Saturday, July 30, 2011

GBOA Tournament of Champions

There's one more stop on the road as the long, hot July recruitig period winds down.  After winning the Las Vegas Live event the Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio heaed out to the coast.  The GBOA Tournament of Champions was held in Long Beach and this group from the Alamo City picked up where they left off in Las Vegas.  Just win, Baby!  ....and boy, do they win.  They finished the summer at 54-9.  Three losses came by single digits to the adidas Super 64 Champion Texas Assault, another to Franchize All Stars at the buzzer and another to Houston Hoop Stars. 

This group ented the summer with no particular buzz or notoriety.  It ended with two players receiving high major offers (Uche Ofoegbu and Connor Lammert) and the entire Big XII follwoing the D1 Ambassadors for 12 straight games no mater where they played or who their opponent was.

There was no bracket format at the GBOA, but the D1 Ambassadors won their four games against all comers.  Most importantly they did it in front of the aforementioned Big XII coaches, the entire Pac-10 and the West Coast Conference.  Not only is this great for the players on the roster, but it continues to build the reputation that Texas players can play...ANYWHERE.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio  74   Connecticut Select  63
Texas D1 led by 20 and cruised to their first game win after arriving in Los Angeles.  As usual they took care of business by committe as 2012 Matt Gramling of San Antonio MacArthur had 14, 2012 Uche Ofoegbu had 13 and Connor Lammert added 12.  Head Coaches from Arizona (Sean Miller), Texas Tech (Billy Gillispie), SMU (Matt Doherty) Penn State (Pat Chambers), Washington (Lorenzo Romar) were courtside with many others watching the game.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio  81  Belmont Shores (CA) 77
In what was likely the showdown game of the event, Texas D1 took on host Belmont Shores before a packed gym and rabid SoCal audience.  It didn't bother Connor Lammert though as he scored 18 points in a variety of ways to lead the D1 Ambassadors to the win.  Once again, Uche Ofoegbu was right there to lend a hand with 14 points.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio  74  Fresno Select Superstars (CA)  67
It took a year to get a little revenge (Fresno Select had beaten the D1 Ambassadors in the 2010 quarterfinals of the adidas Super 64), but Texas D1 made sure they paid.  Connor Lammert continued putting on a show, and 2012 W Jeffrey Rodewald dropped 19 to go along with Uche Ofoegbu's 15 in the win.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio  74   Compton Magic-San Diego 47
Texas D1 broke open a close game in the middle of the first half and cruised to the victory.  Jeggrey Rodewald led the way with 21 points, Connor Lammert had 15 and Matt Gramling chipped in with 15. 

What an end to the summer of 2011.  Texas' hats go off to the Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio squads basketball accomplishments. Even more importantly though , was the classy way you guys handled yourselves on and off the court the entire year.  I will have a spearate tribute to the anatomy of a champion later in the week.

Desert Duel Wrap Up

I wasn't there for the Desert Duel championship game as I was on the road to Palm Springs, CA.  I regret not having stayed now as the two heavyweights in the final put on a show.  Down 26 points in the second half, the New Jersey Playaz put on the mother of all comebacks and ended up beating Mac Irvin Fire (IL) in overtime. 

Worldwide Renegades (GA)  73  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston 70
Texas D1 led at the half 43-31 and looked to be winning going away.  However, D1 Ambassadors stars Alex Caruso fouled out at the 7 minute mark and Aly Mohamed fouled out at the 3 minute mark allowing Worldwide Renegades to mountheir comeback and win with 20 seconds left to play.  2012 Devon Turk led with 20 points, but it was Mohamed's work down low and on the boards that was setting the tone for the game.  He finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.  Caruso and Chase Brogna had 7 assists a piece for D1. Because of flight commitments, the D1 Ambassadors could not stay to play their final consolation game vs the Arizona Stars.
2012 Devon Turk led Texas D1 with 20 points in their final game of the summer.
Once again I'd like to thank my friends Jeff Schneider and Tammy Crawford for putting on the classiest basketball event, coupled with a great cause.  What a way to end the summer.-Coach Max Ivany

Friday, July 29, 2011

Breakfast of Texas Champions

This morning at our hotel breakfast provided by the Desert Duel, I had a chance to talk championships with the other big winners from Las Vegas.  From left to right, Texas Assault Coach Vonzell Thomas (Champions of the Las Vegas adidas Super 64 Platinum) Max Ivany, Founder Texas D1 Ambassadors (representing for Coach Paul Josephs Las Vegas Live Platinum Champions and Reggie Bostic Las Vegas Live Silver Champions) and Tony Johnson, Founder Dallas Mustangs (representing for Coach Gerald Booker and the Las Vegas adidas Super 64 Gold). The only team not represented here are Coach Aaron Harrison and the Houston Defenders who won their title at the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando, FL.
If you love grassroots basketball, and you're a Texan specifically then the last few days has been a perfect storm as Texas teams captured an unprecedented 5 prestigious National Championships. The last 10 years or so have seen more and more Texas youngsters turn their backs on track and football to pursue basketball at the highest level.  With an average of 125 Division One signees every year Texas leads the country in college level players. 

There are many reasons in addition to the obvious one of plenty of talent on hand in hotbeds like Dallas and Houston.  San Antonio is growing rapidly and is not too far behind while Austin and Killeen also produces it's more than fair share of talent.  While other states cut budgets, Texas is blessed with a healthy economy AND a commitment to athletic facilities and professional high school coaches like no other.  While states like Arizona and California have a high school varsity coach who is a certifed teacher all assistants and JV/freshman coaches are men and women who work a regular 9-5 job and then come to the school to work with the players after hours.  There are no athletic periods for the development of players in most other states.

The club scene in Texas is very healthy as well with the level of coaching amongst the prominent national level clubs being quality.  The D1 Ambassadors have an array of high school, college coaches and former college players in their instructional ranks along with men who have high character from the local business community who volunteer their time as well.

Texas Assault 93  Dream Vision (NV) 78
Getting an outrageous 29 points, 18 rebound, 5 assist performance from tournament MVP Marcus Smart of Flower Mound Marcus the Texas Assault won back to back Las Vegas adidas Super 64  Platinum titles over hometown Dream Vision (NV).  Dream Vision features the Class of 2012's #1 player in Shabazz Muhammad and Winston Shepherd a former Texas D1 Ambassador who now attends school at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas

Dallas Mustangs Blue 69  Oakland Rebels Black  68
Coach Gerald Booker's "Baby Mustangs" used a last second basket by Soma Edo to capture the Gold Division of the adidas Las Vegas Super 64.

Houston Defenders Select  55  Boston Area Basketball Club  45
In a championship game that was nationally televised on ESPN the Defenders repped Space City behind the performance of the Harrison twins (Aaron..18 points and Andrew).  High flying Derrick Griffin of Rosenberg Terry had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 65  Houston Hoops  53
Leading from wire to wire by as many as 20 points, Tournament MVP Connor Lammert of San Antonio Churchill racked up another double double with 16 points and 11 rebounds while 2012 Uche Ofoegbu of San Antonio Stevens led the way with 18 points and 5 rebounds.  2012 Jeffrey Rodewald of San Antonio Alamo Heights continues to shoot up the ladder as he had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
2012 G Uche Ofoegbu of San Antonio Stevens was unstoppable off the bounce vs Houston Hoops
Texas D1 Ambassadors-Bostic  Oklahoma Attack
The Pflugerville tandem of Justin Moss (25 points) and Napoleon Onyeje led the scoring parade as this group of Austin based 2013 players rounded out the Parade of Texas Champions for the summer of 2011 by winning the Las Vegas Live Silver 17U division.

Congratulations to all these Champions as they emerged from a field of over 1000 of the country's best summer teams.-Coach Max Ivany
Below: An impromptu gathering of the Texas D1 16U squad in white, celebrating with the 17U squad after the back to back title game wins at Durango High School and Las Vegas Live.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Texas D1 Ambassadors Win Las Vegas Live--Video Below

San Antonio, Texas and basketball fans the world over watch the Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio take home the big prize from Las Vegas, courtesy of  by clicking on the link below.

Phoenix Desert Duel: Day One

The country's classiest event, the Desert Duel Memorial kicked off today in Gilbert, AZ.  The Texas D1 Ambassadors have been fortunate to have been invite all four years to take part in this 32 team event which is hosted as a charitable event to the memory of Tom Crawford.  This year the Houston squad is representing the D1 Nation, amongst the country's best teams.

Seattle Rotary Select (WA)  65  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston  57
After fatiguing 5 days events in Las Vegas and Orlando there isn't a player in the country who isn't plumb tired in the latter part of July.  Seattle Rotary kept a 3-10 point lead for the majority of the game winning by 8.  2012 Aly Mohamed of Houston Trent International is one of the few guys left with a lot of gas in his tank. He pounded the boards and bullied his way to the free throw line as he led all scorers with 17 points.  2012 Devon Turk had 11 points in support.
2012 Aly Mohamed is a workhorse on the boards and possesses great moves down low

Texas D1 Ambassadors 70  Team Loaded (VA)  67  Overtime
The third time was the charm for Texas D1 as they got the best of Team Loaded (VA) in overtime.  Their two previous encounters (Myrtle Beach, SC and Las Vegas Fab 48) ended with North Carolina State commit Tyler Lewis leaving his team to the wins.  Tonight was different as Texas D1 fought back from 11 down with 4 minutes left to send it into overtime where they got clutch free throw shooting and a big bucket from 2013 W Parker Callender of Houston Clear Creek.  Callender has been offered by Colorado State and is now piquing the interet of Depaul.  He finished with 15 points in the win.
2013 Parker Callender came up big in overtime

2012 Aly Mohamed gave another excellent effort, finishing with 14 and 7 rebounds.  It was 2012 Alex Caruso's energy and leadership that led the way in the second half as there were times he took the game over, finishing with 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals.  2012 Maurice Letcher-Ellis of Houston Yates had 6 points and 11 rebounds.
2012 Alex Caruso had his bes game in July by far as he comes off a severe ankle injury

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Las Vegas: Day Five-Championship Day

Coach Reggie Bostic's 2013 group of Texas D1 Ambassadors chose to play in the 17u division at the Las Vegas Live event.  It's not about winning for the D1 Nation's younger groups.  It's about development, learning to compete at a high level and getting ready mentally and physically for the following summer when they are 17 year olds.

Las Vegas Live-17U Silver Division Championship
After going 1-2 in Pool Play, the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Bostic squad won it's first 3 bracket games and faced the Oklahoma Attack.  After falling behind by 9 against the bigger Oklahoma squad in the first half Texas D1's relentless running style began to wear their opponent down.  They ended up winning going away, including hitting 10 straight free throws to finish out the game. Pflugerville's Justin Moss went off for 25 points while his high school team mate Napoleon Onyeje chipped in with 17 as Texas D1 won the 'Ship going away 74-64.
Texas D1 Ambassadors 2013-Bostic    Las Vegas Live 17u Silver Champions
From left to right:  Coach Reggie Bostic, Wesley Brown (Pflugerville), Darian Bostic (Pflugerville), Pierce Greisbaum (Kerrville Tivy), Sled Allen (Austin St. Michael's), Napoleon Onyeje (Pflugerville), Rasmus Bach (Austin Anderson), Justin Moss (Pflugerville) and Coach Brown

Las Vegas Live: 17U Platinum Semi Final
In the early morning encounter, Texas D1 locked horns with Louisiana Future an athletic group from Baton Rouge led by 2013 G 6'4" Darrious Johnson.  At the half, Texas D1 trailed 23-20. They were kept in the game by 2012 G Matt Gramling's shooting. Nobody else's shot was falling though and they had more unforced turnovers than usual (very rare).  The second half saw them get going and a big disparity on the boards saw the trio of Connor Lammert (10, 6 rebounds), Uche Ofoegbu (11, 7 rebounds) and Jeffrey Rodewald (3 points, 11 rebounds) control the glass.  Gramling finished with a game high 13 points.

Las Vegas Live: 17U Platinum Championship
It's always a heck of a game when the Texas D1 Ambassadors get it on with the Houston Hoops.  The core of the Hoops and their families are very dear to me as they were the key parts of the Texas D1 Ambassadors teams who lost in the Final Four of two straight AAU Championships a few years back.  Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke commit), L.J. Rose and J. Mychal Reese are three of the toughest guards in the country.  Unfortunately, Reese was unable to go as he suffered a knee injury.  We wish him the best and hope he's healthy enough to compete for the USA in the Global Games.

On the other side of the ball, the only current member of the Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio that were part of those great young teams was Uche Ofoegbu.  The high major recruit had a phenomenal Great American Shootout event in Dallas earlier in the month, but to this point in Las Vegas he'd been quiet offensively.  As I walked into the gym at 7:50 AM the day before the championships Uche and his brother John(former Texas Tech star and overseas pro) were walking out.  Uche had been in the gym for an hour histing up shots.  Now that's how a player gets out of a slump!

Texas D1 got out of the gate early as Connor Lammert and Jeffrey Rodewald controlled the boards. At the half, the score was 37-23.  The Hoops made a modest run at one point in the second half but could never cut it below 10.  Texas D1 led by 18 points going into the last minute of the game until they gave up a couple of meaningful threes to win easily, 65-53.

Ofoegbu capped off a great game, getting to the rack at will and finishing with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.  Connor Lammert had 16 points and aal rebounds and Jeffrey Rodewald had 15 and added 12 boards.  The D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio now head to Long Beach, California for the GBOA Tournament of Champions July 28-29th.
Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio became the first team from the Alamo City to ever win Las Vegas' Top Summer Prize. They did it with class and distinction under Coach Paul Josephs.
From left to right:  Coach Paul Josephs, Carter Josephs (San Antonio Clark), Uche Ofoegbu (San Antonio Stevens), Shelby Lane (San Antonio Alamo Heights), Adam Perez (San Antonio Clark), Aaron Ramirez (Santa Rosa), Connor Lammert (San Antonio Churchill), Niko Maxwell (San Antonio Clark, Jeffrey Rodewald (San Antonio Alamo Heights) and Matt Gramling (San Antonio MacArthur.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Las Vegas: Day Four

The Texas D1 Ambassadors-Morse 16U squad played in the 17U division of the Las Vegas Live event.  Effort, poise and great team work allowed them to go 3-0 and a spot in the highest level of the bracket play.  This effort "rewarded" them with an encounter at 8AM this morning with Dallas DHJ5 a team that the Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 17U had beaten 63-55 in super pool action on Sunday.

Dallas DJH5  66   Texas D1 Ambassadors-Morse 44
This group of youngsters knew they'd have their work cut out for them against a DJH5 squad featuring nationally ranked players in Chris Washburn and Keith Frazier.  They gave a strong effort early and were in a tie game just prior to half time.  As the game wore on their inexperience, along with the strength of a more physical opponent led to the game being a run away win for DJH5.  2013 G Will Morse of Austin Westlake led the way with 16 points.  2013 G Darrius Brooks of Pflugerville added 13.  These kids worked hard and had a great summer.  2013 P 6'6" Zach Overby battled down low and really looks to be a star in the making for Coach Brian Young's Kerrville Tivy Antlers this fall.
2013 G Will Morse of Austin Westlake had an excellent summer

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 53  Greenline Basketball Club  43 
Greenline was made up of players entirely from De La Salle High School, a California prep powerhouse.  They were undersized but they ran a Princeton style offense to perfection keeping the score down and controlling tempo.  They also had an outstanding 2013 player in W 6'5" Elliot Pitts who shwoed deep range and a high basketball IQ. 

However, on to the victors as Coach Paul Josephs Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio continue to show that they are a tough draw on the circuit.  They upped their tournament record to 4-0, including three super pool victories.  2012 G Niko Maxwell of San Antonio Clark entered the game in the first half and injected energy as he scored all 10 of his points in the opening period.  2012 stalwarts Adam Perez of San Antonio Clark added 11 points and 4 assists, while Big Connor Lammert had 12 points and chalked up 14 boards.  Lammert gets better by the minute.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-Bostic 63  Oklahoma Shock  59
In their first game of bracket play in the 17U silver division at Las Vegas Live, Team Bostic won a close game by breaking a late tie and sending the Oklahoma Shock home.  2013 G Napoleon Onyeje of Pflugerville continues to score at a high rate as he led the team with 17 points.  Dylan Larson of New Braunfels added 11 and Darrian Bostic of Pflugerville had 9.
2013 G Dylan Larson of New Braunfels
Texas D1 Ambassadors 2013-Bostic  58  Team Missouri  38
Pflugerville's Justin Moss led the way with 18 points, with Napoleon Onyeje and Rasmus Bach supporting him with 11 a piece.  2013 P 6'6" Wesley Brown gave his usual tough, hardworking effort on the boards doing the dirty work so the D1 guards can put their points up.
2013 P 6'6" Wesley Brown provides the glue for Team Bostic
Texas D1 Ambassadors-Bostic 66  San Antonio Hurricanes 64
In their third bracket game of the day, Texas D1 had to dig deep against their neighbors from down south on I-35. 2013 Aussie transplant Rasmus Bach, gave the Hurricanes a "G'day mate" at the buzzer as he hit a 15 footer as the game ended to notch the win.  Balanced scoring from Dylan Larson (14), Darian Bostic (11) and 2013 Sled Allen 11 were the keys to the win , along with a hardnosed defensive effort down the stretch.
2013 G Rasmus Bach of Austin Anderson hit the clutch shot for the game winner

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio  73  Marcus Banks Hard 2 Guard (Nevada) 59
Marcus Banks squad was indeed "hard to guard" in the first half as their jumpers were falling, many of them from deep.  The score at the half was 36-35 for Marcus Banks.  The second half was another story as the D1 Ambassadors clamped down defensively and won going away 73-59.  Adam Perez (11 pts, 7 assists, 4 rebounds), Connor Lammert (14 points, 9 rebounds), Jeffrey Rodewald (12 points, 7 rebounds) and Matt Gramling (15 points and 4 assists) all elevated their games in the second half to breeze to the win.
2012 G Adam Perez is a gamer who knows how to win
Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio  62  Friends of Hoops (Washington) 61
This wasn't Texas D1's first rodeo in overcoming adversity.  Down 28-19 at the half and 56-45 with less than 4 minutes remaining they dug deep.  D1 Ambassadors Coach Josephs told me before the game he thought that Friends of Hoop could be susceptiple to the press.  For the majority of the game it did not produce turnovers but it did serve to wear down FOH's ballhandlers.  All heck broke loose in a two minute span as Texas D1 caused multiple turnovers and tied the score 58 all with 2 minutes left.  The Texans got the ball with 2 minutes left and held for the last shot. At 24 seconds, the ball was dribbled off a foot and FOH now had the last possession...that was until 2012 F Jeffrey Rodewald swooped in for one more steal and hit a critical layup.  Uche Ofoegbu calmly sank two subsequent free throws and the D1 Ambassadors finished on a 17-2 run.  An uncontested three with only 4 seconds left closed it to one as time ran out.  The Final Four of the Las Vegas Live event begins tomorrow at 10AM at Durango High School.

Rodewald had 13 points and 5 rebounds. Uche Ofoegbu (12 points), Connor Lammert (12 points, 6 rebounds) and Matt Gramling hit four three pointers in the 2nd half and finished with 18 to lead all scorers.
2012 Matt Gramling is seeing his stock soar this July
Texas D1 Ambassadors 2014 56   Missouri Flight 42
2014 W 6'4" Garrett Gray of Marble Falls had 14 points and 8 steals in an impressive win.
2014 Garrett Gray showed great athleticism in his team's win
Texas D1 Ambassadors 47  Georgia Hornets 45
2014 G Chase Carlton led the way with 18 points and 2015 G Harrison Hackney got his feet wet on the circuit as the incoming freshman had 8 points and 7 steals.
Look for 2014 G Chase Carlton to give Austin Westlake a 3rd quality guard this fall

Monday, July 25, 2011

Las Vegas: Day Three

In some divisions of the various tournaments today marks the beginning of bracket play, while others finish their last pool game (s). 

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 63  Dallas DHJ5  55
With the entire Big XII on hand, a game filled with prospects was DOMINATED by 2012 F 6'9" Connor Lammert of San Antonio Churchill. With Texas Tech Head Coach Billy Gillispie, and SMU Boss Man, Matt Doherty on hand (as they have for every minute of every game Lammert has played during the live period) and Texas Head Coach Rick Barnes paying close attention Lammert showed his complete package. He dropped 5 first half three pointers en route to a 31 point explosion.  He dominated the boards and showed some nifty passing ability to round out the day.  We'll have more about Lammert's offers later on Monday.
2012 Connor Lammert will have his choice of schools

In the Fab 48 both of the Texas D1 Ambassadors squads bowed out by blowing late leads.
R&R Soldiers (CA)  71  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin  67
2012 G Michael Hardge played his butt off scoring 22 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals while 2012 Allex Austin added 5 points and 15 rebounds.  A 14 point second have lead disappeared because of countless turnovers (many of them unforced).  2013 G T.J. Williams had 17 and added 6 assists. 2012 P Drew Wikelius also had 9 points and 4 rebunds in a very solid effort. This concludes the Austin groups summer.  We will see how recruiting shapes up for them very soon.
2012 F Allex Austin of San Marcos
Play Hard Play Smart (CA)  74  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston  68
An 8-12 point lead the entire game slipped away in the final three minutes once again because of poor shot selection, errant free throw shooting and an inability to take care of the ball.  2012 Aly Mohamed dominated down low where he had 19 points. 2012 G Chase Brogna, 2012 G Darryl Milburn of Baton Rouge McKinley (LA) and 2012 G Devon Turk all added 12 points.  The D1 Ambassadors-Houston now head to Phoenix to compete in the Desert Duel Memorial, the jewel of the summer circuit.
2012 Aly Mohamed's great play may have him headed to Rice University
Arizona Rebels  70  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Bostic  67
2012 Justin Moss of Pflugerville, a slashing wing with great upside led the way for Texas D1 with a strong 22 point showing.  2013 G Darian Bostic of Pflugerville had a strong 17.
2013 G Darian Bostic of Pflugerville
Texas D1 Ambassadors-Morse 66  ECBA Force (Seattle, WA)  58
Team Morse's 16 year olds completed the trifecta by going 3-0 in pool play against 17's and heading to tomorrow's bracket play.  2013 G Will Morse dropped 22 points in the win and Austin Bowie's Zach Nunnery continued with his outstanding rebounding efforts (12).
2012 W Zach Nunnery is quickly becoming one of my favorite players because of his work ethic

Las Vegas: Day Two

Day Two of the Las Vegas madness kept me going from 8AM until the last game ended at 11:30pm at Bishop Gorman High School.  The youngsters got under way early this morning with a 15U matchup of the Texas D1 Ambassadors 2014 and tournament #1 seed, California Supreme.

Las Vegas Live 15U: California Supreme  69  Texas D1 Ambassadors 2014  51
Texas D1 came out flat and the Californians came out slinging three pointers.  Before the smoke cleared the difference was 20 plus points as CA Suprteme scored 49 in the first half.  The second half was another story and the D1 Ambassadors clamped down on the defensive end as 2014 G Trey Dilworth of Round Rock McNeil took over and dropped 24 points.  Opening game jitters perhaps?  The lead was 8 with time running out.
2014 Trey Dilworth has big time written all over him.
Las Vegas Live 17U:  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Morse  57  Hoop Dreams Hawaii  45
2013 W Jach Nunnery gives his second excellent effort in a row in Sin City with 18 points and 10 rebounds as they go 2-0.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston 67  New York Panthers 65
Trailing by 12 points in the second half, Texas D1 clawed their way back into the game and beat a tough NYC squad in the last 2 minutes of the game.  Having trouble stopping dribble penetration in the first 80% of the game, the D1 Ambassadors switched into a sagging D and perimeter shooting proved to be the achilles of the Gotham City Boys.  2012 G Chase Brogna of Houston St. Thomas led the way with 20 points (including 4 from behind the arc) and running the offense to perfection.  2012 Alex Caruso also showed his intangible of not wanting to lose as he had a great second half, finishing with 15 points and 5 rebounds.  2012 Aly Mohamed scored 13 and added 6 rebounds while 2012 Maurice Letcher-Ellis had 11, cleaning the glass 5 times.
2012 Chase Brogna 20 in the come from behind victory over the New York Panthers.

Las Vegas Fab 48 Platinum 17U:  Oregon D1 Ambassadors 58  CYDC Elite (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)  48
Jordan Schriber led the way with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the win as Oregon D1 heads to bracket play early tomorrow morning. 2012 F Jake Belford has picked up two offers, Wyoming and Lafayette
2012 F Jake Belford snags two offers

Las Vegas Live 17U: Texas D1 Ambassadors-Bostic 96   Swoosh Canada Nets 34  (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
Like a bad episode of South Park, the Canadians are going back home with a double dose of the D1 Nation.  Team Bostic's 16 year olds playing up in 17U overmatched their opponents in every facet of the game. A running clock saved the scoreboard from matching the thermometer from hitting triple digits.
2013 Napoleon Onyeje is the latest scoring machine from powerhouse Pflugerville

2013 G Napoloeon Onyeje had 20 points and 10 assists to lead the onslaught.  2013 G Dylan Larson of New Braunfels chipped in with 15 points and 5 dimes.  2013 W Justin Moss had 16.

Las Vegas Live Super Pool:  Texas D1 Ambassadors 67  California Supreme 65
In what had to be one of the day's most exciting games citywide, a game with multiple lead changes and runs ended with a near last second three pointer.  The first 27 minutes saw neither team lead by more than 4 points until Texas D1 went on a 16-2 run to lead 64-50 and looked to be winning going away.  A break away dunk attempt by Uche Ofoegbu failed to go down and a subsequent questionable technical for hanging on the rim gave California Supreme new life.  They went on a 15-run of their own and led the game 65-64 with seconds left.  In a wild one, Texas D1 missed two shots, but each time got the rebound where 2012 Matt Gramling of San Antonio MacArthur coolly sank the winning three pointer with 4 seconds to play.
2012 Matt Gramling's stock continues to rise.
Eastern Washington Elite 74  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin 65
2012 shooter Collin Tubbs of Dripping Springs took full advantage of being added to the Austin squad for the Las Vegas tourny.  He dropped 20 points today against Eastern Washington.
In addition to Tubbs 20, 2013 G T.J. Williams continued his strong play with 19 points in the loss and 2012 Michael Hardge added 16.

Texas D1 Ambassadors 75  San Diego Warriors 64
Down 12-0, Texas D1 came roaring back for the convincing win.  Michael Hardge had 16 points, and Allex Austin supported him with 15.
2012 Mike Hardge consistently provided leadership to the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Las Vegas: Day One

For anyone who hasn't been to Las Vegas for the premier 4 day period of the NCAA live recruiting period, it's hard to fathom.  With three major tournaments going on (Adidas Super 64, Las Vegas Live and the Fab 48) there is a shortage of hotel rooms, car rentals, and long lineups to eat.  It's like a trip to Disneyland.  The "ride" is the ultimate, the college scholarship offer which allows a student athlete and his family to obtain a higher education debt free.

Unfortunately it's smoke and mirrors for 90% of the teams who come chasing this elusive Holy Grail.  They'll be stuck in gyms with not a single college coach or hope of seeing one.  On the other hand, the national level programs get all the love.  The Las Vegas Fab 48 Invitational Division sees up to 200 coaches per game looking primarily at the crop of 2012.
The D1 Nation is well represented with the Oregon D1 Ambssadors entered in the 15, 16 and 17U divisions of the Fab 48, along with the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston squad.  Coach Mike Hardge's Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin  along with the two class of 2013 Texas teams are entered in the Las Vegas Live event and playing "up" in the 17U division while the Texas D1 Ambassadors 2014 squad is in the 15U division of Las Vegas Live.

Las Vegas Live:  Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 76  Central Kentucky Storm  60
Texas D1 controlled this contest from the opening tip.  They cruised through the game with a 20 point lead for the majority of the affair.  2012 W 6'6" Jeffrey Rodewald of San Antonio Alamo Heights was the high scorer with 17 points and 6 rebounds.  2012 F 6'9" Connor Lammert of San Antonio Churchill had 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks.  2012 PG Carter Josephs of San Antonio Clark had an "all stat sheet" game as he had 5 points, 5 steals, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in the win.
2012 G Carter Josephs filled up the stat sheet

Las Vegas Live: Texas D1 Ambassadors-Morse  49  Team Missouri 48
This group of 16 year olds are learning to compete agianst more experienced players.  Team Missouri was a much bigger, physical opponent but great shot selevtion allowed Texas D1 to be in control for most of the game.  That is, right up until the last minute where Team Missouri roared back to take a one point lead.  Enter 2013G Darrius Brooks of Pflugerville who threw up a wild shot for the game winner (his 12th point of the game).  He got balanced support from emerging WG 2013 Zach Nunnery of Austin Bowie who had 12 points and added 10 boards.
2013 G Darrius Brooks hit the game winner
Las Vegas Live:  Northwest Cougars (Montana) 56  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Bostic 48
Balanced scoring is a good sign, there just wasn't enough of it.  The Pflugerville trio of Darrian Bostic (9), Napoleon Onyeje (9) and Justin Moss (10) led the way.  2013 G Rasmus Bach of Austin Anderson added 8.

Las Vegas Fab 48:  Oakland Soldiers Blue (California)  74  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin  61
The Soldiers controlled the boards, and that's where the game's decided.  2012 G Michael Hardge of Georgetown continues to raise his game.  He scored 17 points, had 4 rebounds and added 3 assists.  Hardge got into the paint at will.  2013 G T.J. Williams added 11 points and 2014 P Kendrick Morris had 10 points and 12 rebounds mostly in an impressive first half.
2012 G Michael Hardge of Georgetown
Las Vegas Fab 48:  Team Loaded (Virginia)  78  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston 64
North Carolina State commit Tyler Lewis hit his first 4 three point attempts and Texas D1was forced to play catchup all game.  Twice they cut it to 4 points but a combination of great free throw shooting and an inability to keep the Team Loaded guards out of the paint was the difference.  Five Texas D1 players reached double figures in the game.  2011 G Jalen Washington is playing himself into a late July scholarship with 12 points, 8 rebundsm and 4 assists.  2011 F Keynan "Slim" Willis of Crosby had 13 points and a hefty 14 rebounds. 2012 P Aly Mohamed had 12 points and 4 rebounds while 2012 G Devon Turk scored 11.
2012 G Jalen Washington is a late July steal as a late qualifier
Las Vegas Fab 48:  Team Philly  (Pennsylvania)  77   Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston 64
Facing their second Top 40 nationall ranked point guard in the Class of 2012 (Maurice Watson)yielded the same result as the morning encounter.  Watson got where he wanted, when he wanted on the court.  2012 G Alex Caruso (coming off a serious ankle injury) had a big game with 14 points and 5 rebounds.  Aly Mohamed and Keynan Willis chipped in with 10 a piece.
High major 2012 G Alex Caruso is still recovering from his ankle injury

Friday, July 22, 2011

2014 Kendrick Morris Suits Up In Vegas with the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin

Sometimes success is fleeting, in fact many times it's about the right opportunity at the right time.  After spending the spring and early summer with the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston, 2014 P 6'8" Kendrick  will bee changing teams for the second session of the Live recruiting period.  He won't have to go far, or change jerseys however as he'll stay within the D1 Nation and suit up for the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin.

Originally in the Class of 2013, the ultra academic Morris has decided to head to the East Coast and to prep at prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy. It should be an interesting transition from Houston 2nd Baptist to New England.  A log jam of "2012 and 2013 bigs" on the Houston squad (6'8" Maurice Letcher-Ellis,  6'8" Aly Mohamed, 6'9" Keynan Willis, 6'9" Johnathan Motley and 6'7" Parker Callender) did not leave a lot of frontline time for Morris.  The Austin squad is another matter as they crave inside play because of injuries  (Allex Austin thigh contusion) and depth issues. This was a perfect opportunity for a win-win situation and Kendrick to play major minutes.
2014 P 6'8" Kendrick Morris

The youngest player on our 17U teams, 6'8" Kendrick Morris (2014 - Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire) has not backed down from anyone he has faced on the circuit this season. He is one of the hardest workers in the organization and does the little things that help a team win. Whether that is playing in your face defense, blocking shots, getting rebounds or setting picks to get our three point shooters open Kendrick will fill the rolse. He also has good foot work on the block and once his strength catches up with his height he will be an offensive force inside. Not only is he an up and coming player, Kendrick is an excellent student with a 4.6 GPA on a 4.0 scale.  Morris combination of academic prowess and his work ethic on the court has caused him to attract D1 attention from numerous schools.-Coach Max Ivany
Below is the latest recruiting report on Kendrick from his recent visit to Hoop Mountain's All-Academic Camp at Brandeis.
All-Academic Camp - Friday Recap
July 15th, 2011
New England Recruiting Report
Hoop Mountain's All-Academic Camp goes out with a bang at Brandeis College.

**Hoop Mountain All-Academic Camp Dream Dozen**
Kendrick Morris - Personifying an elite-level academic prospect in the class of 2014, the Texas-product is headed to play for head coach Jay Tilton next year at Phillips Exeter and will bring a coveted interior dimension to a squad poised to be loaded with perimeter talent. He runs, seals, and finishes with super efficiency and rebounds and blocks shots at a rate that will only increase with some added muscle to his long, lean frame.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Texas D1's Class of 2014 Heads To Las Vegas

It's always difficult to determine where prospects development will be in a couple of years.  There are so many determining factors including intangibles that contribute to success (or lack of).  Love of the game, work ethic, talent and pedigree also play a part. The five young men from Central Texas who make up the corp of the Texas D1 Ambassadors 2014 have me certan that the factors above will allow all of them above to realize their dreams of playing college basketball three years from now.
From left to right: Garrett Gray (Marble Falls), Matt Perry (Kerrville Tivy), Chase Carlton (Austin Westlake), Trey Dilworth (Round Rock McNeil), and Aubrie King of Mumford.
Under the tutelege of Coach Craig Carlton and Quinton Black of Concordia this group has been playing all season against 17 year olds to learn how to compete against more mature players.  They've notched more than their share of wins and have become battle hardened.

Two weeks ago, they played in the Great American Shootout and competed in the NCAA Division of the toughest event in Texas.  Their two losses were to the eventual Champion, Alexandria Peabodu HS from Louisiana and to the other finalist, Texas Pro.  They played the entire event with 6 players (5 vs Texas Pro), leading Peabody by 10 with 5 minutes left.  They simply ran out of gas.  Matt Perry had two teeth knocked out in the first couple of minutes of the Texas Pro game, forcing the contest to be played with no subs and they still kept the game's outcome in doubt until the end, losing 64-54.

The Class of 2014  begins play on Saturday in the Las Vegas Live event where they are paired immediately with the tournament's #1 seed, California Supreme. For the first time all season they'll play in  the 15 division with their peers.

Garrett Gray is one of the State's brightest young track stars and he takes those high flying skills onto the basketball court, along with a high energy motor.  At 6'4" he projects in the big picture to a wing position.  He is skilled, athletic and will be a four year starter for Coach Bruce Etheridge's Mustangs.

Matt Perry will do it all for Kerrville Tivy HS (as his brothers Keith and Jonathan did before him). He'll be a 4 year starter for Coach Brian Young's Antlers. Perry can already shoot the three from deep and isn't afraid to get his nose dirty rebounding the ball.

Chase Carlton figures to play a huge role this season for Coach Tres Ellis' Austin Westlake powerhouse program. His father, Craig played for the Texas Longhorns.  Carlton has a true PG mentaility looking to get others involved first but he can and will score when needed. He was the GASO leading scorer averaging 16 ppg.

Trey Dilworth looks to unleash his game at Round Rock McNeil this coming season.  Basketball fans are in for a treat when he does as he's the area's most athletic prospect.  He plays above the rim, has a swagger to his game and is a scoring machine.  He'll instantly make Coach Hagerman's squad better.

Aubrie King has grown up in a gym. His dad, Alvie is the Coach at Milano where his shooting feats were legendary.  Aubrie is already 6'4" and was one of Texas' top three point shooters as a freshman.  He sports the old school, Chris Mullin "do" and he plays like him too.

Starting in the fall the D1 Nation will carefully begin evaluating players to integrate with this corp to form the 2014 college prospects from the area.  They will need size to go with their skill and leadership.  Any family with a 2014 prospect can contact me in the fall of this year for consideration.-Coach Max Ivany

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sean Voss of Belton Headed To Sunny Florida

Most of the emphasis in July is on the latest crop of rising seniors who are about to embark on the most important 10 days of their career.  All are hoping to impress upon the plethora of college coaches who will be on the recruiting trail, espeially in Las Vegas.  It's also the time of year that several remaining unsigned seniors in the D1 Ambassadors organization are finalizing their college plans.

We are pleased to announce that Sean Voss of Belton will be attending the University of West Florida to play basketball for Coach Bob Stinnett's Argos and to pursue his education.  The D-I college is located in beautiful Pensacola, FL.
2011 G Sean Voss of Belton (shown below with the Texas D1 Ambassadors)
Sean has played for the D-1 Ambassadors for 5 years. 2 years for Edwin Glossin out of San Antonio, 2 years for Dustin Cox out of Austin, and last year for Michael Hargis out of Austin. Last year in High School Sean averaged 21.4 points per game, 5 assists, 84% FT, and 46% 3Pt, for the Belton Tigers. After the season he was voted unanimous 1st team all-district 12-5A. This district team was filled with D-1 players J-Mychal Reese, Devonte Brown, Royce O'Neal, Alex Caruso, and Jaleel Williams. Of all these players, Voss finished 2nd in the league in scoring and was one of only 3 unamious first team players as voted by district coaches. Sean was also named to the Waco Tribune Super Centex Team, the Killeen Daily Herald All-Area Team, and selected for the Texas Hall of Fame All-Star Game.
Despite D-1 Coaches coming to watch his games and asking for film, (UC-Bakersfield, Wyoming, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Southern Utah), and phone calls and visits from D-II Schools such as Hawaii Pacific, Dallas Baptist, and University Colorado @ Colorado Springs, as late as 3 weeks ago Sean only had offers from 3 really great D-III schools in Texas, UMHB, UT-Tyler, and Concordia. At that time Sean committed to Coach Bonewitz @ Concordia but he still wanted to play at a higher level and further away from Belton.

Sean was also selected to play in the Texas High School Coaches All Star Game next week in the DFW area.

Enter the University of West Florida.  After a family visit to the campus 2 weeks ago to take a tour and meet the basketball Coach and team. Sean has decided to play there. We feel that being a Texas D1 Ambassador all these years was a huge factor in the success Sean has earned on the basketball court and this will carry on throughout college.-Karl Voss

Sean Voss was a pleasure on and off the basketball court. He's a tough player who defends well, knows how to run a team but can also score in bunches when required to get his team going.  I expect him to have a very solid careet at UWF. He's the son of Mr. and Mrs. Karl Voss of Belton, TX.  Best wishes in your college career Sean!-Coach Max Ivany and the D1 Ambassadors Family.

Monday, July 18, 2011

George McClellan Invitational Wrap Ups: Houston, TX

My man, Jimmy Hicks of RCS Sports has been tweeting all week about his hospitatlity room at the GMI in Houston, TX.  He's got his swag on about his home cookin' and family gumbo recipe etc.  While he's touting what's on the menu he's serving up another kind of Houston home cooking that's much harder to digest....bias with the officials.  Texas D1 is beat up and short handed at this event with Adam Perez returning from an ankle injury, starter Matt Gramling out with a groin injury (resting for Las Vegas) and 2012 P 6'8" Shelby Lane at a high academic camp in Boston, MA.

On Wednesday evening the Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio had a marquee matchup with Franchize All Stars who feature 2012 stud Wannah Bail from the Bahamas. With 2012 F 6'9" Connor Lammert's stock going through the roof a wide assortment of coaches were on hand to watch the talented 16 year old youngster do his thing. They included old work mates, Coach Billy Gillispie of Texas Tech and his former understudy, Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams who popped in on the Golden Eagles Lear jet to court Lammert.

Franchize All Stars 55  Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 54  Overtime
A battle of heavyweights went back and forth with Texas D1 having threechances to win the game in both regulation ad overtime.  Inexplicably no fouls were called on obvious hacks, until the ball went to the other end of the court where Franchize's Wannah Bail was "fouled" with no time on the clock in OT, and managed on free throw for the W.  Thankfully, college coaches can see through all of that. 
2012 Uche Ofoegbu of San Antonio Stevens
2012 WG Uche Ofoegbu who is garnering plenty of mid to high major looks himself led Texas D1 with 14 points.  Lammert scored 13 points (11 of them coming in the 2nd half) and scrappy wing, 2012 Jeffrey Rodewald of San Antonio Alamo Heights added 12 in the loss.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 76  Starting 5 Phenoms 68
Texas D1 had a double digit lead for most of the contest but a resilient Starting 5 squadlept hitting three pointers to keep within reach.  2012 Connor Lammert dominated and had 26 points in the victory.
2012 Connor Lammert of San Antonio Churchill
Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio  85   Gulf Coast Blue Chips  70
An athletic Gulf Coast Blue Chips team gave up too many points in transition as Texas D1 had 6 players in double figures.  Jeffrey Rodewald led the way with 19 points, Uche Ofoegbu (16), Connor Lammert (16), 2012 Adam Perez (11), 2012 Michael Hardge (10) and 2012 Carter Josephs (10) as the D1 Ambassadors showed their depth.
2012 Jeffrey Rodewald of San Antonio Alamo Heights
Team Sneed  54  Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio  52
The D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio came out flat for the first time in the live period. The team held double digit leads throughout the game but lost a tough one at the buzzer to a long athletic Team Sneed. group. Down to 7 healthy players due to nagging injuries and a high academic camp commitment by 6'8 post Shelby Lane the D1 Ambassadors group simply ran out of gas.  Texas D1 was led by Jeffrey Rodewald with 16 points, followed by Uche Ofoegbu with 12, Connor Lammert with 11 and Carter Josephs with 6.

The D1 Ambassadors head back to San Antonio for a few days or rest and preparation before heading to Las Vegas next Thursday to participate in the Las Vegas Live Tournament where they are super pooled along with the high powered California Supreme team out of Los Angeles. From there the San Antonio squad will finish off the live period by traveling to Long Beach to participate in the elite invitation only GBOA Challenge Of Champions event held by Dinos Trigonis and Fullcourt Press.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Best Buy Summer Classic Wrap Up: Minneapolis, MN

The Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston are on the last leg of their three events held during the first part of the July recruiting period.  Their last stop is the Best Buy Summer Classic held in beautiful Minneapolis, MN.  The event is held on six courts, under one roof at the beautiful Bloomington Jefferson High School complex. Hosted by Tom Kroschell of Minnesota Pump N Run, it's one of the circuit's best events.  The competition is high, coaches are present and it's run in a first class manner.  Mr. Kroschell is a friend and one of the classiest guys in the murky world of high level basketball.

On the first day about 150 coaches were on hand.  They came to see Texas D1 from as far away as Pepperdine (Malibu, CA), Texas A&M, SMU, Colorado and Creighton but a high percentage were on hand from the Patriot League, Missouri Valley, Ohio Vally, Big East and of course the Big Ten.  Texas D1 was super pooled in with Southern Select (GA) and recent adidas Tournament Champion, Indiana Elite (IN).

Southern Select (GA)  59  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston 55   Overtime
2012 P Aly Mohamed of Houston Trent International clearly established himself as a high major player as he battled his way to 15 points and 10 rebounds in the close loss. 2012 Maurice Letcher-Ellis of Houston Yates had 11 points and 6 rebounds.  Texas D1 blew a 5 point lead in the last 1:20 and couldn't regain the momentum in overtime.
2012 Maurice Letcher-Ellis is establishing himself as one of the top rebounders/shotblockers on the circuit
Indiana Elite  78  Texas D1 Ambassadors 52
Not much can be said about this encounter.  It was tied at 26-26 but Indiana Elite hit nine straight three pointers and stepped on the D1 Ambassadors throat.  2012 Devon Turk of Houston St. Pius had 13 points.  Aly Mohamed had 10 points, all in the first half.  With three players committed to Indiana, and several other high majors on the roster they handed Texas D1 the worst beating they've ever experienced in 11 years of playing hih level opponents.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston 70  Iowa Barnstormers 52
Most everyone on the roster made solid contributions as Texas D1 pulled away near the end of the first half.  Devon Turk scored 14, Keynan "Slim" Willis of Crosby had 10 and once again Maurice Letcher-Ellis continued his excellent play with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks.  Chase Brogna added 8 points and 2013 Johnathan Motley added 8 points and had 10 rebounds.
2012 Aly Mohamed has shown outstanding, advanced post moves
Illinois Warriors  51   Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston  49  Overtime
Texas D1 went down 10 points in the second half, only to come back and take the lead.  Illinois fought back, hitting a shot to tie and for the third time in the last four games the D1 Ambassadors let a victory slip away in overtime.  2012 Chase Brogna of Houston St. Thomas was the only player in double figures with 10.  Aly Mohamed had 8 points/9 boards and Maurice Letcher-Ellis had 6 points but had 9 rebounds and 5 blocks.
2012 Chase Brogna has had several double digit scoring games during the live evaluation period
Atlanta Celtics 62  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston  58
Losing 3 games by a total of 10 points (including two in overtime) to several of the country's elite travel basketball teams can be pretty disappointing.  However, none of this matters to the D1 coaches who crowd around to watch the nations's elite players in the July recruiting period.  Texas D1 lost it's last game of the Best Buy Minnesota Classic this evening to a talented Atlanta Celtics squad.  They missed a point blank layup with 4 seconds left to tie the game.

2012 F 6'8" Maurice Letcer-Ellis is peaking at the right time as the bouncy shotblocker and rebounder has really elevated his game.  He ld Texas D1 in scoring with 14 points.  2012 G Joshua Hagins of Bossier City Airline (LA) had his best game of the July period.  He had 8 points and 10 assists.  2013 Johnathan Motley scored the first 7 points of the game (he finished with 9) as did 2012 Aly Mohamed.
2012 G Josh Hagins of Bossier City Airline
The Texas D1 Ambassadors return home to Houston tomorrow for a well deserved week long rest before they head out west to compete in the Las Vegas Fab 48 and the Phonix Desert Duel, the gem of the live recruiting period.