I caught the scrimmages between Kerrville, San Antonio Lanier, San Antonio Lee and San Antonio Madison this past Saturday. Lanier was scrappy. Kerrville was without it's best player, 2010 Jonathan Perry who is out for about 5-6 weeks after having his medial meniscus operated on last Wednesday. They'll be a different team when they get their leader back. Lee has already been previewed here at an earlier date. I expect them to make the playoffs.
It was great seeing Lee Head Coach Tommy Hines back on the bench after having undegone open heart surgery just 3 weeks ago!
Congratulations to 2009 Jonathan Landry of Madison who committed to D-1 Coppin State who competes in the Mid East Athletic Conference. At the moment he's an undersized post, but his athletic potential can have him playing at a high collegiate level as his skill set continues to develop. He's explosive and had a couple of rim rattling dunks on Saturday. Now that his Pop, John is back from Iraq, he's seeing that the best training opportunities are available for his son. He's one of the nicest, most respectful kids you'll ever want to meet. He's the product of a great family that I've gotten to know pretty well over the years as both Jonathan and his younger brother (part of our Texas D-1 Ambassadors 2012 crew that lost the championship game at AAU Nationals) have been part of our organization. He finished up his club career with a team out of San Antonio.
Coach John Valenzuela's Madison Mavericks are shooting for their 3rd straight trip to the Drum for a crack at the 5A State Championship. Wagner, McAllen, several other San Antonio schools as well as Pflugerville, Westlake and Bowie will all be trying to dethrone the South Region Champs. This should be the strongest group of schools to ever represent this region which notoriouly has taken a back seat to the Houston and Dallas schools in the past. The boys from DFW and Houston would be advised not to take them for granted this year.
In addition to Landry, Madison will get Senior leadership at the off guard spot from 2009 Cameron Catlett an athletic lefty that can get to the rack. At the wing will also be another Senior in 2009 6'4" Travis Smith. He's battled injuries over the last two seasons but when healthy is a real talent. Expect him to sign with a Southland Conference school in the spring signing period.
The question mark for Madison will be how much their point guard 2010 5'11" Jamaal Johnson develops and matures as the year progresses. I saw him for the first time Saturday and came away impressed by his athleticism. He has a great basketball body. In fact, the Mavs are as buff a crew of high schoolers that I've seen. Looks like they all have taken the weight room extremely serious for this coming season.
The recruiting gem of the program is 2010 6'7" Steven Baird. Baird has an assortment of low post moves that will allow him to excel at the high school level, but when coupled with above average athleticism, a nice mid range shot, the ability to fire it up deep and to put the ball on the floor and get out on the break it all comes together to make him a high level national prospect similar to 2010 6'8" Daniel Alexander of Dripping Springs. Baird already has high major offers in his pocket, heading into his junior campaign. If he plays with a tenacity all season long then Madison is my pick to get to Austin.
Madison has a couple of key reserves I really like in 2009 6'3" Kevin Simmons who is a bouncy wing, and 2010 6'8" Jason Saleen who shows great promise as an up and coming post man.
With all the talent outlined above, it seems like a no brainer that they'll have a big season. I love the mix here; Landry's power, Catlett's ability to slash, Smith's length, Bairds ability to rebound shoot and post up, as well as put the ball on the floor. In concert with Coach Valenzuela's up tempo pressing system their depth will be another strength of this squad.