My latest stop on the NCAA live circuit was with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Team Cress at the Best Buy Summer Classic in Minneapolis, MN. It was our first time attending the event, now in it's 2nd year but we'll be sure to have it on our annual schedule as Minnesota Pump N Run guru Tom Kroshell treated the teams like kings. This is one of the best invitational stops on the circuit. Best Buy Electronics had an entertainment room set up for the players with the latest in video game technology. Along with the great hospitality, Kroshell provided an outstanding welcome barbecue dinner as part of the experience. http://www.webcast50.com/ was on hand streaming games. You can go to their site and see the Texas D-1 Ambassadors in action, including 2011 W Killeen Ellison's Jaleel William throwing down an emphatic windmill dunk!
Left to Right: 2011 Karim York (Del Valle), 2011 Jake Kocher (Austin St. Michael's), 2011 G Eric McClellan (Austin High), 2011 W Jaleel Williams (Killeen Ellison), 2013 PG Travon Landry (Bryan), 2011 P Mark Nwakamma (Leander), 2011 W Brooks Pawsat (Austin Hyde Park) & 2012 P Drew Wikelius (Austin Westlake). Missing: 2011 W Austin Jenkins (Austin Hyde Park)
The Texas D-1 Ambassadors notched victories over Minnesota Comets, Minnesota Select, Minnesota Gamblers and Memphis Select. Our two losses were to the Indiana Elite featuring 6'11" Marshall Plumlee (Duke), 6'10" Cody Zeller (offered by North Carolina) and 6'7" Vincent Zollo (offered by Kentucky) and Memphis Magic Elite with W Adonis Thomas, G Andre Hollins & G Terence Durham who hit 7 three pointers despite a hand in his face.
2011 W Jaleel Williams (below) had a very average tournament a few days prior in Tulsa but somehow a light clicked on and he played with a vengeance in Minnesota. He had a dozen dunks during the tournament as he clicked with combo guard Eric McClellan on the majority of them. Williams whose talent has never been in question continues to get recruited by mid majors but with his effort in Minneapolis has regained the high major buzz first generated at John Lucas Southwest Invitational Camp in Houston on July 6th. Look for Colorado, Washington, Washington State, Balyor, Memphis & Texas to watch him closely next week at our events in Virginia and Phoenix.
2011 W Karim York (below) continued the great play he exhibited in the GASO tournament while playing for ATX. He averaged a double double over the duration of the Minnesota tournament. Under the watchful eye of my old friend from his days at Wyoming, Coach Sean Van Diver was on hand for every Texas D-1 Ambassadors game and the new Boise State Assistant pulled the trigger this morning and offered the lanky York a scholarship. Congratulations to Karim and his family. York can shoot the three, can put the rock on the deck, and is active around the rim with a nice touch.
2011 W 6'6" Austin Jenkins of Austin Hyde Park may have been the tournament's biggest winner for us as he went from unknown to garnering interest from Northern Colorado & Arkansas State. With limited high level tournament play under his belt, Jenkins seems on the verge of "getting it". He can shoot the three and shows a new toughness on the boards. If this kid takes working on his game and body seriously over the next 12 months he will be this years version of former Austin Westlake player Gus Leeper who recently signed with Arkansas-Little Rock.
2011 P Mark Nwakamma (below) of Leander continues to recover from his foot surgery and despite a lack of his trademark explosiveness shows a toughness and desire to compete that continues to earn the respect of D-1 schools. Big Mark's offensive game is beginning to gel again and he's proving to be a force on the circuit.2011 SG Jake Kocher (below) of Austin St. Michael's continues to put up big numbers. He had 23 points and 8 rebounds against the Memphis Magic. Below, he takes time out of basketball to enjoy the Best Buy Player's Center as he gets his groove on with DJ Hero as his alter ego, "DJ Jazzy Jake" with help from his sidekick "Coach Max Mix A Lot".
Below: 2013 PG Travon Landry displayed tight handles and energetic defense as he played anything but that of a 15 year old against some of the country's top competition. Young Landry is catching the eye of Baylor, New Mexico & Marquette.
Below: Left to right: Karim York, Eric McClellan, Jaleel Williams & Brooks Pawsat chill in the Best Buy Player's Lounge between games.