Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All American Prodigy Camp Boys 2015-2016 Evaluations

The main ingredient I look for in a the young guns is a love of the game and a willingness to listen. These guys did not disappoint.

Above: Despite being the youngest participant on the boys side at this particular camp, 2016 G 5'1" Daeton Garcia of Corpus Christi, TX did not back down from anyone. His shot is advanced for his age and with continued hard work his adequate ballhandling will become more complete. Footspeed needs work, but he seems dedicated to doing the work required to keep getting better. Wingspan: 59"

This is my 3rd opportunity to eyeball 2015 5'11" Kevin Owens of Cedar Park, TX. He needs to continue working on his left hand but his footwork is getting better as he grows into his body. Owens is showing a nice touch on his face up shot and is increasing his range. Big Kevin also sports a 4.0 GPA. Wingspan: 66"

2015 WF 5'10" Peter Nyberg of Houston, TX came to play. The hard worker from St. Catherine's MS has already scored in the top 5% of the PSAT tests. He shows a nice left hand, and has long arms as witnessed by his 77" reach. Needs to finish stronger at the rim. Wingspan: 77"

2015 WG 5'6" Yen Chen Wee of Austin, TX was aggressive all weekend long. He hustled for loose balls and charged hard to the goal. Needs to dribble with his head up, but there's no questioning his heart. I love hungry players! Wingspan: 67"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All American Prodigy/High Academic Camp Fall 2009

Above, left to right: Emerging Prospects 2011 PG Yolonzo Moore of Austin Akins HS, 2014 G Aubrie King of Mumford, MS, (TX) , Top Shooter, 2012 G Alexandra Rodriguez of Georgetown HS (TX), Emerging Prospect 2012 G Brandon Thompson of Houston Worthing HS (TX), 2011 G and Camp MVP Deon Mitchell of Pflugerville HS (TX), and Emerging Prospect 2011 W Royce O'Neale of Harker Heights HS (TX)

The Fall 2009 Edition of the All American Prodigy Camp/High Academic Camp was held in Austin, TX this past weekend. Many bright new prospects emerged and over the next few days we'll break down more specifics on the players in the various classes in Coach Max's Prep Report. Today we'll just note the award winners.

This is an instructional/evaluation camp so very little 5 on 5 scrimmaging occurs. The focus is on "station" skill work, and then incorporating the lessons into "2 man game" and 3 on 3 situaions. This ensures that every player is involved and has an opportunity to truly get experience in game situations without the ball being dominated by one person.

For many of the players one of the highlights of the camp in addition to the quality instruction was the opportunity to listen to 2007 All American Camp Alumnus, 2010 W 6'9" Daniel Alexander from Dripping Springs, TX. Alexander was an unknown when he arrived at the 2007 camp but he caught Coach Max's eye and became one of the most sought after recruits in the country eventually committing to the Big XII and the Texas A&M Aggies. Alexander went on to be one of only 20 players in the entire country who were invited to the Vince Carter & LeBron James Skills Academies this past summer. The kids really identify with someone who was where they currently are just a few short years ago.

Below: 2015 Kennedy Harris is well on her way to becoming a blue chip player. This is my 3rd camp observing her and she just continues to expand her game and improve. She had to leave camp an hour early and was unable to be included in the group photo above.

Below: Coach Brooks Thompson of the UT-San Antonio Roadrunners has a talented bunch returning this year with lots of leadership as well as highly skilled players, looking to corral a Southland Conference Championship. They are high character guys too as witnessed by these three young men volunteering their time in the preseason to assist in coaching the youngsters at camp. These kids really look up to the college guys as it's where many of them aspire to be in a few years.

From left to right: University of Texas- San Antonio players: Junior G Chip Ivany (Pflugerville Connally TX), Senior Post DeMarco Stepter (Memphis, TN) and NCAA Steals leader, Junior PG Devin Gibson (Houston TX)

Below: Texas A&M commit 2010 W 6'9" Daniel Alexander pats Coach Max on the while to the right 2010 Kerrville Tivy Star (and two time All Region player) 2010 6'4" G Jonathan Perry looks on in amusement.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Texas D-1 Ambassador R.J. McGhee to UNO

R.J. McGhee, (#40) shown with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors up in Kansas finishing off the break with a dunk over the top of an unidentified DC Assault player, commits to the University of New Orleans.

One of the country's premiere shooters in the class of 2010, 6'5" R.J. McGhee of Baton Rouge Istrouma (LA) and the Texas D-1 Ambassadors has decided to stay close to home, REAL CLOSE TO HOME, and attend the University of New Orleans. Head Coach Joe Pastnernack in his 3rd year at UNO has to be extremely pleased to have landed the smooth shooter from Baton Rouge. McGhee is a big part in the quest to return UNO to the glory days the Privateers experienced under Coach Tim Floyd (ex of the USC Trojans & Chicago Bulls).

At 6'5" McGhee can get his shot off quickly, with deadly range well past the college 3 point line. He's razor thin, but will really become a big time player in the Sun Belt Conference when his body begins to mature in the weight room. McGhee is above average at slashing to the hole, and along with a good vertical jump finishes strong at the rim. His length also gives him the potential to be a very good defensive player. The least committed part of his game through most of the summer, R.J. can play good D when he puts his mind to it, as shown when he helped lead the Texas D-1 Ambassadors to the Atlantic Slam Championship at Myrtle Beach, SC during the NCAA live recruiting period where he took 9 charges in a 5 game span. He also made All Tournament in that event.

When I spoke to R.J. late Tuesday he told me he chose UNO over Tulane, North Texas and others because of proximity to home, and he felt great about his team mates and the coaching staff. I don't think it hurt any that the New Orleans Hornets are also partnering up with UNO on some practice facilities and interaction with their pros. He met Hornets star Chris Paul on the visit and fell in love with the whole set up.

McGhee becomes the 2nd Texas D-1 Ambassador on the New Orleans Roster as they have recently signed Junior Devin McDonald from Houston Milby via a two year stint at San Jacinto CC (TX)

He is the son of Mr. & Mrs. Ronnie McGhee of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Congratulations to R.J. and his family.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pflugerville Fall League/Coach Max's Morsels

(Above) I had breakfast a couple of days ago with University of San Francisco Asst. Jeff Linder. We chewed the fat about hoops and Coach recounted his experience at the University of North Carolina this past month when along with his Head Coach, Rex Walters was invited along with every Carolina alum now coaching in college and the pros to The 100th Anniversary of Tar Heel Hoops. He said it was simply amazing.

He saw Texas D-1 Ambassadors ex John Henson in powder blue and said he looked GREAT! Did you folks know that in the Mock NBA Draft of 2011 that Henson is projected to go # 4 overall??? Wow

While in the area, Linder visited San Antonio Reagan, San Antonio Clark and San Antonio Johnson. He then headed up I-35 and dropped into Del Valle and Austin Westlake to check in on 2010 commit Cody Doolin. He is one of the growing number of D-1 coaches nationwide who respects the Texas D-1 Ambassadors program and also who appreciates the fact that the Austin-San Antonio area is vastly under recruited. Coach Linder was previously at Midland JC (TX).

It was nice to have a little break after a long spring and summer season on the club coaching trail. I actually took a golf lesson in Phoenix and then hacked my way around some of the area's nicest courses. It's good to be back home and last night was my first night back in the gym hearing the squeak of sneakers for the Fall of 2009.

Below: 2010 PG David Eads of the Lake Travis Cavaliers is no slouch on the floor. He'll take a huge leadership role for LT this year with Jordan Jahr graduated and playing ball at the Air Force Academy. His play, while very good pales in comparison to his academics. Eads shunned a couple of D-1's who flirted with him and decided to take his 1460 SAT (out of 1600) and head off to M.I.T one of the nation's most prestigious academic institutions where he'll play ball. Eads told me he's still undecided whether to study political science, or business. Congratulatons David!

The Baby Faced Assassin, 2011 PG Deon Mitchell of Pflugerville may well be the area's most prolific scorer this year. He's shown here in his camp photo from the Marquette University Specialty Camp. He has an offer in his pocket already from the Big East powerhouse.

Below: 2010 PG Cody Doolin is my preseason pick for the Austin POY honors. The do it all guard is committed to the University of San Francisco and former Kansas PG Rex Walters. One Big XII coach compares Doolin favorably at this point in his career to former Texas Tech G Alan Voskil who is making $200K playing overseas in Poland. That's heady stuff.

Pflugerville Fall League Wednesday, September 23rd
Tonight's the night! Basketball junkies, come on out of the closet for another great year (2009-2010). This is also the one year anniversary of "Coach Max's Prep Report", which has blossomed into the premiere source of high school basketball information and publicity for players in the Austin-San Antonio area, as well as featuring kids from Louisiana & Mississippi. In one short year, we have become the focal point for players, high school coaches and college coaches to get their "fix" of the area youth and prep hoop scene.

This year, we'll expand our coverage to begin including the ladies, bring game recaps, recruiting updates and much more. I'll go into much greater detail as the season begins to unfold, but for now I'm going to point out a couple of guys who have stood out early as players to watch in 4 games I caught last night who have D-1 potential.

Pflugerville Hendrickson 2011 W 6'5" Jalen Washington
Lake Travis 2010 PG 6'1" David Eads
Pflugerville 2010 WG 6'5" Cleveland Smith
Pflugerville 2011 PG 5'10" Deon Mitchell
Pflugerville 2012 PG 5'8" T.J. Williams
Round Rock Stony Point 2010 PG 6'0" Chris Clements
Austin LBJ 2011 G 6'0" Robert Lee
Austin Westlake 2010 PG 6'2" Cody Doolin
Austin Westlake 2010 P 6'9" Gus Leeper
Austin Westlake 2010 W 6'6" Conner Kemper

There will be many more mentioned and lots of additional info as the year unfolds.
You can also follow this year on

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Demtris "Cleveland" Smith Commits to Lamar

2010 Demetris "Cleveland" Smith shown below at the 2008 combine.
2010 WG 6'4" Demetris "Cleveland" Smith (shown below with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors) has committed to Lamar University in the Southland Conference.
Folks, in the world of collegiate athletics there are many stories that are "feel good" and sadly many more that reinforce negative stereotypes of athletes. Today, I am pleased to announce the commitment of Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Chip player Demetris "Cleveland" Smith who has recently decided to end his recruitment early and commit to play basketball at Lamar University of the Southland Conference.

Smith, a 2010 WG 6'4" is a big part of the Central Texas basketball juggernaut under Coach Mike Murphy at Pflugerville High School, bordering Austin, TX. He was being recruited by Texas State, Stephen F Austin and Sam Houston State as well as others out of State but ended his recruitment in part to join two of his 2009 Pflugerville & ex-D-1 Ambassadors team mates (PG Jonathan Garza & P Osas Ebomwonyi) with the Lamar Cardinals.

Here's where the story gets particularly interesting. Sure, he has a much better than average perimeter shot, rebounds like a demon and has an unyielding will to win. Mnay kids have that. However, his will is not just to win on the court, but to win at the Game of Life. Family is important to Smith, the energetic buzz saw who originally hails from the inner city of Cleveland, OH. That might seem like an obvious statement to most, however Cleveland tragically lost both of his parents within a short time of each other. After having no place to stay in Ohio, he ended up in Texas mid semester almost exactly 2 years ago because an aunt lived in Pflugerville and he came to live with her.

As if this wasn't enough for a young man to handle, the story took another strange twist when last fall, young Demetris came home to find his aunt's Pflugerville apartment completely empty of all furnishings. The exception was a note on the counter telling him she had too many obstacles of her own and had to go back to Ohio! Wow. For all of us that feel we have mountains to climb, is this not PRESSSURE??? Do any of you feel embarrassed about moaning and whining about small obstacles we face in our daily lives? I sure do!

This young man had every conceivable excuse to QUIT. How many people do we know who would stop attending school, turn away from basketball, act out in a negative way, & perhaps even turn to a combination of drugs, alcohol or crime to cope with their problems or to use their circumstances as a built in excuse for failure. Frankly, I don't know if I would have the inner strength to handle this at 15, 16 or 17 years old.

Instead, Cleveland turned to his new Family; the good people of Pflugerville and the Texas D-1 Ambassadors. A combination of the above, (Pflugerville Coach Mike Murphy, Ms. Ann Baker a teacher at Pflugerville whom Smith now lives with, D-1 Ambassadors Coach TJ Garza and many others) have been there for this beautiful young man as he sorts out lifes trials and tribulations. This network of love, support and discipline has led us to him being on the verge of becoming a Division One basketball player/scholarship athlete.

Cleveland, over the years we've had many players come through our Texas D-1 Ambassadors organization who have brought pride and accomplishments to their families and community but none that quite approaches your achievements given the obstacles you've had to overcome. You are truly an inspiration to others and even though you are likely unaware at the moment you are already a mentor to other young men in the community. You have our sincere congratulations.

Coach Max & Coach Chip
Note: We never publish information as sensitive as this, but the story is so compelling and can serve as an inspiration to so many others that Demetris graciously has given me permission to write about his journey off the basketball court....Sincere Thanks...Coach Max