Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A quick update on the best San Antonio kids for the class of 2010. It has been a lot of debate about if the 2014 class is deeper than this class. These numbers and team success raises the expectation level for the 2014's.

Len'Nique Brown(NC State)
-Starting PG for #14 in country
Averages: 8.8 pts/4.5assts
Conference Rank
- Assists(3rd)
- 3Pt FG%(11th)
- Assist to Turnover(5th)

CeCe Harper(Kansas)
- Starting PG
Played in consecutive Sweet 16's
Averages: 10.1pts/5.79 assts /1.71 steals
Conference Rank
- Assists(1)
- Steals(7th)
-Assist to Turnover Ratio(7th)
- Minutes Played(5th)

Meighan Simmons
Starting Shooting Guard for #10 team in
Played in 3 consecutive Elite 8's
Averages: 15.1 pts/2.5assts
Conference Rank
- Scoring(10th)
- 3Pt FG%(5th)
- 3Pt FG Made(5th)

Jessica Kuster
Starting Forward
Averages: 20.9 pts/ 13.4 reb
Career leading scorer for Rice
Conference Rank
- Scoring(3rd)
- FT %(5th)
- Blocks(8th)
-Minutes Played(3rd)

* Jackie Woods is 4th in the Heartland Conference for St Mary's (Div 2)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Insecurely Confident

This high school coach is recruiting. That club stole my players. Nike has a new circuit. She plays for an adidas team. Her dad is going to ruin her. Her mom talks too much. She, He, They, Them would tell you to start with ME! As in, worry about yourself and take care of your own business.

Girls basketball seems to be full of posers. People claiming that they are competent and capable but spend so much time worrying about what others are doing that it affects(infects) their abilities.

 It should be a great time to be a girls high school basketball coach. The competent ones are thriving. The HS leaders are seeing kids stepping onto their campuses and they are more skilled than ever. Save the argument that kids are less fundamental these days for someone else. I remember girls HS basketball in the early 90's. I remember having to sit for the HS  girls game before our games and today's game has easily gotten better in terms of skilled players. The problem is that old habits die hard. Girls basketball used to be a sport where a TYPICAL coach would not have to put as much effort in it as a boys coach would. I did say TYPICAL. Title 9 was a gift for female basketball players but a curse for the high school coach that is lazy. Now, kids are chasing the educational opportunities that Title 9 has helped give female ballers. HS coaches are under the lights. Those that give their all and are good at what they do will not have to worry about another coach recruiting their kids. In large part, good and capable HS coaches will not lose players to recruitment, instead, they will have young families wanting to attend their schools. In Texas, look how many kids MOVE TO Duncanville or Georgetown to have a chance to be lead by HS greatness. Surely greats like Kathy Self-Morgan and Rhonda Farney do not lose sleep because of another high school is talking to their kids. They will surely lose a few but gain many that will appreciate their expertise. They have learned that to keep their "significant others", they have to spend more time  

Some segments of Elite club basketball has evolved into something of a hybrid; part college program and part pro team. The clubs with the most national connections, understands best how to capitalize on the image of Lebron James or Derrick Rose and have the most money are the "best" program. The ability to teach and develop has taken a back seat to securing the best teenagers possible and claiming elitism. That said, Cool! Very few programs are on this level. Very few individuals have the resources to financially sponsor, keep and lead elite players. Kudos to them! Since most kids are not capable of playing at the level that these individuals thrive at, Move On! Club programs, not on this level, should concentrate on what they can control; teaching and development! Choose PARENTS wisely, since they are the ones who will eventually field the calls of the elite clubs recruiters once "your" players are worthy of "elite circuits". If the parents believe in what you are doing and the appropriate college attention is garnered, they will stick with you because you are a 'Day One'. If not, Keep It Movin!  Slang intended! This is not boys basketball where keeping a future NBA pick can set you up for life. This is girls basketball where setting up girls for life  is, or should be, the reason. Let the de facto amateur pro teams and their general managers assemble teams for trophies and prestige while you concentrate on learning and teaching your craft. Helping a kid earn a full ride to a good mid-major like Rice may be worth more in the long run than coaching a kid up to UCONN.

Daddy and mommy should stop tripping. As I have written previously, basketball is a beautiful buffet. Who's the best? Candace, Taurasi, Augustus, EDD? Best college player is Chiney, Odyssey, Stewart, KML, Thomas? The answers are all opinions. The problem is when parents get caught up in making villains out of other players (teenage girls) in an attempt to bolster their own baby. I have gotten caught up in this madness in the past. The great thing about the game is that it does not lie. Eventually, the fake will fade and the authentic will last. If your child is that good, her game will persevere and her gifts will be rewarded. Worrying about this kid getting written about and that kid made some all-star team is self depreciating. I tweeted that parents should rebound a thousand shots a day instead of worrying about club, high school and trainers so much. If parents attacked the development of their own children as much as they spend time worry about or criticizing others, their child would super nice on the court!  Really, go rebound a thousand shots a day and see the opportunities of your child increase. Heard a saying that the affluent should not let money raise their child. Well, the parent of an aspiring elite basketball player should not let club, HS or trainers raise their child. Get more proactive with your own child and later for all that venom. Haters parents raise hater kids.

This unusually cold season has prompted me to buy wood for my fire place lately. I'm learning what is a good deal on wood and which ones burn best. I found a good guy and will travel to hook up with him.  He is priced right and gives good quantity. An interesting thing happened recently, the cops kicked him off of his spot. In the spirit of good ol'  American entrepreneurship, he set up shop at another spot, right next to a guy that had been there for awhile. This guy has inferior product but carried himself as if he is a better business man. He WAS the best wood seller at his spot because he was the ONLY seller at his spot. While I'm waiting in a line to buy wood from my guy, the established seller makes his way over and gives his sales pitch by bashing his competition. If sales are made in the first few sentences, he wasted them on speaking negatively about his competitor instead of selling me on the reasons that give him a competitive advantage. What was his competitive advantage?  Only the lack of true competition. Sounds like all the high school coaches that use regulations to force players to play for them. Sounds like all the club coaches spreading rumor and negativity about other programs. Also sounds like momma or papa, loud  in the crowd, mad at the world because her/his daughter is not getting the so-called respect she deserves. Shout out to my wood guy! He is like all of those competent club programs, HS coaches and parents that take care business and let the Insecurely Confident tell on themselves through their inferior actions and hateful talk! Keep it Movin!

Monday, February 3, 2014

End of Season Quick Hitters

Playoffs are here! The real season begins and here are some observations from the end of the regular season.

Anissa Hastings earns her first of what should be many district titles in her career. Stevens wrapped up the title over a surprisingly good O'Connor team. Jules Rendon had a huge district championship game, finishing with 27 points and 5 assists. Rendon is an unsigned senior and worthy of some college looks. Hastings has brought to Stevens a hard driving that style that helped her become a University of Texas basketball player. She refuses to baby players and is old school in her approach.

O'Connor's HS Carmen Wilson did a great job this season leading her vertically challenged team to 2nd in 27-5A. Wilson lead her squad to good wins over Brenham(#8 in 4-A) and SA Express News Top 10 teams Wagner and Churchill. Junior guard Amber Vidal averaged 13 and Kasey Saldana chipped in 11.5 for the balanced scoring attack. O'Connor finished the last TABC poll ranked #25 in state of 5-A. Coach Wilson lead a team with a free flowing offense that had two additional players average 9 points a game, Victoria Pena and Shelby Miller.

How good is Brennan? Better yet how sharp will they be after a cakewalk through district? Will we see the team that beat O'Connor 70-17 in November? Or will we see a team that has not been challenged much as of late. Word is that Brennan undertakes a college style practice where the frosh boys team keeps them sharp by giving them a taste of their own medicine. How do you beat the #1 ranked team in 4-A? Zoning them may not be the wisest strategy. Brennan has four players shooting at least 40% from 3, led in percentage by freshman Meagan Valdez hitting 43% of her attempts. A fifth player, Kalani Marquez is signed on to play at St Mary's and strokes it at 35% from the arc. And since numbers don't lie, how about post players shooting 51%(Eliza Martinez/6'1), 51%(Deja Mason/6'4) and 63%(Tia Mason/6'2). Anything but a state title from the Bears would be disappointing.

Speaking of Brennan, state titles and the last name Marquez, the Bears principal Gerardo Marquez is the kind of leader athletes hope for. Principal Marquez was Coach Marquez when he led Fox Tech boys to a state championship in the mid 90's. He was principal at John Jay HS when the Mustangs won the boys title in the early 2000's. When he became principal at Brennan, Randy Evans wanted the boys job but had to settle for the girls position instead after Wagner coach Tina Camacho stayed put. Marquez had a young coach he mentored in mind for the boys position in Tommy Hines. Coach Hines had just finished coaching the greatest statistical scorer in city history at Lee HS, Paul Garnica(Northern Colorado/UTPA). It is no wonder that John Azzinaro (Bucknell), George King (Colorado), Jordan Murphy (offers from Maryland,Baylor,etc) have thrived under Coach Hines, who understands how to coach HS stars. Back to the girls, after Randy Evans rode the talented Brennan girls to an undefeated record and his first coach of the year award in 20 plus years of coaching and transferred, to Johnson HS, Marquez had the foresight to do what many lack the courage to do; get parents involved! Marquez set up a hiring committee of parents to help him choose the next basketball coach. The parents were uniquely positioned to know what their girls did not want and chose Koty Cowgill. If Brennan wins the title, Marquez would have been involved in the last 3 champions the city has produced in basketball. Sounds like an elite leader to me!

Realignment is out and Brennan will join the big girls of what is now 27-6A. The new changes will see that Clemens and Steele join up in 25-6A with Judson and Wagner to form one of the 3 power district  in the city. 26-6A will stay in tact and is the other "power district" in the city.  

 In what is now 26-5A, Reagan has wrapped up a 4th consecutive title. This gives Rice bound guard Wendy Knight her 4th title in her playing career. In a conference that has sent over a dozen kids to the D1 level since her debut as a freshman, what Knight and her Rattlers have done is remarkable. Though the two-time , soon to be three-time, Super Teamer is one of the most successful players in city history, Terry Barton is another leader that deserves so much of the credit. Coach Barton has allowed Knight to grow her college aspirations and win! The 5'9 sharp shooter has never played in the post. To outsiders reading this, this is a non-issue. However, in her own district currently, I can name two D1 bound guards that routinely play in the post for a coach that chases wins over development. Kudos to Terry Barton and congrats to the wonderful Wendy Knight!

New Comer of the Year should be interesting this year. The front runners seemingly are two of the brightest kids in the nation in the class of 2017. Kiana Williams and Gabby Connally both had outstanding campaigns .Connally lead third place Brandeis is scoring at 14.7 points a game. Williams averaged 9.5 points a game for a balanced scoring attack for the district champ, Wagner. Both prospects are rated in the Top 60 in the nation.

 Speaking of Williams, the freshman guard recently picked up another D1 offer, this one from the University of Washington. The Kansas Jayhawks, a school that offered the Willimas last July, will be in town tomorrow to sit on the PG. Williams benefitted greatly from the additional exposure of playing in the Sandra Meadow Classic in December and a match-up vs Top 100 guard Japreece Dean. The super quick Dean has jumped up recruiting boards across the country and has visited Texas Tech and Oklahoma State recently. The Wagner coach understands the importance of scheduling tough to prepare her kids and her team for high school games and beyond.

Playoffs Predictions coming.........