Sunday, February 24, 2013

Poetic Justice: Koty and his Golden Bears

The Brennan girls were hurt. They had given their all for the program. They sacrificed time, energy and individual fame for a cause. That cause was a chance to go to the State Tournament. They came up one game short and were set to have that bitter taste in their mouth all summer. Then it hit. The twitter feeds informed them that their coach, who demanded so much from them in the name of team, had taken another job. They felt duped, "hung out to dry". Their proverbial boyfriend and broken up with them through a text message, or that is the way a parent of one of the players described the emotions.

Across town, at a different high school, two players cried. Literally cried. These kids had worked with training gurus Gannon Baker and attended the great John Lucas clinics. They have been to Nike Regional Skills Academies , adidas Elite Camps and worked out with Women Basketball Hall of Fame players. They have played for coaches that groomed All-Americans like Ogumike Sisters and Meighan Simmons. They were so excited to hear rumors that their high school was hiring one of the best kept secrets in the country as their coach. And then, they read the same tweet the Brennan kids read, Koty Cowgill, former UTSA assistant coach, was not going to be their new leader.

This is not about what others are not, it is about what Coach Koty IS. A few years ago, UTSA would have never landed local stars like Tesha Smith and Niaga Mitchell-Cole. The UTSA elite/team camp has had national Top 50 players, Recee' Caldwell, McKenzie Calvert(Baylor), Kyra Lambert(TAMU), Amber Ramirez, Kianna Williams, AJ Alix(TCU), primarily due to Coach Koty's efforts. Despite his ability to reach kids as an elite recruiter, he knows his stuff. In this informational age where elite skill set instructors are a click of a mouse away, Coach Koty IS skilled. His jumper is as wet today as it was when he played. He can handle the rock as good as any kid in the city. Two ball, Three Ball, Combos etc., Koty can do everything he teaches. As far as X&O's go, he was only an advance scout for the WNBA Atlanta Dream the past couple of years. Local kids have been exposed to his unique abilities and the Brennan Bears' won!

"Kiarra Etheridge is a steal". This is exactly what I told a D1 school after the Brennan vs Champion game. This was the first time that I had seen Etheridge since the beginning of the year. The Marble Falls transfer has transformed from a 5'11 post player and athlete to a wing player with an improving skill set. I initially liked her in the fall but now the kid had the skills to go with her incredible motor. It was her effort that propelled the Bears to Austin. Why? Koty! Etheridge college opportunities have multiplied and the level of her offers have dramatically increased because she has been challenged to play her college position while in high school.

Tanaeya Boclair was considered and undersized post to most of the D1 schools that had offered her. Review any tape of Brennan last season and witness Boclair playing in the crowded post. She helped Brennan go undefeated and made the SuperTeam in the process. What she did not do was get individually better and increase her college readiness. That was until, Koty. Coach Koty immediately went to work teaching Boclair to extend her range on her jump shot and getting her to shoot "with a pause", as he terms it. The ability to elevate and shoot the 1-2 dribble pull up translates to every level of the game(see Cappie Pondexter and Maya Moore) and Boclair now possesses the formidable weapon. The results have enabled Boclair to add additional offers, including BCS opportunities to play the wing.

Eliza Martinez will give her all for you, as long as the 6'1 post player believes that you believe in her. Martinez is a different kid this season. The Mason sisters, Tia and Deja have continued to improve and make their presence felt. Point guard Ashlin Graham has had remarkable gains in terms of understanding time and score when running her team. She no longer pays tentative. Her defensive presence in the Regional Finals was very instrumental in the Bears victory. All of these kids have benefited from having a leader that truly understands that if players get better, the wins will follow.

The Bears are searching for a slogan for the T-Shirts. The shirts are for State. The parents and girls asked Coach Koty what does he want on the shirts. He tells them to choose a slaying because this is "their team".He goes on to state that he will hopefully have 30 more teams in his coaching career and this is the players team, their moment. Despite losing starters, all district performers and eventual college players, Alyssa Crockett and Kalani Marquez, the Bears have prevailed. Their disappointment has been turned to joy. No longer feeling betrayed, they feel blessed!