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.