Tuesday, March 30, 2010

D-1 Nation Smashes Competition In Three States

Has a club program ever had as much success as the teams of the D-1 Nation had this past weekend, March 26-28th, 2010?  Our overall record with 9 of our teams playing in 3 different states (Texas, Missouri, & Mississippi) was a combined 42 wins and 3 losses!  In one weekend!  Six different teams won championships including the Great American Shootout at Huntsville TX, the Battle of the South in Jackson, MS , and on the girls side we captured the championship at the Houston Insiders Tournament and were co-champions of the She's Ballin' Tournament in San Antonio.  What a tribute to the quality of players we have and the great guys who are coaching and mentoring them.  Thank you.  Coach Max


Kansas City D-1 Ambassadors 2013 go 4-0 to win Championship in Kansas City, MO

Kansas City D-1 Ambassadors 17U go 4-0 to win Championship in Kansas City, MO
The Texas D-1 Ambassadors 2013-Team Morse go 3-1 losing the Championship game by 2, losing to the host Houston Hoops.

New Orleans D-1 Ambassadors Varsity go 6-0, winning The Battle of the South Championship in Jackson, MS

Mississippi D-1 Ambassadors Varsity go 3-1, losing quarterfinal at the Battle of the South in Jackson, MS.

Below: Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Team Josephs won the NBA Division of the Great American Shootout in Huntsville, TX.
Texas D-1 San Antonio-Team Josephs go 5-0 and win the NBA Division Championship of the Great American Shootout in Huntsville, TX.

The Texas D-1 Ambassadors 2016-Team Christian (6th graders) go 4-0 to win the Austin Lady Magic Tournament Championship.

The Texas D-1 Ambassadors Varsity-Team James go 4-0 as Co-Champions of She's Ballin' in San Antonio, TX
The Texas D-1 Ambassadors/Austin Elite 2013-Team Gregg go 5-0 to win the Houston Insiders Tournament Championship.

The Texas D-1 Ambassadors/Austin Elite Varsity-Team Martin go 4-1 in the Houston Insiders Tournament, losing the Championship game by 4.

New Orleans D-1 Ambassadors Win Battle Of The South (Jackson, MS)

2011 Post Trevante Drye shown below with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors last summer is now staying closer to home in 2010 and is lacing them up for our crew based in the Crescent City, The New Orleans D-1 Ambassadors, Coached by Greg Holmes.  The talented Junior helped lead his team to the championship at the prestigious Battle of the South Tournament in Jackson, MS.

The New Orleans D-1 Ambassadors are loaded with talent at every position on the court. You can click on the link below (compliments of TigerBait.com to see 2012 PG Javon Felix of New Orleans St. Augustine HS one of the best pure points in the country.  Felix gets to the rim when he wants and knows how to deliver the ball to his team mates in order to make them successful.  Felix is being recruited by Texas, as well as every school in the SEC.

D-1 Beat the Mississippi Byram Ballers and then the Arkansas Warriors to go 2-0 in Pool.
Bracket Play
D-1 then beat New Orleans Select and the Bama Boys (AL) in their first two bracket games.
Semi Final
D-1 67 Louisiana Team Xpress 66
New Orleans D-1 Ambassadors 74 Memphis Trailblazers 71

Monday, March 29, 2010

Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Team Josephs Win GASO's NBA Division

Picture courtesy of www.texashoops.com

The Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Team Josephs out of San Antonio, TX made the trip down the road toHuntsville, TX to the 1st Great American Shootout Event of the 2010 Season.  The talented group of 2011 & 2012 players had a perfect 5-0 record in taking the GASO-Hunstville title in the NBA Division.                                                 
 Coach Paul Josephs

The D-1 Nation handled the Houston Gold 77-41, and then defeated Arlington Metro Elite 67-53.  In Sunday's bracket play all three games were tough, physical affairs with a total of 8 points being the difference on the way to the title. In the quarterfinals, D-1 defeated the Dallas Heroes 67-61. Facing full court pressure for 32 minutes, 2012 PG's Carter Josephs (San Antonio Clark) and Adam Perez (San Antonio Clark) these two linchpins consistently broke the press and allowed D-1 to get into their offense.

In the semi finals, D-1 beat the West Houston Warriors 69-68 with a free throw at the buzzer by 2012 G Michael Douglass (San Antonio Churchill) who was fouled driving to the rack with a second left to play.  West Houston's Sheldon McClellan (University of Texas) was a tough matchup as he dropped 29 points but 2011 W/P Ansley Benjamin made him earn them all. 

2012 G "Iron" Michael Douglass propelled D-1 into the GASO Championship game with clutch free throws at the buzzer.

The D-1 Ambassadors beat a very good Houston Lynx-Team Schudy by coming from behind and grabbing another nail biter 49-48 to claim the hardware. This time it was a driving layup by Adam Perez which provided the slimmest of margins for the win.  The tournament MVP was 2011 Ansley Benjamin of San Antonio Clark.  The athletic 6'4" swingman/post recently bench pressed 285.  The son of former NBA player Benoit Benjamin is an intriguing prospect and if he grows another 2-3 inches, then you'd better watch out!  Coming off the bench & notching a double double in all 5 games, Benjamin exhibited his toughness inside along with an ability to guard players from the two to the five position.  The folks at Texas Hoops informed Coach Josephs that they'd "missed" on Benjamin but would quickly add him to their ranked players in the Class of 2011.
2012 G Adam Perez' driving layup with 4 seconds left lifted D-1 over the Houston Lynx to win the GASO Championship.

2012 P 6'8" Connor Lammert of San Antonio Clark continues to improve at a rapid pace.  His skills are ahead of the curve for a player projected to be a 7 footer.  The roster of seven 2011's mixed in with four 2012's will only get better as the season goes on. It was a team effort, with balanced scoring and contributions by all. 

Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Team Josephs Roster

Sean Bambrace           2011                     San Antonio Antonian
Carter Josephs            2012                     San Antonio Clark
Michael Douglass        2012                    San Antonio Churchill
Adam Perez                 2012                     San Antonio Clark
Connor Lammert        2012                    San Antonio Churchill
Alec Senioris               2011                     San Antonio Central Catholic
Kyle Rutledge             2011                     San Antonio Clark
Ansley Benjamin        2011                      San Antonio Clark
Tom Berry                  2011                      San Antonio Central Catholic
Clark Lammert          2011                      San Antonio Churchill
Jacob Palacios            2011                      San Antonio Clark

Texas D-1 Ambassador Cody Doolin Is CenTex Player Of The Year

Group Photo Below:Courtesy of the Austin American Statesman photographer Rodolfo Gonzalez

From left to right:  Demetris "Cleveland" Smith (Pflugerville), David Eads (Austin Lake Travis), LaDarrien Williams (Manor), JaQuarius Daniels (Austin Reagan) & Cody Doolin (Austin Westlake)

Above, Doolin with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors was the consummate competitor in the 5 years he played for the D-1 Nation.  Although always at the top of the statistical heap, it was championships that Doolin was noted for. Perhaps most notable were the back to back Kingwood Classic Championships that Doolin led the D-1 Ambassadors to when Kingwood was noted as the #1 Tournament in the entire country.  Las summer alone he was an integral part of championships in the Great American Shootout (Austin, TX), Atlantic Slam (Myrtle Beach, SC), Rivals.com Memorial Day (Birmingham, AL).

In addition to the basketball accomplishments, Cody was the ultimate student-athlete taking all AP courses at Austin Westlake, a nationally acclaimed school.  He is the son of Jim & Becky Doolin.  I was proud to have had the oppportunity to coach Cody.  Best of luck as you head to the University of San Francisco to play for former Kansas PG Rex Walters.

Coach Max

Texas D-1 Ambassador R.J. McGhee Commits To North Texas

Baton Rouge Istrouma star R.J. McGhee was recently named All State in talent rich Louisiana.  McGhee (below shown with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors) becomes the latest player from the D-1 Nation to commit as he will sign next month with the University of North Texas in the Sun Belt Conference.
Check the complete story below as Bobby Sibley covers it nicely in our affiliate, the Louisiana Basketball Report.  Congratulations to R.J. and his family...Coach Max & The D-1 Nation.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Twintastic Monroe Sisters

Kaylin & Kayrin Monroe on bottom, sister Raven on top

Agile and mobile are the identical twin sisters Kaylin and Kayrin Monroe. Interchangeable combo Jr guards from Manor may stand at 5'1", but plays much bigger. You can catch them this club season at they play their 5th year with TA D1 Austin Elite 2011 team. Energy and excitement are a given but their ability to make plays with a smile on their face sets them apart. Sure twins are cute, but these twins are respected for their game and the talent they display on the court.

As expected, they can swap places or take turns without skipping a beat and none to the wiser. This is evident in their high school awards. Last year Kayrin made 1st team all-district and side kick Kaylin made 2nd team, this year Kaylin made 1st team all-district with Kayrin making 2nd team. Your turn - My turn rules the day at the Monroe house. Manor has made the playoffs every year the girls have been on varsity. Their quickness is unique and their competitiveness sets them apart.  Both are great students and play other sports as well including volleyball and track. Not sprints, but its the jump that they participate in. It's that athleticism that allows them to play bigger than height.

Their dream is to one day play collegiate basketball and have received letters from several colleges. D1 is the goal, but they are completely open to anyone offering a scholarship to two explosive combo guards that can run all day and all night with a smile. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Marble Falls In The D-1 House

Two Key Marble Falls Players Join The Texas D-1 Ambassadors

The Marble Falls girls program has been synonymous with success and State ranked teams at the 5A level.  Now, one of the top female freshmen in Texas, Falls' Kiara Etheridge (left) brings her A game to the Texas D-1 Ambassadors.  She'll get her feet wet on the circuit at an invitation only tournament in Indiana in a couple of weeks.  Make no mistake, this will be her coming out party as the long, fluid Etheridge will show off her oozing potential to somewhere in the neghborhood of 200 college coaches at this elite 16 team event.  She comes by the basketball pedigree honestly as she's the daughter of Mr & Mrs. Bruce Etheridge (Marble Falls' Boys Head Coach).

2011 P 6'9" Shane Minnick (right) is improving rapidly and figures to be a huge part of Marble Falls success in their coming 2010-2011 campaign.  He'll head to Las Vegas April 9-11th with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors as they compete in the Easter Classic.  Minnick is still raw, but he's willing to mix it up in the paint with anyone.  April is not "live" for NCAA coaches to view the boys but Minnick and his D-1 sidekicks will be under the watchful eye of Coach Max's D-1 Nation Prep Report (TX), ESPNU, and Scout.com just to name a few of the scouting services in attendance.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Texas Super Showcase I March 20-21 Austin, TX 2012, 2013 Player Recaps

"Coach Max's Sweet Sixteen"

Underclassmen Competing At Varsity

2012 PG Michael Hardge of Georgetown turned in one particularly superlative performance and along with Deon Mitchell & Josiah Monroe of Bastrop led D1-Team Hardge to the Varsity level championship.  He is emerging as a leader.

2012 WG 6'4" Alex Caruso of College Station A&M Consolidated was the surprise sophomore of the event.  Caruso knows the game, can flat out stroke it, finds the open man and as witnessed with three dunks in one game has great explosiveness as well.

2012 W Michael Hargis of Austin LBJ who's also a pretty good football player was used primarily as a rebounding post this past season.  One of the luxuries of summer ball is the ability to choose your personnel.  Hargis showed great flashes of being a pretty good wing player including a nice perimeter shot and adequate handles.

2012 P 6'8" Connor Lammert of San Antonio Churchill is likely to be the next 7 footer out of the San Antonio area.  He's long to say the least, runs the floor well and is skilled around the goal.

2012 WG Kyle Hittle of New Braunfels showed a deadly three point shot, adequate handles, rebounded well and gave 100% on every possession.  Played with a swagger which I liked.

2011 PG T.J. Williams of Pflugerville (below) just "gets it".  He knows the game and is one of those rare guys who looks to pass first & always makes his team mates more productive.  Williams can also shoot it from the perimeter if you sag off him.  He's one of the best "pure points" in the  D-1 Ambassadors organization and he's only a freshman.
2012 G Collin Tubbs of Dripping Springs fresh off his Three Point Shooting Contest win at the All American Prodigy Camp continued to fire it up with success.  Very nice catch and shoot type of player.

2012 W Avery Polchinski of Temple showed quality ball handling, shooting and battled on the boards successfully against bigger, more mature players all tournament long.

Junior Varsity

2012 Twin Guards Jeremiah & Joshua Jones showed superior athleticism in every contest.

2013 PG Will Morse (below) of Austin Westlake led his team, Texas D1- Team Morse to the JV championship with steady play throughout, highlighted by a 20 point barrage in one outing.

2013 WG 6'0" Rasmus Bach of Austin Anderson was a key man for his crew.  A heady player, Bach has a nice shot and slashes well to the rack.

2013 PG Dylan Larson of San Marcos was a rock both handling the ball as well as shooting it.  He also had one 20 point outing.

2013 G Austin Grief of Austin St. Michael's handled the ball and a good deal of the scoring.  He's a nice combo guard in the making.

2013 WG  Julian Battley of Harker Heights is long and lanky.  He's a dangerous 3 point shooter, especially from the corners.

2013 P 6'5" Wesley Brown of Pflugerville Hendrickson showed length, athleticism and a nose for the ball.

2013 PG Darrian Bostic of Pflugerville led the break, and had a deadeye three point shot.  Only a last second bucket kept them from the championship game.

Great Article On Texas D-1 Ambassadors Jonathan Perry

I had the privelege of coaching Kerrville Tivy's Jonathan Perry (pictured here with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors) for 2 summers, approximately 130 games.  He was always a tough competitor and a class kid.  He was recently named Texas 4A All Region (Region 4) for the third consecutive year and this year also garnered All State Honors.  Below is a story courtesy of the Hill Country Community Journal which far transcends the nominal importance of basketball.  Great job Jonathan!..Coach Max

Courtesy of the Hill Country Community Journal
Faith and the Cross-over
By Doug Mitchell
Staff Writer

Tivy senior Jonathan Perry is best known around Kerrville for his exploits on the basketball court, having capped a four-year career as a varsity player by helping the Antlers advance to the Class 4A, Region IV championship game during the just recently completed season.
Perry appears set to continue his career at the collegiate level, having averaged 18.9 points per game en route to being named the District 27-4A Most Valuable Player while leading Tivy to a 30-6 record and its farthest playoff advance in 40 years. It would come as no surprise if Perry, a 6-foot-5 guard, was consumed with the drive and commitment to advance his career to the next level, as countless of high school athletes before him have done.
Those who know Perry best, however, know there is a stronger driving force behind the player, something more important to him than basketball or the materialistic world that defines the high school social scene.
Moments after the Antlers finished a hard-fought, overtime victory over Pflugerville Hendrickson in a Feb. 26 area round playoff game in Fredericksburg, and the postgame questions had been asked, Perry approached and asked to make one more point about the contest.

“I’d like to thank the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for making this possible,” Perry said. “Without him, none of this would be possible.”

Such statements have become routine, especially from professional athletes, but less so at the high school level. Most mainstream media is leery of responding to such statements, or even printing it. Religion makes some people uncomfortable, especially in situations perceived as non-religious such as an athletic competition.
Tivy teams pray regularly before events, and Perry is recognized by teammates and those around him as a faith-based individual. Tivy coach Brian Young has seen it up close from his star guard for the last four years.

“He walked the walk,” Young said of Perry’s faith-based approach to life. “That’s the bottom line. The whole time he’s walked the walk, not talked the talk. I mean that from every aspect -- person, basketball player, and Christian."

“People always accepted him for who he was,” Young added. “A lot of the kids are the same way, but Jonathan was more of a witness. It didn’t matter if you were the most popular athlete as school or a regular student, Jonathan treated you the same, and to me, that’s a Christian aspect.”

Parents Rick and Holly Perry have brought up their children with a strong Christian foundation, but Jonathan himself had to choose to accept Jesus into his life. It’s a path he said he’s actually chosen twice, and one that’s helped him through rough times.

“No. 1 would be my faith in Jesus Christ,” Perry said. “Ever since I was younger, my parents influenced me with Him being No. 1. Even though I struggle with things from time to time, He still maintains the No. 1 spot in my life.”

Quiet by nature, Perry is not vocal in asking those around him to follow his example. But when asked to witness about his experiences, he is happy to share the message.

“It’s difficult, because they don’t all share the same feeling about religion and Jesus Christ, but that’s when you have to lean on Him in those tough times,” Perry said of being Christian in a high school setting. “It’s relying on your actions, more than what you say, when your actions speak louder than words.

“There’s reasons why people ask me why I’m quiet, because I’m at home with my family on weekends, not at parties, and think I’m mad because I’m quiet and not talking about those parties, don’t join in on those conversations.”

Perry is the first to admit he’s not perfect, experiencing issues that took him away from the path for a time.

“I accepted Jesus Christ in my heart at 9 or 10,” he said. “I was actually baptized again after I went through struggles of my own two years ago. I had been through struggles with friends, some pretty big ones, and it helped being able to talk to the pastor at Southern Oaks Baptist Church, Joe Taylor.

“It was a really big time in my life,” Perry said of recommitting to his faith. “It helped me get back on track, to what was right, and what I had grown up with my parents teaching me all those years.

“It’s always hard, there are temptations everywhere. It helps having faith in JC like I have, not have to go through the temptations most do. Without Him, I know I’d be out there drinking and partying all the time, because it’s the popular thing to do.”

The unwritten code among athletes is you don’t pray to The Almighty to let you win, rather to help you do your best. It’s a code Perry says he adheres to.

“I’m asking him for strength to do his will,” Perry said. “If it’s meant for us to win, great, it’s His will. I’m not the only one praying that day. If it’s meant to be, it turns out. You can learn more from losing than winning. I know we did against Seguin (the team’s only District 27-4A loss this season).

“Coach Young says a prayer before game, and I say a prayer before the game, with a few others. Afterward I say a prayer for letting me be able to play, and being out there with my friends.”

It’s a path Perry acknowledges plenty of people have helped him with. Spiritual advisors have included his parents and siblings including older brother Keith, a former Antler and player at Howard Payne University, Taylor at the family’s church, coach Grant Palmer and wife Beth, and Tony and Karen Rose from Calvary Temple Church.

He credits his athletic development to coaches Don Eddy (former UTSA head coach), Dan Selwin, John Roberson, Max Ivany, and Luke Heinz, physical trainers Jose Flores and T.J. Garza, and especially Young, for instilling discipline, passion, and work ethic for the game.

“I’m extremely proud not only of his dedication to the sport, but his stand for his beliefs in Christ and his walk with the Lord,” Rick Perry, who is at every one of Jonathan’s games, said of his son. “As he said, he’s had his struggles, but gained his footing, and always comes back to his foundation.  “You can tell kids what to do, but they make their choices, and Jonathan has made good choices,” Rick added. “He’s also very teachable and open to his parents to speak into his life, and that’s been a huge factor.”
While Perry mulls his choices for collegiate ball, he is sure he would like to pursue a career that involves not only basketball, but helping others, and sharing his faith if it allows.

“Being in a small community, there’s a focus on athletes at Tivy,” Perry said “I try to be a role model for kids, and it keeps me accountable. I don’t want to be caught with MIP or something like that. “I’d love to do something with kids once I’m done with basketball, coaching or training some way in a community like this is a way of giving back. So many kids don’t know what’s out there for them. If you work as hard as you can, anything’s possible.”

Texas Super Showcase I Austin, TX March 20-21 2011 Player Recap

"Coach Max's Dandy Dozen"
Tournament MVP
2011 G Deon Mitchell of Pflugerville rose up offensively when it counted most and led Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Team Hardge to the championship. 
2011 W 6'8" Reinier Strobos of New Braunfels Canyon is only scratching the surface of what he can do.  An injury plagued junior year now looks to be behind him.  He dropped 20 points in a semi final win.  Strobos handles the ball fluidly for a big fella and now just has to get the mindset that he can do more than only rebound.

2011 W 6'3" Jalen Washington of Pflugerville Hendrickson can do it all; slash, score from the perimeter, defend & smash on you if you underestimate him.  Now he just has to up his intensity and he'll be on everyone's radar.

2011 PG Dylan Elias of San Antonio Taft (below) showed this weekend why he has a verbal in his pocket to Northern Colorado.  He knows how to run a team, getting others involved.  However if you need a bucket he'll get you one driving to the hole or by pulling up and nailing the jumper.
2011 SG Blair Williams of Round Rock McNeil is one of the most explosive 2011 guards in the Austin area.  He had several rim rattlers this weekend.

2011 P Zach Chambers of Round Rock was the hardest working player in the gym this weekend.  The 6'7" post was around the goal picking up loose balls and cleaning up the mess in the paint.

2011 Combo 6'5" Jaleel Williams is a high major in the making.  He's learning to run the point and once his decision making improves as it relates to getting others involved then he'll be off the charts.  Williams recently won the slam dunk competition at the All American Prodigy Camp.  He showed several choice dunks during the tournament as well.

2011 G Jake Kocher of Austin St. Michael's picked up where he left off as (Austin's leading scorer in the high school season) as he had double figures in all 3 contests.

2011 G Jacob Palacios  of San Antonio Clark is extremely active showing great decision making to go along with a deadly perimeter game.

2011 Kyle Rutledge of San Antonio Clark was a consistent scorer who had 20 in one game to go along with yeoman's work on the boards.  The 6'4" W/P is very explosive and not afraid to mix it up down low.

2011 Robert Lee of Austin LBJ is the area's most explosive guard prospect.  He gets to the hole at will and dunked on people several times during the tournament.

2011 PG LaDarrien Williams of Manor is athletic, shoots it well from the perimeter and knows how to run a team.  He takes what the game gives him and will defend you too.

2014 G Shoniquia Coleman

2014 G 5'7 Shoniquia Coleman
Westview Middle School

2014 G 5'7 Shoniquia Coleman has nice size with a great skill level. Shoniquia will suit up with the D-1 Ambassadors E;lite team this summer and will do great things with this group. Shoniquia has great ball handling passing, and shooting skills with the ability to take you off the bounce.

One of the many things I like about Shoniquia is her ability to create her own shot. She can see the floor very well and plays very well in a team environment.


texasbasketballrankings.com Class of 2014

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Texas 4A & 5A All State Selections

It takes a lot for me to write a negative column, or to call people out.  I'm all for the betterment of basketball in the area and for giving kids additional exposure.  However, after readig the list of TABC All State Players, I began to get a severe case of "red ass". The Texas Association of Basketball Coaches have recently released their All State list.  First of all, a hearty congratulations go out to all the kids who have achieved this honor. I have no problem with any of the kids and know how hard they work. However,  I had to look through it thoroughly though not once, not twice but three times thinking I'd overlooked San Antonio Lee's Paul Garnica.  I did not.  I realize it's tough to narrow any list down to 20 kids per classification but to not have this kid receive this recognition just STINKS.

2010 G Paul Garnica (shown with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors)

I'm aware that many of the coaches outside their respective areas and regions would likely not have seen this young man play.  That's excusable. I also understand that with Lee missing out on the playoffs the likelihood of him getting additional exposure was also slim.  HOWEVER, this STINKS of cronyism and an old boys network of San Antonio coaches who would rather feed one of their own to the sharks than to give earned recognition.
This is a player who did all the right things; stayed out of trouble, kept his grades in order and carried a San Antonio Lee program on his back for 4 years.  He scored a total of 3012 points and in the process set the career scoring record for the City of San Antonio.  The three preceeding record holders all went on to play professionally, with the latest being San Antonio Spur Devin Brown of West Campus.  In addition he also averaged 7 rebounds and 6 assists. 

Paul, they may have CHEATED you out of your All State honors but they cannot take away your scholarship.  What you really achieved transcends any trinket that can be given to you by others. The effect you had on an entire community will live on in people's conversations for decades.  As a 5'11" Hispanic player with the chips stacked against him, you overcame the odds and now have countless youngsters in the community playing basketball and wanting to be like Paul Garnica.

The following players from the Cen Tex/South Texas Area were recognized as part of the 4A & 5A All State Teams.  All played for the Texas D-1 Ambassadors at one time or another with the exception of  Bralyn Thomas, David Eads and Zac Karczewsi of Austin Lake Travis.

Donald Dallas                                Austin LBJ
David Eads                                    Austin Lake Travis
Zac Karczewski                            Austin Lake Travis
Jonathon Perry                             Kerrville Tivy
Bralyn Thomas                              Del Valle

J.J. Avila                                       McAllen
Jason Brickman                            San Antonio Clark                   Long Island
Jordan Clarkson                           Converse Wagner                   Tulsa
Cody Doolin                                  Austin Westlake                      San Francisco
J.Mychal Reese                             Bryan
Andre Roberson                            Converse Wagner

*** Reese, a sophomore was selected for the 2nd consecutive year***

Congratulations to all these young men!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Player Profile: Rico Herrera, Sr., Harlingen South

It is no secret that Rico Herrera, senior at Harlingen South HS in Harlingen, Texas, is one of the best players in the Rio Grande Valley. I do personally apologize for not getting more coverage on this young man, but he is undoubtedly a unanimous pick for the All-Valley team. Let me take the time to make sure the rest of Texas knows.

Let's go back to the Spring of 2002. I had been asked by the Harlingen Boys and Girls Club to coach an All-Star team that would finalize the league. I was calling parents and notifying them of when practices and games would be. On my list was a young man named Rico Herrera, parents, Rick and Belinda Herrera. I didn't recognize this name and I was told that Rico was from Rio Hondo, a neighboring town with a population of roughly 2000 people. Rico came to the first practice and I was instanly impressed by his hard work, team mentality, and his 'great manners.' All-Stars consists of two practices and 2-3 games all in a two week period so I had little time to really get to know each kid, but I instantly fell in love with the Herrera family (especially when little sister, Sidney Herrera [volleyball/basketball standout] gave me an overflowing valentine baggie of goodies from Rico). Lol. Time passed and Boys and Girls Club basketball would soon be in full swing again. I called up the Herrera's and they were on board. From there on out, our relationship grew.

Rico Herrera is shown putting up a shot over a defender
(photo courtesy of rgvsports.com)

Sophmore Year: 2007-2008:
As a sophmore, while attending 3A Rio Hondo HS, Rico was already beginning to make some noise. Herrera averaged 22.8 and 5.8 assists per game. He also received New Comer of the Year. Out of the entire All-Valley First Team he was the only 3A player, the other five players were 5A kids.
Junior Year: 2008-2009:
Last year, as a junior, Herrera made All-District First Team for 31-5A. Herrera also placed in the top 15 in rebounding in all the valley averaging almost 8 rebounds a game. He was on the top leaderboards in scoring as he was avergaing 10-12 points a game.
Senior Year: 2009-2010:
Fast forward to the Spring of 2010, almost 8 years later and Rico Herrera is still turning heads with his non-waivering work ethic, incredible skill on the court, high-achieving academic status, and as always, his "great manners." Herrera has spent the last two years at South High School and has been a starter in almost every game, especially his senior year.

The 2009-2010 season started as most high schools do with scrimmages and tournaments.

Here Rico is seen at a preseason scrimmage against the McAllen Bulldogs. Since his elementary days, Herrera has always devoted all his time and energy to basketball. Playing a variety sports was easy for this natural athlete, but as a sophmore, Herrera decided to stick with basketball. It was a great decision as his efforts have truly paid off. Rico has led all scorers on almost every game of this season. He has doubled his scoring average this year. For example:

Nov. 17: 23 points (vs. Sharyland HS ** 4 three-pointers)
Jan. 12: 22 points (vs. Edinburg HS)
Feb. 2: 19 points (vs. Edinburg North HS ** 3 three-pointers)
Feb. 5: 20 points (vs. Edinburg HS ** 4 three-pointers) 
Feb. 29: 25 points (vs. city rival Harlingen HS)

I could go on and on about his individual game scores, but it is obvious why Herrera has been selected Offensive Player of the Year for his district. Rico is indeed a tremendous team leader this year as Harlingen South came in 2nd in District 31-5A and earned a spot in the post season.

The reason Rico is such a successful offensive player is because he can shoot from virtually anywhere on the court. As his numbers show, he is a consistent three-point shooter and just like Bruce Bowen from the Spurs, has a sweet spot on the corner part of the arc that is almost untouchable. Herrera has mastered the art of 'catch and shoot' as his fluid motion shows each time the ball swooshes in the net from 'way downtown.' Rico doesn't just shoot 3's, he scores NBA-range three's. Moving on to jumpers, 10 ft, 15 ft, you name it, it's going in. He's got a swift touch to the ball that gets it in the net everytime. My personal favorite, his aggressive drives to the bucket. Herrera has a strong determination while on the court and this energy goes into each scoring drive he takes. With his strong physique, Herrera is able to power his way in the paint and get to the hole. If he misses, beware he WILL be rebounding the ball and he WILL be putting it back up. He never stops. To top it all off, he is usually almost perfect from the free throw line. His high school coach, Brian Molina, can rest assured that Rico can sink those shots, even at the end of the fourth quarter, tired legs, tired arms, out of breath, this kid can do it. While all the offensive part sounds pretty, his defensive skills are match accordingly. Rico can easily take you off the dribble that will lead to turnover after turnover. His non-stop, never-ending attitude makes sure he plays until 00:00 is on the clock. Hands in your face, up-close is the way Herrera likes to play. He will steal the block, block the ball, pretty much stripthe ball from you if you aren't prepared to play. When you include offensive consistency, defensive stability, and a hard-working practice ethic, that includes additional after-practice, weekend workouts with additional basketball trainers, you get an unstoppable, determined, successful young man who is going to do wonders on the hardwood. You get Rico Herrera.   

Above everything, basketball included, Rico Herrera, sometimes called 'Bubba' is an outstanding young man with good morals and values, a strong foundation of what is right, and a great example of what today's world needs in our youth. Rico is active in the community, helping all kinds of people with his gracious attitude. He is actively involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is constantly mentoring and encouraging underclassmen on his basketball team in hopes that one day they will have the same success he has had. I am truly thankful for his friendship the past 8 years and to his wonderful family who has always shown me kindness in every way.

Congratulations to this great young man for an amazing high school basketball career and I know the future only holds more success for Rico Herrera.

** Note**  There will be an update as All-Valley Awards are scheduled to be announced within the next two weeks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2014 W 5'8 Domanik White

2014 W 5'9 Domanik White

Westview Middle School

2014 wing player Domanik White will suit up with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors Elite Team this summer. Domanik plays her school ball with Westview Middle School out in P Ville where She averaged 10 points and 7 boards this season for the Wildcats. Domanik has nice ball handling, passing, and shooting skills and continues to improve on her mid range shot.

Domanik will play with a special group of girls who really have a high passion to play basketball. Team 2014 has won two MAYB State Championships and really gets out to play at a high level.

Look for Domanik to be a nice prospect in the class of 2014

We would like to welcome Domanik & Family to The Texas D-1 Ambassadors.


texasbasketballrankings.com    Class of 2014

Welcome to the team

Coach Dean

Monday, March 15, 2010

All American Prodigy Camp Dunk Contest Highlights

Just like NBA weekend, everyone gets excited about the dunk contest.  We had a nice mix of power dunkers such as Austin LBJ's David Weathers & high flyers like Pflugerville Hendrickson's Jalen Washington.    Look at these great photos captured by Mr. Todd Winters.

Left: 2014 Deandre Davis of Cedar Park (TX) put himself on the map with several impressive power dunks.  Here, he's seen stylin' & profilin' as he rises over fellow camper J.D. Heisner.

Right 2011 W 6'5" Jeleel Williams of Killeen Ellison reminded me a lot of former Houston Rocket Clyde Drexler as he glided through the air effortlessly way aboe the rim.  Here he takes off from just inside the free throw line as he flushes.
Co-Dunk Champions of the March 2010 All American Prodigy Camp Deandre Davis (left) and Jaleel Williams (right).

Kerrville's Rowdy Winters Hits Winning Shot At All American Prodigy Camp

Where were you this weekend?  Were you at the All American Prodigy Camp receiving the best instruction available, or were you playing in some local tournament receiving a trinket medal?  This past weekend over 130 campers from as far away as Kansas City, Missouri joined players from around the State of Texas looking for advanced instruction, evaluation and EXPOSURE.

This sold out camp was held in Austin, TX and ironically many Austin players weren't in attendance. Go figure.  If you weren't here, you should make plans for the next camp being held in Ausgust 2010. For the ones that were here, we'll give you several recaps along with some great pictures for all to enjoy.

Blue-White All Star Game: 20 of the camp's top performers did their thing in front of an appreciative crowd.  Here 2013 Rowdy Winters of Kerrville Tivy (TX) squares up from the elbow and hits a picture perfect winning jumper with time running out to give the White Team a one point win over the Blue.
The All American Prodigy Camp continues to grow both in numbers of participants as well as in the overal quality of the players.  With such prominent camp alumni such as J.Mychal Reese (Bryan, TX) , Daniel Alexander (Texas A&M), Cory Jefferson (Baylor) & John Henson (McDonald's All American/North Carolina) this group of kids had a lot to live up to and they did not disappoint.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Texas State Finals Predictions

Wow.  Hard to believe that this is the last day of the 2009-2010 high school season.  There has been a lot of basketball played, as well as plenty of surprises in both team and individuals achievements.

4A Final:  Houston Yates should finish their perfect storybook season with a sound whuppin' of Dallas Lancaster. That's no "dis" for Lancaster but they simply don't have the depth to handle the Lions pressure.  On top of that, NOBODY plays as hard and hungry as Yates.  Yates by 22.

5A Final:  Garland Lakeview Centennial over Fort Bend Bush.  Look for Centennial to bring the full court heat one last time and beat Bush by 8 in the 5A title game.
Alas, I simply could not get the the State Tournament today because our All American Prodigy Camp was in full swing with 120 high quality participants.  We had them as young as the 4th grade, as NBA Alum Manute Bol's boy Bol Bol was showing his stuff.  The 5'10" 4th grader from Kansas City looks to be every bit as long as his Pops.

We'll have a full review of camp coming up in the next couple of days.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Texas State Tournament Predictions

4A Texas State Semi Final Predictions 

Houston Yates over The Colony by 16                    
Yates is unstoppable
Dallas Lancaster over Austin Lake Travis by 8     
Lancaster is too big & too talented.

5A Texas State Semi Final Predictions

Flower Mound Marcus over Fort Bend Bush by 4  
Marcus will maintain it's composure in a tossup.

Garland Lakeview Centennial over Converse Wagner  5 
I hope to be wrong on this one but I think it's going to be a bridesmaid three years running for Wagner. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Texas Basketball Inc. C.O.O. Recovering

Today, Texas Basketball Inc.'s Chief Operating Officer T.J. Garza was involved in a one vehicle rollover near his Liberty Hill, TX home.  Fortunately, his 10 year old Kyle was unscathed but T.J. spent the afternoon undergoing x-rays on his back and a catscan at Round Rock Hospital.  He passed with flying colors and has been released to his wife, Dana's care.
Anyone who knows T.J. as I do would realize that laughter is the best medicine. Even while under duress and in pain he was cracking jokes.  His wife Dana said that other than scratches, bruises and being covered in mud  (insert joke here) that he's going to be fine.   Thank God.

We all get involved in our day to day lives and then out of the blue something like this can happen.  It makes me realize that all the silly concerns we have are irrelevent if our families and loved ones are in good health.  I personally wouldn't know what to do without my best friend and what would his kids do without their daddy?  So, give someone you love a hug, a kind word and tell them you love them.  Nothing's guaranteed.

Coach Max

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Region 4: 4A FINAL Austin Lake Travis 38 Kerrville Tivy 31

Preview/Prediction:  Tivy by 1.  This is a tough one.  I know both coaches and programs, along with their kids.  It could go either way.  Both can shoot it, while both also get it inside.  Both run patient offenses but can also speed the game up a little if needed.  Who'll impose their will?  Interestingly enough they were scheduled to meet in the championship game of Tivy's Christmas Tournament but for some reason they decided against playing the game.  Perhaps they both saw this day potentially looming, even back in late December?

With two evenly matched teams and the game in doubt, let's go with the best player on the court.  Slightest edge to Kerrville and 2010 Combo Guard Jonathan Perry.  Could it be another OT game?

1st Quarter.  Both teams are still feeling each other out.  Karczewsli  has asserted himself with 4 points, 3 boards & a block for LT.

2nd Quarter.  After tying the score early at 14 all, and Karczewski on the bench with 2 fouls the game looked to be swinging Tivy's way.  However an errant Tivy pass led to an Eads steal and foul on Belford sending him to the bench.  The other Tivy guards cannot handle Eads.  He ate them up with dribble penetration and pull up jumpers (4 of them) and he leads LT with 14 points, 12 of them in the 2nd quarter.  At the half, Lake Travis is up 24-16.

3rd Quarter.  Tivy scored the first two buckets, but Perry picked up his 2nd & 3rd fouls quickly and is on the bnch with almost 6 minutes left in the quarter.  Tivy will be hard pressed to weather this storm. The half ends 33-26 in favor of LT.  Eads continues to eat Tivy up with 19 points.

Is there anything quite like high school basketball?  With 6:37 left Tivy, keyed by a Belford steal and 5 points in a row by Perry and LT is forced to call a timeout.  LT has a 33-31 lead.  With the score 34-31, and 3:30 left Eads has picked up his 4th foul.  With 1:30 left, Tivy was cught either being confused or changing defenses and Eads calmly found Vucurevich all alone for a layup.  And that's going to cost them the ball game.  The best player on the court tday was Lake Travis guard David Eads with 19 points and the Cavs head to the Drum with a 38-31 victory.

Above left, David Eads controlled the ball game and teakes Lake Travis to State for the first time, following in their long line of football success.  Above right, Joanthan Perry finishes his illustrious high school career with a fairly quiet 9 points.