Saturday, December 31, 2011

Killeen Runnin Roos Report

Fort Worth ISD Coca Cola Classic
Killeen Runnin' Roos Coach Jason Fossett knew he'd take some lumps early as he put much of his team's fortunes on two Texas D1 Ambassadors youngsters in 2014 G 6'3" Brian Long and 2015 PG Demarius Cress.  However, his plan is falling nicely into place as these two under classmen are growing up on a daily basis and he's getting solid senior leadership from 2012 F 6'6" Tevin Bartney.

Things came together this past few days as the Baby Roos made it to the championship game of the Fort Worth event before losing to Crowley in the 'Ship.  Both Bartney and Cress (the latest in a long line of quality Killeen PG's made All Tournament.)
Freshman Demarius Cress hits the game winner vs Mansfield Summit

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Austin Westlake Holiday Classic: Championship Day

Silver Bracket: Pflugerville  78  Houston Westbury  56
2013 G T.J. Williams continued his superior play as he scored 24 points to lead the Panthers. 2013 W Justin Moss contributed 15, 2013 G Bryce Bierbower 14 and 2013 G Napoleon Onyeje 14 as Pflugerville cruised.  2013 W Donivan Jones had 31 for the second straight game in a Westbury loss.
2013 G T.J. Williams

I've got to call my Pflugerville guys out on this.  You should beat Westbury by 20.  You didn't bring it agaist Bush a team you knew you had to fight tooth and mail.  Instead you mailed it in and took a butt whoopin'. The Ville has too much tradition and you have a good Coach in David Raigosa. There's no excuse for a lot of you guys to be playing grab ass. Have some pride in your defense or else kiss your dreams of playing college basketball goodbye.  That's real talk.  I very rarely editorialize, and I don't believe in calling out individuals on a web site but this needed to be said.  I'd love for ya'll to prove me wrong come district play-Coach Max

Gold Bracket: 3rd Place Game
Austin Westlake  55  Converse Wagner 53
Wagner and Westlake both tasted defeat last night in overtime. Both should come out hungry...and they did. It's no surprise that it's going down to the last possession.  This one had an unlikely hero, 2013 G Vince DeBlasio. DeBlasio is a 6'3" hopper who is a very deceptive shot blocker and rebounder.  His final rebound (10th) secured Westlake's win but it was his two prior boards which turned a Westlake deficit into a W.  He blocked a shot and grabbed the rebound off a Wagner jumper and then had an offensive rebound off a missed free throw, got fouled and converted the freebies for the win over a gritty Wagner team in the closing seconds.
"My Cousin Vinny", Vince DeBlasio keyed Westlake's final two minutes
The bulk of the Westlake scoring came from 2013 G Will Morse who finished with 21.  2012 G R.J. Rowan added 13 while 2012 Drew Wikelius had 12.   Senior Ken Bray had 11 for Wagner, as did Senior Rakim Sharkey.

Converse Wagner    13  18 13 9-53
Austin Westlake       18 15 13 9-55

Austin Westlake Holiday Classic Championship
A&M Consolidated 66 Clear Lake  64

A&M Consolidated jumped out to a 29-19 lead on the strength of 2013 F Jimmie Gilbert's work on the boards and subsequent conversion of 7 straight free throws.  Alex Caruso had a quiet, but efficient 10 points in the half as Rob Lewis and Colton Krenek were on the bench with foul trouble for Clear Lake.  Paris Clayton picked up the slack and had 12 points to bring Lake close at the half.

At the end of 3 quarters, Consol is clinging to a 1 point lead, 46-45. I expect to see a lot of Lewis and Caruso in the final period.  The winner of that battle will probably decide the game.  Clear Lake takes it's first lead of the game on free throws from 2014 G William West with 3:33 to play. The last two minutes the lead changed hands multiple times.  With the score 64-64, Jimmie Gilbert is on the line with the score at 64-64.  This tournament has had some incredible finishes! Gilbert had a hot hand in the first half but was 1-10 from the field in the second half. Now he's at the line with the game on the line. He hits them both, he's 11-11 from the line for the game! Consol wins and are the Westlake Holiday Classic Champions!

Paris Clayton and Rob Lewis led Clear Lake with 17 and 15 points respectively. Alden Miles added 13, and soph William West had 12.  2013 Josh Stewart had 10 points, 5 boards for Consol and Gilbert had 21, none bigger than the final free throws. Alex Caruso had 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. His last was a textbook back door cut for a thunderous slam.  He was clearly the tournament MVP.  More on that in another post tomorrow.

A&M Consolidated 20 13 13 20-66
Clear Lake               17 12 16 19-64
I'll have my complete All Tournament performers tomorrow.  Below are from left to right:  2013 6'5" Josh Stewart, 2012 G 5'11" Rob Lewis, 2012 G Alex Caruso (MVP), 2013 G Paris Clayton and 2013 F 6'5" Jimmie Gilbert

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Austin Westlake Holiday Classic: Bracket Semis

Austin Westlake Holiday Classic Silver Bracket

Fort Bend Willowridge  62  Houston Westbury  61  (Double Overtime)
This one went to overtime as Coach Howie who moved over from Westbury this season to take the Willowridge job caAme from trailing all game long to steal this one in the second extra session. 2013 G Michael Hunter had 21 points and Senior G Chris Hynes hit for 15, all on three pointers.  None were bigger than his final one in the first OT. 2013 W 6'5" Donivan Jones had an outstanding 31 point effort in the loss for Westbury.
Michael Hunter is a powerful guard who can get to the rim and finish

2013 W Donivan Ross' 31 points weren't quite enough for Westbury.

Fort Bend Bush  92  Pflugerville  69
From the opening tip Cameron Ridley (Texas) tried to tear down the rim. Some 6 dunks later the rims were still intact but a lot of Pflugerville players had knots on their heads from Ridley "freakin the oop".  Bush raced to a 20 point first quarter lead before Pflugerville knew what hit them.  Ridley had 19 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks.  Senior Ryne Williams had 18 and 2014 W 6'6"Kelly Oubre showed flashes of future brilliance as he scored 17 points.
Pflugerville was led by 2013 G T.J. Williams with 18, 2013 Napoleon Onyeje (11), Justin Moss (10 points, 7 rebounds) and 2013 G Bryce Bierbower who added 15.
W 6'6" Kelly Oubre is one of Houston's finest 2014's
Pflugerville          14  18 17 20-69
Fort Bend Bush   33  19 22 18-92

Gold Bracket

Clear Lake  74  Austin Westlake  70  (OT)
Clear Lake jumped out to a 11 point lead behind the hot three point shooting of 2013 G Alden Miles and the tough inside presence of 2012 P 6'6" Colton Krenek with 4 blocked shots in the first quarter.  Clear Lake maintained that lead at the half.  The third quarter was all Westlake as Drew Wikelius had as good an offensive burst in a 3:00 span as I've seen in 4 years from him. Wikelius finished the half with 13 points and 6 boards.  Will Morse had 2 fouls early in the first half but he was a scoring machine once he returned and had 17 by the end of the quarter.
2012 G Rob Lewis brought it down the stretch and in OT for Clear Lake.
The 4th quarter started slow but had a frenetic finish as 2013 Rob Lewis hit an 8 foot jumper for the Clear Lake lead with 6 seconds left, only to have R.J. Rowan race the length of the court to tie it and send the game to OT. 
Foul trouble made for a quiet 1st half, but 2013 Will Morse finished with 21 for Westlake
The tone was set in OT by Chase Carlton as the soph reached in and got a big tie up on Lewis.  Westlake took a one point lead for the first time on a Wikleius bucket but Clear Lake answered with Miles 4th triple of the game. R.J. Rowan hit an NBA three to draw Westlake back to 1 down with 10 seconds left.  It's all about free throws and Clear Lake is hitting them. The difference was Rob Lewis.  The unsigned senior is a D1 player waiting to be scooped up.  He gets where he wants to go on the floor and hits all his freebies. He finished with 26 points, including going 14-16 from the charity stripe.  Alden Miles had 17 for Lake.  2012 P Drew Wikelius had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the loss and 2013 G Will Morse had 21 after overcoming his foul trouble.  R.J. Rowan had 16 points and Chase Carlton had 7 assists.
2012 P Drew Wikelius had his second big game in a row, finishing with 20 points, 10 rebounds.
Clear Lake  20 14 15 16 9-74
Westlake       9 14 25 17-5-70

A&M Consolidated  64  Converse Wagner  61  (OT)
The first half had several lead changes with Wagner going up by 4 on a pair of three pointers from 2013 G Tre Powell.  Consolidated answered with back to back three point plays of their won and two steals and dunks by Alex Caruso (Texas A&M). The score at the half is 37-35 in favor of the Tigers.

The Wagner Thunderbirds are doing it by committee and living by the three pointer (they've got 7 of them.  They enter the final period with a 4 point lead.  Wagner built their lead to 8 points until a dose, no make that an over dose of Alex Caruso was administered to them. Wagner's most effective player, 2013 Tyler Collins fouled out with 2:00 left.  He had 15 points and 6 boards on the night.  It's tied at 59 with 1:00 left............another overtime game!
The overtime was punctuated by Alex Caruso.  He set up his man with a sneaky half effort defensively. As the offensive man went by him, he wrapped around, tipped the ball and was off to the races for an unbelievable dunk, being fouled hard and landing on his back.  Two additional free throws on his next possession and he sank them both for the deciding margin. One great player makes a difference!  His stat line:  19 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 8 steals...a hair off a quadruple double.  2013 Jimmie Gilbert did a lot of the dirty work for Consol finishing with 10 points and 6 rebounds.  2013 W Josh Stewart added 18 points and 5 rebounds.  2013 G Tre Powell had 12 points on 4 three pointers for Wagner who had balanced scoring otherwise.

A&M Consolidated   18 19 10 12 5-64
Converse Wagner      13 22 16  8 2-61

Austin Westlake Holiday Classic: Day 2 (Pool Play)

Pflugerville 40  El Paso Montwood 38
Trailing 33-28 entering the 4th quarter Pflugerville looked confused for the most part and had trouble solving Montwood's disciplined offensive attack.  Montwood held Pflugerville to only 2 first quarter points. In what could be a signature win for the young Panthers and first year Head Coach David Raigosa The Ville rallied in the 4th quarter and nipped the Rams on a late bucket by 2013 G Darian Bostic.
2013 G Napoleon Onyeje
The bulk of the Pflugerville scoring was handled by 2013 G Napoleon Onyeje who had 17 points.  After PG T.J. Williams picked up two early fouls Onyeje steadied the ship, hitting several three pointers.  The Rams got 10 a piece from much improved 2012 P 6'9" Joey Martinez and 2013 G Ruben Lopez.

Cedar Hill 64  Fort Bend Bush 58
Cameron Ridley scored 21 points and was dominant inside for Bush.  He got great support from Senior Ryne Williams with 18 but that's where it began and ended for the Broncos.  Cedar Hill used a fast paced transition attack and balanced scoring from four players to upset one of Texas' most dominant teams.   Senior G Brandon Harris (15), 2013 W 6'5" Dorian Waggoner (14), 2013 G Jalen Jones (13), and 2013 G Charles Wesley (11)

Westlake Holiday Brackets Set

Pool D held all the drama with the three teams going 1-1.  The plus/minus favored A&M Consolidated as they head to the Gold Bracket, with Bush going Silver and Cedar Hill taking Bronze.

Gold Bracket:
Clear Lake vs Austin Westlake
Converse Wagner vs A&M Consolidated

Silver Bracket:
Houston Westbury vs Fort Bend Willowridge
Pflugerville vs Fort Bend Bush

Bronze Bracket:
Bryan vs El Paso Socorro
El Paso Montwood vs Cedar Hill

Austin Round Up: December 27th

Austin Travis 73  Marble Falls  72
2014 F 6'5" Garrett Gray is getting healthy.  He dropped 23 points for Marble Falls.
Austin Akins Tournament

San Marcos  56  Manor 45
Seniors Collin Hart and Allex Austin had 23 and 19 points respectively to lead the Rattlers over the Mustangs. Austin is coming off an ankle injury and is rounding back into shape.
2012 W Allex Austin of San Marcos
San Marcos 74  Austin Lanier 58
Hart had 27 and Austin 25, as they both put in work for the 2nd game in a row.

Georgetown 79  Austin Lanier 46
Lanier got 14 from Senior Mark Brown while Georgetown was led by 2013 G Jacob Vick with 16

Austin Akins 47  Georgetown 46
2012 G Michael Hardge had 16 in the loss for Georgetown

Round Rock McNeil 68  New Braunfels Canyon 61
2014 G Trey Dilworth had 22 for the Mavs and Senior G Sean Tollinger had 21 for Canyon in the loss.
2014 G Trey Dilworth plays much bigger than his 6'1" for Round Rock McNeil
Round Rock McNeil 68  Smithson Valley  46
Dilworth followed up with 16 points in the convincing win over SV.

Liberty Hill 67  Buda Hays  60
With half their squad suffering from the flu, Liberty Hill struggled and dug deep to beat Hays behind 23 from 2013 F Blake Danielak and 20 from 2013 PG Shane Lacaille.
2013 F 6'7" Blake Danielak had 23 in the win for Liberty Hill
Liberty Hill 67 Bandera 50
LH used balanced scoring and went deep into their bench in taking care of Bandera.  Danielak had 13, Lacaille 11 and Senior Steven Graves added 13.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Austin Westlake Holiday Classic: Session #3

Clear Lake 59 Houston Westbury 50
Clear Lake used a 4th quarter push to break open a nip and tuck. 2013 F 6'4" Donivan Jones led Westbury with 17 points and was a force on the boards but in the end it was the guard combo of 2013 Paris Clayton (17) and 2012 Rob Lewis (16) who took over the game in the final stanza.

Converse Wagner El Paso Montwood
Who else can start a pair of guards that are listed at 5'6" & 5'7" at the 5A level in Texas and still win? That would be El Paso Montwood, and veteran Coach Tony Harper has 850 plus wins and he's done most of it with undersized guys.

Having said that, when you run into a more talented and deeper team that's also well coached it's tough to overcome the odds. As the game progressed through the middle of the 3rd quarter the deep Wagner T Birds took control. It's a consummate team, with no real stars per se. 2013 W Theron Bray had 10 in the win. For the Rams, 2012 P 6'9" Joey Martinez is much improved over the last time I saw him a year ago. He had 10 points and 5 boards. They also received 10 points from Senior G Andrew Ramirez.

Montwood 8 14 8 11- 41
Wagner 7 13 18 13-51

A&M Consolidated Fort Bend Bush
Coach Rick Barnes, half of his staff and all the Texas Longhorns players are in the house tonight to see Texas commit 6'11" Cameron Ridley. Ridley has 2 points as does the other twin tower, 6'10" Marquette signee Aaron Durley. This is as physical as a high school game gets. A&M Consolidated is gutting it out and competing on every possession but they've failed to take advantage on the offensive end and in transition.
Bush's Twin Towers, 6'10" Aaron Durley (Marquette) and 6'11" Cameron Ridley (Texas)

it looked like Bush could be ready to blow Consol out but with 4:30 left in the game, Cameron Ridley has fouled out and Alex Caruso has his second of two thunderous dunks to cut the game to 5 points. Ridley finished with 6 points and 5 rebounds as he was denied the ball constantly throughout the game by the double team. 2013 G ShawnDre Jones was the glue holding Bush together. He made clutch free throws as the game wound down, finishing with 10 points. 2014 G 6'6" Kelly Oubre led Bush with 12 points, including a key steal and dunk with 2 minutes left to play. 2012 G Ryne Williams also chipped in with 12 for the Broncos. The free throw line was not kind to Consol either as they were 2-10 at one point, squandering many opportunities, where on the other hand Bush was 18-19 from the charity stripe.

Alex Caruso (Texas A&M signee) led all scorers with 13 points, 3 steals, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. 2013 Jimmie Gilbert battled hard all game long against the Bush Towers and scored 11 points and had 8 boards in the loss.

A&M Consolidated 7 6 14 20 -47
Fort Bend Bush 9 12 17 16-54

Austin Westlake Holiday Classic: Session 2

Houston Westbury 58  Bryan  47
Bryan Senior P.J. Payton led all scorers with 19 but it wasn;t enough as Houston Westbury got balanced scoring. 2012 G Zachary Cross had 10 points and 2013 Donivan Jones added 9 to get the W.

A&M Consolidated   47Cedar Hill  36
For all but a few brief moments early in the 4th quarter this was A&M Consolidated's game from midway through the 1st.  It's quite a luxury when you have one of the country's most outstanding players in all purpose, 2012 Alex Caruso.  At 6'6" he sees the floor as well as anyone, he's active defensively and he's always looking to get his team mates involved for the easy look.  His stat line was 12 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.  Consolidated got nice games out of hard working 2013 P Jimmie Gilbert with 8 points and 8 rebounds, most of them while battling Cedar Hill's Zeldric King (Tulsa) who is a load at 6'7" and 290lbs.
The Aggies are getting a player in Caruso who can play the one, two or three
Cedar Hill's King had 10 points, and showed a nice touch both handling and shooting the ball on the perimeter.  Senior G Quinton White also hit key shots for the Tigers and finished with 10 points, while 2013 W Josh Stewart had 11 points and 5 rebounds.

A&M Consolidated  8 14 13 12- 47
Cedar Hill                 5  7  10 14- 36

Austin Westlake  Fort Bend Willowridge
Early in the 2nd quarter, the Westlake Chaps started to assert themselves behind the three point shoooting of Will Morse, R.J. Rowan and Chase Carlton.  After suffering a knee tweak in the opener, 2012 P 6'7" Drew Wikleius (5 points, 16 rebounds) returned to provide toughness on the boards along with 2014 Jordan Severt's hard work. Carlton (10 points and 5 assists), Morse (17 points) and Rowan (16 points, 7 rebounds) outplayed Wllowridge's guards as Westlake cruised to the win, which was Coach Tres Ellis' 200th victory.
2012 Post Drew Wikelius had 16 rebounds vs Willowridge.

2013 G Michael Hunter was by far the best player for Willowridge.  The athletic combo has nice bounce, gets to the rim and shoots it from the perimeter too.  he had 18 points and 5 rebounds.

Austin Westlake            13 20 14 19-66
Fort Bend Willowridge 10 17 14- 8-49

Austin Westlake Holiday Classic

Austin Westlake  55 El Paso Socorro  27
El Paso Socorro was outmatched from the jump ball.  Whether it was size, speed, defensive intensity or just plain ol' basketball savvy you could give the nod to the host Austin Westlake squad in every category. They raced out to a 19-2 lead, and emptied the bench subbing liberally.  The only blemish on the game was 2012 P Drew Wikelius tweaking a knee. That gave the front line subs a chance to play plenty, including budding star 2014 P 6'5" Jordan Severt who led the Chaps with 7 rebounds.  2012 G R.J. Rowan had 13 for Westlake while 2014 G Chase Carlton (below) added 10.
Austin Westlake     19 12 15 9-  55
El Paso Socorro        2  7  6   12-27

Converse Wagner Pflugerville
After an even first quarter (19-19) the Wagner Thunderbirds proceeded to give Pflugerville a sound beating. A huge run at the end of the half and in the entire 3rd quarter caused the rout to be on. 2013 W 6'2" Theron Bray was the best player on the day for Wagner, scoring 18 points, getting to the rim and showing all around hustle. He had lots of help from his team mates as balanced scoring and team play were the order of the day. 2013 G Avionte Sanders had 13 for Wagner.
2013 G T.J. Williams had 35 points and 8 rebounds today.

2013 G 6'2" T.J. Williams was easily the most impressive player on the floor as he took care of the ball for the Panthers and handled the bulk of the scoring as well. Williams is getting recruited by mid majors like Denver and Northern Iowa which are perfect fits for his skill set. He led his team with 35 points and 8 rebounds from the PG spot and could play his way into a high major this coming summer. 2013 G Darian Bostic added 11 off the bench for The Ville.

Pflugerville 19 16 15-27-77
Wagner 19 25 22-18-84

Monday, December 26, 2011

D1 Nation Alumni: NCAA Top Performances

Christmas week was busy in many ways for the D1 Nation.  Our alumni had plenty of solid performances over the past week.  Have a heapin' helpin' of D1 Candy, here's our Sweet 16:

16. Tre Nicholls                Senior             G 5'11" Killeen                          Boise State
How about a shout out to my man, Tre Nicholls from the 254, repping K Town out in Boise.  He had 7 points and 3 assists vs Fresno State and will soon have his bachelor's degree in his pocket!
15. Travis Jones               Senior             G 6'6"   Georgetown                  Texas State    
Jones scored 8 points and had 5 rebounds vs Fordham.
14. Brandon Thompson  Junior             G 6'2"   San Antonio Stevens    Long Island
Thompson scored 8 points and had 5 rebounds in a win vs. St. Peter's

13. Eric McClellan       Freshman          G 6'4"   Austin                            Tulsa
McClellan is carving out a niche at Tulsa, scoring 12 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists vs Texas State.
12. Cory Jefferson       RS-Sophomore  F 6'10"  Killeen                           Baylor
Jefferson is part of NCAA College Basketball's most talented and deep front lines.  He had 9 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks vs Paul Quinn College in a mere 15 minutes of play.

11. TaShawn Thomas Freshman      F 6'8"  Killeen                                  Houston
Thomas contineus his excellent true freshman campaign as he had 9 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in a win over Texas-San Antonio.

10. Cameron Catlett   Junior            G 6'4"  San Antonio Madison         Texas-Arlington
Catlett has become a solid player for the Mavs.  He had a 10 point, 6 rebound and 4 assist game vs Tulsa.

9. Deon Mitchell          Freshman      G 6'0" Pflugerville                           Northern Iowa
Mitchell is now running the show for the 11-1 Northern Iowa Panthers one of the country's top mid major teams. He had 13 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals vs Loras.
8. Royce O'Neale         Freshman     W 6'5" Harker Heights                    Denver
O'Neale has been a model of consistency as a true freshman on a surprisingly good Denver squad. He had 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals vs the Citadel.
7. Joel Smith                Junior           G 6'4"  Leander                                Northeastern
Smith turned in 3 solid performances this week as he chugs along to all conference honors.  He had 9 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists vs Princeton, 5 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists vs Louisiana Tech and then had 15 points and 2 steals vs North Carolina State.

6. Jason Brickman     Sophomore   G 5'11" San Antonio Clark              Long Island
Brickman is really beginning to lead his Blackbirds, notching a a double-double of 12 points and a whopping 11 assists vs Texas State.
5. Jordan Clarkson     Sophomore  G 6'5"    Converse Wagner               Tulsa
Clarkson had 14 points and 8 rebounds vs Texas-Arlington and then followed that up with a 14 point, 2 rebound effort vs. Creighton.

4. John Henson       Junior    F 6'10"    Round Rock (TX)/Tampa Sickles (FL)  North Carolina
Tar Heels fans have a lot of big names to root for, but don't sleep on Henson.  Enjoy him, you'll be watching him in the NBA next year.  John had 17 points, 11 rebounds and 7 blocks vs Nicholls State and in a marquee matchup had 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists vs the Texas Longhorns.
3. Andre Roberson      Sophomore  F 6'7"      Converse Wagner              Colorado
Roberson continues to build on his reputation as an almost automatic double-double guy.  He had 11 points and 16 rebounds vs Texas Southern and then killed it vs Cal State-Bakersfield with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.
2. J.J. Avila                  Sophomore  F 6'7"      McAllen                              Navy
Avila continues to be the go to guy for the Midshipmen as he had a 21 point, 8 rebound game vs Presbyterian
1. Cameron Moore      Senior          F  6'10"    San Antonio Roosevelt     Alabama-Birmingham
Cameron had a nice game of 7 points and 9 rebounds vs VCU but it was his dominant 18 points and 16 rebounds, 5 block effort against Jacksonville that earned him D1 Nation's Alumni Player of the Week!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas To All

Merry Christmas to all.  That's friends, family, business acquaintances and even those who I spar with occassionally.  Health and happiness to everyone's family in the coming New Year and much success in your basketball endeavors. My family is scattered all over the map, so we never get together as a group. Safe travels on the road to my son Chip, Judy and my grandson, Julian who are in Louisiana for the holidays.

I stayed in Arizona a little longer than normal this year and it almost cost me Christmas as Yolanda and I endured two closures of I-10 in New Mexico, and icy conditions for almost all of the 1000 mile journey.  Countless vehicles in the ditch, several cars over turned and even semi trailers jack knifed along the way.  We fell blessed to have arrived in Austin last night. I found myself humming Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take The Wheel" many times on the trip.

Thanks to everyone who called, texted and sent us facebook messages on the trip.  It was great hearing from so many of my former players. Special thanks to the Good Lord, my Merecedes SUV and resident D1 Ambassadors photographer and meteorologist Todd "Big Rowdy" Winters for giving me constant weather updates on the trip!
So, here we are in Austin, Texas spending Christmas in the beautiful Radisson on Town Lake where I'll be covering the Austin Westlake Holiday Classic beginning Tuesday. Then it's off for Christmas dinner with one of my former players and his family (Cody Doolin of San Francisco).  

Austin's the home of Willie Nelson, the Texas Longhorns and the birthplace of the Texas D1 Ambassadors.  It feels good to be home for the next 4 months.  Merry Christmas everyone!
Coach Max Ivany and the D1 Ambassadors Family.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Austin Westlake Holiday Classic Preview

In only it's second season the Westlake Holiday Classic has quickly established itself as the go to event of the prep basketball holiday events in the Austin area.  Westlake Coach Tres Ellis, along with Craig Carlton and John Rowan have established a strong field with marquee players for Austin fans to get a peek of after they digest their Christmas dinner.  The tournament starts on starts on Tuesday, December 27th at 8:30am when Austin Westlake takes on El Paso Socorro and concludes with the Gold Championship at 5:30pm on Thursday, December 27th.

Pools A:                    Pool B:                     Pool C:                   Pool D:

Bryan                       Westlake                  Pflugerville          F.B. Bush

Westbury                Willowridge            Montwood           A&M Consol

Clear Lake                Socorro                   Wagner                 Cedar Hill

Marquee' Players  Class of 2012

1. Cameron Ridley     C  6'10"        Fort Bend Bush            Texas
Ridley is one of the best the country has in the Class of 2012.  The Longhorns commit is unstaoppable when he receives the ball in the low block.  Along with Alex Caruso, he is one of two players in the Westlake Holiday Classic who were at the prestigious NBA Players Camp this past summer.

2. J. Mychal Reese     G 6'2"           Bryan                             Texas A&M
J. Mychal was consesnsu All State in his first three years of high school at the Texas 5A level, a feat never accomplished before. Unfortunately he sustained a knee injury near the end of his summer and has not played yet this fall.  We wish him a speedy recovery.

3. Alex Caruso            G  6'5"          A&M Consolidated     Texas A&M
Caruso is the truth.  Make no mistake about it, he could have played anywhere in the country.  he can defend, pass, score and shoot it.  His father, Mike is Associate AD at Texas A&M, so it was hard to escape the Aggies.
4. Aaron Durley         P 6'10"            Fort Bend Bush            Marquette
I first saw Aaron at my All American Prodigy Camp in Austin, TX as he was entering the 8th grade.  He'd just returned to the States from Saudi Arabia.  Signed with Marquette, I thought the story below would be a nice change of pace.  He is the biggest player to ever participate in the Little League World Series.

5. Zeldric  King          P 6'7"            Cedar Hill                      Tulsa
Tulsa has gotten a nice wide bodied player with touch and an ability to finish around the rim.  He is strong, handles the rock well for his size and moves well out on the perimeter too. (Photo compliments of Texas Hoops.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

San Antonio High School Round Up

San Antonio Warren 67  San Antonio Clark  47
How good is Warren?  Real good!  Missing their star PG, 2013 Marcus Keene and going up against a Clark team that is well coached and can control tempo I thought it would be an 8-10 point win.  Nothing doing as there's no answer for Taurean Waller Prince who had 21 points and double digit boards.  Threee other team mates scored in double figures in the rout for the Warriors.

San Antonio Alamo Heights 61  San Antonio McCollum 31
The Mules kicked the Cowboys behind 2014 Ben Lammers (19) and 2012 Jeffrey Rodewald (17).

San Antonio Brennan 67  San Antonio Central Catholic  65
2013 PG Johnny Azzinaro scored 27 to lead the Bears ina  tight game over a young CC squad.
San Antonio MacArthur 52  San Antonio Stevens 45
2012 Matt Gramling (West Point) was an Army of One as he led Mac with 23 points.  2012 Uche Ofoegbu (Southern Methodist) had 17 in the loss.

Austin High School Round Up

San Marcos 93  Killeen 66
San Marcos best team in a decade beat down Killeen behind 37 points from 2012 G Collin Hart.  The young Killeen team was led by 2014 G Brian Long with 14 and freshman Demarius Cress who had 11.  The future looks bright for the Baby Roos.
2015 PG Demarius Cress has the keys to the Runnin' Roo attack for the next 4 years.

Liberty Hill 59  Lorena  46
The 2013 tandem of Shane Lacaille (22) and Blake Danielak (18) pushed the Wildcats record to 15-1 in their win over Lorena.
2013 PG Shaine Lacaiile runs the potent Liberty Hill attack
New Braunfels 62  Buda Hays 48
2012 G Kyle Hittle led the Unicorns with 23 points in the win.

Georgetown 68  Waco Midway 47
2012 Michael Hardge led the way with 18 points as the Eagles soared.

Elgin 67  Bastrop 53
The Wildcats are 14-1 (only loss was to Liberty Hill) as the Nash Boys led the way in the win.

San Antonio Churchill 69  Round Rock Stony Point 42
2013 Taylor Sutlive had 17 in the win for the Chargers who are now Boss in San Antonio (along with San Antonio Warren). Stony Point and Churchill are two of the biggest teams in the area.

Austin Westlake 71  Austin Hyde Park 48
The Chaps had a balanced attack getting  a double double with 17 points and 11 boards from 2012 R.J. Rowan, 16 from 2014 Chase Carlton and 14 from 2013 W Vince DeBlasio.  A Christmas shout out to Coach joe Phillips looking down from heaven above as 7 different players who were part of his Texas Thunder teams over time were in this contest.

Round Rock McNeil 91  Midland 76
2014 G Trey Dilworth continues to be a rock for the Mavs.  He scored 20 and helped them push their record to 15-1.
2014 G Trey Dilworth is McNeil's most talented player since A.J. Abrams (Texas Longhorns/Italy) led the Mavs back in 2005.

San Marcos 64  Smithson Valley 59
With 2012 W Allex Austin nursing an injury, 2012 G Collin Hart is taking the Rattlers on his back. He scored 34 in the win.

Pflugerville 68  Austin Bowie 50
What is historically one of the Austin area's marquee' matchups is a little bit down this year.  2012 G Paul Baxter had 28 last night in the loss for the Bulldogs.  2013 G Napoleon Onyeje had 16 for the Panthers in the win.
2012 Paul Baxter leads Bowie.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

D1 Ambassadors Alumni Top NCAA Perfomances of the Week

It was a slow week in NCAA hoops as many school break for exams.  Here's the D1 Ambassadors alumni NCAA top  10 highlights for the week.

10. Cody Doolin       San Francisco                  5 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists
9.   Cory Jefferson   Baylor                               2 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.
8.   Trey Lindsey      Louisiana-Monroe          5 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds
7.   Jason Brickman Long Island                     6 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists
6.   Jason Brickman Long Island                      8 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds
5.   Mark Nwakamma   Hartford                     11 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists
4.   Paul Garnica     Northern Colorado           18 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds
3.   Royce O'Neale  Denver                                14 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds
2.   J.J. Avila           Navy                                    26 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists
1.   John Henson     North Carolina                  24 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks

The highlight for me was the Denver-Northern Colorado game where soph Paul Garnica of San Antonio Lee faced off against frosh Royce O'Neale of Harker Heights. Both players had outstanding games but it was the feeling of family that was special with several of our families including Royce's mom, Deborah and Cody Doolin's dad Jim contacting me during the game cheering BOTH boys on.  That was pretty cool.