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)