Tuesday, September 30, 2008
A bright light for the Crusaders will be 2009 6'1" G Raheem Odomes. They'll rely on him to do the bulk of the scoring and to still lead the squad in rebounds (10 rpg last year). He's extremely explosive in the open court with a 34" vertical.
Coach Farber says they'll trap a lot this season to try and offset their lack of height. They'll fight the good fight for a playoff spot, but it will not be easy.
My biggest disappointment, without getting into the local politics was that the other Killeen ISD schools; Killeen , Ellison and Shoemaker were not competing in this group. The rivalries are a natural and there are high quality kids at every one of these schools. Perhaps cooler heads will prevail and fences can be mended in the near future.
Regardless, I definitely appreciated the warm welcome though for www.texasbasketballinc.com and www.texasrecruit.com on their respective campuses.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Coach Avritt journeyed to Copperas Cove, as the Boys Assistant Coach where he turned me on to a wonderful athlete for the D-1 Ambassadors program. The boy, Robert Griffin is now a world class track man and starting QB for Baylor University as a true freshman. Later that year Coach Avritt became the interim Boys Head Coach at Cove in mid season and then the following year decided to switch to the Girls side because he felt that the kids were more coachable. He has since moved on to Liberty Hill where he's done a great job at the 3A level.
Not sure what's in the water at Liberty Hill but the Boys football & basketball, and now the Girls basketball are achieving with excellence.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Austin Lanier Guards; from left to right: 2010 5'11" Marquise Walker, 2010 6'0" Brandon Brown, and 2011 5'9" Abrie Anderson
Had a chance to sit with Austin Lanier Head Coach Matt Sandoval during his game against St' Stephen's. Coach was extremely upbeat about the coming season. After winnonly only 6 games last year Coach Sandoval feels like he has kids who believe, and also kids who are "good guys" and who are buying into his team goals. He is definitely shooting for a playoff berth this season, and returns most of last year's young starting team.
His key guys are as follows:
2010 6'0" Brandon Brown
2010 6'1" Twins Don/Jovon Franklin
2010 PG Marquise Walker
2011 G Abrie Anderson
2009 P 6'4" Pat Carter
Spent the evening in Austin at the Hoop Zone Fall League. Overall, the quality of teams did not come near the level of those I observed last week in the Pflugerville League. There were only two public schools participating; Austin Lanier and Cedar Park. The rest of the league consisted of two small private schools; Brentwood Christian, & Summit Christian. There was an intermediate sized private in Hyde Park and then two of the historically better privates in the State in Austin St. Stephen's and Austin St. Michael's.
An intriguing younger prospect caught my eye with tiny Summit Christian though. 2012 Jamal Shabazz a 6'1" G competed hard against a much superior St. Michael's team and had more than his share of aggressive plays and displayed a decent jumper for a frosh playing against some seasoned varsity players. We'll keep a close eye on him. His mom said he is projected to be 6'7". If so, it's goodbye Summit Christian, and hello 5A public...lol
My sources tell me that Shabazz was a freshman last year at Pflugerville HS, and apparently has reclassified at Summit. This is not a negative, because he is extremely young. However, ideally the reclassification should have been handled prior to entering high school. In texas, the UIL restricts kids to a 4 year eligibility period in high school. So, under these conditions the player could not play varsity athletics as a senior. If Jamal continues to develop then his options to transfer in Texas are limited. I believe St. Stephen's is the only school in the Austin area that deals with 5th year players. We'll keep an eye on this situation.
Ms. Cheryl, just so it's clear I am on the same page with you regarding his advanced academics. I think that is a beautiful thing. I am fully supportive and respectful of that. I was just clarifying my previous positive comments and stating UIL rules in Texas. I would agree that Jamal will accomplish great things and wish him the best. With all due respect though, if it's athletics he wants to pursue in addition to education then he will be severely limited as a senior without that year on the playing field. God is great, and will guide you as I can see from your comments. All my respect and best of luck. Let me know if there is anything I can ever do to help..Coach Max
Monday, September 22, 2008
From Left to Right:
2008 7'0" James Blasczyk (Friendswood HS) signed with Texas A&M
2008 6'3" Garland Judkins (Christian Life HS) signed with University of Arizona
2009 6'9" Cory Jefferson (Killeen HS) verbal to Baylor University
2009 6'0" Reger Dowell (Duncanville HS) verbal to Oklahoma State
2010 6'8" Daniel Alexander (Dripping Springs HS) currently has firm offers from Marquette, Baylor, Texas A&M, TCU, Utah, and many others.
2010 6'4" Jacob Horton (Clear Lake HS)
2009 6'5" Roger Frankin (Duncanville HS) verbal to Oklahoma State.
Like most folks I find myself with good intentions, but fall subject to procrastination and not getting things done in a timely fashion. For close to 2 years now I've thought of doing a daily blog and starting my own recruiting/ranking service. I just never got motivated to do it. UNTIL, I wrote the following synopsis of Texas kids who were in attendance at the perstigious Pangos All American Camp this past June. Most everyone in the grassroots basketball business ackowledges that this camp is the premier camp on the West Coast, year in and year out. Outstanding players are in attendance, and most major scouting services are on hand to evaluate the kids and write stories about the kids. I originally posted the following info on June 3rd based upon my personal observations and subsequent stories which were published by ESPN, Rivals.com and a host of others. It is my pledge to report information as accurately as I can and to never be negative or mean spirited towards players.
Originally written and posted on a message board June 3, 2008
Pangos All American Camp May 31-June 1st Los Angeles, CA.
In what is clearly the best camp on the West Coast and just a notch below Nike and Reebok, 7 Texas kids more than held their own this past weekend. Three of them made the Top 20 Cream of the Crop Game:
Reger Dowell Duncanville ..Dallas Showtyme
Roger Franklin Duncanville ..Team Texas
Cory Jefferson Killeen ..Texas D-1 Ambassadors
Two made the Top 40 Cream of the Crop Game.
James Blasczyk Friendswood Texas D-1 Ambassadors
Daniel Alexander Dripping Springs Texas D-1 Ambassadors (Class of 2010) Garland Judkins arrived late because of grad, but the Brewster Prep player showed great flashes.
Jacob Horton of Clear Lake (Class of 2010) had one game with 17 points and showed that he had one of the purest shots at camp. Both play with the D-1 Ambassadors as well.
15 National Scouting Services were in attendance.
Jefferson was named the best big man/shot blocker, Franklin the most CONSISTENT player in camp, and Dowell was just a hair beneath concensus number one player John Wall of North Carolina.
Overall, a great showing by our Texas kids on the court. I also received extensive compliments on their decorum and behavior both on and off the court. All their parents should be proud. Coach Max Texas D-1 Ambassadors
Here we are, almost 4 months later. Look at the signings and commitments that these kids have achieved. Was Old Coach Max on the money or not? As I said in the post 4 months ago, all of Texas should be proud of these players. Three to the Big XII, and two to the Pac 10, with the other two on the cusp of great things too! Congratulations to the boys and their families.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Rick has asked me to be the sole nominator, a one man committe if you will on Texas kids who deserve a chance to be in his Annual Showcase. The series of games (by class year) attracts most of the top players in the Philadelphia-New Jersey area as well as a smattering of big names from around the country. Last year I brought up 6'9" Baylor commit, Cory Jefferson of Killeen, TX. It was a great experience.
6'0" 2011 Jake Kocher CG from Austin St. Michael's
Jake has a smooth outside shot and handles the ball adequately. Hard to describe his game in the sense that he doesn't stand out athletically, but he competes extremely well against older kids and has a KNACK, something you just can't teach to be able to get the ball in the hole. Sometimes he's all arms and legs, and you just scratch your head and say "How'd he score 20?" Kocher will play in the 2011 Game. Privates school ball in the Austin area tends to get limited respect but St. Stephen's and St. Michael's have played pretty good ball and has produced several D-1 players each over the last 5 years. Look for young Kocher (his older brother Chase is a senior PG on the St. Michael's squad) to be an integral part of the Crusaders success this coming capaign.
Jacob is one of the deadliest shooters in the Greater Houston area. He has deep range on his shot. He's becoming more aggressive at taking the ball to the hole. His confidence is growing because he has hit the weight room hard and is a solid 200 lbs. Look for him to be the primary scoring option for the Coach Lin McDonald's Falcons this year as they graduated a boat load of seniors. Horton will play in the 2010 game.
6'8" 2010 Daniel Alexander W from Dripping Springs
As noted in the Dripping Springs HS Preview, Alexander is one of the State's top players even as a junior this fall. It's this National Reputation that will have Alexander as one of the few underclassmen in Barrett's feature game of the evening. It will be televised on the East Coast to over 9 million cable viewers.
Friday, September 19, 2008
This robs the Austin area of what I believe would have been the greatest player to ever graduate from the Austin area. A two time Nike All American, and a likely Mickey D's as well, the North Carolina commit was the most dominant shot blocker I have ever coached, and frankly have ever seen in person at the high school level. I'll look forward to seeing him tear up the ACC and then heading to The League after one season with Coach Roy Williams.
Left: Jordan Jahr
Right: David Eads
In his 12th year at Lake Travis, Head Coach Jan Jernberg returns two superior players to mesh in with his newcomers. The high school season may seem like a vacation for Jernberg compared to the summer as the veteran coach runs the super successful Lone Star Hoops Camps across the State.
4A State Champions in football, the Cavs have been making noise in basketball the last two years knocking on the door to get to the Regional Finals.
Their big gun is 2009 6'5" Jordan Jahr. Good for 20 plus points on any given evening the talented W is a superior shooter and an above average rebounder. Playing this summer for the Texas D-1 Ambassadors Jahr has received plenty of D-1 looks. Just this past Tuesday, Air Force was in the Lake Travis gym to evaluate him. The family expects an offer soon.
2010 6'1" David Eads does a great job of running the point. I did not personally see him play this summer but I have it on good report that he did a great job for his squad, Chris Blevins' Cen Tex Shooters.
They only have moderate size, but it's obvious these kids take defense personally, and of course can shoot the ball pretty darn well too. The majority of their rebounding will come from two seniors:
2009 6'3" W Thomas Freed
2009 6'4" P Patrick Graves
The guard spots are filled nicely by two underclassmen:
2010 5'10" PG Michael Farace who is as tough as any guard in the area.
2011 5'9" CG Sam Beans, whose pop Ed does a nice job with the Liberty Hill summer program.
The senior leadership will come from Combo Guard 6'4" Joel Smith. Unknown going into the summer he now has several D-1 offers under his belt including Stephen F Austin, Sam Houston State and Lamar. Joel handles the ball well, is a superior perimeter shooter and can get to the rack in a hurry.
Senior P 6'6" wide body A.D. Jones can really make a difference on the boards. Motivation seems to have held him back in the past, but I sense a new found maturity in A.D. that will allow him to propel his Leander team to new heights.
2010 6'5" Jean Maurice Blanchard also gives the Lions an under rated leaper who is tough on the boards.
2011 6'5" Mark Nwakamma will be one of the better prospects in the State in his class. He's athletic, is coachable and has one of those streaks where he just wants to dunk on your head every time he's around the rack. Mark's a straight "A" student. Go ahead and pencil this kid in for big things. He lists his highlight of the summer being when his team beat the highly regarded New York Metro Hawks in front of most of the Big East coaches. Goals are to get the boys from Leander into the playoff mix, and to personally work hard and get better every day.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
In the last 3 seasons the Cougars have lost the Regional final by 1, and at State losing late to eventual Champion South Oak Cliff. With 2006 G Chip Ivany to South Alabama, 2006 P Antwan Williams to Texas State, 2007 P Prizell Brown to Blinn, 2008 G Darius Darks to Iowa State (football) and 2008 F Chase Harper and a host of other guards who went the JuCo route Connally has been as talented as anyone in the Region. This year, a mix of veterans who have yet to really step up and assert themselves along with an infusion of youth will determine their fate.
Senior leadership will be in the hands of 2009 6'4" W Justin Lindsey whose sister plays for the Texas Longhorns, and 6'3" G Derek Mays.
Key 2010 players will be:
6'6" P Aaron Bynum
6'3" P Darenaldo Hall
6'2" PG Jordan Mason
One thing for sure, the Coogs are going to get after you on defense and try to impose their defensive will on their opponents with their full court pressure. Although he's on JV at the moment, Sanders has a budding star in 2012 5'11" Marcel Pimpton.
It's hard to argue with Coach Marshall Sanders success as a basketball coach. Here's a man who lead his team to State in his rookie campaign. However, in a moment of candor and expose' Ive gotta tell you folks that this man, pound for pound may be the worst golfer on the planet..lol Love Ya Coach
McNeil does return the reigning District MVP in Texas D-1 Ambassador Anthony Davenport a 6'0" 2009 PG.
He'll be helped by a pair of 6'5" 2010 wings in Kenny Lewis and Kyle Martin, both from the 2010 Class.
Other key performers:
2009 6'3" F Javian Johnson
2009 6'2" L.C. Alexander
Not sure what kids may come to help from football. The kids in uniform last night played hard but did not have a lot of size. Key performers are expected to be:
2009 5'10" G Paul Serna
2009 5'10" G Kris Green
2009 6'3" Laston Nuckles
I did like their two youngsters though;
2011 6'0" Alex Reinking
2011 5'10" Adam Gonzales
Left: Jags Coach Freddie Roland
Right: Promising Freshman 2012 Michael Hargis.
Some things never change. Regardless of who comes and goes, one thing remains the same. The Austin LBJ Jaguars will be 26-4A District Champs yet again. Off the top of my head, I believe it will be 8 straight years where Coach Roland's crew will have won or shared it outright. Last night the Jags were without several key performers who are on the gridiron but that did not stop them from looking like the most athletic group at the PHS Fall League. All was going well, until the Jags decided to get into a 3 point shooting contest with Round Rock Westwood. They came up on the short end of the scoreboard. However, once the younger Jags understand their roles and the legacy of the Pride of the East Side they'll be just fine.
6'7" 2009 W/P Tim Dailey, a transfer from Seguin HS can help both inside and out on both ends of the court. He's a quality athlete who does a lot of things well.
6'3" 2012 Michael Hargis played his first game vs varsity competition and did not look out of place. The star player from the Texas D-1 Ambassadors 2012 team looked like he could handle the comp, however he is in tough to make varsity because of LBJ's depth. He could play at most schools in the area, but may be better off getting lots of reps at the JV level this year. In speaking to Michael he thought he handled the physical side of the game fairly well, but acknowledged that he will need to adjust to the speed at this level. He has a bright future ahead of him.
The Jags will have a potent backcourt in 6'2" 2010 G Donald Dallas, and 6'1" 2010 Darrel Roberts. More info to follow on these two as they get off the football field. Speaking of guys who chase the oblong ball, 6'4" Kerry Heider will be chairman of the boards when he comes back from football. The kid's a beast on the boards and brings a toughness and swagger to the court. His future looks to be football as he hits a ton and is being recruited by the likes of Texas Tech, Texas, and LSU.
6'7" 2009 Teddy Williams Long, athletic kid who has grown 5" in the past year. 14-5A newcomer of the year 6'2" F 2010 Gerald Shilo. Also missing last night was Austin American Statesman Newcomer of the Year Chris Clement. The 6' 2010 PG is solid as a rock, and comes to work hard every single game. He is a coaches dream and has been a vital part of two Kingwood Classic Championship teams with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Basketball in the Austin area is definitely on the upswing, with many of the top ballers now coming out of the suburban schools. Having said that, some things never change as Austin LBJ will be loaded for the nth year in a row. Many of the key players are in helmets and pads at the moment, so expect updates on my initial impressions of how the various squads will look by the time district play rolls around come December.
Tonight's varsity matchups are:
Round Rock Stony Point 42 v Austin High 46
Round Rock McNeil 44 v Pflugerville Connally 41
Austin LBJ 63 v Round Rock Westwood 66
Leander 49 v Lake Travis 53
Round Rock 69 v Austin Anderson 27
Pflugerville Hendrickson 36 v Austin Westlake 47
Pflugerville 47 v Liberty Hill 42
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Left: 2010 Big, Sean Harris and his running mate Chris Freeman Right: Coach Max and Warren Head Coach Jim Weaver.