Sunday, January 3, 2010

John Lucas' Camp Right Way (Houston, TX)

It was great seeing Coach Billy Gillispie yesterday. The recently departed Kentucky Coach (and past Head Man at Texas A&M and UTEP) delivered the opening remanrks at John Lucas' Camp Right Way in Houston. The camp brought together about 60 of the top kids from around the State in the Class of 2014. Coach Max (Texas Prep Report) was there, along with my good friend Jimmy Hicks of RCS Sports to help pub the young bucks.

Of course "Luke" is Asscociate Head Coach of the LA Clippers at the moment along with Mike Dunleavey so he was unable to participate in the camp as per normal, even though it bears his name. The camp was top notch with Coach Gillispie addressing the parents and kids, and then separately answering questions about college level basketball and giving the parents his unique insight. He seemed relaxed and as anyone who knows him will tell you, when he's in a gym then he's in his element.

I first had the pleasure to meet coach 5 years back when he recruited and eventually signed two Texas D-1 Ambassadors. (Bryan Beasley of Pflugerville, now at Rice & Brandon Webster of Bryan, now at Fresno State). I butted heads with him brielfy once, but found him to be an incredibly honest, straghtforward guy. At the end of our conversation he asked, "Coach, will I still be able to recruit your guys with the D-1 Ambassadors?" lol..."Hell yeah", I said. Who wouldn't want thier kids to be part of any program Billy Clyde was associated with. He has my 100% respect. Make no mistake, he'll be back prowling the sidelines this next basketball season. Look for Coach G to be scouring gyms for talent when he gets rehired next April. I've got a pretty good idea where he'll end up but when you start talking about another man's job it's a sensitive subject and I'd prefer to keep that to myself until the time comes.
Below: Jordan (CJ) Taylor who just moved back from the Virginia area will suit up this coming year for the Texas D-1 Ambassadors 2013 squad depsite being an 8th grader. I watched Taylor carefully and was impressed with his fundamentals. Handled the ball well with both hands, has a solid shot and knows how to play the game from the neck up. He always seems under control, and got to the rim when he wanted.
Below: Kendall Hayes is transforming before our very eyes from a little butterball when he played with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors to a strong, skilled guard who uses his body to get to the rack and can shoot it too. Reminded myself and Orrin Bailey of All 4 Sports of a Deron Williams type of body. His Pops, old friend Essex Hayes left San Antonio to teach/coach at a private school in Houston. Come on back home, Kendall! lol...and does this kid have the best hair in camp or what? Great looking prospect who continues to work hard.
2014 WG Jessie Pistokache of the McAllen, TX could be the next big thing out of the RGV. At 6'2" he's long and skilled. "Pistol" was an outstanding on ball defender who has a silky smooth stroke.

Other camp highlights included Brandon Johnson's REAL talk to parents and kids about feeling entitled, work ethic, strong parenting, etc. The ex Auburn Assistant is taking a year off from coaching to attend theology courses in Dallas at SMU. He brought a unique perspective to the whole basketball experience.

Former Spur and Dallas Mavs Coach Avery Johnson was on hand watching his son in action, as was former Cleveland Browns star Dirk Minnifield. The operations of the camp was handled by Bilal Batley, one of Luke's righthand men when it comes to working out NBA guys. He did a great job. He too is taking the year off from college coaching as he was part of Kelvin Sampson's staffs at Oklahoma, Indiana and then last season at Memphis.

So, there's the wrap up, and we'll look forward to seeing many of those kids at my All American Prodigy Camp being held in Austin, TX during the Boys State Tournament Weekend, March 13-14th, 2010.