked hard to accumulate wealth yet the average kid(parent) wants them to be treated the same.They are not the same! One kid can play a trumpet in a fashion that demands a solo performance and the other kid is a good back up musician. In a band, the back up musician understands that they must start early in life and put in more hours to "earn" a solo. In high school ball, entitlement and affirmative action are in vogue. Eliminating elite kids from non-elite environments will help more kids get the opportunity to just "play" basketball.

HS coaches: A lot of HS coaches are not developed leaders. Watch Steele(Schertz) HS football coach Mike Jinks for 30 seconds and you can tell he IS a leader in life. He is a people manager and motivator. He is elite! Most coaches are not cut from the same cloth and accordingly, do not have the requisite ability to coach elite kids. Go to a Kim Mulkey practice and see that she exudes leadership. You do not have to read a resume' that includes star athlete, championships as a player, assistant and head coach to know that she is built to lead.The typical high school coach does not want to deal with a parent that has invested hours upon hours and tens of thousands of dollars in their child's dream. Dealing with parents that expects a coach to work on the game of basketball as hard as their kid, is not something most of them sign up for. IF USA Basketball removed these kids from the high school system, that would allow for more peaceful rest by many high school staffs. Not having the same passion to get better as their elite  players, has to be frustrating to many HS coaches.

Club Basketball: If USA removed the 200-300 top prospects from every class, the club system would thrive. Most good club coaches would tell you that one of the biggest problems they have is teaching to the lowest common denominator. Most kids are still learning algebra while the elite kids are starving for calculus. With approximately 1200-1500 Division 1 rides given every year, removing the 20% or so of those athletes would not hinder the system very much. Another common problem for club coaches is that in most cases, the elite kids and or parents do not cause the most problems. It is the kid(parent), jealous of the elite prospects, that will drive you crazy. Club teams will go on to provide a great environment for thousands of college bounds athletes to test their mettle every summer.

In high school, I took a required Spanish class. My lack of effort made me a poor Spanish student that was nicknamed by my teacher, " No Se' Rey". Translation, "I don't know, Ray". My instructor would ask me a question and I would inevitably reply, "No se' senora". She would shake her head at me and my lack of effort. Contrast that to a buddy of mine, he was a "Si"(yes) student. He was my back court mate on the basketball squad. He was and still is, my man! He would get on me for clowning in Spanish class. He would get so upset that I was not taking the class serious. He had a vision. He understood that Southern California was increasingly Spanish speaking and he was concentrated on his future. And there I was, getting in the way of his learning. He was also disgruntled with our teacher. He was thirsting for more knowledge, he was always asking to learn how to speak and write more complicated conversations. She would tell him to take the class next year, and the next year, to learn advanced concepts. He suspected that she could not teach to the level he required and he resented her for it. Today, as a professional, he has risen fast to positions of prominence in his chosen field, partly because of his ability to speak and write fluent Spanish.

Some kids want to learn fluent Spanish. They are hindered by inept instructors and class clowns hollering "No Se" ", through lazy efforts. USA Basketball is the perfect place for these students, with an eye on their future, to be fed according to their appetites to learn. Why is this not the best scenario? ' No Se'!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Good for the goose, not the gander!

The University of Texas men's basketball fans have had reason to cheer over the last decade. Coach Rick Barnes has been pretty successful. Taking a deeper look into why and how he has been successful, the Longhorns have benefited from the American notion of "the land of opportunity".

Before Kevin Durant took the Big 12 and the nation by storm, he attended Montrose Christian to PLAY BASKETBALL. Montrose Christian is a nationally recognized program. The program plays a national schedule and features elite player development. The well respected and much sought after strength and conditioning coach, Alan Stein works with Montrose Academy. One must ask, why did Kevin Durant attend Montrose Christian Academy, instead of his local high school? Opportunity and self improvement!

Tristan Thompson played for the Longhorns during the 2010-2011 season. Thomspon played 1 year in Austin before being chose as the 4th pick in the NBAdraft by the Cleveland Cavs. Thompson was born and raised in CANADA. Like so many immigrants, Thompson moved to America to better his position in life. He enrolled in a basketball factory called Findlay Prep after transferring from national power St Benedict's in New Jersey , located in Las Vegas. Why? Opportunity!

Tristin Thompson played at Findlay Prep with another Canadian born star, Cory Joseph. Joseph, a McDonald All-American, is too a Longhorn and was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the 29th pick in the 1st round of the draft in 2011. Joseph was undoubtedly destined for stardom as his older brother played for Minnesota and later transferred to Oregon. Joseph left Canada for what reason? Opportunity to make himself better!

The Canadian pipeline to Austin continued with the super quick Myck Kabongo. I became a huge of Kabongo fan a few years ago when he played in the FIBA Tournament here in San Antonio. He played for his native Canada squad but attended high school in New Jersey at St Benedict Prep. He then transferred his senior season of high school to, you guessed it, Findlay Prep. The opportunity to exist in an elite environment that  enhanced his value while CHOOSING his destiny is so American!

Like so many young Americans ball players, these Longhorns have chosen to leave their slated high schools in search of an environment that helped them achieve their goals. Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Jennings and Tracy McGrady are just a few examples of elite ballers that decided to elevate their game in environments other than their traditional high schools. The current #1 player in the nation for 2013, Andrew Wiggins, is from, again you guessed, CANADA! He now attends high school in West Virginia. Of course, he too subscribes to the American principle of opportunity!

The presidential election had many up in arms about entitlement and penalizing the rich for working hard. How ironic is it that in the girls side of high school basketball, the same people that decry this unfairness feel that girls players BELONG to a particular school, coach or program? When a player decides to enhance their opportunities to get better and grow like the above mentioned boys(now men), they are scrutinized.

I am sure Rick Barnes is happy that he coaches men instead of women. On his side of the game, young men can do what young women can not; seek and pursue opportunity to grow themselves in the game and be celebrated for chasing the American dream of upward mobility in the process. Whats good for the goose ain't apparently OK for the gander!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Local Milestones!!!

Going into the season, here are the total career points by SOME of the better 2013's in the city. Many will reach the 1000 point milestone this season with a couple chasing 1500 or 2000 points. I only included players with 500 plus points in their career.

Chamaya Turner(NB Canyon)- 564(J) 559(S) 341(F)= 1464
Brooke Allemand(Champion)- 442(J), 530(S), 290(F) = 1262
Alyssa Crockett(Brennan)- 230(F/Stevens), 407(S), 408(J)= 1045

Leslie Vorpahl(Churchill)- 525(J), 441(S)=966
( in two years- played frosh year on jv as a school of choice transfer)
Destiny Amezquita(SA Jay)- 320(J), 175(S) 463(F)= 958
(injuries cut two seasons short)
Azaria Nave(East Central) 600(J), 209(S), 6(F) = 815
Heather Hormuth(Boerne Champion)- 331(J), 299(S), 169(F)=  799

Moriah Mack(Reagan)- 399(J), 340(S), 41(F)= 780
LB Brown(Judson)- 200(fr) 272(sph) 271 jr = 743
Briana Jones(Madison)- 131 (F) 217(S) 395(J) =  743
Kayla White(East Central)- 57 (fr) 186 (sph) 433(jr)= 676

Jackie Anderson(Antonian)-117(F) 209(S) 310(J)=  636
Aleeya Harris(SA Jay)- 117(fr), 189(sp), 215= 521
Tesha Smith(Wagner)- 503 (J)
(In one year of varsity)
*Note that Boerne Champion has two players that have scored 799 plus points going into this season, Brooke Allenmand and Heather Hormuth.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Free can be really expensive!!!

" Nothing is more expensive than free" is an saying the old heads like repeat. The saying applies to many things in life, especially club ball.

The NCAA has recently cleared UCLA men's basketball player Kyle Anderson. The NCAA has yet to clear fellow UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad. Both Anderson and Muhammad both are under scrutiny for "supposedly" getting help with travel costs in order to take unofficial visits. This is nothing new.

Former Baylor standout Perry Jones was suspended by the NCAA. Jones had a terrific relationship with his club coach. His club coach was basically a father figure to him since elementary school. Perry's club coach allowed his mother to borrow some money to pay a bill or two and she reportedly documented paying it back. Like many father figures, Perry's club coach took him to a preseason NFL football game. According to the NCAA, these deeds constituted improper benefits.

Now take a step back and reason. A "normal" person can lend a neighbor money with no scrutiny. In fact, giving a helping hand is applauded as a noble thing to do. A father can take his sons' friend to a football game and pay for the tickets and hot dogs, a common occurrence. Organizations like Big Brothers, seek out men who are asked to mentor young men. Taking them to ball games, out for ice cream, etc. is part of the program. However, when the 10 year old boy(girl) turns into a highly recruited basketball prospect, the former noble act now constitutes a potential NCAA infraction.

Right or wrong, this is the landscape in which college bound basketball players live in. The reason for this particular blog is to enlighten the parents of some of our future basketball stars in the city. Be wary of club coaches and club directors that promise free. Free can be very costly!

Not being an expert on the immensely thick volumes of NCAA rules, I am familiar with the basics. A club is not to provide benefits to an individual player that it does not provide to all its players. When being certified as a coach that is allowed to participate in NCAA events, a coach must take a test on the basic rules and pass a national background check. A coach CAN NOT participate in a NCAA certified event if he/she has a felony conviction. When taking the test, you will answer questions such as this, "Can a club director(coach) give a parent a ride to a game". Yes or No? The correct answer is NO! Unless, that coach gives everybody in the club a ride to the game or the parent shares in the cost of the ride, this CAN be considered an improper benefit, the way I understand the rule.

Now come on! The RIGHT thing to do is to is to provide help when needed. Your third grade teacher would be so disappointed if her lessons of sharing and caring did not lead you to give  helping hand to those in need. But, this ain't elementary school and some adults don't play fair.

Some coaches recruit kids with the promise of free. In doing so, some of these coaches are potentially holding the fate of some players in their hands. What happens when a parent decides to leave the "free" coach after receiving needed help. This coach now has leverage over the families and may tell the powers that be about "helping" the family. Most coaches are in this to do good, especially since girls basketball is a non revenue producing sport on almost all levels. However, some misguided coaches are bragging about financially helping kids(parents) play the sport and not realizing that they may be  jeopardizing a kids' future. How do you know which club coach is whispering free the loudest? Watch the trophy chasers! Their need to win and play NBA GM's by assembling fantasy league teams can cloud their judgements and make them forget that the  kids are the ones who are affected by their "generosity".

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Basketball Rotations = Playing Spades

This blog has featured opinions and advice from different writers in the past. The goal is to add additional information for readers. The following is from Phillip Gumbs, father of Rice guard, Elena Gumbs. Elena had a very successful high school career which included a trip to Austin. She played for one of the best club organizations in the country, TeamXpress, and had plenty of colleges vying for her services.


A parent’s perspective


Expectation Management


The time of year is finally here, the time when young ladies are receiving college offers, making commitments, and preparing to sign their National Letters of Intent (NLI) during the early signing period.  It’s a very exciting time for young ladies across the country, a time when the fruits of their labor are starting to show through, it can also be very frustrating, starting to feel pressure about making a life changing decision on their futures armed with insufficient information.  As a parent of a student athlete, I feel compelled to share part of the process I used, which can make your daughter’s transition to playing at the next level a smooth one.

The first step in this journey is Expectation Management.  As parents, it is our job to prepare our children to handle a variety of situations; our daughters have put in long hours in the gym and classrooms to perfect their basketball and academic skills, which have allowed them to achieve a certain level of success.  It is also our jobs to perfect their life skills as they move forward in the next phase of their careers by teaching them to manage their expectations.

We all believe our daughters are great basketball players, but how do they handle adversity?  Can they handle the first time a coach tells them they are not as good as they think they are?  Can they handle the possibility of limited to no playing time?  These are just a few situations all players have to deal with when entering a college program.  I call this the Spades principle; no it’s not the card game, but the similarities are striking when you put them in perspective.  Thirteen total books in spades, 13-15 players on a roster, so remember these numbers as your prepare your child for the next step, five, two and a possible, and five.


·         Five - the number of players on the floor at one time

·         Two and a possible - the number of players coming of the bench

·         Five - the remaining who may not receive any playing time


Remember, everyone is on scholarship, everyone was a star at her school/club program, and everyone is competing for a spot.  Take nothing for granted, prepare for the unexpected, and then ask, “Is my daughter prepared to handle one of these situations?”  If so, great, if not, start laying the foundation now, because once they leave, it’s too late.

Friday, October 19, 2012

October Quick Hitters!!

Official practice has started and there is excitement in the air. It is time to celebrate the brilliant young women in the city for their dedication. The HS season coincides with the early signing period that begins in a couple of weeks. Quick Hitters follow:

- Elexus Allen has committed to Nichols State. Allen is a track star as well and has long been regarded as an elite prospect locally. In fact, she was first documented on this blog over three years ago in this article. Allen still has tremendous upside and is constantly improving on her ability to stretch the defense with the jumper. Playing for a HS coach that demands mental toughness in Anissa Hastings, Allen will undoubtedly be able to make an immediate impact on the defensive end at the next level. Congrats to Sophia Young Elite director, Mike Ekenem, for continuing help get his players in school. A shout must go out to Cavin Leonard of the SA Comets, who was instrumental in getting Allen started on the right track. Congrats to Elexus and her family!!!

- The latest edition of the RV Baugus Texpreps Basketball magazines has hit stores (Walmart or Barnes and Nobles). The magazine features  analysts on the local and state seen. Some notables include:
  •  SA John Jay is regarded as a Top 5 team(#4) in the state for 5A
  • Our 2014 class is celebrated with 3 players in the Bakers Dozen for top players in the state. Wendy Knight(#11), McKenzie Calvert(#4/Baylor bound) and Recee' Caldwell(#2) are featured.
  • Our 2015 class features one Bakers Dozen selection in Kyra Lambert(#9/TAMU bound). Anyone that has not read the 30 in 30 on Lambert needs to! She is a remarkable young woman!
  • The Mag features pics of the following local kids: Abby Amick, Mallory Grimm, Avery Queen, Corrina Moncada, Tesha Smith, Elexus Allen, Julia Rendon, Destiny Amezquita, Aleeya Harris, Ashia Mclaurin, Hannah Thompson, Morgan Williams, Carlie Heineman and KK Saenz.
  • The Mag picks Wagner, Steele, Stevens and Reagan to win their district titles.
- Distinguished Visitors: USC, Florida State, North Texas, Arizona State, UTA, Univ of Louisiana-Lafayette, UCLA, and Wichita State are a few schools that have been to local schools the past couple of weeks.
- Campus Visits-
  • Brooke Allemand took her official visit to Univ of New Mexico
  • McKenzie Calvert was reportedly on hand and Baylor's Midnight Madness. Video footage featured Brittany Griner jumping over her teammate and doing 360 degree dunks.
  • Tanaeya Boclair recently visited UTA.
  • Wendy Knight recently visited UTA.
  • Recee' Caldwell recently visited Texas. She is scheduled to visit UConn next weekend.
  • Aleeya Harris is currently on a trip to Western Kentucky.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Local Stars featured in PBR's 30 in 30

Premier Basketball Report has launched a series that will focus on elite high school prospects across the state. Two local kids have been subject of interviews. Avery Queen and Kyra Lambert both have interviews with PBR staff, Mark Williams. The links follow.

Avery Queen

Kyra Lambert

Friday, September 28, 2012

Moriah Mack decides!!!

Reagan star Moriah Mack has reportedly chosen to play basketball at New Mexico State University. The Sophia Young Elite guard helped lead her high school team to the state semifinals last season.

Mack is widely considered one of the best on ball defenders in the city. She will suit up for Mark Trahk. Coach Trahk is the former USC head coach that recruited numerous McDonald All-Americans, including Texans, Brianna and Stephanie Gilbreath.

Congrats Moriah and the Mack Family!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

San Antonio: Mid-Major City Part 2

To conclude a blog started some time ago, I will discuss a couple more reasons why San Antonio is predominantly a city full of mid-major talent. Last week, in a conversation with a director of one of the most powerful(talent heavy) clubs in the country, the director stated that San Antonio is an untapped D2 hotbed. This director's club routinely sends 20 plus kids to the D1 ranks a year. Some of the reasons that he is right, that we have more D2 kids than D1 players, are the same reasons that we tend to produce more low to mid-major kids than BCS players.

Let me clarify, I am not saying bigger is better. Players like Elena Delle Donne, Becky Hammon and Courtney Vandersloot are on my mind frequently. These women attended mid-major programs and made history. Delle Donne has left Uconn without playing a game her freshman year and transferred to the University of Delaware. Delaware is ranked in the Top 10 in the country this preseason on the strength of Delle Donne's 28 point a game last year. What I am saying is that producing players that have the option to attend BCS schools is something we can do better. Here are some of our challenges:

Referees- In a recent tournament, I watched from the stands as one of the brightest players our city has to offer was full blown tackled at half court. The opposing player was going for a loose ball and since she is not a basketball player, she failed to take into account that she needed to "break down" and play under control. Breaking down is a simple act that is honed on thousands of play grounds and gym across the country. "Breaking down" or decelerating by shortening your steps(chopping) is essential to being a player and playing under control. Readers across the country are upset that they just read a few sentences detailing such a remedial concept. Yet, the lack of a solid break down allowed a really good 2014 to get decleated, on the basketball court. Now, here is where the city is hindered.

The ref called a foul. He thinks he did his job. This out of control player came close to fouling out after making a couple more football like fouls, not out of malice, but out of not being properly taught and consequently, not being a basketball player. However, the ref DID foul out a very promising guard whom picked up 3 fouls for hand checking, 60 feet away form the basket! That in a nutshell is what is wrong with the city!

Since most of the local refs have never played basketball in an organized setting, they fail to KNOW basketball plays. A hand check infraction is a misdemeanor compared to a decapitation at half court and yet many local refs treat them the same. Instead of targeting and calling flagrant fouls on the players that jeopardize the safety of others, they concentrate on hand checks! This is not a singular instance, this is the norm it seems. Furthermore, when you question a lot of local refs about their reasoning, they take offense. Napoleon complex kicks in a they must show that they are boss. Contrast that to officials in other areas. They tend to be willing and able to explain their calls, not taking it as a personal assault on their character. A lot of them understand that referring is not just about black and white calls but game management.

One of the biggest things that I witnessed when moving here was the lack of emphasis on protecting the shooter. I cautioned kids I coached to become a land dweller, not to "touch the back board" on break away lays ups. By teaching my players to not "expose" themselves to dirty fouls, I could not do my job effectively in encouraging athleticism and creativity. Too many times, out of control players would not "run by" to safely contest lay ups. Since they could not challenge shots near the rim, they would run into exposed kids while they were in the air. Again, these type of fouls by uncoordinated kids were treated like a palming violation.

I have documented often how our kids are not allowed to do advanced moves like pro hops, rocker steps, hesitation dribbles, etc. I repeat the admonition of a local ref who tells kids, "I'm calling a Euro Step a travel because this ain't Europe". This ref and his tribe should realize that we do not play basketball with a peach basket anymore.

The game of basketball is an interpretation game. A good majority of the rules are subject to interpretation. If I can not speak Spanish, how can I interpret it. If I can not do an In & Out Dribble or a Hesitation Move, and realize that I can complete both WITHOUT palming the basketball by discontinuing my dribble or having my palm face the sky, how can I effectively make a good judgement call?

An outside event operator has hired his third referring staff since May! He runs some of the best events in Texas and has not found the officiating that he is expects. Throwing events in the Dallas and the Houston areas, he is disappointed at the quality of local refs and is having trouble getting out of town teams to frequent his San Antonio events. The primary reason, horrible refs. The manager for this event operator discussed the only way to eliminate the horrible refs is by educating them. She went on to state that in the Dallas area, most big tournament providers will not use refs that do not take continuing education classes every year. Imagine that, mandating that the people who basically have the safety and partial development of our youth in their hands, get better!

High School Hobbyists/Politics- The times have changed where uninspired coaches go unnoticed in San Antonio. Too many kids are getting recruited on a national level for small town ineptitude and cronyism to thrive. The practice of getting coaching jobs because the AD/football coach likes a particular person is preventing our kids from effectively competing against kids in other areas of the state.

Imagine if Steele High School football coach Mike Jinks treated his job like a hobby. What would happen if Devine's Chad Quisenberry rarely scouted an opponent or never stayed late while his kids worked out? Or crazier still, what would happen if Malcolm Brown did not make All-District while at Steele? That's the type of nonsense that goes on in girls high school basketball. A kid that made our country's USA team made 2nd team all-district because of politics. One of the best and most recruited players in the city last season was not named to an all-district team after she put up monster numbers. Millionaire college coaches badly want some local kids but they can't make all-district teams? That's almost vile!

The politics and hobbyists coach hurts the city. How can college coaches take the area serious when our best players are ostracized for being good by opposing jealous high school coaches? Is it any wonder why San Antonio teams go to State and get beat by double digits every time? Reagan was our best last season and got throttled by Dekaney by 30 plus. Dekaney, in turn, got thumped by Duncanville by 30 plus. Theoretically, Reagan would lose to  Duncaville by 60 last season. It is not surprise that when contrasting SOME of our local coaches, college coaches often bring up both, Dekaney and Duncanville's as examples of coaches that do it the right way. Georgetown's Rhonda Forney is often mentioned with reverence as well and Georgetown is smaller that San Antonio. The size of the city in comparison to Dallas and Houston is no excuse for not excelling.

Friday, September 21, 2012

SA Distinguished Visitors!! Week 1

The first Distinguished Visitors list of the new high school season is upon us. I am sure that I missed a few but here it goes:

Recee' Caldwell- UConn, TCU, Duke, Texas, Washington, Cal, Texas A&M, LSU

Amber Ramirez- TCU, Texas, Washington, UTSA

Avery Queen- Texas State, UTSA

Kyra Lambert- Texas A&M

Carlie Heineman- UTSA

Elexus Allen- Abilene Christian

Tesha Smith- UTSA

Mykel Costly- Abilene Christian

Kaetlyn McCuellar- UTSA

Aleeya Harris- UTSA

Kalani Marquez- St Mary's

Kayla White- Wichita State

LB Brown- St Mary's, Texas State

Briana Jones- Wichita State

Moriah Mack- New Orleans, San Diego State

Kiarra Etherage- UTSA, St Mary's

Gabbie Bowie- UTSA

Wendy Knight- UTSA

One of the Good Guys Moves Up!

Trinity assistant coach Marvin Walker has accepted a position with Binghamton University, a D1 institution in New York. Coach Walker has coached locally at St Mary's Hall and on the club scene. He is a capable skill set instructor and determined recruiter.

Selfishly, I am elated because Coach Walker KNOWS local kids and the talent that exists here in San Antonio. Look for some Alamo city kids to consider going east for college!

Congrats Coach Marvin!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Preseason Top 10: 1 Thru 10

SA Preseason Top 10

1. Reagan
2. Johnson
3. Steele
4. Wagner
5. Brennan
6. Stevens
7. Judson
8. John Jay
9. Churchill
10. Brandeis
Knocking on the Door-
-O'Connor( Amber Vidal and Alexis Copeland form a capable backcourt)
-Clemens (Monica Perez, Sabrinal Cantigal and TT Pressley will make waves)

2012 Top 10 Teams in City(6-10)

To conclude the preseason Top 10, here are teams 6-10.

6. Stevens- Anissa Hastings solidified herself as one of the best coaches in the city. Many of us already knew so but after "upsetting" Churchill in the 1st game of the season and having a great year, all had to sit up and take notice. Stevens is home to one of the best athletes and defenders in SA, Elexus Allen. Allen can guard four positions locally and should be D1 bound. The heart and soul of the group is a  pesky defender and tough as nail guard, Samira Rodriguez. Hastings and her 3/4 court trap press baffles many teams. Look out for a breakout year from Deleesha Monroe. Monroe is a local high school version of Danielle Adams. Hastings' pecking order, discipline and tenacity will have the Falcons in the Top 10 in the city and a threat come playoff time.

7. Judson- Coach Triva Corrales is one of the best our city has to offer. She is pretty loaded this season with D1 and D2 bound athletes. These include LB Brown, Sam Allen, Simone Fields and Shameka Brown. The Corrales crew will make their presence felt in district and beyond. Having defensive specialists such as the Brown sisters and Allen will surely stump plenty of offensive schemes this season. Fields is one of the best low post scorers locally. She is a D1 power forward with good hands and soft touch. Early word is that Judson has a lot young talent and may be as deep as any team in the city.

8. John Jay- In SA, a proficient scorer can always keep teams in games. Destiny Amezquita is as good a HS scorer as any in the city. Amezquita and Aleeya Harris will lead Jay to an all out battle with Stevens for a district title. Kaetlyn McCuellar, Brittany Leonard, and Ashia McLauren team up to make Jay a deep and talented squad.  McCuellar and Leornard will stretch the D with the 3ball. McLauren will touch paint and get free throw attempts. Harris is the key. Harris is due for a double double season .Besides talent, Jay has the coaching of one of the winningest coaches in the city, Mike Floyd and toughness! When Jay beats higher ranked opponents throughout the season, it will not be an "upset", they have the tools to win.

9. Churchill- Having one of the best players in the city and one of the best coaches, Churchill will contend for district title again. The loss of Jordan Holub and Dani Espinoza will hurt their  chances at State but there is not doubt the Chargers will win locally. As stated in regards to Reagan, the lack of a shot clock will allow Cal Wulfsberg to keep more talented teams in check. Having the brilliant Leslie Vorpahl helps. Receiving multiple screens in one possession, Vorpahl runs her team like an expert band leader. Look for her to put up huge numbers as she lost two capable scorers that frequently ate off of her assists. Mickey Flores is a very physical defender and touches paint often. Look for her to put up double digits most games to become the 2nd option for the Chargers.

10. Brandeis- Going out on a limb, Brandeis will shock plenty of teams this season. What many forget is that the Broncos lost twice to Top 5 Steele by a total of 4 points last season. They also beat Stevens and Jay. Mykel Costly is the best shot blocker in the city. She should be a double double kid this season. Do not be surprised if she has a triple double w/ blocks at least once. PG Hannah Thompson will steady the ship and is set for a good year after a productive summer. Kelsey Glassburn can hit the open three and is a capable scorer. New coach Jennifer Brewer allows her players to go. Brandeis may go further than many expect.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Family Secrets!

College coaches visiting the town is terrific for San Antonio. However, it puts us on notice in many ways. In a convo with a college coach yesterday, I had to bite my tongue, literally!

A college coach had just visited a couple of high schools. The coach was almost hostile about the high school workouts they witnessed. The coach was appalled at the lack of intensity and quality instruction from the workout. He/she compared other Texas areas to the local high school programs, not favorably. The coach was disappointed in the lack of teaching, discipline, strength training and apparent politics.

I am familiar with this coach's complaints. I had a Division 1 coach tell me last year that after visiting a local school practice, it was the worst 5A workout she/he had ever witnessed. Thank goodness that the coach in question is no longer around. However, yesterday's complaints angered me. The truth hurt!

A mother and father can stay up all night complaining to each other that their kids are "bad". They can discuss how badly their offspring is behaving. It is a Family thing. The problem becomes exacerbated when the neighbor knocks on the door and states the obvious. Little Joe or Suzy is rotten, bad little heathens! Now it is time for dad and mom to unify and tell the neighbor to watch their mouth. "Do not talk about our kids." Only we can talk about our kids!

Well, college coaches are talking about "our kids". The secret is out that some high school coaches are hobbyist and the players under their tutelage are suffering because of it.

This off season, plenty of high school coaches moved around the city in search for better opportunities. Winning programs like Floresville, Brandeis and Brennan lost coaches who searched for greener pastures. For the sake of our kids, let's hope that hungry and capable high school coaches start to change the city in their favor. The other kind of high school coach has college coaches bad mouthing our babies! Putting our dirty laundry out in public! Telling the truth that most of the time, bad babies come from bad parents!

You are important! What's your name again?!

At this time of the year, flattery is in season. What many may not know and fully comprehend is that during the recruitment process, compliments are seasonal! Here is a great story relayed to me by a father of an elite prospect and club coach/director.

This gentleman coaches in one of the best areas in the country in terms of talent. His basketball club has produced multiple All-Americans and routinely sends double digit Division 1 players to schools across the country every year.

A few years ago, this coach, we will call him Smith, had a team that was more stacked that usual. He had two McDonald All-Americans on the team. Coach Smith's daughter was a member of this team and eventually landed at a mid major. His daughter is now an assistant at a BCS university but back to the story.

Coach Smith was elated to meet a particular college coach that summer. This college coach is in the Women's Basketball Hall Of Fame and should be on the Mt Rushmore of women's coaches. This college coach wanted a couple of players from Coach Smith's team very badly. He/she followed the team across the country faithfully.

During one of the frequent talks with Coach Smith, the college coach floored him with words of admiration. The esteemed college coach told Coach Smith that he " is great teacher". He/she went on to tell Coach Smith that he is a great reason why his area is thriving. He was told how "remarkable" he and his program were. Coach Smith could not feel more validated. To have a HOF college coach regard him as important and good for the game made Coach Smith feel respected! Coach Smith helped deliver both of his All-American players to the HOF coach.

Fast forward a few years. Coach Smith fell on hard times in terms of producing national caliber prospects. He still had multiple Division 1 players in his club but none that the HOF coaches were after. Coach Smith went to Final Four that year and happened to run into the HOF coach that flattered him, made him feel so special just a few years earlier. As he walked up to the college coach, hand extended, smiling like a young boy, he met a confused look. Coach Smith was greeted with the words, "I'm sorry, where do I know you from?"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Power behind the Thrones!

From Worldwide Wes to Karl Rove, many powerful people are indispensable to more recognized Powerful people. Marques Jackson, rest in peace, and Cedric LaFluer are not in the national realm of Wes or certainly Rove, but they have and are providing the blood to the veins of many college programs.

Marques Jackson passed away a couple of year ago. I knew him on a rudimentary level. What I did know then and fully appreciate now is that Mr. Jackson has his fingerprints guiding a lot of successful college programs.

Years ago at the Final Four in San Antonio, Mr. Jackson entered an Nfinity Shoe party and stopped the room! Dozens, and I mean literally dozens, of college coaches immediately came over to pay their respects to this man. It was a sight behold. All of these well payed college coaches essentially waiting in line to shake the hand of a club director. Why? As the old saying goes, "he who has the gold makes the rules." In this case, the gold is the overwhelming amount of talent in the Marques Jackson DFW Elite basketball family. Now that Marques Jackson has moved on to a better place, his legacy lives.

Baylor Bears went 40-0 last season in what marked the most successful women's basketball season ever. The main reason, Brittney Griner. Yes, Kim Mulkey is a brilliant motivator and very good coach. Her million dollar salary is well deserved. She has turned a fledgling program into  two time national champions. Betting against her to win at least one more would be foolhardy. Especially when considering that she has a not so secret weapon; Marques Jackson's young protege', Damion "Swift" McKinney. McKinney became just the second African-American male assistant to win a national championship(Atlanta Dream HC Fred Williams was the 1st at USC). McKinney cut his teeth as a personal trainer and coach for DFW Elite. McKinney ascended to such heights that Kim Mulkey hired him to help take her program to new levels. McKinney responded by landing recruiting classes that other schools dream about.He signed McDonald All-Americans Brittany Griner, Odyssey Sims, Brooklyn Pope(transferred from Rutgers), Alexis Prince and Niya Johnson. In a ironic twist, McKinney reportedly helped the University of Texas land the Nash sisters before joining Baylor, whom he personally trained in high school.

(side note: Baylor fans probably owe a huge amount of gratitude to new UT coach Karen Aston. Aston, the former Baylor assistant, is credited by many for recommending Damion McKinney to Kim Mulkey. That recommendation led to Baylor making history!)

Mr. Jackson's right hand man was reportedly Anthony Grant. Anthony Grant is a true gentleman and his son has assisted with Texas A&M in a coaching capacity. Anthony Grant's daughter plays for Texas A&M. Mr. Jackson's DFW Elite T-Jack team featured 3 highly recruited players that all signed on to play at Texas A&M for the upcoming season, including McDonald's All-American, Jordan Jones. Mr. Jackson sent his own child, Tiffany, to the University of Texas. Tiffany Jackson was a 2007 All-American for the Longhorns.

Speaking of the Longhorns, Cedric LaFluer has indirectly helped put the Longhorns back in the game! The first time I met UT assistant George Washington, he was coaching his talented team in a local SA Lady Rohawks tournament. The team featured a bright young guard named Amber Orrange, who would eventually go on to All- American status and start for Stanford. However, the best was yet to come. It was LaFluer and his Cy-Fair Texans umbrella that helped George Washington put together a collection of talent that included the #1 player in 2014, Brianna Turner and the Baylor bound McKenzie Calvert. Adding Calvert to a team that featured, Turner, Orrange and others, George Washington catapulted on to the national stage. He no longer had "good" talent, he had struck gold. This new found status allowed Washington to showcase his ability as a great skill set coach and allowed him to recruit more talent to his rising club. Washington has a terrific resume', one that reportedly included being a strength coach for a WNBA team. However, it was his club connections to elite players that eventually helped him position himself  to acquire his current job as an assistant at UT. Over the past couple of months, Washington's former club program, newly rechristened Texas Preps Elite D-Walk, has had 4 outstanding players commit to their former club coach and the University of Texas. LaShann Higgs, Kelsey Lang, Nekia Jones, and Alyssa Dry all have signed up to play for Karen Aston. Many expect another very good 2015 Texas Preps Elite D-Walk player to make it 5 commits very soon.

LaFleur has more directly helped another Big 12 program, TCU. After his daughter, TK, transferred from Nebraska, she went on to an all-conference career for the Horned Frogs. She played pro ball for a couple of seasons and is now an assistant for her alma mater.  LeFleur also mentored a good young club coach named Chris Johnson. Johnson and his Cy-Fair Premier program became nationally respected by having players like Brooke McCarty(Top 20), AJ Alix(Top 50) and twins, Tyler and Taylor Gilbert(Top 100). Johnson joined the TCU staff last season and immediately had an impact. The very talented Kansas freshman Donielle Breaux wanted out and chose to join her former club coach, Johnson, at TCU. Caitlin Diaz followed suit. Now, Johnsons' stock is rising nationally as a very effective recruiter and just in time as TCU has now joined the Big 12.

I simplified a very long winded story of connections and relationships for the sake of keeping the blog somewhat brief. However, It can not be disputed that men like Marques Jackson and Cedric LaFleur have been very instrumental in promoting Texas women's basketball. Like Worldwide Wes and Karl Rove, many have reached a higher level by standing on their shoulders.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tesha Smith elaborates on her decision!


1. Congrats on your commitment. Why did you choose UTSA?

San Antonio is my home, UTSA is 30 mins away from my family. I feel that what can be accomplished anywhere else, can be accomplished here at this school. It has fantastic educational programs and a well developed basketball program. I've learned by going through this process. I thought moving to a different area would give me a different experience, different part of the world, but by talking with the UTSA players and staff, that's not how it works. Going to college is an experience, so why move miles and miles away? 

2. UTSA was not in your Top 3 until recently, what changed?

UTSA was number 5, I'm not going to lie. I wanted UTSA to be my last choice but what I didn't realize is that I was basing my decision off of schools outside of San Antonio. I wasn't thinking about me and where I would be happy. It took long days and nights to realize what I really wanted. What most players don't know is that you are getting a scholarship for basketball. You have to be dedicated to your studies and you are not going to have time to tour your surroundings often.

3. How difficult was it to choose between so many schools?

It was really difficult for me in the beginning so I did something called the "process of elimination". I asked multiple colleges for info on their business programs (that's what I'm majoring in). If I felt their business program was not what I was looking for, I would eliminate those colleges one by one.

4. This is the second year that UTSA has gotten a top player from the city, why are local players seeing UTSA in a different light now?
Well it could be for multiple reasons. I can not speak for Niaga on why she picked UTSA, but I can say UTSA is what I'm most comfortable with. It has alot to offer education and basketball wise.

 5. Wagner has reloaded again this year, what do you expect to accomplish in your senior year?
For my senior year, all I want is a "Team" that can focus on three things, communication, dedication and team work. I have accomplished a lot in this past year. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Preseason Top 10 (1-5)

The city is as talented as it has ever been. While the 2013 class is not very top heavy with major impact players, the underclassmen are primed to take up the slack and gives the city a chance of finally going to state and NOT get blown out. The lack off a shot clock and junk defenses by smart coaches will allow for numerous teams to "upset" more talented squads but here are the top contenders for a state trip. Teams 6-10 to follow.

1. Reagan- The defending regional champs are back and still loaded. Led by Super Teamer Wendy Knight and All Area pick, Moriah Mack. Tessa Ramirez is a good high school point guard and capable of stretching the local defenses with the 3. Terry Barton's motion offense and disciplined help side defense will help make up for the loss of Sabrina Berry. Corrigan Tibbs and a reported 6'1 post transfer will help anchor the middle. The Rattlers have a bright freshman in Mailee Jones. Barton has been reluctant to move frosh up to varsity early but may choose the route that he went with Knight three years ago. Without a shot clock in Texas, Reagan's coaching and system may overcome more talented teams to reach Austin again.

2. Johnson- As noted on this blog last season, Johnson was a year away. The losing culture permeated throughout the program. The addition of reigning coach of the year, Randy Evans, will surely put Johnson among the city's elite. Johnson trailed by double digits against EVERY ranked opponent last season in the 1st quarter! Evans will ensure that his talented squad has a solid game plan this time around. Recee' Caldwell will finally get a screen or two and proper spacing to help free her weapons. All-District guard Gabbie Bowie has steadily improved her entire skill set. Erica Sanders has committed to Texas Tech after a great summer and transfer, Tierra Davenport is legit! The 6'1 transfer and cousin of UT player Empress Davenport has too pledged to Texas Tech and is easily a Top 5 talent in the city. USA soccer player Morgan Stearns will help in the middle at 5'11 and Brie Foresman will help stretch the defense after returning from a knee injury. A State trip would not be a surprise from the Jags.

3. Steele- Kari Wallace did a good job balancing the individual needs of her talented group last season. She returns two of the Top 3 players in the city in Kyra Lambert and McKenzie Calvert. Lambert has verballed early to TAMU and should play relaxed and steady. The BU commit , Calvert is fresh off of a high scoring high school campaign and looks to continue giving the city buckets. The emergence of Erika Chapman will help alleviate the loss Elena Gumbs to Rice. Chapman has increased her tools and should have a breakout year. Bri Millet is a capable play maker. Wallace runs a simple system that pressures all over the court and allows her her athletes to make plays. Defending off of the bounce is difficult and Steele has 4 adept players at attacking via the dribble. Three to four Division 1 players on a team, 2 of them Top 50 players nationally, may be enough to get them to state.

4. Wagner- The T-Birds have reloaded. The best Big in the city, Tesha Smith is no longer an unknown. The reigning new comer of the year has verballed to UTSA after being the most sought after kid in the class of 2013 in the city. Wagner returns the super intense Corrina Moncada and the talented Ashley Ross. Wagner added the most recruited 2016 in the city in the high scoring Amber Ramirez, ranked as a Top 20 kid nationally by numerous services. Belle Tovar reminds me of former Wagner guard Chelsea Solis the way she can score. Tina Camacho does well with the tools at her disposal. Teams will not be able to zone or double down on Smith as Ramirez, Tovar and Moncado will knock down open 3's. Guarding Smith and Ross straight up will be a problem and Kiuana Clark and Kaelynn Wilson are good athletes. Do not be surprised at all if the T-Birds reach state, the talent and coaching makes them a contender.

5. Brennan- Brennan won 36 games straight last season before losing in the 3rd round of the playoffs. They lost reigning coach of the year in Randy Evans but should not miss a beat with the addition of former UTSA assistant coach, Koty Cowgill. Anyone seeing Koty train and/or coach while at UTSA knows that he will be playing chess while most of the opposing coaches are stuck on checkers, especially in his district. Super Teamer Tanaeya Boclair has firmly established herself as a Top 100 kid nationally and added to her face up game. Alyssa Crockett and Ashley Graham as defensive ball hawks. Crockett is a power guard that lives at FT line. The 6'1 Eliza Martinez is fresh off of a great summer that solidified her as a Division 1 prospect. The Mason Sisters ,Tia and Deja, at 6'2 and 6'3, gives the Brennan front line a Division 1 feel. Add the sharp shooting Kalani Marquez and Brennan will be tough. Now add this to that talent gumbo, 2013 forward  transfer Kiara Etheridge is a mid-high major D1 talent and reportedly a Top 10 player in the city. If Crockett is healthy, I find it hard to believe that Brennan will not be in Austin come March as the regional rep for class 4A. Here's their front line, 5'10(Marquez), 5'11(Etheridge) 6'0(Boclair), 6'1(Martinez), 6'2(Mason), 6'3 (Mason).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2011 Preseason Top 10 Teams Review

In anticipation of the basketball season, the annual preseason ShesBallin Top 10 is coming.  First, here is a review of last year preseason picks. In comparison to the final regular season ranking by SA Express- News, 8 of 10 ShesBallin picks finished in the Top 10 as predicted. One team not in the preseason Top 10, Incarnate Word was included in the "knocking on the door" section as being a strong candidate to finish in Top 10. However, I totally whiffed on O'Connor and their great year.

2011 SB Preseason Top 10 Picks(1-5)
2011 SB Preseason Top 10 Picks (6-10)

The following bullets are taken from the predictions last year when assessing the teams. They are spot on in many instances.

  • - "Wagner must always be in the discussion for top in the city honors".
The T-Birds started off slow and flirted with moving out of the Top 10 during the season. Camacho's crew played a good portion of the season without Top 20 kid, Ashely Ross. The emergence ofTesha Smith and the clutch play of Corrina Moncado played huge in helping the T-Birds reach the regional finals before losing to Reagan.

  • - "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"
Terry Barton and crew proved many right and made it to the state semis in Austin. Having three of the Top 20 players in the city in Sabrina Berry, Moriah Mach and Wendy Knight showed that talent and coaching is the recipe for success.

  • - "Look for The Wulf to unleash Vorpahl for a monster year......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."
As predicted in the blog, as Vorpahl goes, Churchill went! Where did she go, to the SA Express Player of the Year and deservedly so! The show she put on vs Reagan in one half was as good as ANY performance that I have seen in 6 years on the local scene. Cal Wulfsberg proved to be arguably the best coach in the city as he coached like a boys coach; he established pecking order and rode his best player without regard for politics and worrying about offending the sensibilities of others!

  • -"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."
Sure enough, Hastings ability to motivate and inspire made her squad on of the best in  the city. She featured one of the best kids in the city and rode her defense to a near district title. Very few expected Stevens to be as good as they were a year ago. I knew they would be good but did not know that they would be a Top 5 team the majority of the year.

  • -"Coach Randy Evans is a very adept coach and employs numerous defensive strategies to disrupt opponents. "
This was an understatement. Evans' team held teams to horrific shooting nights as his slow down offense proved to be his best defense. Evans, a veteran of 23 years of coaching HS and AAU boys teams has found it relatively easy to limit scoring outputs of the opposition on the girls side.

  • -" 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.
Both statements probably ring true. Johnson did not have pecking order established nor offensive cohesion last season and that limited them immensely. As noted, they were still a year away.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tesha Smith decides!

Tesha Smith has decided to stay home and attend UTSA. Smith went on her official visit last weekend and apparently could not resist pledging to Coach Rae Blair's staff.

The Wagner Big chose the Roadrunners over finalists TCU, Texas Texas Tech, New Mexico State, North Texas and Wichita State.

The commitment gives the Roadrunners the top two players in the last two local classes, Niaga Mitchell-Cole(2012) and Smith(2013). The Roadrunners also have a firm pledge from the purest San Antonio shooter in the class of 2014, Carlie Heineman. This is a huge development for UTSA as Smith had 20 plus offers from schools across the country.

Stay tuned for more details!

Congrats to Tesha, Karen and Tina Camacho!

Congrats to the UTSA staff!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September Quick Hitters!!!

- In a convo with a local coach, he spoke of the results of SA area teams at the  state semifinals. His observation was that every local team that has made a recent state trip (Wagner, Jay, Reagan, Steele), has had to overcome double digits deficits in the first ten minutes of the game. The local teams typically dig themselves a hole early and play evenly afterwards. Is it because local teams often speak about "going to State" but not "winning State" ? Or intimidated?

-  In homage to football season, here is an observation. Wide receivers have become more important than running backs in the NFL. Why?  Spacing! Wide receivers only have to beat a few defenders and have more room to operate than running backs. A good running back must attempt to beat 11 players on every hand off. This pertains to basketball in the ability to score in transition as opposed to the half court. Every good team must be able to score in the half court(run the ball) but, the ability to score in the open court and maximize spacing(wide receiving) is playing a prominent role in local basketball.

- The city is the deepest its ever been in terms of talent. At least 9 schools have multiple D1 players:
 Johnson(4), Wagner(3/4?), Reagan(2), Stevens(2/3?), Judson(3/4?), Steele(3/4?), Jay(2/3?),
Brennan(4/maybe 6), Madison(2)

-The WNBA has 132 players on 12 Teams. Division 1 basketball institutions have approximately 5100 total players. That equates to a 2.6% chance of D1 players making it to the WNBA. Now add international players, D2, NAIA and D3 players. The odds of playing in the League are astronomical.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Daddy Said.......

Recruitment advice comes from all walks of life, a lot of the times, from sources that have no clue. Some advice is tainted with self serving agendas. Frequently, club and high school coaches tend to support college programs that pay them "proper respect", or in some cases, pay them with jobs. Getting the goods on programs is not easy to do. Choosing between very good options and really good options is not as easy as one may think. I have a suggestion for you; find a couple Daddies to talk to.

To paraphrase Joe Keller in his infamous book on AAU ball, 'Played their Hearts Out', "I like dealing with single parents". The thinking goes that a single mother will be less informed and less involved in an area like amateur(college) basketball. This allows for unchecked power. I am learning that a lot of unscrupulous college coaches have the same sentiment. They complain that "daddies living vicariously through their kids" are ruining the game. A more true statement would be "Daddies, with knowledge of the pitfalls in recruiting process, are not falling for okey doke these days."

(Must respect to all the single mothers, including mine!)

Daddies look out for the best interest of their seed. The concept of team denotes the will of a collective whole. Individualism is counter productive to TEAM, yet is important to the success of a team. Without excellent individuals, a TEAM can not excel. Most Daddies feel that their kid is the missing piece for any team. They are quite biased. However, somewhere between their biased views, they will sniff out true fallacies in a program.

If their kid was lied to, they will tell you so. If the coach cheated, they will say such. If the team  is full of bad kids, you will hear about it. If players are treated only as commodities, a Daddy will let it be known. Usually, a Daddy will speak about these things because they all affect his Baby Girl. Yes, his disgruntled rants will be based on the biased premise that his child should be playing more, shooting more, and scoring in droves. But, his smoke will reveal a fire, some smaller than others, yet still a fire.

Find a Basketball Dad and build a trust with them. They will recognize the obstacles you are facing and in most cases, be willing to give you a heads up to the bumps in the road. Know how to filter his personal disappointments from things that truly matter. Things like truthfulness, integrity, responsibility, accountability, culture, and respect. Things like program prestige probably do not matter that much in the long run to a concerned Poppa. If his seed is in fertile soil, a Poppa will know. If she is planted in barren land, he will eventually let everybody know!

Thanks to all my Basketball Dad's, helping me navigate the rough waters: Charlie Harper, Wayne Simmons, David Jones, Simmie Colson, John Roberson, Larry Gholar, Kelvin Gumbs, Derrick Cloman.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I felt the familiar hand pushing me on my head, interrupting my beauty sleep. I need all the beauty sleep I can get. It was Her. After a month of mandated break, she has resumed waking me up at 5am to workout. She is not waking me up to get praised, encouraged, or rewarded. She awoke the grumpy rebounder knowing to expect criticism, constant correction and unrealistic expectations to perform.

Fast forward 10 hours and to the mailbox I go to collect bills! Instead, it is HER reward. It is her reminder that her hard work is not being ignored. 43 pieces of mail. In one day! 2 Boxes, 16 large envelopes, 25 regular envelopes. Upon opening 1 box, 5 more letters were found.

This scene is repeating itself across the country. A few kids went to the mail box to collect more recognition and some not as much, but a shout out to all of the deserving young female ballers getting the proper attention they deserve.

The grumpy guy almost hates the music on the radio these days. The commercials are despised as well. It seems that music and media put an emphasis on praising the young women who do wrong. The, as the old heads say, "Fast" girls get all the love seemingly today. The dirtier a girl acts, the more popular she is. How refreshing September 1st was for so many young women. These girls have set on a positive course and believed the supposedly impossible. They are the 3% of players that will have their education paid for through their sacrifices. Good for them! Keep waking up to grind and pay the naysayers no mind! Spoken like an old head!!!

Distinguished Visitors Coming Soon!!

Local high school coaches are being bombarded with phone calls and emails from college coaches requesting workout schedules. September 16th is the first day that college programs can visit prospects at school. I will be reporting my "Distinguished Visitors" posts as usual and this may be the most busy fall in the city's history.

We are still a little behind places like New Orleans. In places like New Orleans, high school coaches provide open gyms where prospects from different schools can go to hoop against each other and be viewed by visiting college coaches. Dallas is another city where this is common practice. This spirit of collective good is hopefully something that our city eventually progresses towards.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mackin 101

Young Female Ballers,

In dance clubs across the country, some color coordinated dude, down to his matching Gators, is sliding up to a precious honey and whispering straight GAME into her ear.

Or, in every cafeteria in America, a fresh young playa, draped in the finest gear, new Jordans and fitted cap is making his move. Drenched in a cologne that he can not properly pronounce, he spots her and starts his SPIT.

 Here is a dumbed down version of the creative vernaculars of these playas extraordinaire.

1. You are the only girl for me.

2. I am the best man for you.

3. That other dude won't love you like me.

4. I was the first one to express my feelings for you.

5. Without me, you will not be happy as you deserve to be.

Sound Familiar?

Going through this recruiting process as a former player, club coach, and parent, I am coming to the conclusion that a lot of college coaches spit game that would make Pretty Tony and Huggy Bear proud!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

T-Bird Talent!

While viewing the out-of-state D1 kids that SA has produced recently, I was reminded that Tina Camacho and her Wagner crew are well represented. Here is a list of Wagner's D1 kids from 2008-2013. No other school comes close to this type of D1 success. (Steele is next in D1 players over the same period with 4 by my count: Meighan Simmons, Olivia Patterson, Taylor Calvert, Elena Gumbs.

Wagner D1 Players-
Breanna Brock('08)- Mizz
Sajoyia Griffin('08)- SDST
Jessica Sommers('08)- SELA
Amber Roberson('08)- Texas (Volleyball but had D1 opportunities in Basketball as well)
LenNique Brown('10)- NC State
Arielle Roberson('11)- Colorado
Eboni Watkins('11)- UTA
Michelle Rodriguez('10)- UTA
Tesha Smith('13)- Undecided

SA Exports

"Texas kids don't leave home" goes the old saying among college coaches. While the entire state proves that recruiting philosophy as out dated, San Antonio is proving to be an export city. This is just a quick recap of the SA area kids that have left the state to play D1 basketball in recent years. This is not a complete list but a snap shot of over 30 players that have decided to leave the state for college.

Christine Flores(Mizz)
Breanna Brock(Mizz)
Krystal Stirrup(Tennessee Tech)
Jasmine Malone(Mizz St)
Jessica McQuin(Tulsa)
Chanice Scott(Tulsa)
Amber Holmes(SE Mizz St)
Jessica Sommers(SELA)
Sajoiya Griffin(San Diego St)

Monica Engleman(Kansas)
Lyndsey Cloman(Oklahoma)

Olivia Patterson(Southern Illinois)
CeCe Harper(Kansas)
Stephanie Whittman(Kansas St)
LenNique Brown(USC/NC State)
Kiante Ageous(Arizona/Transferred)
Meighan Simmons(Tennessee)
Victoria Willems(William and Mary)
Ciara McLee(Jacksonville)
Chelsea McMeans(Liberty)
Genise Pressley(Long Island)

Arielle Roberson(Colorado)
Erica Donovan(NC State/Bowling Green)
Danielle Blagg(Tulane)
Alexis Govan(Western Kentucky)
Taylor Calvert(Winthrop)

Raven Reyes(SELA)
Erica Hernandez(SELA)

Brooke Allemand(New Mexico)
Leslie Vorpahl(Tulane)
Kayla White(Wichita St)
Breana Jones(Wichita St)

Friday, August 24, 2012

2012 Top 20 Players in the City!!!

In my annual take on the top kids in the city, here are the Top 20 kids in San Antonio.

1. Recee' Caldwell 2014- Since I am obviously a little biased, I will let others speak for why she is best kid in the city. Here are her national rankings for 2014 Dan Olson Collegiate Report (3) , All Star Girls Report (4), ESPN HoopGurlz (7), Peach State Basketball (6), and Premier Basketball Report (5). She won a gold medal in the 2011 FIBA Americas for USA u16 as a 14 year old.

2. McKenzie Calvert 2014- After facing and watching the Baylor commit progress since the 5th grade, she has added facilitator to her game. I was very impressed with her at USA trials this past May. She has always had the ability to score in transition, but she has now learned to change speeds to set the table for her and her teammates. I also saw her encourage and verbally motivate her teammates more than in the past while Colorado, a skill that locals will surely see as well.

3. Kyra Lamber 2015- The TAMU bound PG has always been one of my favs. Her hesitation and first step is almost unfair in the open court. She is in the same class as Leslie Vorpahl when running the pick and roll. If the Aggies continue the Vic Schaefer defensive strategy, they got a kid that can guard from baseline to baseline in Lambert.

4. Tesha Smith 2013- Smith is the biggest leaper in the city rankings. Her solid HS school season earned her "New Comer of the Year". She followed that up with a monster summer. She showed that she can rebound with ANYBODY in the country. Her college ready frame and great instincts gives her the upside that made programs like TCU and Texas Tech offer her a full ride. In a year that has not been as top heavy when compared to previous classes, Smith may be the only kid in the 2013 class locally with BCS offers.

5. Leslie Vorpahl 2013-The Tulane commit is as respected as any kid in the city. Last high school year, she displayed the ability to hit the contested 3 off of the dribble. This put her at the top of the pack for 2013 guards. She has always been a facilitator extraordinaire. Her motor and defensive instincts when playing angles allow her to be effective on both ends of the floor.

6. Brooke Allemand 2013- The New Mexico commit has an argument for best in 2013. She has the most translatable skill for the next level in her ability to knock down the 22 footer off of the catch and the dribble. Her shooting ability has always been a known commodity but it was her leadership ability this summer that had schools hoping she changed her mind about being a Lobo. Her performance versus the NJ Sparks was nothing short of very impressive. The likes of Vivian Stringer came to watch others but went home knowing her name(game).

7. Tanaeya Boclair 2014- Boclair has increased her suitors immensely with a super HS season and a comparable summer. She is a Top 100 kid in the class of 2014 by ESPN Hoopgurlz. She has always had the athleticism to thrive but now her increased ability to handle the rock and hit the pull up jumper from 15-17 feet has made her a nightmare to guard. Boclair has picked up interest from BCS conference schools with her impressive play vs Top 100 kids across the nation.

8. Chamaya Turner 2013- The 2013 point forward is simply too tough to guard for most local high school players. The future Olympian in the discuss and the shot put can break defenders down off of the bounce and bully her way to buckets. She does a fantastic job of reading the floor and setting up her teammates for easy buckets. She has a great feel for making the right play.

9. Wendy Knight 2014- A local father of a player in this Top 20 started calling her Ms Big Shot after a summer of making crucial plays in the clutch. Knight has become one of the most reliable shooters in the city from deep. She always has been a great finisher in traffic and very effective in turning corners to touch paint. She is the idea curling wing at the next level. Her mid range pull up jumper is elevating her into a much sought after prospect.

10. Tiara Davenport 2014- The Texas Tech commit is new to the city but her game is well known throughout the state. She is very good athlete at 6'1. She boards extremely well out of area and finishes well in traffic. She plays with that Dallas, Duncanville area, chip on her shoulder.

11. Gabbie Bowie 2014- Bowie has catapulted up the city rankings with an ever increasing skill set. She came here a little over a year ago as a 5'8 power forward. She now possesses absolutely the prettiest pull up jumper in the city. She has added a legitimate handle to go with her freakish leaping ability, so much that she has offers from D1 institutions to play the point guard now!

12. Moriah Mack 2013- Long regarded as one of, if not the best, on ball defenders in the city. They way she picks up her lead leg to possess the next piece of basketball real estate should be taught in defensive videos. Mack has increased her ability to hit the wide open jumper from mid range by tuning up her handle. Probably too unselfish on the offensive end at times but it's that type of attribute that helped her squad reach Austin last year.

12. Erica Sanders- 2015 Sanders joined Davenport in pledging to Texas Tech after a very good summer. She showed an increased ability to hit the mid range pull up jumper. Her trademark Euro Step is effective in transition and in tight spaces. Her first step puts defenders on notice that they better give her a cushion on the wing.

13. Ashley Ross 2014- Ross has been a fav on mine for awhile. In my 1st writeup of her in 2008, I called her an 11 year old Dennis Rodman type player. Now the rising junior  can take defenders off of the bounce, shoot the open three and make plays for others. I will not be surprised at all if she continues to add to her skill set to the tune of a few BCS offers and a Top 5 ranking citywide next season.

14. Destiny Amezquita 2013- Amezquita has battled injuries for a good portion of her high school career which has left her unfortunately unable to do her. Amezquita can get buckets with ANYBODY in this city. I once predicted that she would give a few teams 40 before her career was done. If healthy this season, she still may prove me right. Her strength, range and handle makes a headache to contain.

15. Carlie Heineman 2014- The UTSA commit is one of the purest shooters in the city with one of the quickest triggers. Her release point is high and fast enough to allow her to be one of the few kids in the city who can take and make contested jumpers. Her strong handle has permitted her to create jumpers off of the bounce and touch paint for her runners, using either hand.

16. Briana Jones 2013- Wichita State was so impressed with her great motor, ability to guard and play on the wing and forward that they quickly snatched her up. Jones can stretch the D with an ever improving 3 ball. She has long been one of the best rebounders, especially offensively, in the city. Look for a season that flirts with a double double for the Mavs.

17. LaQeisha "LB" Brown 2013- Easily one of the most improved players offensively in the city. Known for years as a defensive stopper and great rebounder for her size, Brown has added a consistent mid range jumper. Her handle is a lot better than she gets credit for. She is able to create shots off of the bounce and score in traffic. Explosive second leaper. 

18. Aleeya Harris 2013- The best running Big in the city from rim to rim. She, along with Boclair, are the best perimeter defending Bigs in SA. She too is a great second leaper. Her years of volleyball ingrained a distinct timing for the prolific block shot. The way she palms the opposition shots is not seen on the girls side of the game often. I have called her an upside kid for years do to VB. If she chooses to focus on Bball in college, some small D1 is going to get a steal!

19. Kayla White 2013- The smooth guard has pledged to Wichita State. She is a kid that makes everything look easy, which has been a reason for some to criticize, or sleep on her! She looks like she is coasting when she is blowing by defenders for easy finishes. Her game can be described with the nickname "2 Easy". She can hit the open 3 ball and her pull up jumper is simply beautiful. She is a underrated on ball defender, one of the best in the city.

20. Avery Queen 2014- The most skilled Big in the city. She can hit the occasional 3ball now and her 15-17 foot baseline jumper is why the offers from D1's are starting to come in. She has added an effective running hook in the key which adds to her arsenal of jump hooks, step throughs, Sophia Youngs, step backs,and turn around jumpers.

Side notes:

- I have yet to rank a rising freshman in the city's rankings. However, I have always let the city know that players like Cee' Caldwell, Kyra Lambert, McKenzie Calvert,  and Leslie Vorpahl were top kids before stepping on campus. This year, Amber Ramirez is easily a Top 10 kid in the city. Ramirez has more offers (Big 12, Pac 12, Conference USA) than most kids on the list. She surely has more BCS offers than any other players in the Top 20 except Caldwell and the recently pledged Lambert.
(Calvert would obviously have more if she was still available).

- Many local coaches claim to have the best player in the city on their team. Many parents claim the same. This summer, I coached against whom many college coaches and national scouts call the best player in 2014, Kelsey Mitchell. She was fresh off of a 31 point performance when we matched up. She led her team to a close victory over mine but finished with only 12 points on a tough shooting night. Unlike some local coaches and parents, I am not naive enough to claim she is not the best player by basing this on her performance against me. I schemed to get the ball out of her hands and sent help on her at all times. Her sub par performance against me does not lead me to question her as being arguably the best in the country. She is easily one of the best but I fully comprehend that coaching schemes can negate brilliance. Chuck Daly(RIP) and his "Jordan Rules" made Micheal Jordan look mediocre at times. College coaches will tell you who is best by offering kids scholarships. Their livelihood depends on making correct talent assessments. Those that do not, will not last long. Kids like Mitchell can go anywhere they want. We have a couple of kids locally that go can anywhere they want and the have the college offers to prove it! Many people will disagree with the list. That's fine but many will coach kids and/or are parents to kids that do not have the same college opportunities as those on the list. Let's Be Real(istic)!!!!

- Top 20-30 to follow