Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Homegrown Talent!

I bleed Purple and Gold. I think Raider Silver and Black. My palate prefers  In and Out Burgers, Roscoes Chicken and Waffles and Consuelos carne asada tacos. Though Cali is HOME, my home is San Antonio and it is The Tone that I now represent.

Club basketball has hot spots. Like Cali, Dallas and Houston have been at the forefront of talent. However, San Antonio has now earned national respect. Gone are the days where all the best players have to leave the city to get their just do. In fact, here is an interesting fact:

The  three local  highest rated players in their respective classes, all play for San Antonio based club teams:

2014 Recee' Caldwell- HG #7, ASGR #9, Peach State #6

2015 Kyra Lambert- HG Top 25, Peach State #18

2016 Amber Ramirez- Peach State #15

All three players are in the Top 25 and on pace to be potential McDonald All-Americans.

San Antonio is a mid-major city! I have written a pretty detailed blog to explain my reasoning behind that statement. Part 2 of that argument is still under works. I am having a hard time not offending people, which is not the intent of this blog, so Part 2 is taking longer than planned. Like many mid-majors, we are heavy at the top but get thin in the middle when compared to "hot beds" around the country. Like Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot, we have a few players that can play almost anywhere in the country. Players like Baylor bound McKenzie Calvert and Caldwell( a Baylor de-commit) have more than enough options. Caldwell is being heavily pursued by national powers UConn, Duke, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas, Stanford, LSU, Kentucky, Louisville, Oklahoma, etc, just to name a few. Like the deep 2010 class, players like Meighan Simmons had her choice of schools and her success at Tennessee validated her national standing. The difference is that many hot beds have multiple Meagans. They have dozens of D1 players in one class.

That said, the strides by local club teams, pointedly SA Finest Basketball, has sent a clear message to the country that San Antonio players need not to travel elsewhere to get their proper respect.

TeamXpress was a major player on the national scene. Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil was the standard bearer. However, CDW drew heavily from a national talent base. Atlanta's Kyra Crosby, Oregon's Krystal Forthan and Louisiana's Tank Youngblood traveled to the Alamo City to play with TeamXpress. Currently, Sophia Young Elite too draws from a talent beyond the greater San Antonio area. Though SYE is San Antonio heavy many star players are from the greater Central Texas area.

SA Finest has blazed a path. Home grown talent can play with any team in the country.

- A six point loss to Nike Cy-Fair Shock(PBR Super 64 Champs) without Recee' Caldwell in April

- A 12 point win over Adidas Showcase champ NJ Sparks Elite in July

- A 3 point loss at buzzer to PBR Super 64 Final Four Missouri Phenom

- Victories over national respected Albany Rocks, Epiphany Prince Elite, Cal Ballerz

- A double digit victory over West Virginia Thunder by SA Finest White

An Elite 8 finish in PBR Super 64 and an Sweet 16 finish at Battle of the Boro with homegrown talent speaks volumes. Sophia Young finished in the Sweet 16 as well in the Battle of the Boro.

SA Finest has illustrated a point that SA Lady Rohawk coach Charlie Harper swears by; keep local players home! All nine of SA Finest Blue's players are all being recruited. 8 of 9 players have been with SAF Blue for 3 or more years. 7 of 9 have been with SAF Blue since middle school. 7 of 9 have been offered by D1 institutions. 5 of 9 have major interest from BCS schools. 3 of 9 have already committed to D1 institutions.

SA Finest White has 9 players. 6 of 9 have been with SAF White since middle school. 4 of 9 have been offered by D1 institutions. All 4 D1 offered kids received offers by playing in SA Finest uniforms. 6 of 9 players are being recruited by D1 institutions. All 9 players are being recruited by colleges/universities.

In total, 18 of 18 players on SA Finest White and SA Finest Blue are being recruited. 15 out of 18 are being recruited by D1 institutions, 11 of 18 have been offered, 9 out of the 11 offered kids have been with SA Finest since middle school!

All that to say, development and loyalty pay off. Many hot bed programs in bigger cities use fear to attract San Antonio talent. I was told that Recee' Caldwell would not get a USA invite to u16 without a major backer. She was not only invited, she made that team! She would supposedly not get the proper exposure with SA Finest, yet she can basically go to whatever school she chooses. She reportedly  cannot be an All- American with SA Finest, maybe not, but does that really matter in the overall scheme of things? 

In speaking with one of the more respected college coaches in the country, he/she lamented the fact that more teams don't do it the "old way". He/she went on to explain that the old way did not include mass recruiting and out of town warriors. The old way had club coaches that taught kids for years and developed. The new way includes teams and programs that function as NBA teams with a salary caps and  draft lotteries. For what, trophies?!!!  The kids that make up most of these nationally respected all star teams all will go to play basketball anyway.

 To claim that that one must be on the best team to play the best competition is misleading. My daughter shoots at lunch with a JV boys player. This kid is 6'4 and reverse dunks it off the back board with ease. If he was a girl, he would be the #1 kid in the country, easily. Surprisingly, he likes to rebound for my daughter. He is OK with playing her 1 vs 1. He has no problem being physical against her, hand checks and all! In fact, there are a dozen 6 foot plus athletic boys ball players at her school that welcomes her in games!  To claim that you need to play on a particular circuit, on a particular team, to face real competition is comical. It is well known that McKenzie Calvert trainer has some of the best boys players in the city in his gym. In fact, I ran into one of them that recently committed to Tennessee at the airport on Thursday. Calvert faces BCS bound boys often. NO girl(s) in the country is better than whom she faces on a regular basis during training.

This is not a SA Finest commercial. Just like I often wrote of TeamXpress  and the SA Lady Rohawks of old and their accomplishments, this a public announcement of doing it the old way. Developing, training, teaching, educating players and parents works!!! The game is the game. Many of the powers that claim to hold the key to success, never have even played the game! If they did, they would probably stop with the misleading sales pitches that to shine, SA kids must leave. San Antonio has a bright future that can only get brighter with help of good local club coaches and parents that understand college coaches will come if their kids stay!

Vorpahl decides!!!

Leslie Vorpahl has apparently decided to attend Tulane University. The heady PG for Churchill HS has reportedly given her verbal to the Tulane staff. The SA Heat player will join Danielle Blagg to form a SA connection for the Greenwaves.

Congrats to the Vorpahl family!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hot in July!!!

The 1st half of July has been good to a lot of local teams and players. More on them to come! One kid is crazy hot right now!!

Tesha Smith(2013)-  Smitty has been on a 10 day game tear. Her huge double doubles in wins vs NJ Sparks Elite, Cal Ballerz and Albany Rocks cemented her status as one of the best bigs in Texas. In the two days of communication, she has received love from Texas Tech, Alabama, Ole Miss, USC, TCU, UCF, Tulsa, Marshall, Southern Illinois, Arkansas Little Rock, SMU, NMST, UTSA, UNT, Wichita St.

All in less the two days!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Building with Bricks! The Blue Print!!

The inaugural ShesBallin "Blue Print" was just that, the foundation. Thirty three college coaches from twenty eight schools  came to San Antonio, including  twenty two Division 1 programs. In terms of a national scale, those numbers are small. When taken into proper perspective, those numbers are huge!

I have been on both sides of the exposure game. I have played in huge events, featuring hundreds of teams and hundreds of coaches and not had a single scout at my game. Slowly but surely, attendance at my games has steady risen. Now, when attending large events, I experience the other side. No less than a few dozen scouts sit in on the games with a few games earning 70 plus at times.

With that in mind, the Blue Print provided some clubs with the chance to play in front of coaches. Not just brag about attending an event WITH coaches, but attended an event and play in FRONT of coaches. The George Gervin Center allowed for coaches to view multiple games at the same time. While admittedly not the strongest field of teams, the event featured teams from Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico.

One of the best events that I have attended in terms of results was a small event in Houston that featured a couple dozen coaches. It was one of the best because of results; a couple of my players earned Division 1 offers from their performance at  the event. I have no doubt that some kids got a step closer to their goals of playing college basketball with their performance at the Blue Print!

The significance of the event will be felt in the fall, when college coaches finish the viewing period and get settled in for the school year. Then, many of the players attending the event will get the attention that that earned. Many new faces came to light and many familiar ones helped their standings and reputations. 

The game of the event  featured SA Finest Blue vs Louisiana Lady Blues. The Lady Blues feature eight players, seven of which have Division 1 offers. SA Finest Blue features nine players, seven of which whom have Division 1 offers(3 already committed). All twenty 26 and 31 coaches in attendance on Monday sat on the game. The crowd was over flow with players from other teams sitting on the floor and viewing from the second level. The SA greats like two of the Roberson sisters,  Arielle and Amber, Anissa Hastings and Tai Dillard were in attendance. The Lady Blues feature great guard play, including Top 15 2014 Lawriell Wilson. SA Finest started slow, which has been typical in the first two events of July. The Lady Blues were a headache for Finest off of the dribble. The super quick and athletic guards and wings had the crowd oohing and aahing. Twice the Lady Blues extended the lead to double figures. SA Finest was down 10 with 3:30 to go before they decided to stop playing around. They cut the lead to five with a little over a minute to go when 2014 Recee' Caldwell hit a three off of a double staggered screen. She followed it up with a beautiful bank shot pull up jumper on the left side in traffic to cut the Lady Blues lead to one point . The crowd had encircled the court  and the coaches were sitting at attention, the atmosphere captured the best of club ball. Excited parents, hyped fans, pleased college coaches all anticipating the outcome.  After a few empty possessions, Wichita State commit and SA Finest Blue forward Briana Jones scrambled for a loose ball and timeout with 9 seconds to play. The Lady Blues immediately double Recee' Caldwell as she attacked the paint to find 2014 Wendy Knight. Knight used the dribble to attack for dribble pull up at the left elbow. However, she could not fully shake her defender. The heady Knight faked a pull up and allowed her defender to take the bait. She then calmly dialed up a 15 foot twine tickler!  Game Winner with 2 seconds left, SA Finest Blue prevails by 1. The win meant little for SA Finest and the lose didn't hurt the Lady Blues in the grand scheme of things. The game put a stamp on the Blue Print. Local fans had a chance to see 17 sure fire college players play against each other. College Coaches discovered some new prospects and became better acquainted with more. Wendy Knight catapulted herself up the recruit boards of many schools in attendance. And San Antonio won! Not the game, but the event. The Blue Print was a win for the city! Let's celebrate by ensuring that the players continue to mandate that college coaches come to the city. A popular saying goes, " If you build it, they will come". We now have the Blue Print!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blue Print Schedule!!

Click here for the Blue Print Schedule