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".