2011 G 5’11” Deon Mitchell of Pflugerville was one of the top prospects at camp. He has the ability to make things look easy whether off the dribble or shooting a smooth set shot. Mitchell has unlimited range, capable of making shots from anywhere on the floor. He is explosive and can finish with either hand at the goal. Mitchell may be the top guard prospect in the Class of 2011 in the State of Texas.
2012 F 6’4″ Michael Hargis is another great prospect from Austin LBJ High School. Hargis has a solid power game, developed from his younger days. He’s an extremely active athlete who is a dedicated student of the game. Continued work on his shot and handles will see a smooth transition to a wing who is dangerous inside and out. Hargis is an outstanding football prospect too & also had the best haircut at camp. (Except for Coach Max, of course..lol)
It was another exciting milestone this week as 2010 W 6’8″ Daniel Alexander of Dripping Springs became the 6th Texas D-1 Ambassador to attend one of the Nike Jamboree/Skills Academies. On Wednesday, I joined Daniel in Orlando in a supportive role to observe camp as well as to get a reading on where he was amongst the Top 20 Wings in the entire country. (That’s what position Carter’s Academy caters to.)
I’d gotten the low down from Coach Kevin Eastman of the Boston Celtics that after a tentative first day Alexander may have been the 20th best player, out of 20. No insult, as this was the cream of the crop. Day two Daniel started to find his legs and confidence and did much better in drills. Thursday was a whole other story as the bouncy wing with the sweet, deep perimeter stroke showed off his entire repertoire.
In my opinion, there was no one player who stood out as the MVP of the camp. However, there were a few series where it could easily have been Alexander. He went baseline, faked to the middle, put a spin move on and dunked on another 6’8 dude. The next possession, he dropped a sweet no look dime into a team mate for another thunderous dunk. All the kids loved that one and were howling their support of Alexander.
The camp had a couple of other fun moments to it as well when Vince Carter took a phone call, walked to the other side of the gym and proceeded to wave and gesture excitedly. He just got word that he’d been traded back to his hometown Orlando Magic. He promptly came over and dropped the news to the kids.
Last night we sat down to watch the NBA Draft on the big screen at the Orlando Crowne Plaza (where Nike housed the kids). At the table with me were none other than Miles Simon who won a championship at Arizona and then went on to the NBA, the aforementioned (and perhaps soon to be famous 17 year old Alexander) and the man himself, Vince Carter. That’s pretty good company to keep. Daniel kept nudging me, saying “Can you believe we’re watching the draft with Vince”? I jokingly said yes, “They are all MBA (Max basketball Association) players..lol”
Alexander left Carter’s Camp with an assortment of newly acquired knowledge, made new friendships and was exposed to a wide variety of drills designed to make him a better player. He did basketball in the Cen Tex & South Texas area proud. As local folks tend to be for some peculiar reason, Alexander’s game gets a lot of criticism from those around Austin & San Antonio. Sure, he definitely needs to work on his intensity, and confidence. There are times as his coach that I forget that he’s 17 years old and a lot is expected of him.
However, I am here to tell those folks, that the upside is good enough that several NBA guys compare him favorably to recent West Virginia (and NBA player) Joe Alexander. Several years from now, I’m going to toss out an “I told you so”, just as I’ve done with John Henson’s (former Round Rock HS star & North Carolina signee) detractors. It’s going to take a lot of work but don’t be surprised if you’re watching the NBA Draft in 3-5 years and the Dripping Springs Tigers’ name is called, or at the very least he could end up playing overseas, speaking a foreign language and wooing some beautiful Italian girl..lol
Either way, or not at all you can rest assured that the son of Mr. & Mrs. Big Dan Alexander will be a success and will represent his community with dignity, integrity and pride. Daniel you did a great job and represented Cen Tex and South Texas basketball very well. Coach Max
I’ve had the brief pleasure of coaching Brian this spring and look forward to doing so again July 9-10th in Myrtle Beach at the prestigious Atlantic Slam Tournament where he’ll suit up with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors before moving on to play at the Peach Jam with Louisiana Select and then to the Orlando Super Showcase where he’ll play for his dad’s Louisiana Bayou Flames. The Cowboys are getting an explosive player who is well above the rim at all times, rebounds much bigger than he is and will just flat get in your jersey defensively. Brian will continue to improve his handles and perimeter shooting because he’s a conscientious hard worker. His upside is unlimited as he is just 16. How about the fact that he carries a 3.5GPA as well? Not too shabby.
The Texas D-1 Ambassadors coasted to the 72-64 win in the semi finals of the USSSA Texas State Championship as Kerrville sharpshooter, 2010 Combo Guard Jonathan Perry poured in 22 points in a variety of ways. From the perimeter, mid range and with his new found quicker first step to the bucket Perry is a complete player who has now caught the eye of Stephen F Austin and other schools. This should be a great summer for him.
In what was the toughest game of the tournament, the Texas D-1 Ambassadors hung on to nip the East Austin Yellow Jackets 83-81. At three different points the Ambassadors had the lead by 15 but the Yellow jackets kept competing and would not go away. They were very tough to keep from getting to the rim and always kept hustling in transition. These kids deserve a lot of respect, especially because they are all 2011 players. 2010 G Robert Lee of Austin LBJ dropped 25 to lead all scorers.
Texas D-1 Ambassadors Scoring
Paul Garnica 17
Jake Kocher 16
Conner Kemper 16
D.J. Stephens 15
This one was never in doubt from the onset as the Tigers team was significantly overmatched and under sized. Coach Johnny Bell did a good job of keeping his kids playing hard though in the 74-48 loss.
D-1 Ambassadors Scoring
Conner Kemper 15
Daniel Alexander 15
Jake Kocher 11
Jonathan Perry 10
D.J. Stephens 10
The Cen Tex Shooters pose a tough match up at the best of times, but with only 6 players they really make life tough on you. This is as fundamentally sound a group as you’ll find as old friends Jon Lindsey & Chris Blevins run a very structured offense involving lots of screens which almost always results in high percentage shot opportunities. The defense rarely gets a chance to rest against them and they make you work.
Cen Tex jumped out to a 6 point lead early and the first half ended almost even up. The D-1 Ambassadors above the rim athleticism of Texas A&M commit Daniel Alexander , high flyer D.J. Stephens and the sharp shooting of 2010 San Antonio Lee G Paul Garnica from behind the line made the difference in the 69-57 win.
Congratulations are in order for Cen Tex Shooter P (and former D-1 Ambassador) Deandre Perry as his mom, Candy informed me that he has verballed to the University of Houston to play WR for the Cougars. Look for him to make an impact in Conference USA as a tough, physical slot receiver. He was also offered by BCS Bowl Team, University of Utah Utes but elected to stay close to home.
D-1 Ambassadors Scoring
Daniel Alexander 21
Paul Garnica 17
D.J. Stephens 12
It’s rare that the Texas D-1 Ambassadors play in Central Texas. We typically only play the RCS Ice Breaker in Houston to kick off the season and occasionally taking part in Mike Kunstadt’s Denton Shootout but it’s even rarer to play in the Austin-San Antonio area. It’s a mixed bag. It’s nice because the kids get to show what they can do in front of their extended family and local fans who read the reports and hear the hype on ESPN and such national sites as Rivals.com.
The other side of the coin is that every local team comes out playing their best with hopes of knocking the Texas D-1 Ambassadors off and building some kind of reputation or bragging rights from the result of one game. Because our team is so spread out geographically, it’s actually easier for me to round them up, put them on an airplane and sequester the crew for the entire weekend than it is to ask guys to drive in and show up for games that are somewhat local for them.
So, we come to the USSSA Texas State Championships in Austin this weekend missing missing two players who are attending the Nike Jamboree Camp in St. Louis, and our Louisiana guys who bring so much energy and athleticism back home resting in the Bayou. Being 5 players short gives several of our young sophomores a great chance to step up, increase their playing time & become leaders in their own right.
Being way short handed this weekend we knew the San Antonio Ro Hawks would be a tough test for all the resons above plus they’ve got several Division One prospects of their own who can get after it as well. 2010 G Jordan Clarkson of the Ro Hawks and 2010 G Cody Doolin of the D-1 Ambassadors battled all day, before they both got on a plane together last night to head to the University of San Francisco Elite Camp. Former Kansas PG and Head Coach Rex Walters loves both these kids.
Also for the Ro Hawks 2011 P 6’7″ Raymond Chase shows a lot of potential to play at the next level as does 2009 P 6’5″ Pier Gordon & 2010 W 6’7″ Andre Roberson who has a nice perimeter, shot. Once he continues to add to his skill set he should undoubtedly earn a scholarship in the next year as well.
The Ro Hawks jumped out to a 12 point lead behind the shooting of Clarkson who had four first half triples and led 39-31 at the half. The game was called extremely tight with both teams in constant foul trouble. The game had little flow to it because of that. Gordon was the most consistent Ro hawk presenting a tough matchup down low and finishing with 20 points.
The D-1 Ambassadors guard tandem of Cody Doolin and 201o Paul garnica kept pouring it on in the 2nd half as the D-1 Ambassadors took the win 75-70. Doolin also had 20 points to lead the Ambassadors.
San Antonio Ro Hawks
Pier Gordon 20
Jordan Clarkson 19
Jordan Jones 8
Andre Roberson 8
Texas D-1 Ambassadors
Cody Doolin 20
Paul Garnica 11
Daniel Alexander 11
D.J. Stephens 9
The Manhattan Classic ended prematurely for us this morning agains the Tulsa Titans as we fell 69-67. Hats off to them as they played a very good game and we came out flat. However, we came out and played well enough to win…in fact, amazingly enough the scorer’s table (which is the official record) showed us winning the game by 2 points (71-69). The referee inexplicably chose to change the score with less than a minute left to play, despite the scorer’s table being in disagreement…go figure.
Conner Kemper 18
Cody Doolin 16
Daniel Alexander 11
R.J. McGhee 9
Mark Nwakamma 7
Shavon Coleman 6
Matt Derenbecker 3
Jonathan Perry 1