Friday, June 26, 2009

Vince Carter's Nike Skills Academy

It was another exciting milestone this week as 2010 W 6'8" Daniel Alexander of Dripping Springs became the 6th Texas D-1 Ambassador to attend one of the Nike Jamboree/Skills Academies. On Wednesday, I joined Daniel in Orlando in a supportive role to observe camp as well as to get a reading on where he was amongst the Top 20 Wings in the entire country. (That's what position Carter's Academy caters to.)

I'd gotten the low down from Coach Kevin Eastman of the Boston Celtics that after a tentative first day Alexander may have been the 20th best player, out of 20. No insult, as this was the cream of the crop. Day two Daniel started to find his legs and confidence and did much better in drills. Thursday was a whole other story as the bouncy wing with the sweet, deep perimeter stroke showed off his entire repertoire.

In my opinion, there was no one player who stood out as the MVP of the camp. However, there were a few series where it could easily have been Alexander. He went baseline, faked to the middle, put a spin move on and dunked on another 6'8 dude. The next possession, he dropped a sweet no look dime into a team mate for another thunderous dunk. All the kids loved that one and were howling their support of Alexander.

The camp had a couple of other fun moments to it as well when Vince Carter took a phone call, walked to the other side of the gym and proceeded to wave and gesture excitedly. He just got word that he'd been traded back to his hometown Orlando Magic. He promptly came over and dropped the news to the kids.

Last night we sat down to watch the NBA Draft on the big screen at the Orlando Crowne Plaza (where Nike housed the kids). At the table with me were none other than Miles Simon who won a championship at Arizona and then went on to the NBA, the aforementioned (and perhaps soon to be famous 17 year old Alexander) and the man himself, Vince Carter. That's pretty good company to keep. Daniel kept nudging me, saying "Can you believe we're watching the draft with Vince"? I jokingly said yes, "They are all MBA (Max basketball Association)"

Alexander left Carter's Camp with an assortment of newly acquired knowledge, made new friendships and was exposed to a wide variety of drills designed to make him a better player. He did basketball in the Cen Tex & South Texas area proud. As local folks tend to be for some peculiar reason, Alexander's game gets a lot of criticism from those around Austin & San Antonio. Sure, he definitely needs to work on his intensity, and confidence. There are times as his coach that I forget that he's 17 years old and a lot is expected of him.

However, I am here to tell those folks, that the upside is good enough that several NBA guys compare him favorably to recent West Virginia (and NBA player) Joe Alexander. Several years from now, I'm going to toss out an "I told you so", just as I've done with John Henson's (former Round Rock HS star & North Carolina signee) detractors. It's going to take a lot of work but don't be surprised if you're watching the NBA Draft in 3-5 years and the Dripping Springs Tigers' name is called, or at the very least he could end up playing overseas, speaking a foreign language and wooing some beautiful Italian

Either way, or not at all you can rest assured that the son of Mr. & Mrs. Big Dan Alexander will be a success and will represent his community with dignity, integrity and pride. Daniel you did a great job and represented Cen Tex and South Texas basketball very well. Coach Max