Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Basketball Lessons from J-Lo!

In the early 2000's, Jennifer Lopez was It. Fresh off of her performance as the late great Selena, Lopez picked up the microphone and started a career as a "singer". Lopez had the foresight and luck to join a very hot producer named Irv Gotti during his incredible streak as a hit maker. Lopez became a disciple of Mary J. Blige and the genre she helped create which was Hip-Hop Soul. The difference between Mary J and J-Lo, as Lopez was increasingly known , was that Mary J could SING, while J-Lo could "sing".

Technology has touched all walks of life. The music industry is a major benefactor of technology and Lopez benefitted greatly from modern techniques. Her musical coach, producer, Irv Gotti knew the environment in which J-Lo thrived in. He kept things simple for her by writing simple verses that were heavy on the monotone requirements and stayed away from complicated voice arrangements. Lopez hits were hook heavy, catchy rhythms that even the untrained could sing along. Gotti used technology to add reverb to Lopez's voice in order to give it more substance. The result was a very successful album and designation as a pop star. Then J-Lo got in over her head.

One of the most difficult things for a grassroots basketball coach to ensure is that you are putting your players in a position to succeed. Our job is to teach supreme confidence in the face of competition. We help shape a positive vision for young players in a field that is full of rejection and failure. We preach that the odds can be beaten, that seemingly insurmountable numbers do not apply to our players.

While instilling self belief, coaches also have to keep in mind that like music, there are levels to success, ceilings in fact. And too like music, individual and collective ability determines a players success at conquering a certain level.  A grassroots coach will inevitably  face a time where their players are not capable of effectively achieving in a game, a time when they have hit their ceiling. VERY few players can play in ANY environment and still achieve. Those that do/can, eventually become the pros that we watch on TV.

The difficult part in realizing that your players are in over their heads is first admitting it. At times we can feel as though it is a personal indictment of our ability and resist  admitting that our kids are not ready. Then comes the hard part, benching or limiting the minutes of a player that you have taught to always believe. It is hard not to feel like a hypocrite. You have instilled an "I believe in you, so you believe in you" philosophy in your players, yet in those overwhelming situations, you obviously do not believe in them enough to play them. Being an integral part of their development, you feel you are positioned to know their strengths and weaknesses. You feel like, "who knows them better than you" and surely your positive intentions for their well being is beyond question.

 I am sure that is what Irv Gotti felt like after he and J-Lo created magic and enriched both of their careers. Gotti knew what J-Lo's ceiling was and he made sure to keep her on a successful level. J-Lo then chose to undertake a different form of music, singing ballads. The problem was that J-Lo failed to understand that she was not really like Mary J Blige. Unlike Blige, who was raised singing difficult gospel ballads in church, she could not go to that NEXT level and achieve the same results. J-Lo and her advisors, akin to some basketball parents, figured that since she may have outsold and received more praise on the Hip-Hop Soul level than Mary J at that time, she was as good as Mary J and ready for that NEXT level. Wrong! She should have listened to Gotti, the coach (producer) that KNEW her skill set best. Instead, her music career has been EXPOSED as a novelty. She "played in front of scouts" versus singers that were truly NEXT level performers and her career has never fully recovered. Basketball parents should take heed. Sometimes that Irv Gotti ,that has your child in the correct lane, is there for a reason. They know when to add reverb, a simple hook and a catchy rhythm. They also know that unlike J-Lo, basketball scholarships do not include royalties and you are paid(rewarded) on current production, not past performance on an inferior level.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December quick hitters!

Here is a quick look into some city happenings for December:

- The Wulf is showing why he is one of the premier coaches in the city. The Churchill leader, Cal Wulfsberg is arguably the best the city has to offer and his 19-1 record lends to that argument. True the Chargers have not played a very challenging schedule early but they will be heard when the fight for 26-5A is over.  The Chargers have quality wins over Top 10 Clark (twice). 2015 guard Mickey Flores is now the 'go get it done' piece that Wulf is riding this year. The tenacious and physically tough Flores is averaging close to 18 a game and is joined in double digit territory by Dori Villareal chipping in 12 a game.

Back to the Wulf, female basketball enthusiasts spotted the Churchill girls coach on the bench of a recent game as assistant coach for the Top 5 Churchill boys teams. This should be no surprise. The guy is a gym rat and I would be very surprised if he does not end up on the boys side soon enough.

- Speaking of girls coaches flirting with the boys side, NEISD head coaches, Terry Barton (Reagan), Randy Evans (Johnson) were both long time boys coaches. In fact, the story goes that Evans was turned down for the boys job at Brennan and took the girls job in consolation. It turned out to be probably the best move for him since the Brennan squad was loaded and led Evans to his most successful coaching season and his 1st and only SAEN Coach of the Year award after two decades on the boys bench. It also started a streak of Evans inheriting D1 players, another first for the long time boys coach.

- Staying on the subject of coaching, watching Triva Corrales zone offense vs Reagan was impressive. I had to scan my brain to realize that the zone offense she employed is one of the most common strategies that Michigan State men's coach Tom Izzo uses. Corrales is a student of the game and put her kids in position to get open shots. The problem is, Judson has a tough time making shots, from the from the perimeter or the paint. Simone Fields shot 75% for the game but had little help in the area of point production. That said, Triva's team is arguably the best in the city on the defensive end. They held #1 Brennan to 40 points and Top 10 Johnson to 34 points.

- Roosevelt's leader Rob Rheinberger has his team flying below the radar. The Roughriders are 11-2 with good wins over Southwest, Clemens and Brandies. In this down year for the city, Rheinberger's patient offensive philosophy coupled with his stingy defense will make a lot of teams uncomfortable.  They have decent size, aggressive athletes and a style of play that should prove difficult for some expected favorites come district.

- This city IS down! I championed the 2014 class as the most heralded in SA history so how can I say the city is down? No disrespect intended but it is the 2015 and 2016 classes that are thinning out the high school scene in the city. For instance, when the 2014 were freshman, the city had a strong 2011 class(Donovan, Govan, Roberson), a decent 2012 class(Mitchell- Cole,Berry,Gumbs) and a good 2013 class(Smith, Vorpahl, Allemand). This equated to close 50 plus D1 players going at it during that time. In contrast, I would be surprised if there are more than 35 D1 players playing in HS today. It also hurts that two Top 10 nationally ranked guards are not playing on the local scene.

- With the thin depth around the city, coaching is going to become even more important in 5-A. Coaching and toughness! When I sit back and think tough, I see Judson as a team that will cause problems come playoffs and a Steele team that has the most on-court "alley cats" equipped to battle. When I think coaching, Terry Barton's team will execute when needed and Tina Camacho always seems to find a way during crunch time.

Some players getting it in early!

Brackenridge Offense- Averaging over 60 pts a game in 17 outings. Miranda Acuna leads them with 14.8, Breean Rodriguez earning 14.2 and Skylar Reyna putting in 13.2.

Bailey Quisenberry- Devine HS- The savvy 2016 PG is averaging close to 18 points and over 5 assists.

Liz Cathcart- Smithson Valley- The 2015 SF is producing over 13 pts and close to 8 brds a game.

Gabby Connally- Brandeis- The freshman combo guard is leading 27-5A in scoring at over 14 a game.

Desiree Rodriguez- 2014 G for Southside is putting up 16 plus a game while shooting 36% from 3pt land.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Unsigned Seniors in SA

With the early signing period ending, it is time to shine some light on SOME of the best unsigned seniors in San Antonio. In no particular order, the 15 players listed below are surely college caliber players. In the right fit and/or a stop at the junior college level, a hand full of these players can contribute at the Division 1 level. Overall, all of these kids should have a good portion of their college educations paid for through basketball.

 Antania Newton(Stevens/5'7)- A really solid combo guard. Can handle the PG but is also shooting 43% from 3 early. Can facilitate, score, and defend.

 Ashley Ross (Wagner/5'7)-  Strong off of the bounce. Can shoot the open 3 and score in traffic. Early numbers do not indicate her true ability.

 Kaelynn Wilson(Wagner/ 5'10)- Undersized 4 and very good athlete. Putting up big numbers early with 17ppg for Top 10 Wagner. A sneaky scorer, does not need a lot of shots to produce.

 Sarai Rodriguez(Steele/5'7)- Savvy PG that can guard full court and hit the open 3. Solid handle and good leader. A gamer.

 Patience Gitau(Cole/6'0) - The 6'0 post is averaging 18 ppg for SA Cole. She has good hands and strong frame. Gitau added a face up game from 15ft this summer.

 Mykel Costly(Brandeis/6'1)- Best shot blocker in the city. College frame already. Finishing better in thru contact.  

 TT Pressley- (Clemens/5'8) Quick defensive specialist 3 steals per game. Scoring at a good clip early at around 17 ppg. Has Clemens(4A) in Top 10 in the city

 Deleesha Monroe(Stevens/5'10)- Undersized PF with good touch. Can face up and hit the jumper. 6'1 wingspan and super strong frame lets her rebound at a high level.

 Samantha Allen(Judson/ 5'5)- One of the quickest lead guards in the city. On ball defensive specialist. Does a good job setting the table for others.

 Shameka Brown(Judson/5'9)- Athletic wing with great defensive instincts. Tough kid, good motor. Can slash and score in traffic from wing.

 Sabrina Cantigal(Clemens/ 5'8) - Solid scorer with a strong frame as a 2 guard. Touches paint for most of her 15ppg.

 Hannah Thompson(Brandeis/5'7)- One of better floor generals in the city. Super strong body. Really good table setter and IQ kid.

 Devon Branch(Boerne/ 5'7)- Explosive guard in transition. Can hit the open 3. Strong to the rack and draws fouls at a good rate.

 Jules Rendon-(Stevens/5'5)- Tough guard. Puts pressure on the defense thru constant penetration. Good defender.

 Amy Saucedo- (MacArthur/5'7)- Best unsigned  long ranger shooter in the city. Good ball handler and solid defender. Can play some combo.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Brennan HC Koty Cowgill Talks SA Basketball!

Reigning SA Express-News Coach of the Year, Koty Cowgill joins us to discuss San Antonio basketball. Touches on:
  • Being passed over for numerous jobs locally
  • Differences between collegiate and high school levels for players and coaches.  
  • What will it take for a local team to win state.
  • And much more!!!
Click below to hear the Brennan coach talk shop!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Brennan vs Steele Recap!

Predictions: In an attempt to be a bootleg Dan Brown, I gave my prediction for the game "encoded" in my last blog. What many thought was a problem with my fonts, I spelled out my prediction in red capitol letters from the top down. It reads, "Brennan By 5". Lucky guess, but Brennan did prevail by five, 65-60!



Atmosphere- The young  skinny Black dude led the cat calls. Dressed in an extra tight T-shirt and rocking baby dreads in his hair, the youngster had the student section jumping! "Turn Up" is what punctuated every chant. Brennan seemed to feed off of the energy as they mounted a comeback after being down by 15 points at halftime. The small gray haired Caucasian woman in the middle of the student section getting "turnt up" with the kids was as amusing as the game was exciting. In a city that plays high school games in huge empty stadiums, the on-campus environment gave the game a feel of importance. Many of the game participants will go on to play at the next level but few will play in front of a more hyped crowd celebrating them!  



Star Power- Tanaeya Boclair shook off a slow start and took over in the clutch. The Utah bound forward finished with 24 pts 14brds, mostly all in the second half and OT.  Tay frequently caught the ball outside the 3 point line, faced the basketball and attacked the rack! She continues to show her progression as a forward that can play on the perimeter and in the paint. She never wavered and provided a steady influence on her teammates as they faced a seemingly insurmountable lead.


McKenzie Calvert stats are not posted online yet but my prediction of her having 30pts had to be pretty close. Calvert is a young expert at showmanship. She made athletic plays in transition and at the rim. She sacrificed her body to draw timely fouls vs Brennan's huge front line. She hit free throws and stared at Brennan's student section "like what"! The inspirational leader of Steele did her part to help her team win but came up a little short in the end.



Guard Play- UTSA bond Carlie Heineman overcame early foul trouble and hit 2 huge bombs off of well ran sets late in the game for Brennan. Heineman and Kalani Marquez came up big when it mattered. Marquez did a good job shadowing Calvert to her left and being physical with her. She also won a couple 50-50 balls and hit 2 big free throws in the waning seconds.


Sarai Rodriguez was really solid for Steele all night. The PG is small but very quick and effective. She hit a jumper or two but put constant pressure on the D with the dribble. Simply put, Rodriguez in a Division 1 caliber lead guard.  



Baby Bear- Brennan freshman Kinzie Heineman played beyond her years. She did a remarkable job handling the pressure of Steele and running the point. She weathered intense ball pressure and still got the Bears into their many structured sets in the clutch. Brennan does not win without the heady play from the fabulous frosh.


Old Reliable(s) - Grand Canyon commit Eliza Martinez hit timely shots and provided key boards and blocks to keep Brennan close when Boclair and Carlie Heineman started slowly. The 6'1 post hit three 15ft jumpers and a beautiful midrange runner in traffic to keep the Steele defense honest. Foul trouble sat her down early but she was Brennan's best player at times.

Bri Millett shot the ball well from the baseline short corner early for Steele. The strong wing showed her smooth touch as she finished a few dribble kicks by splashing open looks. Unfortunately for Steele, she fouled out early in the 4th quarter.

Erika Chapman had the tough task of keeping Tay Bolcair in check and did so for the 1st half. Chapman also finished strong forays to the rack at crucial times in the games. The wing could have probably used more touches on the offensive end. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if she was allowed to use her face up game from the pinch post to go at Boclair, who basically rested on the defensive end since Chapman had limited touches.


Coaching- Anyone not knowing how good Brennan's Koty Cowgill is got a glimpse tonight. EVERY set he ran down the stretch resulted in quality looks at the basket, most ending up in buckets for Brennan. Down 15 at half, double figures going into the fourth, Cowgill kept his kids focused and used his timeouts perfectly. He substituted offense for defense resulting in fluid scores and important stops. The most telling set was a staggered pick and roll that ended up being a flare for the second screener, shooter Carlie Heineman. The same set was ran for Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis for UCONN last night. The next time down, they ran the same set but Cowgill knew that the defense would jump Heineman so they hit an isolated Boclair for a paint touch for 2. Those 5 points changed the game! Uncle MOmentum by that time was on his side. Game Over!
The last game I attended that felt like this was a Wagner vs Steele battle during the Len'Nique Brown and Meighan Simmons years. This game exemplified what is right about high school basketball. Dedicated and skilled players, passionate coaches, fans acting up, crowded stands, hard fouls, big shots, people anticipating twitter updates............

Monday, November 11, 2013

SA Early Season Quick Hitters

The first 2013-14 addition of Quick Hitters follows:


- Stevens is going to be a tough out come playoff time. The way they play defensively will cause problems for teams that depend on scoring in the half court. Close losses in the Northside Tournament to Brennan and Wagner showed that Stevens can play with anyone in the city. Point guard Antania Newton is looking good after sitting out after transferring from John Jay and will have a Breakout season.

- Boerne looks very strong in 3A. They are deep and talented at multiple positions. However, the NISD touRnament showed them that they have a long way to go when matching up with the "big girls" of 4A-5A.

- The much anticipated matchup featuring the top teams in the city is tomorrow. SA ExprEss News #1 Brennan vs # 2 Steele. Keys to the game.

·         Can Brennan keep USC bound McKenzie Calvert off of the free throw line? Calvert, like all good scorers, has a kNack for drawing fouls and eating at the free throw line.

·         Can Steele turn over Brennan? Brennan is without a true PG and must break the press by committee. If Brennan is uNaffected by full court pressure they will be tough to beat.

·         Can Steele manufacture "easy points". Steele has yet to be tested without the services of Kyra Lambert this season. The 'Kyra Effect" did not show up on her personal stat sheet. She Allowed others to score with her defense and constant attacking pressure on the offensive end.

·         Can Brennan use its substantial size advantage to control the boards and earN second chance points. Rebounding and limiting Steele's second chance points should not be much of a problem but will Brennan be able to dominate the paint with put backs? Grand Canyon commit Eliza Martinez is shooting 62%  and Presbyterian commit Deja Mason is finishing at a 58% clip early.

·         Prediction- Calvert will go for 30pts. Tay Boclair will have 20 and 10 brds. But the game will come down to Brennan making perimeter shots vs Steele's zone in order to win. Steele will have to score in transition and get double digits out of 2 more players besides Calvert . The winner will be....

- Speaking of Brennan, Coach Koty Cowgill has decided to play an arduous schedule early playing Top 10: Reagan, Stevens, Steele and Judson in the same week. Smart since his district will not challenge the Bears much.

- Johnson may be the favorite in 26-5A but the districts is Reagan's to lose. Sara Lewis's is steadily getting better and is a growing inside presence. Reagan can stretch defenses with the best shooting Backcourt in the city, Mailee Jones, Anya Curtiss and WendY Knight. Wendy Knight is well, Wendy Knight. She's been solid since day one on Reagan's campus.

- O'Conner looks good early. They are small but scrappy and move the ball well. Amber Vidal'15 is having a great start including giving 19pts to Top 10 Judson, 24pts to Brenham, 19pts vs Top 5 Wagner.  


- Wagner has 2 early losses but will be ok as usual late. Kailynn Wilson'14 is doing it early. The kid is athletic enough to play at the D1 level. She is averaging 17pts fresh off of volleyball.

- Speaking of fresh, 2 ACL injuries already this season. One has to wonder if some teams already playing close to 20 games in fall leagues has something to with it?  20 fall league games plus 35 high school games is 15 more games than NCAA D1 men play!

- Dominique Randall is averaging 9 points early for Judson. While that may not jump off of the page, please consider that Judson is averaging a tad bit more than 40 points a game. Randall is an impressive athlete.

- Brandeis is good and deep! They had a tough time scoring in the half court at times last season but does not seem to be a problem this year with Fabulous Frosh Gabby Connally on board. Mykel Costley has improved finishing in the paint and PG, Hannah Thompson is a capable floor general. The loss of sharp shooter Kelsey Glassburn to a knee injury hurts their chances of winning the city but the return of Morgan Williams from volleyball should help. Watch Treasure Riven at the PF position. The kid is strong in the paint.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Will 2017 SA class be the best ever?

The 2017 class is loaded in San Antonio. Here are the Top 5 players according to this blog. Do not be surprised if most of these 5 youngsters are considered Top 100 kids nationally when it is all said and done.

Kianna Williams (Wagner)
Gabby Connally  Brandeis)
Makala Mabry (Alamo Heights)
Hannah Knight(Poth)
Brittany Rogers(East Central)

Click the podcast to hear some of the best of the rest and details on this impressive group!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

PBR's Mark Williams talks Top 2014's in the country.

PBR debuted their Top 175 players nationally for the class of 2014. PBR's national scout Mark Williams talks Arielle Atkins, Briana Turner, Texas 2016's, California depth this year and more.....

Monday, November 4, 2013

Central Texas Report w/ Joe Dean

D1 College Report founder Joe Dean joins us for a podcast on Central Texas.

Top 15 Players in the City of SA

In what has been a yearly occurrence since the inception of this blog, here are the Top 15 kids in the city. Detractors will mention the heavy  SA Finest presence. The same thing happened in 2010 when TeamXpress had a virtual monopoly on the Top 10 players in the city. Bias has nothing to do with it as the college coaches spoke then, as they do now. SA Finest had eight out of the fifth teen Division 1 players in the city. Of the four BCS bound kids in the city for 2014, SA Finest has three.  I have also included National Rankings for those not in the know about where our local kids fit in the eyes of the "experts".

1. Recee' Caldwell(2014/ FEAST Homeschool)-UCLA

National Rankings ( Prospect Nation-#6, All-Star Girls Report-#6, ESPNW-#9, Bluestar-#10)

Only kid to make USA Basketball while still in high school in SA history. 2 time Team USA Invitee, won gold medal w/ 2011 u16 Team as a 14 year old. Had pretty much choice of school including offers from the last 3 NCAA champions, 4 out the last  5.  A gym rat with Basketball IQ and ability to shoot off of the bounce that rivals any player in the country. Arguably the best facilitator in the state/country. Now playing at FEAST home school after sitting out last season to improve her game and heal nagging injuries.

2.McKenzie Calvert(2014/Steele) USC-

National Rankings( ESPNW-#16, ASGR-#37, Bluestar-#58  , Prospect Nation-#72)

Former Baylor commit reopened and decided to go west. Two time Team USA invitee. Should finish in Top 3 in scorers in the history of the city.  One of the best transition scorers in the state /country. Plays with an edge that sets the tone for her state runner-up team. Has improved her jump shot, also a gym rat. Idea frame to live in paint at next level and cause havoc on defensive end.

3. Kyra Lambert(2014/Clemens)- Former Texas A&M commit.

National Rank(ESPNW-#6, Bluestar #9, ASGR- #11, Prospect Nation-#34)

Transferred to Clemens but will have to sit out  junior year. Doesn't matter, still has pretty much  have her choice of schools at the next level. Fastest kid in SA with the ball in her hands. Good IQ and facilitator. Ability to create off of the bounce for self and others makes her one of   the most coveted guards in 2015 class. Potential to be a lock down kid and idea lead guard at the next level.


4. Amber Ramirez(2014/Wagner)

National Ranking(ASGR-#10, Prospect Nation #11)

The purest scorer in the city of SA. Can score in transition, midrange and is unquestionably one of best long range bombers in the country. Reads passing lanes extremely well and lives at the free throw line. One of the most recruited kids in the country with most suitors in Top 25 teams in the land. Like the 3 players mentioned above, first college offers came while still in middle school.

5. Tanaeya Boclair(Brennan/2014)Utah

National Rank (CGBR-#221/ 46th ranked  SF in country)

Followed up  a great high school season with a very good summer that saw her college options top 20 plus. Now possesses the ability to play stretch 4 at the next level with an improved 3ball. Should see her play some point forward for Brennan this season. 2013 Athlete of the year and 2 time SA Express News Super Teamer.

6. Gabbie Bowie(Johnson/2014)Utah

National Rank Peach State-#207

One of the most explosive athletes in the city. Also one of the most improved players. Another gym rat that has smoothed out her game to earn a spot at the BCS level. Showed that she can play the 2 this summer by knocking down open looks and handling some ball handling duties. Should have a breakout season on the offensive end , averaging 17 plus points a game if system doesn't play defense on its own players.

7. Wendy Knight(Reagan/2014)Rice

One of the most successful high school players in city history. 3 time district champ and two time Super teamer. Knight is one of the best spot up shooters in SA. Her size and athleticism allows her to score in transition and in the half court. Should average close to 20pts a game on a relatively young Reagan team. Headed to Rice after having double digit college opportunities. Don't be surprised if she leads Reagan to 4th straight district title.  

8. Erica Sanders(/Johnson/2015)

Former Texas Tech Commit

Another really good athlete that excels in the open court. Has been in the gym improving her mid-range game. Currently possesses the defensive ability and explosiveness that translates to the BCS level. As she continues to improve the 3ball and tighten her handle, she should get recruited at that level. Again, much of  her season(development) depends on offensive freedom.

9. Carlie Heineman(Brennan/2014) UTSA

Arguably the best shooter in the city. Her now 5'10 frame allows to routinely hit volleyball line range jumpers in rhythm. Showed that she can touch paint and use an effective runner while at Marshall. Handle is strong enough to handle some ball handling duties. Will surely find things much easier playing alongside Boclair and at least 5 additional D1 players at Brenan. Great teammate.

10. Simone Fields(Judson/2014) Univ Louisiana-Lafayette

Easily one of the best paint scorers in the city. Plays through contact and possesses the needed tools to score in traffic. Does a good job running the floor. Really good offensive rebounder for her size. Should  translate well to ULL as a power forward that causes matchup problems with her ability to operate at high post.

10. Avery Queen(Boerne/2014)Denver Commit

The most skilled post player in the city. Has stretched her already proficient mid-range jumper to 3point land. Has an array or offensive finishes. Favors a turn around jump shot from 10-12 feet. Best weapon may be her jump hooks with either hand. Should lead Boerne to state this season for 3A.

12. Erika Chapman(Steele/2014)Air Force Commit

One of the most improved kids in the city. Chapman has improved her range and ball handling ability, thus, enabling her to use her "sneaky" athleticism. A kid that never rattles, Chapman played a huge part in Steele's rise to the state championship game last year. A tough guard at the 4 spot in the city, she should transition nicely to the 3 at Air Force.  Can board bigger than her measurements and finishes extremely well in traffic. Go to Youtube and search SA Finest vs Cal Sparks and see her performance against two Top 30 players nationally.

13. Ashley Ross(Wagner/2014)

On the radar of this blog for a long time, Ross is ready! After suffering a knee injury two years ago, she looks back to full form which means she is primed for a big year for Wagner. One of the toughest kids to guard off of the bounce in the city, she has a knack for touching paint and drawing fouls. She has cleaned up her jump shot and has added a step back to her arsenal. With the right fit and focus, Ross should really thrive in an up tempo system at the next level.

14. Kirstin Kramer(Clark/2015)

Great size and good athleticism to translate well at the D1 level. Solid stroke from 3, she can also put it on the floor well. Has the ability to play at the BCS level if she continues to improve. Not sure what her true position would be at the next level. She is more than a spot up shooter but  not the prototypical playmaker yet.

15. Bri Millett(Steele/2015) LA Tech Decommit

One of the most crafty playmakers in the city. Has a unique blend of a strong body and soft touch, Millet is not a traditional kid. Could potentially cause matchup problems at the next level as she does in HS. Makes "basketball plays", can create off of the bounce but also has adept footwork off of the catch.  

15. Kalani Marquez(Brennan/2014)

Under the radar kid. Terrific size for low-mid major D1 shooting guard. Has long been known as a proficient shooter from deep but now has added a beautiful pull up jumper from the midrange. Handle has tightened up and basketball IQ is on point now. Understands spacing and exploiting match ups. Size and frame should allow her to rebound well from the guard position at the appropriate level.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Top 10 Coaches in SA- 5 thru 1

The following podcast concludes the countdown of the Top 10 high school coaches in San Antonio.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ugly Blue Chevy Malibu: Better than having no ride!

My mother had the ugliest car in the world. At least that is what I thought in the mid 80's. It was a funny shade of blue, Chevy Malibu. It was loud, big and unsightly. Four boys would pile into this dinosaur of a car and hope that it would not be a long trip. My mother drove that car faithfully for years. Faithfully! To two jobs, it got her there. To junior college, then to college to finish her degree, it got her there. When it was too cold for my brothers and I to walk to basketball and/or other sporting practices and games, old "Betsy" got us there. Maybe we were late, maybe we were a little uncomfortable or stressed when we got there but that old car proved its worth, served its purpose and is remembered as reliable!


Fast forward to a conversation that I recently had with one of the absolutely best assistant coaches in women's basketball today. This coach is a head coach in waiting, a former high school and college standout. She brought up a topic that is a sensitive one in the world of girls and women's  basketball currently; too many men coaching girls basketball. This coach shared the sentiments of many in the community that our girls are being led by too many men and in many eyes, they are men that are" in it for the wrong reason." This coach talked about seeing more and more men who don't know the game, constantly yelling at players and are living their dreams through the kids. Ouch!


Let's assume that this blanket generalization is absolutely true. Now what? Where are all of the female coaches at the grassroots level? And if they were to take the place of all the men that are "destroying the game", how would things be different? I guess the assumption would be less yelling, more discipline, better teaching, and role models that are in it for the right reasons? Cool! So..... what is preventing this much needed makeover of grassroots basketball? Bring on Utopia!


At a tournament this summer, I was overwhelmed with reflection. I felt convicted by my high handed opinions and supposed superiority. I fashion myself as a diligent skill set developer and often would criticize fellow clubs/coaches that failed to help gets kids better. That is where I went wrong. I primarily focused on on-court development, not TRUE development. Back to the tournament, I saw three teams from a well known organization. These teams were not the best representation of this huge organization in terms of talent. What struck me was that in the dog days of summer, 100 plus degree weather with humidity, two of the teams were led by middle aged men. No surprise there but a deeper look saw two men, fathers themselves, coaching 30 young girls for NO material gain! These men are fathers, to now grown daughters, that came up through the club program and yet they still lend a helping hand. I walked outside the gym and saw these men, and a female coach as well, eating $1 hamburgers, sharing french fries and drinking water in the gym's parking lot between the many games. Both of these men have full time jobs that they took leave from, in order for those girls to have a chance to play in front of coaches! These men have EARNED the right to live in nice homes, they have led their families, and possess the financial wherewithal to eat well balanced meals suitable for successful middle aged men. Instead, they sacrificed for what wrong reason?


Back then,I wished that my mom had that brand new Benz 190 that Kool Moe D rapped about. I would see some of my schoolmates parents in hot new Honda Accords, sitting on Dayton rims. I would be inwardly jealous of my teammates whose fathers who bent corners in clean Cadillac Devilles'. I now realize that those thoughts were shallow and short sighted. Deeper thought compels me to remember how many of my childhood memories were made possible by the reliability of old Betsy. What the naysayers of the current proliferation of men coaching young girls basketball must realize, is that these men are akin to old Betsy. Some of them are loud, unsightly and don't provide the smoothest ride. But like old Betsy, they are HERE when needed! Until the utopian paradise of Mercedes Benzes drive up to girls basketball to provide the best ride possible, the ugly blue Chevy Malibus will do. And like me, the young girls that are riding these less than perfect vehicles to a better destination will think back and appreciate how faithful old Betsy was!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Top 10 Coaches in SA- Number 10 thru 6

Here is the 1st installment of the Top 10 high school coaches in the city of San Antonio according to the blog. I tried to take into account not only winning history but player development(on and off the court), strategic ability, leadership ability indicated by players that play hard, etc. The Top 5 coaches will soon follow.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Congrats to class of 2014! How do they compare to SA's 2010 class?

ShesBallin blog started to shine light on local kids around the time that the class of 2014 entered middle school. Many of the players that have long been featured on this blog have made their college choices. How does this class stack up against the 2010 class in terms of D1 basketball players? Listen to the first podcast offered from this blog to hear the comparisons.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dear College Coach, Lead Us!!


“Coaches have to be better,” said Geno Auriemma..... “We have to teach the game better. We have a lot of coaches in this country, but we don’t have a lot of teachers. The players we’re getting need a lot of teaching. We have to work hard to make sure we can do that.”


This is an excerpt from the highly publicized "White Paper Summit", a gathering of the leaders of the women's game in response to the Ackerman Report.


Coach Auriemma did not specify what level of coaches he was speaking of but the implication seemed to point at the usual suspects in grassroots basketball. The immediate paragraph after his statement went on to say the following.


"One of the critiques of the current format in summer basketball is that too much attention is being paid to game competition and not enough on skill development."


I agree with both Auriemma and the idea of potentially certifying skill development clinics to emphasize what is needed in the game. If anyone can make this statement, it is Geno.


Last year around this time, my child went on her unofficial visit to Connecticut. To keep the story brief, we walked through the trophy case showing off seven national trophies(now eight).  It was very impressive to her but what stuck out most to me besides the extraordinarily  intense and detailed practice was what sat on Geno's desk. As he invited us in his office, I could not help but to notice a encyclopedia thick binder with the NBA logo on the side. After talking recruitment stuff, I finally got around to asking what the binder contained. Coach Auriemma went on to open up the binder and explain that he obtained it from a NBA associated friend. The binder contained the main sets from every NBA team. Again, the seven time national champion, a guy who turned a small farming community into a basketball juggernaut, apparently continues to improve his craft by studying the intricacies of the highest level of the game. Seven titles and gold medals and the guy still is getting better! He is right. We need better teachers. What we also need is college coaches to keep it real, be 100%, with every level of the game.


As a club coach, I cannot count how many times a college coach has complained to me about how remedial some high school practices are for the athletes they are recruiting. I rubbed some the wrong way with this blog about that subject.


Conversely, I can count how many times I have heard high school coaches exclaim that college coaches complain about how unorganized and lacking in skill set development club basketball can be for recruits. I have addressed  "rolling the ball out" and "chasing trophies" in club ball on numerous occasions as well.


What club and high school basketball coaches need, is for college coaches to LEAD us! Complaining about the product you receive without assisting those that produce the product is dishonest and counterproductive. And yes, I said product. These young women help generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for college coaches every year in salaries, fuel a lucrative grassroots tournament market and provide stipends and prestige to high school coaches. We should all be honest in this as well and stop making villains of one or more parties claiming that they are "in it for the wrong reasons". How many women's programs generate revenue and run in the black without being subsidized by men's football or basketball? Yet, college coaches are compensated handsomely. To an accountant, examining the bottom line, highly paid college coaches in a business that seldom produces a return is bad business. Are they in it for the wrong reasons? No, they and the players are the reason for the business and as business leaders, college coaches should lead their manufacturers in producing better quality! How? Who really knows?


Fundamentals are easy but philosophy is where it gets tricky. Do you teach two handed passing as a traditionalist or do you observe every elite guard in the NBA and WNBA and teach what they do at times, which is throw one handed passes versus aggressive defenses. Do you certify coaches to force ball handlers baseline or funnel to the middle help. Dick Bennett's Pack Line man to man defense or ear in the chest deny the next pass man defense. Matchup or traditional zone? Cross step or open step? Jump stop or stride stop. I-2 pull up or bunny hop jump shot? Two feet catch in order to determine pivot foot or permanent pivot. The contrasts are endless and what certification program will address this? I begged for USA intervention before. That ticked some people off as well.


Whatever change is implemented to teach coaches to be better, at every level of the game, it must start with honesty and stopping the fear mongering. High school coaches need to use their 3 hours a day to develop better players. Club coaches need to learn to behave more like" traditional coaches" in practice planning and stop yelling so much! And college coaches should be investing constructive criticism and knowledge into both of the these areas, instead of ridiculing both behind their back in fear of alienating them in the pursuit of recruits. Many college coaches are lamenting the lack of respect the current crop of players are exhibiting. Every generation seems to have this argument with the youngsters of the day but maybe the current disdain that these kids have is that adults are not "being 100 " with them. As my man Bunny Colvin says when addressing education and crime on the hit series 'The Wire' , " Whatever it is(in dealing with students), it can't be a lie"!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Shining Pennies!

Stan Smith is a legend to us. We are a tribe of Stan Smith followers. He was our coach. He is our coach! From all walks of life, from many different endings and professions, we all still hold Coach Smitty in high regard.


Our city was tough, populated by the haves and the have-nots. Both sides learned the ways of each other since all went to school together. On one side of town, many single mothers  dragged their sons and daughters to very emotionally charged worship services every Sunday. On the other side of town, a good number of mothers and fathers made sure their kids attended worship services as well, though the services were a little more subdued. Both sides had faith in a higher power, but the religion that unified all was Basketball. During the Tuesday and Friday nights of winter, standing room only crowds filled the gym without exception. Losing was not an option, almost a crime or sin to some. The elders were the former players, local legends that held every current baller to an impossible standard. The city's identity, pride and collective togetherness rested upon how "the boys" played. The fans were fanatical and Coach Smitty led the flock.


Smitty had a habit of walking around high school with his head down. You never saw the man's eyes as he approached you, yet he always seemed to see everything. Smitty kept his eyes on his prize, the loose change that others had dropped. Smitty would walk the entire high school multiple times a day, especially after lunch period, searching for fallen coins. The 6'4 old school former basketball star would pick up dozens of coins a day, most of them pennies. He would gather the penny, rub it between his fingers to remove excess dirt and put it in his pocket along with the others. To the unindoctrinated, it may have appeared that he was cheap or hard up for money. The truth was and is that, Coach Smitty owned many investment properties, free and clear of mortgages. He was relatively wealthy. He was and is an investor. He invests his time in shining the fallen pennies of the city and helping them, helping  us, understand our worth and value. He was and is a COACH.   


Coach Smitty would take that suburban kid, gamed honed by a doting father in a back yard court that ensured his son had a lethal jump shot, and married him to a style that challenged his toughness. Smitty pressed all over the court, non-stop physical ball pressure. That suburban spot up shooter was demanded to run faster than he could, be stronger than his body enabled. That non-confrontational boy was programmed to learn when to confront and disrupt on the court.


Coach Smitty would take that rebellious athlete, raised by a single mother, and demand discipline. The free flowing street ball impresarios were shown and obligated to understand changing pace, offensive spacing and exploiting match ups. The confrontational boy was programmed to learn when to use guile and passivity in order to outsmart the opposition. Using force and brashness enabled many to thrive but unchecked, can become counterproductive. Smitty knew and instilled this knowledge.   


Where have all the Smitty's gone? Where is that Coach that will pick up the fallen and shine them? Put them is his/her pocket and value them. Teach the weak to be strong and the tough to be compassionate. Many feel that a title or designation makes them a coach. Not true! Ability makes you an able coach. Smitty and his ilk thrive because they ARE the part! Many feel that since they are named coach, they are qualified to be so. A certification program, background check, degree and friends in hiring positions don't make the coach. The productivity and progress of the STUDENTS proves how great the TEACHER IS! Thanks to all the real COACHES that are investors that shine pennies, adding value and increasing worth, not just using them for personal  glory, status or position.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sit and Win or Sit and Lose?!!!

Every player wants to play. This time of year, so many prospects will make their college decisions based on many factors, potential playing time factoring in almost all of them. In a small sample size of 2012 players, I have averaged the minutes of McDonald All-Americans and the last ten players in the Top 300 according the reputable Dan Olsen's Collegiate Report.

Many of the Top 300 players in the country have both major and mid-major college opportunities. In my quest to see if the 290th ranked player played more than the 9th ranked prospect during their freshman year, I was surprised to learn the following.

2012 McDonald Americans averages:
Minutes played- 18.9 min
Points per game- 6.6 pts
Team Wins - 28 wins

(Imani McGee-Stafford stats were unavailable online. Her significant minutes would have help push the average minutes played to over 19.  Jordan Adams and Katie Collier were not included due to being injured the majority of the season. Also, by not including USC(Adams) Washington(Collier), and Texas(Stafford) in the win total, the win average is higher. Factoring in Stafford's win total of 12 at UT, the MDAA teams won average 27 games)

Now averaging the numbers of players ranked in the bottom of the Top 300, here's how they stack up.

2012 players ranked 290-300 on Dan Olsen Collegiate Report:
Minutes played: 17.34
Points per game: 4.71pts
Team Wins- 16.3

Comparing the two groups, here are some things that standout:

- Both groups played less than half a game on average.

- All- Americans played an average of 2 min more per game. They also averaged approximately 2 more points a game.

- The biggest difference between groups was in the win total. All- Americans played for teams that won 11 more games on average.

- Only two players on both groups averaged at least 30 minutes a game as freshman: Notre Dame's Jewell Lloyd earned 31.1 minutes for the All-Americans and Maryland's Chloe Pavlech led the other group with 30.2 minutes. Duke's Alexis Jones fell a few minutes short and finished with an average of 29.5 minutes.

- The top two scorers for both groups averaged 13 points a game. UConn's Breanna Stewart led the All-Americans with a 13.8 average. ULL's Ke'Alana Veal led the other group with an average of 13.1 a game.

- The 3 players from the non-All American group that chose BCS schools averaged 18.3 minutes a game, or about the same as the All-Americans. Everyone of the All-Americans chose BCS schools.

Using the average of these two groups, the rule of thumb seems to be that freshman, regardless of grouping, sit more often than not!The question then becomes, do you sit and win or do you sit and lose?

Undoubtedly, the reason that many of the All-Americans played so sparingly was due to the fact that they chose schools with past All-Americans already on the roster. Using that same logic, did players 290-300 do the same? More thoughts on this soon to follow.......

Sunday, August 18, 2013

PassThaBall Mixtapes!

The hottest Mixtape producer in the girls game, @passthaball spotlights some local kids.

Elite Beginnings!!!

While reading 'Sports Gene' by SI reporter, David Epstein, I was compelled to touch on the obvious correlation between early introduction to basketball and the best players in the country.Though I am only in the early chapters, Epstein recites a well known study of "elite" violin players and what separates them, makes for an immediate comparison to youth girls basketball. Epstein invokes a study in which 30 young elite violin players were separated into 3 groups: 10 that will go on to be international soloists, 10 that will make a good living in symphonies and orchestras, and 10 that will go on to be music teachers. All 30 are "elite", but what separates the elite from the Elite?  
One of the fathers of the best prospects in the country tweeted the above picture. This 2006 picture features players that were between the ages of 10-12 years old. It includes: Brianna Turner(Notre Dame bound/Consensus Top 3 player), Brooke McCarty (Texas bound/Consensus/Top 20 player), Brittany Branch(SFA), Alex Lapeyrolerie (Univ of New Mexico), Page Tippett(Columbia bound) Gondrezicks Sisters(Consensus Top 100 players), LuLu McKinney(Dozens of D1 offers),  Dominique Dillingham(Mississippi State),Veja Hamilton (TCU).
This picture is remarkable in that 10 of the 14 kids went onto become Division 1 players, two are probable All-Americans. As these 2006 Houston Hotshots showed, H-Town is flooded with talent. However, pictures like this one can be found all over the country. Early specialization is such a nasty word in many circles yet the story can be repeated time and time again. IT SEEMS that Elite players pursue the elite path early in their formidable years.  
While the Hot Shots were charting their path, the 2007 Martin Luther King Classic, held in an Orange County California gym, assembled some of the best young talent in country. Current Atlanta Dream GM and HC Fred Williams and current UW assistant Kevin Morrison came to watch these 10-12 year old elite girls compete! From LA to the OC to the IE, an area covering approximately 60 miles, hindsight shows the collection of talent was very impressive. Three particular teams featured at least 14 Division 1 players, 20 plus college bounds players and 5 potential All-Americans.
The best young team in LA was GBL, featuring Jordin Canada(UCLA bound/Consensus Top 10), Lajahna Drummer(Consensus Top 10) and Kendall Cooper(Duke/All-American).
 NJB Stars 2007 National AAU Champs
The OC's best team, NJB Stars, featured, Arica Carter(Top 100), Jada Matthews(Considering OK St, UNM, Utah among others) Andee Valasco (Top 100), Kahlia Lark(Fresno State), Sabrina Callahan(UCSB) Justyce Dawson(D1 offers) Bianca Velasco(D1 offers)
The IE's best team, Corona Lady Diamonds, featured Recee' Caldwell(UCLA bound/Consensus Top 10), Chyenne Butler(USC bound /Top 60) Monique Billings(Consensus Top 25), Cherice Harris(Univ of Arizona bound). 
These three teams battled each other almost every weekend during club season, creating an environment where iron continuingly sharpened iron.
About the same time in San Antonio, the best pre-middle school team was a talent laden Schertz Jaguar squad that featured McKenzie Calvert(Consensus Top 50) Kyra Lambert(Consensus Top 10) Ashley Ross(Numerous D1 offers), Erica Sanders(Former Texas Tech commit). In a younger age group in the city of SA,  a 4th grade Amber Ramirez(Consensus Top 10) would frequently face off against a 3rd grade Kiana Williams( multiple D1 offers before HS). 
Again, dozens of teams across the country featured the same dynamics. I venture to say that a VERY small number of college bound prospects in recent graduating classes were NOT involved in an "elite" like environment at an early age.
While the book 'Sports Gene' will go on to explain that "extraordinary athletic achievement" may be explained by genetic contributions, simple layman observation is all that is needed to surmise that productive environments and deliberate practice during the youth years is how MOST elite basketball players became so. Revisiting the question of what separates the elite from the Elite, the answer is out my depth, through surely culture, proper instruction, mental toughness, etc. play a huge part. What can not be debated is the overwhelming number of Top 100 players that took up this great game BEFORE middle school. Many of the Top 100 kids may have not been involved in "deliberate practice" before middle school but almost all had been introduced to the game through recreational leagues of some sort. As documented in the Elite Teams above, a good portion of these players found an "elite" environment that would go on to nurture their future success way before middle school.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Before you commit...Advice from former college coach

Official Visits
In my experience at a college coach and recruiter I always thought it was, or would be, a very bad idea for student athletes to commit prior to going on an OFFICIAL visit to the school that they plan to attend.  I always felt that there were so many things that could be observed by both parties (athlete/family, coaching staff) that would help to determine if it was a good fit for them long term.  Of course, as a recruiter you are going to do your best to present your program in the best light possible, to the degrees of hiding the things that you know will be a detriment to getting a commitment.  If athletes and parents are aware and can look past the bells and whistles you will be able to get a GREAT idea of what the next four years will look like..

The first thing that I would pay attention to is the interactions.  Those between the players and the coaches, as well as the player to player interactions are the most important (EVERYONE will be engaging with you as a recruit or a parent because they HAVE to be!).  It is always telling how many girl's come around and speak with the coaches 'just because.'  If they are choosing to come around and the relationships between players and coaches seem genuine and not forced it's usually a good sign.  Conversely, if the only time you see players on the team is at scheduled events it could be a bad sign for the way a staff maintains relationships.  Lastly, be very observant of the players on the team when there are no coaches around.  Programs that have players that they trust will plan for a lot of time for the recruit to be alone with the athletes.  They do this because they know how important it is to give a realistic picture of how the team interacts away from supervision.  As a recruit you will learn quickly what the team is like and what they like to do.  You will know there is a problem if they feel comfortable enough to offer alcohol/weed, or even if any of the girl's on the team feel comfortable enough to drink around you (or to have been drinking then come around).  If they are comfortable enough to do that in the few weekends each year that they are supposed to act appropriately then it is very much a part of the culture.  In my experience, it is typically a bad sign if the players on the team are asking a number of questions about your personal relationships.  This can (and usually does) signify that they are checking your boundaries for future relationships.  The last type of interaction to pay attention to are between the coaches and alumni.  It can be very telling how many former players will come to games and want to interact with the coaches.  If there are no former players in attendance there are usually reasons.  Some of these may be; that the coach didn't foster a meaningful/mentoring relationship that the student athletes deemed important for their life, the community doesn't offer very much in the form of post graduate employment forcing ALL previous players to go away for work opportunities (the same will be true for internships and growth opportunities), or that the university doesn't do a good job of providing a college atmosphere that brands people and keeps them vested in the culture (this one will be apparent if it is a new coach as the players coming back will be there because they LOVED their school and the experiences that it provided).  No matter what the reason is, if no alumni are around then it is not typically a great sign when looking at the big picture.  
The second reason why I think it is so important to go on the official visit is to get a clear picture of what the city/school looks like when you are there.  Take your visit, if possible, when school is in session, and so that you can be there on days and times when the campus will be at its fullest.  This gives a true picture of the social demographics of the campus, and how that matches up with what you are looking for.  It will also give you and idea of what the community is like.  For many colleges the university makes up a large percentage of the local population.  If you visit in the summer you will likely not get a good idea of the community and if it is a place that you will enjoy living for 4/5 years.  
Lastly, taking your official visits is important because it will allow you to see (hopefully) at least one practice and potentially a game.  Most schools will allow you into the locker room for the pregame speech because it can be planned out and is typically very positive.  Ask (recruit/parent) if it's possible to be around for the halftime speech or post game talk as this will give a much truer idea of what the experience is like.  Also, when watching practice be attentive to how the coaches teach.  As an observer are you able to grasp the concepts that are being taught and the manner in which they are being taught?  Look to see how patient the coaches are with the players and how the players interact with each other.  If the players on the team are positive and encouraging throughout (especially when things get hard) it is usually a good sign.  Try to be at the practice as much as possible!  This is where you will be able to see the most and coaches/players are most likely to forget you are there and be themselves.  Remember to be attentive to the details and try to ignore the show they they will put on the entice you.  Thank you and good luck!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spoiled or Smarter?

Dave Telep wrote a piece that called elite basketball players "entitled". His argument may be valid but here are a few thoughts.

One definition of entitlement is,"belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges".

How does one become deserving? One version of the "American Way" can be summarized as the belief that one rises by his/her own merits. The harder(smarter) one works, the higher they will rise. To deserve something is to "earn" it, as defined by Webster.

Elite basketball players on the boys side of amateur basketball ARE an industry. In fact, Dave Telep is well compensated for covering "amateur" basketball. That is not a shot at the very well respected Telep, I am a huge fan of his work. And in that work, he too is entitled to certain amenities that he has "earned". Every year, elders complain of the devaluing of morals, norms, respect etc, among the youth. Are the norms and morals of elite basketball players deteriorating into a culture of "entitlement"?  Maybe. Or, are the kids becoming smarter to the business of boys basketball and the fact that it evolves around THEM!?

Men's college basketball has a 14 year, 11 billion dollar deal to broadcast amateur basketball players during the Big Dance. I am personally VERY THANKFUL for the deal and the revenue generated by these amateurs. I so happen to be a father of two athletes whom, thanks to Title 9, college careers will be partially underwritten by the success of these young "entitled" basketball players.

The problem with us old heads, is that we still want the kids to believe in Santa Clause. We want these young men to believe that it is not mommy and/or daddy that "earn" enough for them to "deserve" gifts. We want them to believe that it is a heavy set dude, riding fictitious animals that fly, that provides the gifts FOR them! Not happening! These young men know THEY generate the revenue that EARNS the gifts. These young men know that they have spent incalculable hours honing a craft that only a very small percentage of the population possess. Fact! If the frequently stated "fact" that less than 3% of basketball players make it to college, and less that 1% make it to the Division 1 ranks is true, then how do we NOT expect these young adults to feel "deserving' or entitled? They do deserve it, they have earned it!

Harvard had an acceptance rate of 5.9% in 2012. Yale acceptance rate is 6.8%. Do these Ivy League schools have "entitled", as in "deserving", students? Of course they do. Many of these students go on to create enormous wealth, thus, providing tax dollars and jobs for many. How are they different from the tax producing, job creating basketball dunkers in boys/men's amateur basketball? An argument can be made, by fathers like myself, that the elite basketball players of the country have a greater social benefit to our country than the  Harvard educated Marc Zuckerbergs of the world. Before you laugh, please consider how many non-revenue producing athletes that are "supported" by the revenue that is produced by "entitled" basketball and football players.  How many young men and women would NOT have been afforded the opportunity to attend college on a scholarship if not for the revenue produced by these "entitled" amateur athletes? The NCAA commercials advertising the many former athletes that "went pro' in non-sporting careers directly speaks to the contributions of revenue producing athletes.

Technology has made everything seemingly faster and easier these days. No longer do we use maps when driving as GPS systems have become the norm. Consequently, many youngsters can care less that learning to Never Eat Sour Worms was how some of us learned to memorize north, east, south and west. Though we may not agree with how they get there, these youngsters are still getting there. We may forget that we were once considered the "entitled" ones. We "deserved" cable, not regular TV stations. We "deserved" tapes and CD's, not 8 tracks and scratched up records. We were not happy with the Rustlers and Wranglers of K-Mart, we wanted to sport Levis and Guess. Most of us expected our parents to provide these luxuries. Nowadays, these boy ballers help provide many luxuries to others. Should we be upset that they are being smarter than the generation(s) before them in recognizing their monetary value to an entire industry. Maybe us old heads are the entitled ones by expecting these elite worker bees to keep producing honey without tasting the fruits of their labor. Sounds entitled to me!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013