Monday, August 31, 2009

Recruiting Update: R.J. McGhee of Baton Rouge Istrouma (LA)

2010 WG 6'6" R.J. McGhee of Baton Rouge Istrouma (#40) is shown finishing on the break with a flush against a helpless DC Assault player at the Manhattan Classic on the campus of Kansas State University this spring. Below: McGhee shows his solid ballhandling skills, and although he is not a true point he can also take his man off the dribble and get to the goal with his long first step.

I spoke with Ronnie McGhee, (R.J. McGhee's Pops) a couple of days ago to see how recruitment was shaping up. I almost got writer's cramp as I began to type the list of offers the long armed sharpshooter had in the bag.

University of New Orleans, Tulane, Louisiana-Lafayette, Nichols State, North Texas State, Wright State, Murray State, Western Carolina, Western Illinois, Moorehead State, Xavier (LA), and Texas State are all in the mix with offers. Expect plenty more when all is said and done folks as he's as pure a shooter as you'll find.
After a very solid summer where he started to take defending seriously, 2010 6'6" Ronald (R.J.) McGhee has seen his recruitment really begin to pick up. McGhee, a long WG with as smooth a shooting stroke as you'll find led the Texas D-1 Ambassadors in charges taken during the July live recruiting period.

McGhee made All Tournament in the Atlantic Slam II in Myrtle Beach as the Texas D-1 Ambassadors crushed the Georgia Blazers in the championship game. Once the razor thin McGhee takes the weight room seriously he'll become a real handful at the college level.

Marquette University Specialty Camp

The weekend was spent in Milwaukee, WI at Marquette University's Elite Specialty Camp with two kids from the Austin/San Antonio area. Over 40 of the country's top 2010, 2011 & 2012 players were in attendance at Coach Buzz Williams 2nd Annual Elite Camp.

Texas was well represented with Rickey Scott of Irving McArthur and Cameron Clark of Denison among others. I was priveleged to bring two top notch guards from the Texas D-1 Ambassadors in the Class of 2011 to camp. They were Pflugerville's Deon Mitchell and San Antonio Reagan's Tre Demps. Coach Williams continues to push his Texas ties in attracting our kids to the rough and tumble Big East Conference.

(Below): l. 2011 G Deon Michell of Pflugerville and r. 2011 G Tre Demps of San Antonio Reagan.
Below: Coach Max mugs it up with Coach Williams. Still the ever humble guy, Williams who now makes 7 figures annually started his coaching career by sweeping gym floors for free at Navarro JC in East Texas.

Below: 2011 Tre Demps shows off his guns and the extra 20 lbs of muscle that he's put on in the off season. Look for him to lead San Antonio Reagan to new heights this coming campaign.

Below: As you walk into Marquette's practice facility you're greeted by a larger than life bronze statue of former Coach Al McGuire who led Marquette to the 1977 NCAA Championship. McGuire's famous words to his assistans was not to recruit players who had grass around their homes, but to find the tough kids who grew up amidst the "cracked sidewalks" of the inner city.

Below: 2011 G Deon Mitchell of Pflugerville, the "Baby Faced Assassin" has already received an offer from Marquette. Great things lie ahead for the guard with the sweet shot, deadly crossover and great body control when finishing at the rim with either hand.

Below: Coach Williams has done a great job of mixing Marquette's history both under McGuire and more recently that of Coach Crean and Dwayne "Flash" Wade to it's present where he oversees every minute detail while looking towards future success.

Look for big things out of Marquette as they have a great coaching staff including another Texan of sorts in Assistant Tony Benford of Clovis, NM an old friend of mine from his days at Arizona State and one of the really good guys in the business, Assistant Scott Monarch. Not only is Monarch a good looking dude (lol..that little bald head looks like Coach Max from the back) but he's a tireless worker. An interesting footnote. Many of you are familiar with the movie, White Tiger" which chronicles the first white football player to play at traditionally all Black Gramling College. Well, Coach Monarch is the basketball equivalent as he was the first "White Boy" to lace em up in the SWAC for traditionally all Black Mississippi Valley State.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ryan Springer To The Sunny Beaches Of Florida

2010 6'7' Ryan Springer of Austin Hyde Park HS has taken his game to the sunny beaches of St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Springer, shown here in a fall of 2008 file photo while participating in the basketball combine.

2009 6'7" Ryan Springer, a transplant from Phoenix, AZ has moved along to the next level. After starring for Hyde Park HS in Austin, TX this past season where he averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds a game, being named to one of TAPPS All State teams. Springer is headed to Florida to play his college ball. He signed with D-II Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL.

Currently a four man, in a wing's body he played center for Hyde Park Baptist basketball but look for him to beef up a little. Springer has a nice touch when facing the goal and has the potential to hit face up shots from mid range and in.
Ryan is the son of Mr. & Mrs. Al Springer of Dripping Springs, TX. He split time playing his club basketball between the Centex Shooters and the Texas D-1 Ambassadors. Congratulations to Ryan and his family.
Coach Max & Chip

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Partners in Ministry Kerrville, TX

Yesterday I was blessed to share a day of fellowship in Kerrville, TX with 2010 G Jonathan Perry of Kerrville Tivy, his father Rick and a great turnout of the Kerrville community to hear former Harlem Globetrotter Melvin Watkins inspire the crowd. Watkins, originally from the Houston area combined basketball tricks, quick witted humor along with a heartfelt recap of his childhood and the two people who inspired him. He was a great witness to what "walking the walk" being a Christian really means and definitely reinforced that we all can make a difference by being positive and working with children.

Watkins was on hand to support Kerrville's Partners In Ministry which does a marvelous job of running programs to help children and families in need whether that be poverty, substance abuse, or counseling/training for single mothers. It is a very worthwhile cause.

After the luncheon, we stole away to the beautiful Kerrville Country Club and proceeded to take a beating in a skins game from 2010 Perry. (His lack of compassion for his summer coach in the golf game will now lead to his recruiting being shut

Coach Max shares a moment with former Harlem Globetrotter turned motivational speaker/Christian Melvin Watkins (left) who is from the Houston area. If I don't mind saying, those are two good looking bald
Below: Rick Perry (Pops of Kerrville star 2010 G Jonathan Perry) is seen DROWNING in a sea of sand during a quick golf outing in a rare day off prior to the start of the Phoenix Desert Duel Tournament. Helllllooooooooooo down there

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Texas D-1 Ambassadors Girls Roll To State Title

The Texas Lady Ambassadors 2014 girls basketball team won its second consecutive Mid America Youth Basketball (MAYB) state tournament that was held in San Antonio from July 24-26.
The state tournament featured 12 teams in the seventh-grade girls division. The Ambassadors compiled a 6-0 overall record and defeated the Texas Hoopsters for the championship.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Harker Heights HS/Texas D-1 Ambassador D.J. Stephens To Memphis!

2009 W 6'5" D.J. Stephens of Harker Heights HS and the Texas D-1 Ambassadors committed to play basketball for perennial NCAA powerhouse Memphis Tigers of Conference USA. He'll report to Memphis almost immediately as classes start in the next few days. Below: D.J. Stephens at left (with hand on chin)with summer team mates 2011 Tre Drye of Baton Rouge Glen Oaks (LA) and 2010 Jonathan Perry of Kerrville Tivy (TX) at a summer event.
Today at 2:30pm Memphis Coach Josh Pastner called to confirm his offer of a scholarship to D.J. Stephens. The lanky 6'41/2" W with the 6'9" reach and the UNBELIEVABLE standing vertical of 43" will be expected to contribute immediately. There will be no redshirt year.
Although still raw, Stephens can knock down enough face up shots to be considered a threat, but it's his amazing athleticism which sets him apart. His length will make him a factor at the front of the press and his explosiveness will allow him to compete for rebounds at either end of the floor. Expect Memphis to utilize him as an undersized 4 man who can cause a mismatch when he goes to the wing offensively and especially in transition.
Stephens also fielded offers from San Francisco, Lamar, Central Arkansas, Oral Roberts, New orleans, Tulane, Cal State Northridge, Cal-Riverside, Northern Iowa. Southern Mississippi, Tulsa UT-Pan American, and North Texas. Once the Tigers came calling, it was all over.
Dell Demps, Director of Player Personnel, San Antonio Spurs told me, "Max, there are only a handful of guys at ANY LEVEL who can explode like D.J. does." That's a pretty good endorsement, folks!

When Coach Celnique Bobbit of Harker Heights HS asked me to take D.J. with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors a couple of years ago he stressed to me what a high character kid he was. It was this attribute in addition to the obvious athleticism which caused Coach Pastner and Assistant Willis Wilson (an old friend of mine when he was at Rice University) to pull the trigger on Stephens. I've also known Coach Pastner for 10 years and he puts a premium on character.

D.J. is the son of Will Stephens & Dorothea Love, both of Killeen, TX. I have no doubt that D.J. will do his family, community, Coach Bobbitt of Harker Heights and the Texas D-1 Ambassadors proud over the next years.


Coach Max Ivany
Texas D-1 Ambassadors

Monday, August 17, 2009

7 Footer David Hahn Off To Prep School

Big David Hahn (shown below with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Chip) is a legitimate 7 footer, and a solid 245 pounds. Hahn Takes up a lot of space in the paint, and shows nice touch around the rim with surprising deftness and a soft shot for a big fella.
I first me David Hahn a couple of seasons back as a high school sophomore. He'd be the first to tell you that at that time, he lacked discipline on the court and in the classroom while at Austin McCallum HS (TX). His Pops, Rick decided that a change was in order and that a military school was the way to go. So, off to the great State of Mississippi he went.
Fast forward to the summer of 2009. I received a phone call from a pleasant, respectful young man who was all business. After touching base with his father, the "new" David Hahn joined the Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Chip for several summer events. Now Hahn has graduated from his Mississippi high schooland is cleared by the NCAA for Division One competiton. He is chomping at the bit for his next step in his basketball journey. With a chiseled 245 pound body, and a new found intrinsic desire to be in great shape the one time "kid" now smacks of maturity as he prepares to head off to the East Coast Prep school scene.
The Big Fella will lace them up for Kimball Union Prep in New Hampshire an old line school with a proud academic tradition and a $40,000 plus annual tuition, room and board price tag attached. Of course being 7 foot has landed Big Dave a scholarship, so there's no need for the rest of the Hahn Family to have to eat rice and Kimball Union is coached by Mike Olson, who was a long time coach at Dartmouth of the Ivy League.
Hahn is currently being recruited by Tulane, Texas State, TCU. Iowa State, American & Bowling Green amongst others. This extra year of development will cause Hahn's recruitment to go into high gear. Expect him to climb up the mid major recruiting charts as this 2009-2010 school year begins.
Best of luck david from Coach Max, Coach Chip and the rest of the Texas D-1 Ambassadors Family.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Prayers For Daniel Alexander

2010 Daniel Alexander yuks it up with Texas D-1 Ambassadors summer team mate 2010 Conner Kemper at an invitational tournament at Kansas State University this past May. Apparently he induced Kemper into some kind of a trance as BOTH give the Aggies "Gig 'Em" sign??? :-)
Below: Alexander with Coach Max at Vince Carter's Nike Skills Academy in Orlando, FL in late June.

I had a chance to speak to 2010 Dripping Springs, TX star Daniel Alexander yesterday to see how his back was doing. Alexander had an inconsistent summer, while dealing with a troublesome back problem. We all chalked it up to being a pulled muscle and to be honest there were times I prodded Daniel that he'd have to become tougher to really excel at the level of play in the Big XII after his commitment to the Texas A&M Aggies.
I've got to tell you, Daniel has proven me wrong. He toughed out tournament games at the Top 20 Hoop City Classic in Kansas City and gamely attempted to play in a game at the Duel in the Desert. The pain was excruciating. We were fortunate to have a medical doctor with us on the trip, in Conner Kemper's dad Dr. Jim Kemper who prescribed Daniel some pain medication.
After returning to Austin Daniel's father informed me that he was diagnosed with a fracture on his 5th vertabrae! It will require a back brace for another 5-6 weeks, with physical therapy beginning after a couple more weeks of complete rest.
I'd like to wish Daniel all the best in his upcoming senior campaign before he heads off to Texas A&M. Alexander has a a rare athleticism and smooth perimeter stroke for a player that is 6'8". When he is hot he can fill it up beyond NBA range. His career has been filled with accolades, including winning the 2008 Jonathan Bender Underclassman Award at Rick Barrett's Philadelphia Midnight Madness as well as the Vince Carter Skills Academy and LeBron James skills Academy.
From all the Aggies out there, the Austin basketball community, and to his brothers in the Texas D-1 Ambassadors organization, Daniel we pray that you heal 100%. God Bless.
Coach Max

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

SMU Elite Camp Dallas, TX/Matt Derenbecker

This past Saturday saw about 60 of Texas' finest young players (and a few from out of state) converge on the SMU Campus in Dallas, TX for Coach Matt Doherty's Elite Camp. There were 5 intense hours of station drills and then scrimmage games enabling the players to get excellent instruction as well as show their game skills to the staff. Former North Carolina player & Coach, Matt Doherty (below) is now entering his 4th season as head coach at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. After 3 tough, disappointing seasons the Mustangs opened their arms to some of the State of Texas best club programs and their coaches in an attempt to do a more succesful job of recruiting the State of Texas. It was my honor to be in attendance representing the Texas D-1 Ambassadors.
The SMU staff did a great job of making us feel welcome and setting up a productive camp schedule for the kids. The new practice facility built at a cost of $13 Million is as nice as any in the country. $30 million in renovations will soon be underway for improvements to venerable on campus, Moody Coliseum.

Below, Texas D-1 Ambassador D.J. Stephens of Harker Heights takes instruction from former SMU player & pro Tim Mason. (Mason was Coach Max's co-instructor on the dribble drive-kickout station)

Below, 1st year SMU Assistant Reggie Geary, an old friend of mine from his former playing days and coach at the University of Arizona addresses the players and "coaches them up".

In the "It's a small world" department, I popped into Raising Cane's Chicken Joint in Dallas only to hear, "Hey coach, what's up"? 400 miles from his Metairie, Louisiana home I run into 2010 6'7 WG Matt Derenbecker who has recently committed to his near home town LSU Tigers. I had the pleasure of coaching Matt this spring with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors. Despite having migraine headaches and coming off a broken hand the kid never made excuses or complained. He's a great team mate, and an even better person than player. Matt is the son of Mr & Mrs. John Derenbecker of Metairie Country Day( his school is located in a New Orleans suburb). Coach Trent Johnson got a good one in Matt. Geaux Tigers! Congratulations to you and your family. Coach Max

Austin/San Antonio Late Signings/Updates

2009 W 6'3" Isiah Collier of Austin Bowie HS inked with Paris JC, TX one of the nation's top JuCo's. Congrats to the Collier Family.
2009 G 6'0" Dejon Taylor, a defensive stopper out of San Antonio Stevens HS signed with Iowa Lakes CC, IA. He joins the ever-growing list of Texas D-1 Ambassadors who continue their careers in college.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Chip Win End of Summer Tournament!

The Texas D-1 Ambassadors organization has grown in both numbers and stature to the point where teams other than our so called "flagship team" are regularly beating other organization's top groups.

Yesterday, in front of a nice collection of Division One coaches, the Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Chip won the last "NCAA Live" recruiting event of the summer. They are now champions of the Dallas End of Summer Tournament.

There was some great competition along the way. The closest game was a quarterfinal win in overtime vs. CJ. Miles All Stars. The semi final against the Dallas Mustangs Blue was the most anticipated game of the tournament. The Mustangs 2011 P 6'8" Lebryan Nash is one of the top 5 most coveted players in his class nationwide. Texas D-1 Ambassadors 2011 PG Deon Mitchell of Pflugerville is also quickly moving into the top guard prospects in his class. The net effect was that the college coaches were out in full force to watch these two heavyweights slug it out.

Semi Final

Texas D-1 Ambassadors 80 Dallas Mustangs Blue 74

Demetris "Cleveland" Smith 25
Deon Mitchell 18
Jarrel Turner 12

The above three top scorers are all from Pflugerville HS which bodes well again for Coach Mike Murphy's Panthers in their bid to get to The Drum.

Championship Game

2011 G Deon Mitchell continues to prove he belong's in the Class of 2011's elite nationally as he torched the DC Kings for 36 points on 14-18 shooting from the field, including 6 three pointers. Solid team play and balanced scoring from the remainder of the roster was the difference in the championship win.
The team boasts several outstanding young prospects including the aforementioned Mitchell, 2010 W Demetris "Cleveland" Smith, 2010 G Nate Velasco, and 2010 P Nick Leasure as well as 2011 W Adam Whitlock, 2011 Adam Reinking and 2012 G Michael Hardge.

Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Chip 73 DC Kings 57

Deon Mitchell 36
Michael Hardge 8
Jarrell Turner 8
Demetris Smith 7
Nate Velasco 6
Nick Leasure 6

In addition to this championship the squad notched a Great American Shootout Championship in Georgetown and shared a co-championship with their sister team, Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Ivany.

The Great American Shootout win on Father's Day was particularly gratifying to me as a dad as I watched my son help lead his team to the title. Congratulations Chip and your D-1 Ambassadors team!