I was in between games at Fieldhouse USA when young, Daniel "L'il Hot Sauce" Venzant came over, sat down on the bench with me and we talked basketball for about 10 minutes. In this crazy world of ranking high school basketball prospects it's refreshing to just be around an 11 year old in all his innocence and hear the joy in his voice as he talked about basketball and his hero, Daniel Alexander who is headed to Texas A&M this summer. L'il Sauce had met Big Daniel at the All American Prodigy Camp a few years back and had assisted in the "milk and cookies" dunk which Alexander used to win the camp title.
Daniel proceeded to tell me that he looked forward to the day when he could play for the Texas D-1 Ambassadors. Wow. What a humbling feeling to realize that a youngster dreams of being involved in our organization because it coincides with his goals to be a college player. What a tribute to our players who have befriended him at our camps to have this impact. Yes, you can be a role model to others at a mere 16 years of age!
Of course, being an alum of our All American Prodigy Camp it came as no surprise to me that Daniel had also been named the top 5th & 6th grade guard two years running at the Adidas Regional Camp in Dallas, TX. He then was ranked the #9 guard in the country at the Adidas National Camp. The pint sized ballhandler who is playing two-3 grade levels up will just flat get after you defensively and with the ball in his hand to quote Dick Enberg, "Oh my". The ball's in his hands, like it's on a string. He's got a killer change of pace, crossover, can use either hand and has a style all his own.
Daniel "L'ill Hot Sauce" Venzant of Team Midland (TX)
We then talked grades/academics where I asked him if he had all "A's". He sheepishly replied that he had 3 grades in the 90's but had gotten two "89's". We shook hands and he promised that he'd work to make those "90's". I told him it only takes an extra 30 minutes, just like the work he has spent on his crossover, jumper, etc. Daniel is the son of Mr. & Mrs. Eddie Venzant of Midland, TX. We'll see you in a D-1 uniform in a couple of years Daniel. What a great kid!
I had a brief opportunity to zip over to the complex at Lewisville, TX where the 8th graders were playing last night and had a chance to view several of the Austin area's top prospects. As with many grade school games, athleticism on one dominates and the other is simply overwhelmed and gets blown out by 50 plus points. Thus, it's tough to give an extensive evaluation. However, some things are easy to see.
Trey Dilworth III 6'2" SG (incoming to Pflugerville) Dilworth had several dunks, hit the mid range and also knocked the perimeter shot. He's got a wonderful basketball body (or football), runs fluidly and is clearly way ahead of the curve. Another great guard prospect in Pflugerville's long history of D-1 talent.
2014 SG Trey Dilworth II
Joeseph Mitchell 6'1" W (incoming to Pflugerville Connally) Mitchell will be welcomed by my old friend, Coach Marshall Sanders of Connally who coached my son back in the day. He looks like he'll end up to be about 6'4" and hit five 3 pointers while I watched him play.
2014 W Joseph Mitchell
Garrett Gray 6'4" P (incoming to Marble Falls) Gray, is a long, powerful athlete that I understand is a football stud, the diistrict champ in the 100 meters, etc. Currently a post, but likely needs to begin facing the basket more often in the future. Exhibited an ability to finish around the goal, a quick first step and was a quick, tireless rebounder/leaper.
Abrian Edwards 6'2" W (incoming to Pflugerville Hendrickson) Edwards is a smooth athlete that runs the floor extremely well. Skill set is still developing but looks like a player who'll have an impact for years to come.