Monday, May 31, 2010

Team 2014 Wins Varsity Division

Team 2014 poses with Team 2013 out of Killen

Texas D-1 Ambassadors 2014

D-1 Ambassadors Team 2014 competed in the Memorial Day Classic over the weekend. The young group of 7th/8th graders did an excellent job playing against girls in the 10th/11th grade. we invited two of our players from the flagship team to join us this weekend and it proved to be a good experience for the young group.  2011 W 5'11 Kathyrn Tolbert has excellent range on her shot with the ability to get to the basket. Kathryn has a number of D-1 schools really interested in her coming to play. 2011 G 5'8 Rebeekah Knudson gets the hustle award. Rebeekah has great skills boasts loads of athleticism. The D-1 Ambassador will take her official visit to UTSA next week.

2011 W 5'11 Kathryn Tolbert

2011 G 5'8 Rebeekah Knudson

Team 2014 is one of the most talented groups in Texas. With great guard play and the ability to open the floor team 2014 should do great things the rest of this summer season. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

San Marcos Class of 2012

Never known as a hotbed of basketball talent, San Marcos (midpoint between Austin & San Antonio on I-35) has a couple of straight ballers in the Class of 2012.   Let's meet them.

2012 W Allex Austin of San Marcos      2012 PG Collin Hart of San Marcos

Above Left: 2012 W 6'5" Allex Austin is a high major athlete.  It doesn't hurt that his Pops, Charles was the Olympic Gold Medalist in the high jump.  The kid has hops.  He's long, is a shot blocker and he can hit from the perimeter and mid range.

Above Right: 2012 PG 5'11" Collin Hart can flat out shoot the ball...from DEEP.  Needs to improve his left hand but is still able to get to the hole with a series of tricky moves.  He knows how to get his team mates involved and competes full out every time, regardless of who he's facing.

John Lucas Middle School Combine

Not too many folks have given as much to the game of basketball than my friend John Lucas.  Not too many of the young bloods out there remember that Luke was an All American at Maryland; not only in basketball but tennis as well!  Coach Lucas' NBA playing career, substance abuse issues and his time coaching in the League (including this season with the Clippers) are well documented.

It's my opinion though that in addition to his programs to help youngsters with substance abuse issues, his most important work may well be with his Middle School (April) and High School (July) elite player combines.  I really appreciate him allowing me to nominate 5 Central Texas players to have attended his combine a few weeks ago.  Because of a commitment to coach the Texas D-1 Ambassadors in Phoenix that weekend I was not able to be on hand to be able to eyeball the talent.

Here's the second hand info I gathered from reliable sources.  According to my media roomie from the Pangos All American Camp days in Los Angeles, (Nationally respected Van Coleman of ) he made specific mention of two of the Cen Tex players amongst the camps Top 22 he commented on.

Below:  Jordan (CJ) Taylor of Killeen, TX (shown below at the Lucas New Years Combine)
2014 Jordan "CJ" Taylor, a 6'0" 160- Combo guard plays hard on both ends of the court.  He can pop the midrange jumper, and uses his handles to get to the rim with either hand.-Coleman

Taylor, an 8th grader is currently playing up a level with Texas D-1 Ambassadors 15U. I've always observed CJ to be an introspective basketball player who is open to coaching and learning to do things the RIGHT way, not necessarily the flashy way.  He's all business on the court.-Coach Max

2014 Garrett Gray, a 6'3" W from Burnet, TX-He knocked down perimeter jumpers as well as the 12 footer. He has solid ball skills to create drive, and knows how to use the screen to roll and score at the rim.-Coleman

Gray is also the 100 meter champ in the area, possessing superior athleticism and a bounce in his game.  Excels at all aspects, including shooting, ballhandling and an understanding of the game from the neck up.-Coach Max

The three remaining players were:

2014 PG 5'10" Chase Carlton of Austin Westlake. Carlton is a heady, tough guard who knows how to runn a team, can hit his shots and gives 100% on the court.  Pops Craig played for the Longhorns back in the day.

2014 SG 6'2" Trey Dilworth III of Lamar MS in Austin, TX.  Head over heels the best athlete in the 2014 Cen Tex class.  He's a dunking machine with a great body.  Shoots it well and when he gets to the rim, look out.  He's devastating in transition, always finishing with a flush.

2014 W 6'2" Abrian Edwards of Dessau MS in Pflugerville, TX plays above the rim.  He's long and active with a huge upside.

Coach Max

Friday, May 28, 2010

Texas D-1 Ambassadors Hill Country Classic

The Hill Country Classic will take place on June 11th-13th 2010 in the beautiful city of Marble Falls.

Age divisions: 12u - 18u Boys & Girls
 Competitive brackets for elite teams
 Four game guarantee
 Fourteen minute half’s stop clock
 $250 per team

Gym Locations
Marble Falls High School & Marble Falls Middle School

Please register at

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Texas D1 Ambassadors – Team Josephs Advance To Elite 8 at Kansas City Classic

This past weekend, Coach Paul Josephs Texas  D1 Ambassadors group out of San Antonio travelled to Kansas City to participate in the KC Classic. Previously named the Manhattan Classic, this forty team tournament included high profile participants such as Team Texas, Spiece Mo-Kan, Houston Hoops, Martin Brothers, Kingdom Hoops and host Spiece Mo-Kan.

6'8" 2012
Connor Lammert

The D-1 Ambassadors had an excellent weekend making a strong run through pool and bracket play by making it to the quarter finals before losing to host Spiece Mokan in a hard fought game by six points, 59 – 53. Spiece Mokan went on to win the tournament championship in a twenty point win over the Galveston Hornets out of the Houston area. Mokan went through the tournament undefeated with the D1 Ambassadors providing them their closest game of the tournament. In what was considered the upset of the tournament, the D1 Ambassadors knocked off Nike sponsored Team Texas Elite in the round of sixteen. Team Texas was lead by 2011 pg Jamal Branch (A&M commit) and 2012 6’9 F Zach Peters (recent Kansas commit). The Ambassadors played outstanding defense in the victory and were able to contain Team Texas’ outstanding guard play and control the boards throughout the game.

It was an excellent trip for this group of four sophomores and seven juniors. After two tough weekends of basketball they will be off to Dallas to participate in the Summer Tip Off (GASO) over Memorial Day before taking a break in their schedule.

D1 Ambassadors  - San Antonio Roster

2011 G Sean Bambace (Antonian Prep)
2012 G Carter Josephs (SA Clark)
2012 G Michael Douglass (SA Churchill)
2012 G Adam Perez (SA Clark)
2012 F Connor Lammert (SA Churchill)
2011 G Alec Senioris (SA Central Catholic)
2011 F Kyle Rutledge (SA Clark)
2011 F Ansley Benjamin (SA Clark)
2011 G Tommy Berry (SA Central Catholic - Did not make the trip)
2011 F Clark Lammert (SA Churchill)
2011 G/F Jacob Palacios (SA Clark)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Texas D-1 Ambassadors Run The Table v. San Antonio Competition

Going a perfect 10-0, the Texas D-1 Ambassadors swept all comers this weekend in the JV and Varsity Divisions in San Antonio.  As noted in an earlier post, D1-Team Bostic a group of freshmen primarily from Pflugerville took home the Ship at the JV level.

Meanwhile, Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Team Hardge beat a scrappy Austin Yellow Jackets team twice to take home the gold at the varsity level.  With injuries limiting them to 7, and then only 6 guys in the final it was tough sledding but the talented group had enough to win.  Big props go out to Yellow Jackets guard Robert "June Bug" Lee who is one of the most athletic players in Texas in the Class of 2011.  His high energy alsmost single handedly kept his team in the game.

Throughout the weekend, one thing was constant for the D1 Ambassadors...the defense of 2011 PG Josiah Monroe of Bastrop.  At 5'8" and 165 lbs of muscle the bowling ball of a guard can shoot it with the best of them as he hit 5 three pointers in the semifinal but it's his defense which sets him apart.  Monroe will defend the other team's best guy and give them fits.  He has great body control as well and can finish at the rack against much taller players.  Monroe is a two sport star who also stars at quarterback for the Bears, while running the veer attack.

Kerrville's Jonathan Perry To Fork Union Military Academy (VA)

Texas D-1 Ambassador and Kerrville Tivy star Jonathan Perry finished up his Texas High School career on Friday night with an appearance in the TABC Texas All Star Game.  Capping his senior year with an All State selection, Perry was also All Region for 3 years for the Antlers.

Perry has decided not to end his high school career though, spurning low D-1 interest this spring for an opportunity to hone his game one more year.  He'll be reclassified to the Class of 2011 and has been awarded a scholarship at prestigious Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, VA.  You can read more about the school at

Perry will play for legendary Coach Fletcher Arritt, who is renowned as a teacher and leader of young men.  He's coached at Fork Union for close to 40 years molding it into one of the most successful post graduate basketball programs in the country.  Fork Union has produced more than 150 Division 1 basketball players. You can expect Perry to add to that total.  Perry will continue his summer schedule by playing for the Texas D-1 Ambassadors on the circuit.

2013 Star T.J. Williams Suffers Injury

Within the blink of an eye an exciting basketball game between the East Austin Yellow Jackets and a group of talented Texas D-1 Ambassadors freshmen became an after thought. PG T.J. Williams the top lead guard in the Cen Tex/South Texas area went down hard under the basket, falling on his right arm.  Everyone in the gym immediately knew it was not good.

He's a tough kid, and never shed a tear, he just immediately uttered, "I broke it".  He was correct, as his father Tim Williams called me early last night and confirmed that T.J. suffered a clean break.  A full recovery is expected in about 6 weeks.  In a case of making lemonade out of lemons, expect Williams to invest his time in a cast using his left hand for ballhandling and shooting drills.  He'll return an even better player. 

Look for him to have a huge impact pairing in the backcourt with 2011 G Deon Mitchell at Pflugerville High this coming fall.  Best wishes T.J.

Coach Max & The Texas D-1 Ambassadors Family.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Texas D1 Ambassadors 2013 Team Bostic Dominates in San Antonio

Team Bostic traveled to San Antonio this weekend and brought the first place trophy back home to Austin!

Over the two days, Team Bostic was dominant as a team and there were some outstanding individual performances.

Team Bostic won the first game against the Texas Tigers 47-41.  Team Bostic started slow, but picked up the speed in the second half.  Leading the charge was 5'10 (SG) Napoleon Onyeje out of Pflugerville High with 12 points, 2 assists and 2 steals (pictured below).

                                                           5'10 (SG) Napoleon Onyeje

Napoleon's energy was contagious as 6'0 (F) Justin Moss out of Pflugerville High caught on and dropped 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, followed by 5'9 (PG) Darian Bostic out of Pflugerville High with 9 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.

6'6 (P) Wesley Brown out of Pflugerville Hendrickson High owned the boards with 8 rebounds while chipping in 2 points.

The second game had Team Bostic beating the S.A Hustlers 54-46.  Both 5'9 (PG) Darian Bostic out of Pflugerville High with 18 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds and 6'6 (P) Wesley Brown out of Pflugerville Hendrickson High with 7 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots had dominating performances (both Darian and Wesley are pictured below).

                                                               5'9 (SG) Darian Bostic

                                                                6'6 (P) Wesley Brown

Team Bostic continued their dominance in the third game beating the S.A Falcons 41-32.  6'0 (F) Justin Moss out of Pflugerville High was awesome with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals (Justin is pictured below).   5'9 (SG) Will Coleman out of Pflugerville Hendrickson High had a coming out party also with 8 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.

                                                                 6'0 (F) Justin Moss
The Championship game was more of the same as Team Bostic met up with the Texas Tigers again and the result was no different from the first time.  Team Bostic won 40-33 in another great performance.

5'10 Napoleon Onyeje out of Pflugerville High had the most efficient game with 12 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.  6'0 Justin Moss out of Pflugerville High continued to light it up with 15 points and adding 7 rebounds.  5'9 (SG) Darian Bostic out of Pflugerville High was a great floor general contributing 6 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.

6'6 Wesley Brown out of Pflugerville Hendrickson High was again the most dominant big man on the floor with 10 rebounds and 2 blocks, while chipping in 4 points.

Congratulations to Team Bostic!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

TABC Texas 4A-5A All Star Game

The Texas All Star Game was as expected, a wide open affair with the Blue Squad beating the White 162-144.  The game had literally 40 dunks, including a few at the end where the kids stood around as Houston Yates Brandon "Snap" Peters & Dallas Pinkston's Tony Mitchell traded between the legs efforts while unguarded.

Seeing the Class of 2010 finally move on to college was a bittersweet moment for me as I'd spent a lot of time with many of these kids.  The Texas D-1 Ambassadors sported 6 alumni in the game.  These are the only guys I kept stats for as frankly it was just too much fun to watch to be marking everyone's specifics down.  This Class of 2010 may be the deepest ever from the Austin-San Antonio area as we've got close to 20 Division One signees this year. 

In Alphabetical order:

J.J. Availa                    McAllen                       Navy                     4 points, 3 rebounds
Jason Brickman          San Antonio Clark      Long Island          3 rebounds, 2 assists
Jordan Clarkson         Converse Wagner       Tulsa                     19 points, 6 rebounds
Cody Doolin                Austin Westlake          San Francisco       4 points, 4 rebounds
Jonathan Perry          Kerrville Tivy              Fork Union Prep  2 points, 2 assists
Andre Roberson         Converse Wagner        Colorado               17 points, 14 rebounds

And also from the Centex:
David Eads                  Austin Lake Travis      Dartmouth            2 points, 5 assists

Special thanks to Mr. Todd Winters for supplying me pictures of the players below:
Left to right:  Jason Brickman, JJ Avila, Jonathan Perry, Cody Doolin/Jonathan Perry

Bottom left: The Perry's   Bottom Right: The Roberson's

In addition to the fine performances of Roberson and Clarkson the White team electrified the crowd on the strength of Houston Yates' Brandon Peters who had 10 dunks including an incredible reverse jam.  The play of the night though was when Missouri commit, 5'10" Phillip Pressey skyed over Dallas Pinkson's 6'8" Tony Mitchell and dunked on his head.  Providence commit Joe Young of Houston Yates likely led all scorers as he went off from outside as well as got to the rim at will.

The winning Blue team was led by Irving MacArthur's Ricky Scott who was $$$ from the three point line all night.  Arkansas fans should be excited seeing him in the backcourt or on the wing with fellow shooter Rotnei Clark.

Friday, May 21, 2010

2012 PG Michael Hardge On The Rise

It's always fun to watch high level players do their thing.  It's even more enjoyable to be able to say, "I remember when, before the kid earned a big rep.  2012 PG Mike Hardge of Georgetown is on the cusp of that big rep.  Last year Hardge was a rare bird, a freshman playing at the 17U level with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Chip.  He filled a role as an understudy to 2011 stud Deon Mitchell and was a part of several big tournament championships in the summer of 2009.  D-1 Chip snagged the Texas Hoops GASO Father's Day Championship with a win over the Dallas Heroes and then ended the summer with a convincing championship win over LeBryan Nash and the Dallas Mustangs in their own tournament up in the "Big D".
2012 PG Michael Hardge of Georgetown

This past weekend in Phoenix at the Elite 8, Hardge really began to assert himself as a guy who can run a high level team by getting others involved. He also showed that he can get to the rack and finish (many times in spectacular fashion) in traffic against bigger players.  Hardge's best asset at the moment is his still developing athleticism; coupled with his tight handles (right or left) and the fact that he's cat quick.  Hardge also takes pride in his D, and is likely to take a charge or two during the course of any game.

Hardge was a starter from the time he stepped on the 5A Georgetown campus as a fish. He snagged 2nd team All District Honors 10.1ppg & a school record 140 assists in his inaugural campaign.  He followed that up this past year with 1st Team All District Honors; scoring 12.1ppg and notching another big assist year with 120.  Both times Hardge was the ONLY underclassman to receive All District Honors.  New Georgetown Coach Russell Miller's Eagles will be in good hands with Hardge running the show for the next two seasons.

Our friends with Texas Hoops ( has Hardge listed as the 43rd overall prospect in Texas in the Class of 2012.  Excluding Super Soph J. Mychal Reese of Bryan, Yours Truly has Hardge listed neck and neck with 2012 Paul Baxter of Austin Bowie & 2012 Matt Gramling of San Antonio MacArthur as the best point guard prospects in the Class of 2012 in the Cen Tex/South Texas area.  We're proud to have Michael Hardge as part of the D-1 Nation.

Michael is the son of Mike Hardge, former multi sport star at Killeen Ellison who went on to a stint in professional baseball with the NY Yankees, St. Louis & Montreal organizations.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Texas Ambassadors visit Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, Texas

The Texas D1 Ambassadors, as part of their community service work, visited the Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital, May 15, 2010 in San Antonio Texas.        

Visiting children ranging in age from 5-12 years old, the Ambassadors played board games; video games; visited with the children’s parents; and of course talked about basketball during the visit.

“Man you guys are really big”, was one of the comments that greeted the Ambassadors when the children came to the playroom to meet them. After a few minutes to break the ice, game on! The children picked the games they wanted to play and proceeded to trounce the Ambassadors time and time again!

“These children go through so much” said one hospital staff member. “But look at them. They’re playing; having fun; laughing and are just having a good time.”

Before too long, you couldn’t tell who was having the most fun, the Ambassadors, or the children. The children’s infectious smiles and zest for life really put the Ambassadors at ease. In a short amount of time, the room was simply filled with kids just having fun!

“So which college do you all attend”, was another comment received from one of the parents. I guess when you are around children all day, to see some rather tall players (compared to 5-12 year olds), the Ambassadors may look like college players. The Ambassadors were all smiles after hearing that, but were quickly brought back down to earth by Coach Mike Hargis when he said, “No, these are not college kids, but one of our goals as Texas Ambassadors is to help get these kids to college.”

Not only did the Ambassadors come away with a feeling of good-will during this visit, the Ambassadors also were able to successfully recruit a future 2017 Ambassador! (See picture above).

Filling up the car to drive to San Antonio from Austin, $65.00;

Paying to park in the hospital parking lot, $7.00;

Seeing the joy on not only the children’s faces, but the Ambassadors faces as well, PRICELESS!!!

Pictured team members include Sean Voss; Michael Hargis; Alex Caruso; Blair Williams; Zak Chambers; Dylan Elias; David Weathers; Cole Martinez; Coach Mike Hargis. Not pictured; Ja’Ron Macarthur.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Texas D-1 Ambassadors Go 3-1 In Arizona @ The Elite 8

Chad Groth's Arizona Preps Elite 8 (actually 16 teams) was said by many in attendance to be the deepest assembly of talent ever in one event held in the Grand Canyon State.  The Texas D-1 Ambassadors more than held their own, going 3-1 in the event.  Their only defeat was a disappointing overtime loss to a talented Arizona Magic Pump N Run squad. 

Texas D-1 Ambassadors 61  Joe Ward All Star Elite (AZ)  55

As predicted, the player who I felt was most likely to burst on the national scene this weekend was 2011 Combo 6'3" Eric McClellan (below) of Austin High.  Playing in his first tournament on a national stage, McClellan showed no stage fright as he led the D-1 Ambassadors with 19 points over Joe Ward All Stars Elite.  He has vaulted from relative obscurity to the front of the pack, sitting aside fellow Texas D-1 Ambassador Deon Mitchell as the two top combo guard prospects in the Austin/San Antonio area in the Class of 2011.  He got to the rim at will and went 9-11 from the free throw line.  2011 PG Deon Mitchell also chipped in with 12 points, including the only two three pointers for D-1 as we struggled from the field.
Arizona Magic Pump N Run 78  Texas D-1 Ambassadors 73  (OT)

2011 W 6'4" Billy Sherakas of Austin Lake Travis showed why the Cavs should not be underestimated this coming school year.  Sherakas plays HARDER than anyone in the State of Texas.  He is still adjusting the the U.S. game after having moved from Copenhagen, Denmark this past year.  Along with the highest revving motor I've ever coached, Sherakas also can get hot and hit his threes.  Needs to be a bit more selective with his shots but it's hard to get mad at a kid who just wants to compete so HARD.  He scored 20 points and had 9 rebounds against the Arizona Magic squad and along with McClellan (who scored 15 points) has also burst onto the recruiting scene as several services interviewed him after his gritty performances this weekend.

Texas D-1 Ambassadors 77 Las Vegas DC Elite 57

D-1 had extremely balanced scoring with 5 players in double figures as they dominated a less scrappy than usual DC Elite team, 77-57.  2011 G Jake Kocher (below) of Austin St. Michael's led the way with 14 points but it was his improved defensive performance (including 4 steals) which is causing his stock to rise.
2011 W Adam Whitlock of Austin St. Stephen's has to get more aggressive but there's no denying his ability to stroke it from the perimeter.  he put up his 13 points in the span of about 2:30 as he led the Ambassadors back from a mid game deficit.

2011 PG Deon Mitchell had 12 points.  He's capable of dominating a game at any moment.  His style is effortless and he gets to the rim at will.

Billy Sherakas added 11 and Eric McClellan scored 10.

Texas D-1 Ambassadors 89 Arizona Pump N Run Seniors 65

We got stronger as the tournament went on (too bad it was only 4 games) as we totally outclassed and outplayed an Arizona Magic Seniors group 89-65.  Once again, McClellan led with 21 points.  he was closely followed by 2011 W 6'6" Logan Webb of Georgetown with 20.  Webb can hit from deep and has nice hops.  He's maddeningly inconsistent though and has to become more involved on a regular basis.  When he's on though, he's a very intriguing prospect.

The Austin St. Michael's duo of Jake Kocher and Adam Whitlock (below) had 16 & 14 respectively.
Seven footer David Hahn played only 2 games as he turned his ankle, but still attracted lots of recruiting attention.  Look for Hahn to be one of the hottest commodities of the July live period as schools line up for him as he's a qualifier.  2011 W Jalen Washington was nursing a hip pointer all weekend, so he did not have his normal explosiveness.  However, he impressed me with his toughness under the circumstances and rebounded like a champ.  Washington is so long he gets his hands on countless balls in the passing lanes.                                    2012 G Mike Hardge of Georgetown is really progressing and is putting himself in position to be one of the most dominant scoring PG's in the area next season.

Toby Oyedeji Rest In Peace

Early this morning I received the news that Texas A&M signee Toby Oyedeji was called home to our Lord Jesus Christ.  The kid with the huge smile and ferocious competitive spirit was involved in a head on collision as he returned home from his prom. Our prayers go out to his family, the Bellaire community and to our friends at Texas A&M, and the Houston Hoops.
Our respect and prayers go out from Coach Max & The Texas D-1 Ambassadors Family.

D-1 Nation Girls Dominate Fury Invitational

This weekend was the annual Fury Invitational held in  Georgetown, Texas. This event is put on every year by the Georgetown Fury Basketball Club, with over 90 teams competing each year. With seven teams playing in this event, the Ambassadors seem to stand out in the tournament. Overall this weekend we went 25-5, coming up with three championships, one second place,one third place, and two consolations. The girls program has really blossomed this year with the addition of Coach Billy James & the Flagship Team, along with Coach Fonzell Martin, and Coach Speedy Gregg with their Austin Elite groups, and Coach Brenton Christian 6th Grade group. With this line up the girls program proves to be very strong and growing rapidly. 

D-1 Nation Team 2016
2nd Place 6th grade

D-1 Nation Austin Elite 2014
Consolation 8th Grade

D-1 Nation 2014
1st place 8th grade

D-1 Nation Austin Elite 2013
Consolation 9th Grade

D-1 Nation Austin Elite 2012
1st Place 10th Grade

D-1 Nation Austin Elite
3rd Place 17u

D-1 Nation Flagship Team
1st Place 17u

I would like to say job well done this weekend to all the coaches & players with the D-1 Nation.

Coach Dean
Program Director
Girls Basketball

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Texas D-1 Ambassadors Travel to The Elite 8 in Arizona

I'm here in Phoenix, AZ on a combination mini vacation and to cover/coach a showcase basketball event.  The Texas D-1 Ambassadors will participate in my buddy, Chad Groth's Elite 8 (which has actually grown to 16 teams) beginning Saturday morning at Camelback High School.  Several high powered teams will be on hand including Arizona Pump N Run (AZ), Danny Granger Hurricanes (NM), San Diego Magic (CA) & Compton Magic (CA) who some folks are saying are the highest powered team in the country thus far this spring.

I left my hotel at 6AM this morning to meet up with old friend, Head Coach Russ Pennell of D-2 Grand Canyon University.  He's truly one of the gentlemen and good guys in the college basketball world.  The former University of Arizona Head Coach had also served as an assistant in the past at Arizona State, Ole Miss & Oklahoma State.  After leaving Arizona, Pennell had several coaching opportunities including another PAC-10 job but decided to take on the challenge of building the program from scratch at Grand Canyon (who will petition the NCAA for D-1 status in the next couple of years.)  The D-1 Ambassadors will tour the Grand Canyon campus on Saturday.

The tournament will have plenty of West Coast media coverage & is loaded with talent, including the following top national prospects:

News Release

For immediate release – May 13, 2010

Chad Groth, Director presents ELITE 8 In the Desert


ELITE 8 brings in the Nations top High School basketball players; Including the #1 ranked team in the country Compton Magic

The ELITE 8 Basketball Tournament Committee is very pleased to announce the lineup of teams playing in this year’s event held on May 15-16 at Camelback High School Gym (4612 North 28th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85016.

Area Codes Basketball has solidified itself as one of the ELITE middle school and high school basketball tournaments in Arizona.

Tournament director Chad Groth, announces this tournament to be every sports writer and scouting services stop, as they can evaluate some of the top players in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas as they scout this spring basketball tournament. “This tournament is about getting Arizona players EXPOSURE against the top prep basketball players in the country.” said Groth. Some of the Nations Top 16 ELITE basketball club programs will be competing for this championship will include 6 in-state and 10 out-of-state teams over the course of 32 games.

Some of the high level and nationally ranked players, includes players to watch: Jahii Carson (Mesa HS, AZ) playing with the Compton Magic. Several services believe the Compton Magic has the best team in the nation. Carson a Top 100 player in the nation the past year’s is being recruited by Arizona, Oregon State, Butler, Arizona State and UCONN. Other players to watch on the Compton Magic include Gabe York (California’s top player in 2012 at Orange Lutheran HS), and Damiene Cain from Harvard Westlake, he was the California D3 player of the year and is ranked in the Top 40 in the nation in his class of 2011. Norvelle Pelle a 7 feet tall and a player who compares to a Lamar Odom type player from Price HS 2011), he is being heavily recruited by Arizona, Oregon State and Washington. Isaiah Austin (Grace Prep, TX) son of Alex Austin who is 7 feet 1 and is a Top 5 player in the class of 2012.

Danny Granger Hurricanes are led by Kory Alford (La Cueva HS Albuquerque, NM) Alford, son of UNM coach Steve Alford, also is a top ranked prospect for the class of 2011.

Others to mention will be Arizona Pump n Run’s 2011 class players Colin Woods from Horizon HS and Cameron Forte, McClintock HS. Texas D1 Ambassadors Deon Mitchell Pflugerville, TX and 7 foot 1 center David Hahn who last weekend took an official visit to Marquette and is a unsigned senior. Inland I team is led by Mervin Lindsay (Canyon Springs high Moreno Valley, CA). Tucson Pump n Runs top player will be Matt Korcheck who got his release from UTEP and has been targeted by Oklahoma and Oregon State as of recent.

Joe Ward All Stars are led by Jordan McDougald (Red Mountain, Mesa, AZ) who is one of the top unsigned guards in the state. NBA player Trevor Ariza’s team ARIZA has a top player to watch in 6 foot 9 sophomore Daveon Thomas from Compton High School. Arizona Dream Team has Chinle High’s player of the year in 3A Koyai Clauschee and Enoch Rhemadji from St Mary’s HS Phoenix, AZ.

The Las Vegas Dogcatchers include Davion Pearson of Palo Verde in Las Vegas, NV. James Ford’s AZ Magic Seniors have top rated seniors in Arizona which include Lorenzo Ford (Desert Vista HS), Jarrett Green (Dobson) and Bryce Cotton (Palo Verde) in Tucson.

“With this years talent I am confident basketball fans across the valley will enjoy this tournament as 16 teams play for the Elite 8, Arizona basketball is on the rise and for the Elite out of state teams to travel to Arizona means something. Several scouting and media services will be in attendance include Josh Gershon (, Chris Karpman (, Jon Perryman (, Richard Obert (Arizona Republic), Anthony Ray (, Gerry Freitas (Hoop Review), Max Ivany (Texas Prep Report), Hoop Masters, Rivals and Full Court Press affiliates will also be present.”

The Texas D-1 Ambassadors will be led by (below from top to bottom):

2011 W 6'5" Jalen Washington of Pflugerville Hendrickson,
2011 PG 6'0" Deon Mitchell of Pflugerville 
2010 C 7'1" David Hahn who has been impressing this spring with his play and has just returned from an official visit to Marquette.

Also, look for a new prospect to burst on the national scene from Austin, TX.  2011 Combo guard, 6'4" Eric McClellan of Ausin High suits up with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors for the first national event of his career.  Look for McClellan to showcase deep range on his shot along with an explosive first step to the basket. He's currently a hidden gem who I predict will soon make his mark on the circuit. (McClellan #1, below skies over two Pflugerville players.)

As many of you know my health has been mediocre the past year so it was great to be feeling a little better lately and to play my first round of golf in close to 8 months.  Newsflash: I am as bad as and look to prove it again tomorrow when myself and Coach Mike Hardge tee it up and prove that old baseball players never die, they just learn to throw their clubs on the golf course.