Wednesday, November 12th was what is known as the "Early Signing Day" for NCAA basketball. Based upon my personal knowledge and cross referencing with what was reported by the Austin American-Statesman and the San Antonio Express News there were 8 young men who signed their National Letter of Intent (NLOI) from the Cen Tex/South Texas area.
I am very proud that all 8 of these kids played for the Texas D-1 Ambassadors over the years. Coincidence? This number of signess is higher than it has been in most seasons, but is not near the level it ought to be. We have work to do here in the area. The players overall need to become tougher mentally and be more committed, the club coaches need to do a better job and finally the high school coaches need to step it up as well. It takes a community to raise a child, as the saying goes. By contrast, the Greater Houston area had 40 early signings, as reported by RCSSports.com
Top Right: 2009 6'8" Osas Ebomwonyi of Pflugerville HS. Lamar University Cardinals (Southland Conference) Shown above with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors going high above the rim against Team Arizona, the lanky "Sauce" is a late bloomer with a tremendous upside. His offensive game is still developing, but he is an above average rebounder who is a very quick leaper for a Big. His strength at the moment is his ability to block shots. Osas broke his leg about 3 weeks ago, but is well on his way to mending and being in the Pflugerville lineup by Christmas. He had multiple offers including Sam Houston State, Montana State, UT-Arlington and others but chose the Lamar Cardinals. A good portion of the reason is that despite his leg injury the Lamar staff never waivered in their offer.
Middle Left: 2009 5'10" Kendric Robinson of San Antonio Southwest HS. UT-San Antonio(Southland Conference) Shown above in his Texas D-1 Ambassadors uniform blowing past a defender at the Duel in the Desert. Kendric spent 5 seasons as a member of the Texas D-1 Ambassadors. He is the best pure shooter to come out of this area since A.J. Abrams of the University of Texas. Kendric is on pace to break NBA player Devin Brown's career scoring record for the City of San Antonio. Kendric's first college offer came as a high school freshman when then Texas A&M Coach Billy Gillispie invited Robinson to become an Aggie. According to Rivals.com Kendric is the top signeee in all the Southland Conference this year. Coach Brooks Thompson's UT-San Antonio Roadrunners have gotten a steal in the local product. Kendric wanted to stay close to home and play in front of friends and family.
Middle Middle: 2009 6'5" Jordan Jahr of Austin Lake Travis HS. Air Force (Mountain West Conference) Shown above with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors #23 contesting a shot against the Illinois Fire. Jordan spent his final summer with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors and chose the Air Force Academy for academic as well as athletic reasons. He was also recruited by Navy, and many of the California schools. Jahr is an excellent shooter with deep range. He can play a physical game when he puts his mind to it and will be a strong rebounding wing/guard for the Air Force Falcons.
Middle Right: Signing day at Pflugerville HS. Standing from left, T'J. Garza, Coach Mike Murphy, Coach Max Ivany. Seated 2009 PG Jonathan Garza and 2009 6'8" Osas Ebomwonyi. 2009 5'10" PG Jonathan Garza Lamar University (Southland Conference) is a great get for the Lamar Cardinals. Garza is the quickest guard in the Cen Tex area with a capable 3 point shot and an above average pull up jumper as he drives to the lane. he has a knack for raising the level of his game as the competition heats up.
Middle Left: John Henson formerly of Round Rock HS, now in Tampa, FL. University of North Carolina (Atlantic Coast Conference). Having had an opportunity to coach John as he evolved from a 6'1" WG to a 6'10" W/P was one of the most exciting things I've ever been associated with. In terms of pure potential John is the best player I've ever had a chance to have a personal relationship with. He has an ungodly wingspan which makes him the top shot blocker in the country, NBA range on his three pointer which is incredible for a big man and an assortment of soft shots and low post moves with either hand that makes him unstoppable. look for John to play one year, two tops for UNC Coach Roy Williams before he takes his game to the NBA as a lottery pick. John received his first college offer in April of 2007 after a game at the Houston Pearland Classic from Baylor University. From that moment on my phone blew up as the top programs in the country offered. Texas, Florida, Ohio State, UCLA, and on and on they inquired and courted him. In the summer of 2007 the Texas D-1 Ambassadors were followed around at every game by an entourage of 150 plus coaches primarily because of henson and fellow big man Cory Jefferson. The Tar Heels wrapped up the top recruiting class in the country in 2009 with Henson as it's centerpiece.
Bottom Right: 2009 6'9" Cory Jefferson of Killeen HS. Baylor University (Big XII Conference). Cory spent 4 seasons with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors where he developed from a skinny kid to one of the most accomplished post players in the country. Cory committed verbally a year ago to Baylor University and unlike many kids who give early verbals kept solid with the Bears, signing with them on Wednesday. Many of the high majors continued to court Cory but Baylor was the right fit because of proximity to his Killeen home and also that it was a faith based school with a rising basketball rep. Jefferson is now the top shot blocker in the State after the departure of the aforementioned Henson to Florida. Cory's game has developed to the point where his perimeter shot has become more reliable and coupled with his superior rebounding shot blocking and rebounding should have him as a big contributor to Baylor as a freshman. Look for Cory to make money playing the game after he completes his education.
2009 5'9" Jordan Brickman of San Antonio Clark HS Navy (Patriot League) Brickman played the spring session with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors and was recruited by high academic schools like Liberty. The Midshipmen will be getting a scoring PG who is a crafty player who can get his shot off in traffic. A streaky shooter, Brickman is capable of knocking down many 3 pointers in one game.
Top Left: 2009 6'4" Jonathan Landry of San Antonio Madison HS. Coppin State (Mid East Athletic Conference). Jonathan is an explosive, superior athlete who has played the post but will eventually make the transition to the wing at the collegiate level. He played with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors in his sophomore year. Coppin State gets a very good prospect who could end up being a star in the MEAC.
2009 6'2" G Garrett Brown of Angleton committed to Dartmouth (Ivy league). Garrett spent the spring session this year with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors. Brown is a scoring point with great insight into the game ands should have a very productive career in the Ivy League.
Congratulations to all these players and their families.