Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lampasas Boys HS Preview

Left: All Region Performer 2009 6'4" Heath Hopson
Coach Scott Harrelson's Badgers hope to be in the middle of a fight for the 4th playoff spot in District 25-4A. That district is loaded though, so it will be a dog fight. In watching Lampasas, what they may have going for it is their methodical system. They're not going to run up and down the court tossing up shots willy nilly. This will be a chage of pace for squads like Killeen, Lake Travis, P'Ville Hendrickson and Hutto who like to push the pace.

Lampasas will be led in the backcourt by 2009 6'0" PG Jordy Carnes.
The real workhorse though will be 6'4" W/P Heath Hopson who earned All Region Honors last season while averaging 20ppg and 9 boards. I was impressed with his ability to run the floor, shoot from different spots on the court including the trey ball and in his ability to finish around the basket.

Georgetown HS Boys Preview

Left: 2009 Payton Carrell, and 2010 Jaron Vierra
I had a chance to sit down for about a half an hour at the Harker Heights Fall League with veteran Coach Kenny Hoffpauir. He's in his 2nd season with G Town after stints in Midland and Highland Park. We chatted about his team, and exchanged points of view on the worth of summer club basketball, teaching camps, and player development. It was a great conversation.

It had been a while since Georgetown had made the playoffs, until this past season. Last year's team was pretty talented and this year's version will be hard pressed immediately to replace the backcourt of 6'6" G Travis Jones, now at Lon Morris JC and shooter Scott Hurley who will be firing up 3 pointers this year at McMurray, in Abilene.

One of the top players in the Class of 2012, Michael Hardge will have an opportunity to vie for varsity minutes in his freshman campaign. Keep an eye on him as the future of Georgetown basketball. 2011 6'4" W Logan Webb also figures to log significant minutes, giving the Eagles a nice nucleus for the long haul.

However, if the Eagles want to build on last year and return to the post season they'll rely on a talented frontline starting with 2009 6'3" W Xavier Williamson a transfer from Killeen Elison.

The real strength of the squad though could well be the twin towers of 2010 6'6" Jaron Vierra and 2009 6'7" Payton Carrell who both have big game summer experience under their belts in the past with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors. Both these guys are very springy athletes with a bounce in their step and enough beef on them to bully guys inside. Carrell is benching 245 to go along with his 36" vertical, which makes him almost as strong as Old Coach Max (although my vert is a shade under 36"...come to think of it, many shades..lol)

Gatesville HS Boys Preview

Top Left: Gatesville's three headed senior guard attack; Bryan Cobb, Alex Aviles & Kevin Walters
Top Right: 2010 6'4" WF Dominique Moore
Bottom Left: Moore and 2009 6'6" Garrett Lamb
Gatesville, who has moved to Region 1, District 3A has the returning talent to build on the past year's successes and make a run to the Drum in Austin. They return a ton of senior leadership, mixed in with a couple of extremely talented underclassmen.
Coach Brian Edwards will rely on three interchangeable seniors at the guard spots in Alex Aviles, Bryan Cobb, and Kevin Walters. Gatesville likes to employ lots of ball screens offensively, combined with a rep for a mixed bag of various defenses, all played with a hardnosed style.
Up front they are blessed with as good a pair as you'll find on a 3A frontline in 2010 6'8" dual sport star Garrett Johnson and super athletic 2010 6'4" WF Dominique Moore who runs in the summer with Team Waco. Moore can fill it up in a hurry in the transition game and is also a tireless rebounder.

Copperas Cove HS Boys Preview

It looks to be a tough season ahead for Copperas Cove. I'm sure there will be additional players coming in from the football crazed Crusaders. Let's hope so, because they sure could have used them against 3A Gatesville in last night's drubbing. Coach David Farber has his work cut out for him in what from top to bottom is one of the toughtest districts in Texas, 12-5A.

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.

Harker Heights Fall League

I spent all day Monday in the Killeen area. Visited Killeen HS, Ellison HS and then headed to Harker Heights for Coach Celneque Bobbitt's Fall League. Profiles will follow on Gatesville, Harker Heights, Georgetown, Copperas Cove and Lampasas. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and did not get to see either Lorena or Belton play.

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

The Piotrowski's...Then And Now

On a personal note, one of the most enjoyable things about my immersion in basketball is the great bond it can strengthen it allows us to build with our children. I think all of us who have sons and daughters enjoy watching/coaching our kids more than when we played ourselves. Last week up in Philadelphia I had a chance to sit and visit with two generations of the Piotrowski Family. Principal, Coach and Proud Father Tom Piotrowski was on hand at Rick Barrett's Midnight Madness Showcase with his two sons.
In the middle, Big Tom Piotrowski standing 6'11" is flanked by his two boys. On the left is 2009 7'1" Mat and on the right is 2011 6'9" Luke.
Pops played for LaSalle University, graduating in the early 80's. He then went on to play with the Portland Trailblazers from 83-85 with Houston's own Phi Slama Jama Alum and NBA great Cyde "The Glide" Drexler. The elder Piotrowski is now Principal and Head Basketball Coach at Atlantic Christian High School in New Jersey. Of course his two boys are under his wing there, and excel in the classroom as well as on the court.
Like most Bigs, Mat is still developing his post game. There is no doubt though, he will be a fine college player and with a 3.4 GPA he is already being recruited by the likes of Arizona State, Stanford, Rutgers, and Virginia. Look for him to play the 4 spot in college.
Sophomore Luke is a little bit more agile than his brother, with a softer touch. His recruiting is also brisk with Stanford, UCLA, Cal and Virginia in the hunt for his services. He is projected to be a face up 3.
One of the great things about the circuit is that you get to see a lot of the same folks several times a year and friendships can blossom amongst the kids and the coaches. I met Tom out at the Pangos Camp back in early June in Los Angeles. We got to chatting, hit it off and found out we knew a lot of the same folks in the basketball world. Here we are a few month later meeting up again in Spetember at the Philadelphia event. Small world. Keep an eye out for the Piotrowski Boys.

Avery Bradley To Texas

Left: Coach Max Ivany of TexasRecruit.com, Northwest Panther Bossman Gary Ward, and University of Texas Basketball Assistant Coach Rodney Terry kickin' it at the Texas-Arkansas Game.
Right: Our view from Row 6 on the 45 yard line behind a dejected Arkansas bench.
I went to the Texas 52 Arkansas 10 football game yesterday, and in the midst of the drubbing inflicted on the Hogs by the Horns, a basketball story broke out. I was sitting most of the game in the recruit section as Colt McCoy and the Gang de-tusked the Hogs. As with most basketball recruits, the coaches love to get the kids on campus for an official visit amidst the pageantry and spectacle of the atmosphere on campus that comes about as a result of a big time football program. Not too many schools can put this dual sport pedigree in front of the kids like the University of Texas can. In a sea of burnt orange the football team did it's part to woo big time recruit 2009 6'3" SG Avery Bradley of Tacoma, WA.
By half time, the game was over. Meanwhile, Bradley and his AAU Coach Gary Ward (Northwest Panthers)were surprised by the 91 degree Texas heat. Coach Ward hung out with me, chewing the fat while the Longhorns newest basketball commitment headed for shade. He and his player host, current Longhorn Damion James continued on with their campus tour along with the adoring fans and coeds. I was lax in my reporting role and failed to snap a quick pic of Avery before he headed on down the road, hence all you get was the one of us coaches..lol
I asked Coach Gary Ward who has had Bradley in his program for 4 years what kind of kid he was. Ward's report was glowing. It was one of an unselfish team player who can score in a variety of ways, but at the same time does not need to dominate the ball. At 6'3" Bradley has a 6'6" wingspan. Ward is convinced he was the best perimeter defender on the circuit this past summer. Avery averaged 32 ppg this summer playing with the Northwest Panthers on the Reebok Circuit.
Because the D-1 Ambassadors play mostly on the Nike Circuit we did not get a chance to get it on with the Panthers this past summer. Coach Ward and I were talking out loud as to how much fun it would have been to see Bradley and his other outstanding guard, Abdul Gaddy ( 2009 University of Arizona commit) go up against my guard heavy D-1 Ambassador group led by 2008 Arizona commit Garland Judkins, 2009 UT-San Antonio commit Kendric Robinson, and 2009 big time recruit Brandon Thompson (offers from SMU and Colorado).
I did have two opportunities though to see Bradley in action this past year. Our respective programs were both at the Texas Elite Camp (which the Ambassadors won) and in the Spring at the prestigious Arizona Cactus Classic where the Northwest Panthers advanced to the semi finals before losing to the Compton Magic. Along the way I saw Bradley drop 28 on the New York Gauchos, 31 on Pump N Run Elite and then 25 vs. the Compton Magic. The kid can flat out score. Midrange, deep, getting to the rack, rebounding putbacks...you name it. Avery will finish his senior year of high school at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, NV.
Let me tell you folks, we're happy to have him here in Texas next fall. So Avery, here's an early welcome to Texas. We're looking forward to your career here at the 40 Acres. You can trade in your umbrella and raincoat, pile some Texas barbeque high on your plate and get to saying "ya'll". Oh yeah, don't delay in getting a pair of cowboy boots.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Liberty Hill Girls HS Preview

I want to thank Liberty Hill Girls Head Coach John Avritt for being the FIRST coach to respond on the girls side to our site. I am more than happy to get the info out on his players. It's a small world, but when my son Chip and I returned to Austin 11 years ago, the first thing we did literally was to put him in Coach Avritt's Camp at Hyde Park HS where he was the boys coach. At that time he really impressed me as a bright young coach, and someone who had a great demeanor of care and concern about his kids. My son ended up getting the "Mr. Hustle Award" at Coach A's camp and we've had a friendship ever since.

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.
After graduating 6 seniors from a 23-9 Area Finalist team, the Gals from Liberty Hill have switched Regions and Districts. moving to 8-3A. They return 6 lettermen including 1st Team All District performers 2009 PG Kelsy Parks (18ppg/5 asst) and 2009 P Kristina Danielak (15ppg/ 10 reb). Both are great bets to continue on at the collegiate level.
The Hill also returns 2009 P Katelyn Zurovec, a 4 year letterman and Rachel Rubin their defensive stopper. Look for big things from 2011 P Samantha Swarts last year's Newcomer of the Year as she averaged a double-double as a freshman.
Not one to rest on laurels, Coach Avritt made sure he had the girls working hard in the off season. They attended West Texas A&M's team camp and squared off against high quality comp, including poerwhouse Canyon. Liberty Hill has loaded up on a really tough non-district schedule this year chock full of 5A teams. Included is a trip to the Dr. Pepper/Chisholm Trail Classic at UMHB. Look for the Wildcats to make a deep playoff run.

Austin Hyde Park Baptist

Left to right 2009 5 ' 11" Austin Mosely, 2009 6'7" Ryan Springer, & 2012 frosh 5'6" Spencer Phillips
Hyde Park had some unexpected trouble in their Hoop Zone Fall League Gamc v. St. Stephen's who fielded mostly JV players. However, with a little bit of coaching injected once the school season starts, then the Hyde Park kids should be juust fine. Senior leadership from hustling G Austin Mosely, and the injection of 6'7" Ryan Springer, a transfer from Dripping Springs will give HPBS a very nice one-two punch inside and outside.
Mosely has put on some muscle, showing off his "guns" in the Fall League. He is definitely a kid willing to put in the work to get better.
Springer is coming off an injury plagued junior campaign along with an inexplicable lack of playing time at Drip when he was available to play. Look for the move in via Arizona to have a very nice senior campaign. He has a soft touch around the goal out to about 12-15 feet and a long wing span. He has to get a little tougher physically though. He recently scored a 30 ACT along with a perfect score on the reading portion of the test. A quick shout out to Mrs. Springer for passing on the "brain gene" to her boy, as I know the dad Al, and it sure wasn't from him..lol
On a serious note, Springer has lots of small academic oriented schools interested, but if the kid takes his senior year seriously and stays healthy, he could shoot up the ranks quickly. Confidence will be the key to his progression as the kid is extremely tough on himself. He split his club season between the Texas D-1 Ambassadors and the Cen Tex Shooters.
Young Spencer Phillips is in the mix as a 2012 freshman. He is as skilled a kid in the Class of 2012 that the Austin area has to offer, and is quick to boot. We'll watch closely to see how much he grows physically. He has an older brother Sterling, who has just gone on to play in college. His stature and quickness reminds me of recent Lamar University commit, Jonathan Garza of Pflugerville at the same stage in their development. Spencer plays his club ball for his dad, Joe with the Texas Thunder.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Austin St. Michael's Boys Preview

From left to right: 2009 Chase Kocher, 2009 Kyle Martin, 2009 David Rodriguez, and 2010 Jake Kocher
Head Coach Mackey Smith in his 5th year, returns a sneaky good crew to St. Michael's. Not too many people know about the Crusaders, as private school basketball is historically underappreciated in the State of Texas.

However, Austin Private's have produced D-1 players the most recent being St. Stephen's Matt Zaney (UT-Pan American) and Xavier Silas (signed with Colorado, now with Northern Illinois) and St. Michael's F Mark Sheppard (signed with Texas Tech, now with Baylor). I was in the gym for a classic matchup 6 seasons ago when St. Michael's strapped it on with the area's most talented team in the Killeen Ellison Eagles and came out the victors in a high scoring affair. That Ellison team's backcourt went on to have highly productive college careers. Ellison's "Zach and Zo Show" respectively ended up starting at Arkansas-Little Rock, and Rice University.

But...back to the present. Head Coach Smith was good enough to catch up with me on the phone last night and to sing the praises of his crew, and to promote Private School basketball. He proudly pointed out that last year his Crusaders went into Pflugerville Connally's house and came away with a win. They also beat a pretty good Hutto squad twice, once a 30 point thrashing. This year sees another challenging schedule including an apparent grudge agains the whole town of Pflugerville..lol They play Hendrickson, have a return date with Connally and then participate in the always tough Pflugerville HS Christmas Tournament.
What impressed me last night was the discipline shown by the players, even though it was pretty much a "pick up" situation in their Hoop Zone Fall League Game. This indicates a very well coached team. These kids ran more productive sets than many teams do during the regular season. Look for their relative lack of height to be a reason to run a lot of motion as well as "4 and 5 out". Apparently they have a couple of bigger bodies in football and once they join the team, Coach will run some double post sets as well.
The biggest guy on the team, 2009 6'6" Kyle Martin apparently likes his St. Michael's maroon colors. He'll save a lot on his wardrobe next year as he has already committed to play baseball for like colored Texas A&M Aggies.
I love the St. Michael's backcourt. 2009 5'11"" David Rodriguez can really shoot the rock and is a very solid ball handler. He improved dramatically and built his confidence on the summer circuit this year with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors.
The other two thirds of the three guard lineup will be the Kocher Boys. Chase, a 5'8" senior is a crafty ballhandler, playmaker and shooter. Jake, a 6'0" sophomore could turn out to be the best of the bunch as he is a fearless DEEP three point shooter, a competent ballhandler as a soph and as stated in an earlier post, just has a KNACK for scoring. Look for him to have a future in college basketball if he dedicates himself to improving his footspeed and strength.

Austin St. Stephen's Boys Preview

Left: 2012 Mareik Isom and 2010 Evan Sampleton
St. Stephen's fielded almost exclusively a JV squad last night. They have several guys in football and were missing sharp shooter 2009 5'11" Evan Gilliland, who along with other seniors was completing a major senior paper.
St. Stephen's new Head Coach this year is no stranger to the school. They did a little internal shuffling and Coach LaMont King moved from the girls side of the house to the boys. Expect a more disciplined approach along with a more high percentage shot selection with the former Louisiana Tech player at the helm. St. Stephen's backcourt is as good as many of the public schools in the area and should flourish under Coach King, a very good guard in his day in the Sun Belt Conference.

Gilliland is one of the more talented offensive guards in the area and will be the team leader. He'll likely run the PG spot. The only other likely varsity starter in attendance last night was 2010 6'3" P Evan Sampleton whose Pop played football for the Philadelphia Eagles back in the mid 80's.

2012 5'10" Mareik Isom looks to be a future varsity prospect though once his body catches up to his skill set. He's sure to get better under the tutelage of his dad, Kendall and former Spurs great Johnny Moore playing his club ball for the Austin Ice.

2009 6'2" D. J Johnson will likely be the other backcourt starter, along with Gilliland just as they did with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors this past summer. . A pretty darn good basketball player, Johnson has already committed to Texas Tech University to play football.

Cedar Park HS Boys Preview

From left to right: Probable front line starters
2009 6'3" P Brady Reaves
2010 6'3" P Tyler Stromberg
6'5" W Zach Corbin
5A playoff participant Cedar Park has high hopes for this coming season. They ran into a buzz saw last February in the 1st round of the playoffs against Bryan HS so this season they have something to prove. I did not see any of their returning guards last night. Coach Blake Brown (who formerly coached at Frank Phillips College up in the Texas Panhandle) has done a very good job of "coaching them up" and running a very deliberate system which makes Cedar Park a tough matchup for many of the teams they face.
Now with the new realignment, and Pflugerville out of their hair I believe Cedar Park has as much of a chance to win District 16-5A as anyone. Coach Brown was not available for comment last night as to what their goals are but judging by their frontline players in attendance I'm sure they are high.
Once football is over, Coach Brown will have the services of starting WR Dylan Cox. The 2011 6'3" Combo Guard can do it all; put it on the floor, get to the hole, pop the three and he rebounds very well too! Cox is one of the top 2011 kids in the Austin-San Antonio area. He's very mature as a basketball player with over 200 top level games under his belt with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors. He has the potential to be Cen Tex Newcomer of the Year.
Stromberg and Reaves are not particularly tall, but are solid enough physically to give most taller opposition high school posts a fight every night because of their beef. Look to senior W Zach Corbin to have a breakout year. After playing the summer for the Texas D-1 Ambassadors he had more than his share of offseason comp and looks to be much improved and more confident. He's got a good bounce in his step and a better than average perimeter game.

Austin Lanier Boys HS Preview

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

Hoop Zone Fall League

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

UPDATE 9/28/08

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.

UPDATE 9/30/08

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

Big Time Texans @ Pangos Camp-Los Angeles, CA

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.


Coach Max

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.

Daniel Alexander Wins Jonathan Bender Award

Top Left: Daniel Alexander and Villanova commit Maalik Wayns accepting their hardware.
Top Right: 2010 6'4" Jacob Horton of Houston Clearlake

Middle: 2010 6'8" Daniel Alexander of Dripping Springs

Bottom: 2011 6'0" Jake Kocher of Austin St. Michael'sThe quick weekend trip to Philadelphia for myself and three young Texas hoopers was a great experience for everyone. Rick Barrett's Midnight Madness was chock full of talent at every level, as far down as the Class of 2015.

6'0" Kamari Peel is a 12 year old 7 footer in the making, and Malik Ellison, son of Louisville Cardinal & NBA-ex Pervis Ellison stole the show. As in most of these events though, everyone comes to see the big boys.

Austin St. Michael's 2011 6'0' G Jake Kocher notched 10 points in the 2011 Game, on 4-6 shooting from the field.

Houston Clear Lake's 2010 6'4" Jacob Horton had 5 points on 2-3 shooting and also grabbed 5 boards in the 2010 Game.

With four East Coast McDonald's All American voters on hand, including Bob Gibbon's Top Assistant, Austin's 2010 6'8" W Daniel Alexander had 17 points and 7 boards in the marquee game at Rick Barrett's Midnight Madness. The Big Game was televised to over 9 million homes from Maine to Virginia on the Comcast Network. For his performance, Alexander grabbed the Jonathan Bender Top Underclassman Award, named after the young NBA great who was a schoolboy phenom from Mississippi.

In our haste to get to the airport at 3:30AM Sunday morning, Daniel forgot his trophy (pictured above) in the hotel room. Why'd we get such an early flight out? ...because Daniel wanted to rush back to Austin to be part of his sister's Baptism in Dripping Springs. He made it...by 5 minutes.

Congratulations to all of our Texas players. They distinguished themselves on the court and even more importantly conducted themselves like gentlemen.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Philadelphia, PA Texans @ Midnight Madness

Top Left: Coach Max & former Philadelphia eagle lineman Greg Brown.
Top Right: 2015 game MVP Malik Ellison with Coach Max and former NBA & University of Louisville great, "Never Nervous Pervis Ellison. FYI, Malik is one of the country's top players in the Class of 2015.
Bottom Left: Coach Max & Midnight Madness Founder Big Rick Barrett.
Good Morning from chilly Philly. It is my pleasure to be here for the 2nd year in a row at Rick Barrett's Midnight Madness Showcase. For 6 years Barrett was consultant to Scoreboard Inc, and was front and center in the signing of among others; Shaquille O'Neal, Marshall Faulk and Steve McNair to their playing card contracts.

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.
Alumni of this game include Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Antonio Walker and a total of 42 NBA players. Feel free to contact me with nominations in the Spring of 2009 for potential deserving players. This year we have three Texans on hand and ready to show their stuff in today's games.

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.
Game Update: Kocher was matched up against some very athletic players from the East Coast but more than held his own, hitting two trples and totalling 10 points. Post game Jake shared with me his respect for the athleticism and tough as nails demeanor of the Philly kids.
6'4" 2010 Jacob Horton SG from Houston Clearlake

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.
Game Update: Horton scored 5 points. 2-3 from the field, and added 5 boards. Tough to score when you don't shoot, and it's tough to shoot when kids don't pass...but that's "all star" type settings. Every man for himself. Speaking to Jacob after the game he was very complimentary of the fast pace of the East Coast ballers. He played solid "D" throughout the game. That was a rarity in this one, he may have been the only kid who did...lol

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.
Game Update: CN8 Comcast is broadcasting the game, complete with television timeouts. It's a real electric atmosphere. There are 5 big time commits in the game; Dion Waiters 2010 from New Jersey-Syracuse University, Aaric Murray 2009 from Pennsylvania-LaSalle, Tony Chinault 2010-Wake Forest, Maalik Wayans 2009 Pennsylvania-Villanova and Khalief Wyatt 2009, Pennsylvania-Temple.
Alexander is defending Big Devin Long a widebody out of Michigan. The kid's a load, but Daniel has blocked 2 shots in the early going and had 2 boards and one steal in his first 4 minute shift. He's yet to take a shot. In his 2nd shift, Daniel notched another steal, ran the floor and got it back for a thunderous dunk. He added two more rebounds and a steal.
Cezar Guerrero 2010 PG from Cali is the real deal. He's here with his summer coach, my buddy Dinos Trigonis who along wth his club, Belmont Shores he runs the prestigious Pangos All American Camp in Los Angeles and the Fullcourt Press recruiting service. The Guerrero kid is cat quick and hit close to 30 perimeter shots in a row in warmups. He is not shy about jacking it up.
Maalik Wayans is starting to do his thing. The Villanova commit is the best guard on the floor. At halftime the red team is up 49-44.
Alexander is continuing to play hard. He picked up 3 more boards including two on the offensive end, one of them leading to a put back.
Red 118 White 93
Game MVP Aaric Murray, committed to Lasalle University.
2015 Baby Ballers Game
Red Malik Ellison Voorhees, NJ
White Kamari Peel Harrison, NJ
2013 Middle School Elite Game
Red Austin Colbert Chesapeake, VA
White Sha Sha Matthews Staunton, VA
2012 True Ballers Game
Red Ameen Tanksley Philadelphia, PA
White Malcolm Sterling Detroit, MI
2011 Best of The Best Game
Red Octavious Booker Philadlelphia, PA
White Brian Parker Jr. Philadelphia, PA
2010-2009 Junior All American Game
Red Shaquille Duncan Philadelphia, PA
White Malcolm Gilbert Dover, Delaware
All American Game
Red Tamir Jackson, NJ & Aaric Murray, PA
White Maalik Wayans , PA & Khalief Wyatt, PA
Aaric Murray was clearly the best player on the floor, hands down. He had 31 points and 21 boards. LaSalle has a steal in him. I wondered why I had never seen him on the summer circuit. After some snooping with the Philly insiders I found out that Murray had some ongoing issues with truancy, so the State of PA placed him in an alternate school. It's my understanding that his weekend freedoms were limited too, hence the lack of exposure for the kid. Good news is he seems like a pleasant youngster who is not "bad" and I'm going out on a limb and say he's learned a valuable lesson and will be a very productive college player.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dripping Springs HS Preview/Recruitment Of 2010 Daniel Alexander

Top left: Arizona Assistant Russ Pennell & Coach Max
Top right: Daniel Alexander @ Drippings Springs
Bottom left: Daniel Alexander @ Max Ivany's All American Prodigy Camp.
I spent Thursday at Dripping Springs HS and had the opportunity to meet new Head Coach Louis Jenkins. I was really impressed with his demeanor. After last year's shall we say, "difficult" season there is hopes of bigger things for the Tigers. In speaking to Coach Jenkins he is shooting for 20 wins, up from 13 last year.

He has a lot to work with too, and should vie for a playoff spot. Senior Guards 6'1" Mason Beyer and 6'1" Travis Poole will be key in any success that Drip will have. They must protect the ball and make good decisions.

They've got a nice looking 2011 G in 5'9" Jalen Jury probably the most athletic of the guards despite being only a soph. 2010 6'4" Dusty Rice can bang and has a decent touch around the goal.

The gem though is 2010 6'8" Daniel Alexander. Alexander will be a GREAT college 3. However, he'll likely have to play a certain amount down low to meet the needs of his high school team. Daniel is an above average shot blocker and a long defender. Offensively the kid has NBA range and a lightning quick release. He can definitely light it up from the perimeter. We had great success this summer on the circuit with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors where we routinely ran the pick and pop from beyond the 3 point line and Alexander drained three after three. The big highlight was the matchup against the Atlanta Celtics and Top 3 player in the country in the Class of 2009 in 6'9" Derrick Favors. On center court in Las Vegas, Favors was a load inside but Daniel took him to the perimeter and dropped 7 long range bombs to wow the crowd. Anyone who was anyone in basketball was in the gym. Pac-10, Big X11, Big East etc. Daniel really put himself on the map this summer.

He now has offers in the bag from more schools than he can count. Marquette, Texas A&M, TCU, Utah, Cal, and many others. USC and Texas were at DS watching his open gym last week. While I was there Thursday, Arizona was in the house. Coach Olson and Recruiting Coordinator Russ Pennell think Daniel can be a great fit in the Pac-10. Stay tuned and if you get a chance go see who I think is the #1 Wing prospect in Texas in the Class of 2010 then you can decide for yourself. DS is in 26-4A with the Austin schools and outside of extremely tough matchups with LBJ and Mccallum, should compete favorably with the rest.

Round Rock HS Boys Preview

Left: 2009 6'10" John Henson. Gone, but not forgotten.
The theme at Round Rock HS this coming season, may be right in line with our Presidential Campaign. CHANGE. After Head Coach, former UCLA Bruin Curtis Knight was let go the Dragons went and hired Cody Blake away from Hutto. What effect the coaching shake up will have remains to be seen, but the big news is the move out of 6'10" John Henson. His dad, Big Matt took a new position in Florida.

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.
Back to the present, the Dragons will depend on senior J.J. Kearns to run the PG spot. Kearns is a solid, hard nosed kid that competes every minute he's on the floor. His summer team mate with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors is 6'7" Dax Hill. Hill is the most talented basketball player in the area, who will NOT be playing college ball next year, despite drawing lots of interest. That's because Hill is a world class swimmer and will give up roundball next year to accept a D-1 swimming scholarship. When I spoke to dax Wednesday night he told me he'd narrowed his choices to Texas, Georgia and Southern Cal.

Austin Lake Travis Boys Preview

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.

September 18 Liberty Hill Boys Preview

I may have seen one of the 3A Regional/State Finalists last night in Liberty Hill. The Pflugerville Fall League is chock full of 4A/5A talent, but apparently Liberty Hill didn't get the memo and almost stole a game from host Pflugerville HS. The final was 53-49. In his 7th year Coach Barry Boren is doing a consistently great job year in and year out. Liberty Hill has won State in football too, but amazingly at a 3A school coach Boren has many basketball ONLY kids. That in itself may merit an award in football crazy Texas!

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.

September 18 Leander HS Boys Preview

The Leander-Cedar park area has been a football hotbed in recent years, with not much of a boys basketball tradition to speak of. However, that may just be about to change. Coach Clint Bradley's Lions return some extremely talented kids from last years squad. They have great athleticism, and 4 of their key guys got some critical seasoning during the spring and summer season with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors.

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

September 18 Pflugerville Connally Boys Preview

Coach Max & Pflugerville Connally Head Coach Marshall Sanders.
I have to admit I am partial to Connally, as my son played their for the Assistant Coach Sanders and former Head Coach Brad Oestreich. There is no question he would not be where he is today if not for their belief in him. Chip has the greatest respect for Coach Sanders. Now in his 3rd season as the head Coach at Pflugerville Connally, Marshall Sanders will be pressed to do his best coaching job to date. Connally has had a great run of talent both on the football field and on the court with trips to State in both sports in recent years.

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

September 18 Round Rock McNeil Boys Preview

McNeil teams always play hard and play smart. It doesn't matter what the talent level, they always compete and win more than their share of games. This is a testament to the coaching of veteran Darrell Hagerman, in my opinion one of the best coaches in Cen Tex. The cupboard isn't bare at McNeil, but neither is the pantry stocked to the brim. Regardless, Coach Hagerman fully expects to be in the mix for a playoff spot though, that's a given.

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

September 18 Austin High Boys Preview

With Tres Ellis leaving to take the job at Westlake HS, former assistant Andy Dudney is now the new honcho for the Austin High Maroons.

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

September 18 Austin LBJ Boys Preview

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.

September 18 Pflugerville HS Boys Preview

Top left: 2011 G Deon Mitchell Top right: Coach Murphy & Coach Max

Bottom Leftt: Demetris "Cleveland" Smith

Bottom Right: PG Jonathan Garza & P Osas Ebomwonyi

In his 11th season at Pflugerville HS Coach Mike Murphy's Panthers are loaded again and poised for another deep playoff run. The Boys from Da Ville lost in the 3rd Round last year to eventual Regional Champ Klein Forest but will have many of their weapons back for this years campaign. Murph's biggest loss was not to graduation but to Texas Longhorn Coach Mack Brown. Big Alex Okeafor, one of the most highly recruited DE's in the country has decided to graduate early at Christmas and forego his senior year of basketball in order to get a jump in Spring Football with the Horns. The kid's a man child, and academically as sharp as a tack. Don't you just hate it when kids are STUDENTS as well as athletes too?..lol Seriously though, we wish Alex well. Great kid, great family.

Pflugerville will get great senior leadership from 2009 5'9" PG Jonathan Garza. Garza is the QUICKEST kid in the Greater Austin area. He was hampered by nagging knee injuries in the latter part of the summer but had a strong spring with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors. Jonathan felt the highlight of his summer was when he played in the Manhattan Classic on the campus of Kansas State University. It was there that he caught the eye of Midwest recruiting guru, Jerry Mullin and received his endorsement. He has committed early to Lamar University in Beaumont, and will sign his LOI in November. I think the Southland Conference is a nice fit for him.

Emerging P 6'8" Osas Ebomwonyi went into the spring as a relative unknown. A role player behind Okeafor last season, "The Sauce" has developed over the summer into an intimidating shot blocker. Playing with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors he shot up the charts and at the moment he has been offered by Lamar, UT-Arlington, Sam Houston State, Montana State, and The Citadel. Undoubtedly more offers will follow for the nimble Big. His offensive game is really beginning to emerge as well. Basically, the kid does not realize yet how good he can really be.

6'3' Brian Todd will likely vie for the other starting spot along with 2011 5'10" G Deon Mitchell. Mitchell will be the heir apparent to Garza, but in the meantime the silky smooth soph with the sweet shot will give the Panthers two D-1 quality guards in the lineup at the same time.
6'3" banger Demetris "Cleveland" Smith was a midseason move in last year from Ohio. Smith is lean and long. If he grows another 2-3 inches the kid is a lock to D-1. He has a motor that never stops and a knack for rebounding in the mode of Dennis Rodman. It's uncanny. Promoted to the Texas D-1 Ambassadors top team in mid summer, he consistently amazed me by outrebounding much bigger and stronger guys. He finished off the last game of the summer in the prestigious Duel In The Desert by dropping 5 three pointers. A fluke or a sign of things to come? If he can replicate that this season, he won't need to grow those extra inches to play a the next level.
The panthers have several other potential contributors on the football field at the moment. The aforementioned players had better not be complacent or they'll lose time to the deep well of talent at PHS. The Panthers players are thinking State.

September 18 Round Rock Stony Point Boys Preview

Coach Brian Route's Stony Point Tigers were a little short handed last night and difficult to judge as to how they might shape up. They lost a close game to Austin HS but were without a couple of key guys. At the high school level good guard play can take you a long way so based on that the Tigers should be competitive. Coach Route's key players should be as follows:

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.

September 18- Austin Westlake High School Preview

From Left to Right: Westlake's deadly 2010 threesome. PG Cody Doolin, P Gus Leeper, W Connor Kemper.
Westlake HS came out of the gate in their first fall game with a whole new look. In what will be their first season under former Austin HS Coach Tres Ellis, the Chaps promise to be a much more exciting squad to watch. They played up tempo and pressed and trapped most of the evening. Their new press keyed several runs that ultimately decided the game a 47-36 win over Pflugerville Hendrickson.
The Chaps are young, but experienced. Their three key guys are all 2010 players who have notched many games at the highest level while playing with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors organization. 6'2" PG Cody Doolin and 6'6" WF Connor Kemper are true champions having led the 2010 D-1 Ambassadors to back to back Kingwood Classic Championships.
Doolin is a do all guard who has deep range on his shot, can get to the rim and knows how to run a team. Doolin is getting a lot of college interest and currently has one D-1 offer under his belt with the University of San Francisco. When I spoke to Cody last night he felt the highlight of the summer was reaching the semi-finals of the Tulsa Showcase loosing at the buzzer in a barner to the St. Louis Eagles. it was after that game, that USF quickly offered.
Kemper battled injury problems this summer but looks to have a great year at Westlake. He is tough inside, with a big frame, yet can take the ball outside and has a much better than average stroke out to the 3 point line.
Big Gus Leeper checks in at 6'8" and depending on how hard he chooses to work can be a real force. A straight "A" student he is drawing interest from the likes of Utah and is on the verge of being offered by Lehigh. His interest is engineering, so that could be a great fit.
6'6" 2009 Clark Allan could also surprise. He's not particularly nimble of foot, but the kid has very crafty low post moves...up and under etc, a la a poor man's Kevin McHale.
Coach Ellis is shooting to win district 25-5A , but they'll have their hands full with Mike Murphy's Pflugerville Panthers. It should make for an exciting race. Expectations amongst the parents and student body is high, and judging from the feedback I got last night the players and families, and Coach Ellis are excited about the coming season.
UPDATE: I had a chance to view Westlake again yesterday at Mike Kunstadt's Fall Shootout in San Antonio and I really like 2011 6'0" PG Hagen Fell (also a scratch golfer). With him and All Everything G Cody Doolin in the backcourt the Chaps are going to be tough this year. Also, 2010 W 6'5" Carl Meyertons who did not initially impress me in September has a knack for scoring. Doesn't always look pretty doing it, but when you look at the box score, he's in double figures.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 17th Pflugerville Fall League

Spent my night in Pflugerville having an early look at Coach Mike Murphy's Pflugerville HS Fall League. Each year this Fall League's participation level increases and the quality of the local teams involved continues to climb, thanks in great degree to the Big Fella's hospitality. Murph may not be able to run the court anymore, but he can still shoot lights out as he did back in his days as a Texas Longhorn...and trust me on this one folks, he can drive a golf ball 350 yds..straight....much to my chagrine..lol

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

September 16th San Antonio Warren Boys Preview

Left: 2010 Big, Sean Harris and his running mate Chris Freeman Right: Coach Max and Warren Head Coach Jim Weaver.
Got to spend the morning at San Antonio Warren HS with the new boys basketball Head Coach Jim Weaver, and Assistant Edwin Glossin. The two coaches who are no strangers to the area, have taken this new gig in District 28-5A after having been at Seguin HS on the far east side of San Antonio for the years previous. They made me feel welcome in their gym, both coaches are real gentlemen.

28-5A is a competitive district year in and year out. This year, I believe Stephens has the clear cut edge in talent, but from what I saw at the Warren open gym there is no shortage of athletes available to run the floor for the Warriors. They will be very solid in 2008-2009. Coach Weaver said it was too early to determine who his starters might be, so I take it completely on myself to preview who I THINK will be his main contributors.

The backcourt looks solid with PG Elton Green, and combo Alex Rios. Both are a little undersized, but are hardnosed and heady players. Rios also has a nice shot and can handle pressure.

Up front the Warriors have a couple of intriguing wing players with superior athleticism. 2011 6'3" Chris Freeman and 6'2" 2010 Akhenaton Zakariyyaa (a move in last year from Kentucky) are potential Division One guys. Like most youngsters they'll need to shore up their ballhandling and shot to widen their future options.

2010 6'7" Sean Harris could be the difference maker. If not the tallest player in 28-5A he certainly is the beefiest. He's a wide body, with a nice bounce in his step. He's an above average shot blocker who dunked everything in open gym and also showed a soft touch around the goal as well as decent ballhandling for a BIG. Like most kids in HS he will be out of position at the 5 spot. In my opinion his game should translate nicely to the Division One college level as a 4.

If Big Sean takes the next two years seriously and really gets after it in the weight room, develops his low post game a little, works on his 10-12 foot face up shot and sticks his nose in the books then the sky is the limit. He's a future All-Region, All -State type prospect.Look for Warren to notch a playoff spot in Coach Weaver's 1st season and be a dangerous matchup in the 1st round because of their athleticism and the mismatch of Harris down low.