Saturday, October 29, 2011

I-35 Austin-San Antonio Challenge Class of 2012 Recap #1

I have to be honest and say I was disappointed in the overall atmosphere in the 2012 Games.  We had three verbal D1 commits participating. They were 2012 F 6'7" Taurean Prince-Waller of San Antonio Warren (Long Island), 2012 PG 6'1" Paul Baxter of Austin Bowie (Sam Houston State) and 2012 G 6'5" Uche Ofoegbu of San Antonio Stevens (Southern Methodist).  To my way of thinking that left 20 plus guys who should have been going 100 mph to impress in front of the media.  There was too much defensive cruising going on and guys just chillin' instead of ballin'.  let me remind you that there's usually a reason that players stay unsigned.
Amongst the Austin players the White team won 100-93 as unsung Tevin Bellinger of Hutto had 20 points to lead the way, while Sam Houston State commit Paul Baxter was easily the most dominant player on the floor as he had 30 points in the loss.

2012 PG 6'1" Paul Baxter of Austin Bowie
The powerfully built and explosive Baxter did what he wanted, when he wanted in bagging 30 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.  For all those folks out there who feel their son should be a D1 player, I invite you to look at Baxter and see that if that's really the case a player should dominate almost every time on the court amongst other high school players.  Sam Houston State stole one!
2012 Paul Baxter Heads To Sam Houston State
2012 G 6'0" Tevin Bellinger of Hutto
Bellinger displayed a nice jumper and was tough going to the hole.  Physically gifted he will be a nice spring signee for some school.
2012 Tevin Bellinger of Hutto
2012 W 6'4" Mark Brown of Austin Lanier
The biggest surprise of the unsigned group.  This kid will be a nice pick up as he hit shots, competed for rebounds, and slashed to the goal effectively. He had 17 points and also defended hard.  He had something to prove, and he proved it!
2012 F 6'4" Stephen Graves of Liberty Hill. 
Graves was "unconscious" from behind the arc in both games he played.  Graves had 17 points, including 5 buckets from behind the line. He plays in the post at Liberty Hill, but he proved not only that he's got toughness but he can also really stretch a defense too.
2012 Stephen Graves of Liberty Hill
2012 G 5'10" R.J. Rowan of Austin Westlake
Rowan is one of the Area's purest shooters.  He had 14 points including his trademark perimeter shooting. Rowan's mid range is also deadly but he's putting the ball on the floor with much more confidence as he heads into his senior year.
2012 R.J. Rowan of Austin Westlake
2012 W 6'4" Avery Polchinski of Temple
Polchinski is a tweener.  Adequate ball handling skills, above average rebounder, solid shooter and a high basketball I.Q.  He had 10 points and was always in the mix for loose balls.  Could surprise as a senior and in to next spring.
2012 W 6'4" Avery Polchinski of Temple
2012 G 5'11" Michael Hardge of Georgetown
Hardge always plays hard.  Much quicker and more aggressive than most lead guards.  He had 12 points, and just missed on a  couple of dunk attempts.
2012 Michael Hardge of Georgetown

Friday, October 28, 2011

I-35 Austin-San Antonio Challenge Class of 2013 Recap #2

I'm here in Las Vegas, with another showcase to evaluate tomorrow in Sin City.  I'm sad to say that after the 5 hour drive from Phoenix I was too tired to do anything but watch the Rangers lose their epic World Series Game last night while I was at dinner with friends.  And then the old man was back in my room asleep at midnight.  What a whiner I am. 

Reminds me of several of the Austin players who said they were at a disadvantage playing a game before they faced the San Antonio guys and that's why they got beat.  Guess what gentlemen?  Your only 16 years old, and you should be able to go all day and also play with pride.  A college player works five times as hard on a daily basis.  Capacity to work and overcome adversity is one of the things coaches look for.
2013 G Johnny Azzinaro has the #1 finger raised in honor of the South's win, or was he continuing to stick it in the Austin player's eye even after the game was over?
San Antonio 115   Austin 95

While the younger classes had several very intriguing big prospects who made their marks on the game, the 2013 clash was guard heavy.  San Antonio's Marcus Keene, Johnny Azzinaro, Justin Brickman and Demarcus Whittington won this battle hands down as the Alamo City cruised to the win.

2013 G 5'11" San Antonio Warren
My man, Ray Jackson was hilarious, hanging nicknames on various kids who could play. We were sharing a laugh a minute as every time he touched the ball good things happened for Marcus "Cool Daddy" Keene. Keen scored 24 points by firing from deep, getting into the lane and either finishing or knocking down pull ups.  He has active hands defensively, coming up with several steals and dropped several cherry dimes as well.  Plays with the right mix of swagger and respect for the game.
2013 G Marcus Keene of San Antonio Warren
2013 G 5'10" Johnny Azzinaro of San Antonio Brennan
I'm a big fan of Azzinaro's.  "Jersey Sure" knocked down 17 points.  He knows how to run a team, get team mates involved and will take care of his own scoring business as needed.  He's a tough competitor who always gives 100%.  Azzinaro got a couple of PAC-12 looks when he was in Arizona but I think he'd be a perfect fit for the West Coast Conference style of play.
2013 G Johnny Azzinaro of San Antonio Brennan
2013 W 6'5" George King of San Antonio Brennan
King still looks like a baby even though he's 6'5" and solidly built with long arms.  Could grow to 6'8" and if he does, it's bad news for whoever gets in his way.  He's got nice bounce and is particularly devastating when slashing to the cup.  King had 20 points, including two buckets from deep and also got to the free throw line and once there knocked those down too.
2013 W George King of San Antonio Brennan
2013 5'9" Justin Brickman of San Antonio Clark
"Little Brick" will have an instant impact on a Clark team that is already very good with Seniors Carter Joseph and Adam Perez in the backcourt. He transferred over from San Antonio Antonian, following braintrust Papa Bruce Brickman's formula of his son's playing at a private school on varsity as freshmen and then coming to wreak havoc in the publics for their upper class years.  Brickman is in the mold of his two older brothers (Jordan-Navy) and (Justin-Long Island). He's a super slick, pass first point guard who will score (13 points) but he'd much rather set up team mates and drop dimes.  I love the way he plays, never saying a word but getting the job done.
2013 G Justin Brickman of San Antonio Clark
2012 W 6'2" Justin Moss of Pflugerville
I already mentioned him yesterday, but he came to play in the second game dropping 19 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss.

2013 G 6'3" Demarcus Whittington of Corpus Christi Carroll
Whittington had 12 points and showed he could get to the rim with his long strides as well as catch and shoot.  Still growing, he'll be one to watch as he puts on some weight and refines his game.
2013 G Demarcus Whittington of Corpus Christi Carroll
2013 G 6'0" Griffin McHone of Boerne
McHone had 8 points and rebounds the ball particularly well, nabbing 8 for the game.  He's physical and solid as a rock.  He'll be another of those Boerne guys that get the job done and lead his team to Regionals or State before it's all done.
2013 G Griffin McHone of Boerne
2013 P 6'7" Wesley Brown gave his second straight nice effort (especially for a big man who has to run the floor) as he had 12 points and 6 rebounds.

2013 G 6'0" Napoleon Onyeje of Pflugerville
The sharpshooter had 10 points but dropped a game high 8 assists as he continues to morph into a combo guard.  Being paired in the backcourt with injured T.J. Williams of Pflugerville should really make the Panthers dangerous this year despite not having senior leadership.

2013 G 6'2" Taylor Sutlive of San Antonio Churchill
Austin Westlake is still in a daze from the then freshman Sutlive hitting 6 three pointers as a frosh in a huge playoff upset win.  That was no fluke as Sutlive has one of the sweetest strokes around.  He had 12 points.  Everytime the ball leaves his hand, it looks like it's going in. With Big Connor Lammert commanding double teams in the paint, expect Sutlive to have a huge year for Winston Churchill.
2013 G Taylor Sutlive of San Antonio Churchill

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I-35 Austin-San Antonio Challenge: Class of 2013 Recap #1

Both the Class of 2013 and Class of 2012 had "preliminary games" to decide which players from the North actually played in the Austin-San Antonio Challenge component.  There were twice as many Austin area players trying to make their name than those from San Antonio.  This was the case for three reasons; A) The event was held in Austin so it was convenient for kids in proximity to attend, B) I did a better job of informing Austin high school coaches as a group of the opportunity for their players, C) There was a noticeable complete lack of participation by a few club teams from San Antonio. Next time I will bypass this obstacle so individual families can decide for themselves to take advantage of an opportunity for their son.

The fact that over 100 players wanted to be part of this over a mere 10 day window of marketing which only included the web site and Facebook is pretty amazing.  Our next event styled this way will occur a week prior to State Tournament Weekend in March.  The next time it will be more convenient for the South players to attend and I will do a better job of informing the San Antonio High School Coaches.

2013 Austin Play In Game  Top Performers/Prospects

Blue  104     White  67

With five of the top six performers on one side of the ball it was easy to see why it was a blowout. Five players were in double figures for the Blue as they throttled the white team.  They were led by Ethan Gilbert (16), Stefan Vidovic (20), Kevin Diaz (13), John Gramlich (13) and Wesley Brown (13).

2013 W 6'5" Ethan Gilbert of Austin LBJ
Not only did Gilbert score 16 points but he also put in work on the boards with 13 rebounds, 2 blocks and dropped a couple of dimes as well.  Gilbert runs the floor extremely well, is long and skilled.  Easily on the high end of the mid major prospect scale.
2013 G 6'4" Stefan Vidovic of Lake Travis
I've watched Vidovic and have known his family for years.  He was a pleasant surprise not in his physical play, but with his maturity he showed on the court.  If he keeps this focus the sky is the limit.  He's got great range, elevates when he shoots his jumper and brings a toughness and swagger to the gym.  He had 20 points to lead all scorers and chipped in with 5 rebounds as well.
2013 G 6'0" John Gramlich of Austin Anderson
Gramlich is an excellent lead guard prospect. He had 13 points and 7 rebounds.  He always seems to be in control, knows how to run a team and to score as well if needed.  He was the Class of 2013's most committed on ball defender in the two games he played.
2013 W 6'2" Justin Moss of Pflugerville
As the rest of his squad was taking a spanking, Moss never quit.  He did what he does best running the floor and getting buckets in transition.  He led the way with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
2013 P 6'7" Wesley Brown of Pflugerville
Brown is an emerging big who had 13 points and 8 boards.  He is showing marked improvement in finishing around the goal and competing on the glass. Ivy League type grades as well make him an intriguing, well rounded prospect.
2013 F 6'7" Blake Danielak of Liberty Hill
Danielak is new to this super select type of stuff and he's still not quite asserting himself as much as he's likely to do once he understands he belongs with the area's elite.  He had a nice showing though with 10 points and 8 rebounds.  I love his versatility to go inside/out and his willingness to defend in the post against much more physical players.
2013 G 5'9" Kevin Diaz of Killeen Ellison
Recently moved from New York, Diaz has an edge to his game.  Likes to go one on one with an extremely quick first step and mad range out to 30 feet.  He's a streaky shooter with a flava to his game who can really fill it up.
2013 G 6'2" Will Morse of Austin Westlake
Morse is a combo who has a picture perfect jumper. He finished with 10 points and 4 rebounds. He's a solid contributor in all phases of the game.
2013 G 6'0" Jacob Vick of Georgetown
What I wouldn't give to put Vick's fundamental game into every player's body.  Pivot, reverse pivot, jab step, rip through....and all on the same possession! These are skills that many players are deficient in.  Now Vick just needs to adjust to the level and say I can FINISH against these guys.  I like him!
2013 G 6'0" Napoleon Onyeje of Pflugerville
Onyeje is usually a dominant scorer, but only tallyied 7 in this game.  What impressed me is that Onyeje is developing his game and becoming a complete player who is able to set up team mates and make them better. On his way to being a very good combo.
2013 G 6'4" Zach Behr of Temple
Behr has good size, is tough and shows excellent range on his shot.  Big enough to post up effectively down low but can also take you on the perimeter.
2013 G 6'3" Jordan Manse of Lake Travis
There were only 10 spots for the Challenge game, and Manse barely missed out as I determined him to be the guy on the cusp. He showed pure point guard vision and an understanding of how to get his team mates involved in the flow of the game. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I-35 Austin-San Antonio Challenge: Class of 2014 Recap

The Class of 2014 game was dominated by the San Antonio squad as they dusted Austin to the tune of 89-75.  There might be a tiny asterisk next to this one as we added the two Harker Heights twins; Cameron and Joshua Delaney to the South squad and they both were very solid contributors.  2014 F Tanner Leisner was all over the boards, especially cleaning up the offensive glass of weak side rebounds and notching buckets.  He led everyone with 20 points.  2014 G Cameron Delaney a big physical guard added 13 points, while long, lean 2014 G A.C. Reid added 13, including three buckets from near NBA range.
2014 South Champions
On the Austin side of the ball, the two most productive players were ultra athletic and active in 2012 G Trey Dilworth with 18 points and 2012 G Brian Long adding 17 of his own. 
2014 North Squad
Top 2014 Prospects/Performers

Tough to choose who was the best prospect in this game.  I think we'll have to settle on both Dilworth and Long as being 1A and 1B in a pick 'em.

2012 G 6'1" Trey Dilworth of Round Rock McNeil
Dilworth is a powerful player and a relentless rebounder. He can hit from deep and get to the rim with ease, finishing above the iron.  For all the good things he does, he gets down on himself too easy and sometimes loses focus.  Once he realizes that ups and downs are part of the game he'll be even more productive as he has an impact on both ends of the floor.  He finished with 18 points and 6 rebounds.
2014 G 6'4" Brian Long of Killeen
Long has a devastating spin move down low and is a quick leaper who will bounce up there several times rebounding and cleaning up arounf the rim.  He's a tremendous slasher who also gets to the free throw line a number of times.  He finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds.
2014 F 6'5" Tanner Leisner of Converse Judson
As mentioned above Leisner combined hard work with positioning and savvy to notch 20 points and 9 rebounds.  Considering he plays for Judson's Mike Wacker you expect this youngster to continue to develop at a rapid rate.
2014 G 6'3" Cameron Delaney of Harker Heights
Delaney had 13 points most off of power moves toward the basket.  What was even more impressive though was his game high 10 boards from the SG spot.  Needs to work on the mid range for situations when he can't outmuscle opponents.
2014 G 6'5" A.C. Reid of Smithson Valley
Reid is long, and looks like he may top out at 6'7".  If he does he'll really be turning heads on the national scene.  He can slash his way to the rim quickly with his long strides but it was his devastating catch and shoot game from way downtown that really makes you pay attention to him.
2014 P 6'7" Melvin Anthony of Killeen
Anthony is still growing.  May end up being 6'9"-6'10".  He's got good athleticism but it's his length that makes him an intriguing prospect.  He had 8 rebounds for the contest.
2014 G 6'1" Larry Stephens of San Antonio Brandeis proved to be an active player on both ends of the floor.  He was productive offensively as he had 12 points.
2014 F 6'4" Garrett Gray of Marble Falls
Gray had 8 points and although was not consistent all game long showed signs of being a special player.  He's athletic and physically strong with basketball skills to boot.
2014 F 6'4" Jevon Hilliard of Cibolo Steele
Hilliard plays much bigger than 6'4". He had 6 points but 9 hard fought rebounds.  Definitely a glue guy who takes his defensive role seriously.  A valuable addition to any team.
2014 G Chase Carlton of Austin Westlake
His shot didn't fall on the day as he finished with 5 points, but I love the way he competes so hard and even in an "all star" type of scenario does the little things it takes to make his team a winner, including wanting to take on the responsibility of checking the other team's best player.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I-35 Austin San Antonio Challenge: Class of 2015

Sometimes when you anticipate watching a UFC or boxing fight card, all the buzz is about the "Main Event".  However on any given day the undercard or preliminary bouts can steal the show.  That was the case on Sunday as the Class of 2015 put on a show for everyone on hand.  I guess the final score is important, otherwise why would we keep track?   This one ended up 83-82 for the North in an overtime thriller.
2015 North Team

2015 G 6'3" Jorden Kite led all scorers with 20 points (4 assists), and at one point really heated up bringing the San Antonio lads back from a double digit deficit to take the lead.  When the chips were down though, it was 2015 W 6'3" Rashard Odomes of Copperas Cove who took care of business, finishing with 19 points, many of them down the stretch and in OT as he sliced and diced his way to the rim.
2015 South Team
Top Performers/Prospects
2015 P 6'8" Tony Lewis of San Antonio Central Catholic was clearly the prospect with the highest ceiling.  He's simply too big and strong for his peers.  Sometimes it's a negative when a youngster grows so quickly, but I see no sign that Lewis won't meet the high major potential I see in him.  He combines athleticism with power and basketball savvy.  Lewis had 17 points almost all around the rim but it was his work on the boards that impacted the game where he had 12 rebounds and 4 blocks.
2015 Tony Lewis
2015 W 6'3" Rashard Odomes of Copperas Cove is raw, but man is he a difference maker.  He had 13 points and 10 rebounds. That is a scary thought as once he learns to be a complete player under the tutelege of former Austin LBJ/St. Mary's forward. Copperas Cove Head Coach Billy White he could be off the charts.  You can't buy this kind of athleticism folks.  He was devastating in transition and played well above the rim.
2015 Rashard Odomes of Copperas Cove
2015 G 6'3" Jorden Kite of San Antonio Central Catholic has a totally different body type from his older brother Jerred.  At the moment he can run the point because of his size and skill set.  As he progresses he may become more of a big combo.  He did show nice court vision and rose to the occasion down the stretch taking several big shots in a row both from the perimeter and in the mid range.
2015 Jorden Kite
2015 W 6'2" LaKendric Hyson of Mumford was a devastating athlete complimenting Odomes with his own ability to play above the rim.  He has quick hands defensively and runs the floor like a deer.  Hyson had 13 points and 6 rebounds.  He'll be a difference maker right out of the gate this fall for tiny 1A Mumford.
2015 LaKendric Hyson
2015 F 6'7" Zach Madlom of Boerne is spindly legged and still growing. As mentioned in my All American Prodigy Camp recaps last week I love his skill set as he displays a nice baby hook with either hand and signs of a nice face up game.  Madlom could end up being a stretch four man a la Texas commit, Connor Lammert.  Has good footwork, bit he's easy to push off the block at the moment. That will change as he matures.
2015 Zach Madlom
2015 F 6'5" Celneque Bobbitt of Harker Heights finished with a stat line of 6 points and 10 boards.  He did not show his sthree point shooting range (which he displayed in a GASO event a few weeks back) but what really impressed me was his willingness to compete and sometimes go at Lewis and Carr.  He was undersized compared to them but he was fearless and effective. 
2015 Celneque Bobbitt
2015 P 6'5" A.J. Carr of San Antonio Central Catholic started slow but became a force as the game wore on.  There's a lot of pressure for a youngster when he knows the name he carries and the pedigree of being the son of NBA player Antoine Carr.  He's a big boned kid that you know is going to be an absolute load as time goes on.  He had 4 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks shedding would be opposition rebounders and grabbing anything within reach.
2015 A.J. Carr
2015 G 5'9" Joseph Nava of San Antonio Central Catholic dropped 14 points and added 3 assists.  When he was in the game he dominated handling the basketball.  Already an extremely solid kid, the question mark is whether he grows much or not. It's my understanding he's a very good football player too.
2015 Joseph Nava
2015 G 5'7" Demarius Cress of Killeen almost ended the game in regulation with a 50 foot atempt that rimmed out at the buzzer.  Although that one was out of his range, it wasn't by much as the Area's best long range gunner hit a couple from the volleyball line finishing with 11 points.
2015 Demarius Cress
2015 W 6'4" Jordan Murphy of San Antonio Central Catholic has all the tools.  Now he needs to understand that you have to assert yourself in showcase type events.  He's got the body and the skill set to be one of San Antonio's and Texas' best players in the Class.
2015 Jordan Murphy
2015 F 6'5" Zackery Jonas of Boerne Geneva was always around the ball.  He was a relentless rebounder finishing with 6 points while wiping the glass clean 10 times.
2015 Zackery Jonas
2015 6'4" Jonathan Jones of Round Rock Westwood was Jonas' alter ego on the North squad.  He didn't try to assert himself offensively but was on the boards , snagging 9 and getting work in.  Great body, athletic and looks like he'll grow substantially.
2015 Jonathan Jones