Andre Roberson To Colorado

Who knew that when the Texas D-1 Ambassadors made an unofficial visit to the University of Colorado on April 16th (pictured below) during the midst of a coaching change at the school that 6’7″ Andre Roberson (far right) would soon be calling Boulder, CO and the Big XII home?
Texas D-1 Ambassadors in Boulder, CO
Above from left to right:  Coach Max, 2011 G Jake Kocher, 2012 G Alex Caruso, 2011 W Jalen Washington, 2011 W Jaleel Williams, 2011 G Deon Mitchell, 2010 P David Hahn, 2011 W Reinier Strobos, & 2010 W Andre Roberson. (Missing from photeo 2011 G Dylan Elias)
April 16-18th the Texas D-1 Ambassadors took a trip to Denver, Co to play in the Pump Brothers Spring Classic.  We finished 3-1, losing a heartbreaker at the buzzer in bracket play.  Two of our guys have become the hottest commodities of the spring nationwide; 2010 7’0″ David Hahn, and 2010 W 6’7″ Andre Roberson.  Hahn is on an offcial visit to Marquette as I write this.  Roberson on the other hand is huddling with his family and is poised to make his decision no later than Monday, perhaps as early as today.
NEWSFLASH:  In the middle of writing this story, a decision has been made!
11:14 Central Time   Andre Roberson of Converse Wagner is committed to the University of Colorado!  His Pops, John  Roberson just texted me the awesome news.  I’ve said for a year plus now that in my opinion Roberson was the prospect with the biggest upside in the Central Texas area in the Class of 2010.
I watched the lanky wing fight 6’9″ 250 Keith Davis of Desoto in the Texas 5A State Semi Finals last year and the youngster had 17 rebounds against the burly Texas A&M commit.  Roberson has a superior outside shot, defends bigger guys in the post with his length and is a nightmare matchup on the perimeter when he takes other 3/4 men off the dribble.  Despite his still slender frame Roberson is adept at finishing in traffic and tries to dunk everything.
Roberson had just returned from his official visit to Penn State this past weekend and for a while definitely looked like he was headed to the Big Ten.  A late surge in recruiting from the Denver Tourny had UNLV making a late offer and also drew renewed interest from UCLA.  As soon as Roberson returned from Penn State the savvy Colorado staff had the youngster headed for the beautiful Colorado campus this past Wednesday and Thursday. Roberson opted for the less traditional weekday visit so he could be on hand in San Antonio for his senior prom this Saturday.
Big props have to go out to Colorado Assistant Tommy Abedemarco for keeping the fire burning with Roberson as he was the only coach who made the transition from the old staff and was retained by new Head Coach Tad Boyle.  Great move, Coach Boyle!  Abedemarco is an old hand who had been part of a National Championship with Jim Valvano at North Carolina State, with Lou Carnesecca at St. John’s & with Rick Majerus at Utah.  He’s a fatherly figure and kept pushing hard even when he didn’t know he’d still be at Colorado.
Look for Roberson to make an impact immediately as a freshman. He’ll be an outstanding 3/4 matchup as the Buffaloes look to build the program to the upper echelon of the Big XII.   In addition to UNLV & Penn State he also had offers from Wichita State and Tulsa amongst others.
Congratulations to Andre and the Robersons from Coach Max & The Texas D-1 Ambassadors Family.  Andre joins other family members including his father John (New Mexico State), sister Ashleigh who just completed a stellar career at Texas Tech and sister Amber who is a starter for Texas in volleyball as D-1 athletes.
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Texas D-1 Ambassador David Hahn To Visit Marquette

What a wild and woolly world the prep basketball scene is.  After a season cut short at Kimball Union Prep in New Hampshire and a subsequent mutual release from his National Letter of Intent by Texas State (who he’d signed with in November) David Hahn heads to Milwaukee, WI this morning for an official visit to Marquette University.
Only a month ago Hahn had no basketball home when he called me and asked for my assistance in finding a school that was a fit for him.  Frankly I thought that future school would come in the Southland Conference or possibly the Big West.  As I tell most of these kids, we ultimately have the ability to affect our own futures predicated on hard work and commitment. How hard was he willing to work?
2010 7’0″ 250 lb Center David Hahn shown below with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors
 
Once again, Big 7’0″ Dave Hahn put on his D-1 Ambassador uniform at the Pump Brothers Spring Tournament in Denver, CO.  He didn’t disappoint as he ran the floor with a bounce in his step in the thin air of the Mile High City.  Hahn was extremely effective in the middle of a 2-3 zone recording 20 blocks for the tournament and quickly attracted the eye of Louisiana Tech & Cal Riverside amongst others.
However, it was last week’s back to back performance in the Pearland (TX) Classic which vaulted him into the recruiting flavor of the day as Hahn played his butt off against the Houston Franchize All Stars & Mississippi MBA Hoops.  Both teams have a nice stable of highly touted bigs but Hahn more than held his own.  Once I published the recap in my report, that’s when my phone really started to ring with another level of schools expressing interest.
Institutions like Colorado, Texas & Arkansas amongst others expressed interest but it was my old friend, hard driving Buzz WIlliams who called me bright and early Monday morning at 7AM asking for the skinny on the Big Fella’s character and work ethic.  Once again, Marquette was quickest on the draw with contacting the NCAA and receiving Hahn’s “jacket”.  He is now subsequently getting on a flight in Austin, TX this morning and headed to Milwaukee for the grand tour of the beautiful Big East campus.
I compare Hahn’s game to Josh Loemer’s of Baylor.  Hahn is more athletic and has a stronger offensive game at this point coming out of high school.  Four years of hard work made Loemers a big part of Baylor’s NCAA Tourny run last month.  If David commits to keeping his nose to the grindstone he can have a similar career in a power conference where he becomes a major contributor in his junior & senior year or (perhaps sooner).

Garnica Says No To Colorado & The Big XII

Texas D-1 Ambassador & San Antonio Lee PG Paul Garnica met with myself, Lee Coaches Tommy Hines & Jeff Ogden, along with new Northern Colorado Head Coach B.J. Hill. While us adults kept quiet Coach Hill resold the Northern Colorado program to Garnica, all the time knowing that there was a possibility that Garnica could bolt to Colorado following previous Head Coach Tad Boyle who took the Colorado job only days before.
Boyle had promised Garnica during his recruitment last fall that if he left, that Garnica could follow.  Showing tremendous fortitude and not being lured by an opportunity to play in the Big XII, Garnica told me “Coach, I trust him” referring to Coach Hill and “I’m going to honor my commitment”.
What a class kid.  Northern Colorado, as was stated here several times had signed and now retained a coup in getting a guard of Garnica’s stature to come to Greeley.  Coach Hill did a great job of assuring Paul that nothing would change.  Congrats again to Paul and his family from Coach Max & The Texas D-1 Ambassadors Family.

Pearland Player (TX) Recap

Good morning to all from Phoenix, AZ.  Coach has decided to take a little golf trip, and to drop by campuses and continue to build relationships with Arizona and Arizona State to nake a couple of staffs.  I also meet with Channing Frye’s Family later in the trip to discuss the former Arizona Wildcats & NBA player’s  groups becoming part of the D-1 Nation.
In years past when assembling teams to compete at the National Level, I’d put together a roster and “appointed” a top team in the D-1 Ambassadors organization.  This year I informed the kids and parents that I didn’t have any preconceived notions and the kids could decide by their performance which group should hold that title.  Well, it’s not to say that the other groups can’t change my mind from week to week but based on this last week’s performance the nod has to go to Coach Mike Hardge’s group.  The challenge to our other groups; work harder, play smarter and achieve….Coach Max
This past weekend, Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Team Hardge went 2-2 in the Pearland Classic.  Not overly impressive at first glance.  As was noted a couple of days ago their first win was against the Houston Hurricane 75-70.  Reputations are made (on both sides of the coin) by how kids play against other name teams and name players. 
Game #2 was one of those games. Going against one of the spring’s most talented teams in the country in the Houston Franchize All Stars it was nip and tuck down the stretch with Franchize claiming the win by the slimmest of margins 70-68.  D-1 was led by 2011 PG Deon Mitchell (below) of Pflugerville who in my opinion is the the SMOOTHEST player to come out of Austin-San Antonio in the last 10 years.  Franchize boasts at lot of star power; most notably DeAngelo Harrison and 2012’s top national prospect, 6’9″ Wannah Bail of the Bahamas.  Mitchell rolled up his sleeves and went to work dropping 20 points in the process.
Texas D-1 Ambassadors 62  MBA Hoops (MS) 61
Against a team loaded with athletic prospects of their own Mitchell, Josiah Monroe & 2012 G Michael Hardge of Georgetown more than held their own against Top 5 National PG Marquavious “DeVille” Smith of Jackson Callaway. Big Dave Hahn had 10 points and 9 rebounds against MBA’s relentless string of bigs, & 2011 PG Josiah Monroe of Bastrop had 12 points and got in people’s jerseys defensively.
2011 6’4″ WG Jalen Washington (Below) of Pflugerville Hendrickson is quickly establishing himself on the circuit as one of it’s break out stars of the spring.  He’s super long and I love his explosiveness.  Don’t let him get a step in the lane because he’s going to try and flush it on someone’s head.  Finishing strong around the goal is a forte’.  Washington also sees the floor well, has a nice first step and rebounds well.  Early interest from schools like Wichita State will soon be kept comany from high majors as he continues to prove himself against quality competition.
The “He Came Out of Nowhere” Award may well belong to 2010 P David Hahn (below) of Austin, TX who finished his high school career in the State of Mississippi.  David called me up about a month ago and asked if I’d help him.  By his own admission he’d been lacking in focus and gotten out of shape since originally signing with Texas State last November.  He obtained his release from Texas State (by mutual agreement) last month and was back in the mix with no D-1 college interest.  I asked David if he’d give me 100 days of hard work.  If he dedicated himself to cardio, worked hard on his game and refocused his attitude I felt he could be a very good college player and perhaps one day make some money overseas.
Hahn started coming to practice and more than held his own running the floor, even diving for loose balls at 7’0″ and 250 lbs. Wow! He played with D-1 out in Denver 10 days ago in the Pump Brothers Spring Classic.  The Mile High City is not an easy place for anyone to catch their wind but once again David surprised me with his work ethic and led us in our final game with 14 points & 7 rebounds.  Word spread like wildfire after being posted on Coach Max’s Prep Report about a fully qualified 7 footer being on the loose & the interest quickly picked up. Louisiana Tech, amongst others wanted to get him in on an official visit.
Fast forward a week later to this past weekend at Pearland where Hahn once again gave a great effort playing against talented bigs on Franchize and MBA Hoops from Mississippi. In a big win against MBA Hoops he more than held his own against more athletic bigs.  Looks like the cat is now completely out of the bag as interest is now coming from schools like Arkansas in the SEC. As many of you know, I love to get in my car and drive.  I loaded up my SUV and left San Antonio Sunday afternoon at 5PM driving through the night when my phone rang at about 6AM.  My old buddy Buzz Williams was chewing me out for not having given him a direct call about Hahn.  He asked a multitude of questions and then said, “Hey, we’d like to bring him in on an offcial visit”.  Several hours later, Texas Longhorns Assistant Chris Ogden called asking if we could get Hahn on campus at the “40 Acres” to run in open gym with the Texas players!  Looks like I might have been off on the 100 day plan as 30 days into it Hahn’s gone from being a Southland level guy to a viable SEC, Big East & Big XII prospect.

All three of the above players are superbly talented.  The sky’s the limit, and once these young athletes “get it” that intensity and focus is what separates the men from the boys then look out world.  I am proud to say that all are extremely receptive to my input and to Coach Mike Hardge who is doing an excellent job with all the kids.

OK, it’s off to the golf course.

Young Talent @ Next Level Tournament

I was in between games at Fieldhouse USA when young, Daniel “L’il Hot Sauce” Venzant came over, sat down on the bench with me and we talked basketball for about 10 minutes. In this crazy world of ranking high school basketball prospects it’s refreshing to just be around an 11 year old in all his innocence and hear the joy in his voice as he talked about basketball and his hero, Daniel Alexander who is headed to Texas A&M this summer.  L’il Sauce had met Big Daniel at the All American Prodigy Camp a few years back and had assisted in the “milk and cookies” dunk which Alexander used to win the camp title. 
Daniel proceeded to tell me that he looked forward to the day when he could play for the Texas D-1 Ambassadors.  Wow.  What a humbling feeling to realize that a youngster dreams of being involved in our organization because it coincides with his goals to be a college player.  What a tribute to our players who have befriended him at our camps to have this impact.  Yes, you can be a role model to others at a mere 16 years of age!
Of course, being an alum of our All American Prodigy Camp it came as no surprise to me that Daniel had also been named the top 5th & 6th grade guard two years running at the Adidas Regional Camp in Dallas, TX.  He then was ranked the #9 guard in the country at the Adidas National Camp. The pint sized ballhandler who is playing two-3 grade levels up will just flat get after you defensively and with the ball in his hand to quote Dick Enberg, “Oh my”.  The ball’s in his hands, like it’s on a string.  He’s got a killer change of pace, crossover, can use either hand and has a style all his own.
Daniel “L’ill Hot Sauce” Venzant of Team Midland (TX)
 
We then talked grades/academics where I asked him if he had all “A’s”.  He sheepishly replied that he had 3 grades in the 90’s but had gotten two “89’s”.  We shook hands and he promised that he’d work to make those “90’s”.  I told him it only takes an extra 30 minutes, just like the work he has spent on his crossover, jumper, etc.  Daniel is the son of Mr. & Mrs. Eddie Venzant of Midland, TX.  We’ll see you in a D-1 uniform in a couple of years Daniel. What a great kid! 
Coach Max

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I had a brief opportunity to zip over to the complex at Lewisville, TX where the 8th graders were playing last night and had a chance to view several of the Austin area’s top prospects.  As with many grade school games, athleticism on one dominates and the other is simply overwhelmed and gets blown out by 50 plus points.  Thus, it’s tough to give an extensive evaluation.  However, some things are easy to see.

Trey Dilworth III  6’2″ SG (incoming to Pflugerville)  Dilworth had several dunks, hit the mid range and also knocked the perimeter shot.  He’s got a wonderful basketball body (or football), runs fluidly and is clearly way ahead of the curve.  Another great guard prospect in Pflugerville’s long history of D-1 talent.

2014 SG Trey Dilworth II

Joeseph Mitchell 6’1″ W (incoming to Pflugerville Connally)  Mitchell will be welcomed by my old friend, Coach Marshall Sanders of Connally who coached my son back in the day.  He looks like he’ll end up to be about 6’4″ and hit five 3 pointers while I watched him play.

2014 W Joseph Mitchell

Chase Carlton 5’10”  PG (incoming to Austin Westlake)  I’d seen Carlton play prior at one of my tournaments.  He will flat get after you as an aggressive defender, offensively he has a nice jumper, and he also showed off a smooth running teardrop in the lane as well.

Garrett Gray  6’4″ P (incoming to Marble Falls)  Gray, is a long, powerful athlete that I understand is a football stud, the diistrict champ in the 100 meters, etc.  Currently a post, but likely needs to begin facing the basket more often in the future.  Exhibited an ability to finish around the goal,  a quick first step and was a quick, tireless rebounder/leaper.

Abrian Edwards 6’2″ W (incoming to Pflugerville Hendrickson)  Edwards is a smooth athlete that runs the floor extremely well.  Skill set is still developing but looks like a player who’ll have an impact for years to come.

Next Level Ballers Recap (Dallas, TX)

Today was definitely disappointing for me as we piled up a few too many losses for my liking.  Wins and losses in an of themselves are not the main focal point.  How hard you compete, your decision making and desire to play the game the right way is what it’s all about if you fancy yourself to be a college prospect.

D-1 Ambassadors-Hargis 66 Tulsa (OK) Junior Hurricanes 60

A good win in that the team fought from 10 points down to pick up the victory.  The best effort player on the floor was 2011 P 6’7″ Zac Chambers who gives 100% every time out.  This time his effort showed tangible results as he scored his buckets down low as a result of doing the “dirty work” and grabbed his share of rebounds and added a couple of blocks too.

Houston Franchize All Stars 60  Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Hargis 57

With a 9 point lead and roughly 6 minutes to play, D-1 shot themselves in the foot with five consecutive turnovers on inexplicably bad decisions by the ball handlers.  To their credit, Franchize kept competing and had a big 3 with less than a minute left that sealed the win.  D-1 was led by 2011 SG Cole Martinez of San Antonio Central Catholic who had 18 points.  Martinez has a pure shot and rarely pulls the trigger unless he has his feet set and a good look at the rim.  He led the team in scoring in all 4 games they played.

ATX 76  Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Cress 64

ATX was led by 2011 G Devonta Brown of Killeen Ellison as he scored 18 points and played tough defense.  2011 WG Keith Beasley of God’s Academy (Dallas, TX) had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Ball pressure was the key to the win.

Dallas Mustangs 15U 83  Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Cress 74

After having an 11 point halftime lead, D-1 folded their tent and the talented young Mustangs team kept making plays.  Coach Booker is doing a great job with these youngsters who have a core of players from the Richardson Berkner area.  Could be a powerhouse in the making at RB.

D-1 Nation Invades Houston & Dallas

The D-1 Nation has two teams competing in 17U at the Pearland Classic in Houston, TX ( Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Hardge & Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Josephs) while the next Level Baller Event in the Dallas area has Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Cress & Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Hardge competing in 17U.  In 15U the D-1 Nation has the Kansas City D-1 Ambassadors, Texas D-1-Battley, Texas D-1 Morse & Texas D-1 Bostic.  The Kansas City D-1 Ambassadors get their feet wet in the 14U Division.
17U  Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Cress  72 Dallas Mustangs Blue 59   @ Frisco, TX
The D-1 Ambassadors gave up the first basket of the night against the longer, more athletic Dallas Mustangs Blue but that was the only time they trailed.  Superior perimeter shooting had the game in hand the entire way, never leading by less than 10 the entire way.
Below Left: 2011 SG Jake Kocher of Austin St. Michael’s showed why he was the leading scorer in the City of Austin this past season with a 30 ppg game clip as he flexed his muscles against the Mustangs bullying them for 34 points, including five from behind the arc and 6 rebounds.  ( The pic was actually taken last week in Denver in a moment of fun, so no disrespect is intended.) Kocher had an unofficial visit last week to the University of Denver where the Pioneers are recruiting him.
Above Right: 2011 WG Jaleel Williams of Killeen Ellison proved to be a nightmare matchup from the perimeter.  Guard him and he’ll go by you, sag off him and he’ll hit the three.  Williams had all 13 of his points in the first half and added 5 assists.  Williams is a high major prospect at 6’5″ and is locking in on Pac 10 schools.
17U    Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Hardge 75  Houston Hurricanes 70  @ Pearland, TX
Texas D-1 came out sluggish but had just enough to put the Houston Hurricanes away in the opener of the Pearland Classic.  2011 W 6’4″ Jalen Washington (left) of Pflugerville Hendrickson had 13 points, while 2011 W Adam Whitlock (right) of Austin St. Michael’s scored 16 to lead all markmen.  2011 WG Royce O’Neale in his first game back from a broken leg had three from behind the arc for D-1.
   

B.J. Hill Takes Over At Northern Colorado

Congratulations to Coach B.J. Hill who was promoted from Assistant at Northern Colorado to the Head Coach.  As was confided to me on Friday while on the Northern Colorado campus, that’s the way the dominoes would fall if Coach Boyle did in fact become the Colorado Head Coach.  Coach Hill ran point on much of the recruiting of 2010 signee Paul Garnica of San Antonio Lee and 2011 verbal commit Dylan Elias (both of who play with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors organization). 
I will meet today with Coach Hill who is flying in to San Antonio, Garnica and Lee Coach Tommy Hines to discuss whether Garnica chooses to stay committed to UNC or in fact opts to follow Coach Boyle to Colorado in the Big XII.  Stay tuned.
Below Left:  Paul Garnica hoists the ball signifying setting the career scoring mark for the City of San Antonio (breaking former Spur Devin Brown’s record). Photo compliments of San Antonio Express News
Below Right:  Early Signing Day (November 2009) Lee Coach Tommy Hines, myself, and Paul Garnica as he inks with Northern Colorado.

                                                       

J.J. Avila To The Naval Academy

J.J. Avila (below shown with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors at the Arizona Cactus Classic) has committed to the Naval Academy.  The 6’7″ Wing from McAllen HS finished as the leading scorer in McHi and Rio Grande Valley history as he scored more than 2800 points.
Avila was a member of the 2010 D-1 Ambassadors who won back to back Kingwood Classic Championships back when that event was the toughest in the country, bar none.  Navy expects the hard working & skilled Avila to immediately compete for playing time with the Midshipmen.  Avila, the son of JJ Avila Sr. is tough mentally as well as physically. Academy life should agree with him just fine as he also had a near 4.0 GPA. 
Congratulations from Coach Max & The Texas D-1 Ambassadors Family

Tad Boyle Takes Colorado Job

The Texas D-1 Ambassadors just returned from the Double Pump Spring Classic in Denver, CO.  Flight delays kept us from getting home until 1AM this morning.  As has been documented in a previous report, the boys went 3-1 losing a tough finale.  Outsiders often wonder what’s different about the D-1 organization (aside from the obvious numbers of college signees).  It’s the RELATIONSHIPS that have been built over 10 years of building trust and dealing with integrity with college coaches.  It’s on that note, that we got off the plane Friday morning in Denver and immediately hopped in our van for a visit to the campus in the beautiful college town of Greeley.
Basketball is our focal point, but it’s a concern for the student athlete and their pursuit of an education that makes the organization special.  On most every trip we take, I insist that the kids visit a college campus on an “unofficial” visit.  On that note, with 2010 PG Paul Garnica of San Antonio Lee already signed and 2011 PG Dylan Elias of San Antonio Lee verbally committed both kids were understandably concerned that Coach Tad Boyle’s name was in the running for several jobs.  Boyle’s success in building Northern Colorado from 4 wins when he arrived, to 25 wins when he leaves today was the reason his name was thrown in the hat for Hawaii and now an opportunity to do his thing in the Big XII at Colorado.
The reality was that Boyle likely was going nowhere as he enjoyed coaching and Northern Colorado, located in his hometown of Greeley  UNLESS it was a power conference job.  To only have to move his family an hour southwest to the beautiful Boulder campus made it a no brainer .(forget the extra “zero” which will be added to his salary).  Coach Boyle and I talked at length on Friday (the day prior to his interview) as Assistant B.J. Hill gave our group of guys a campus tour.  It’s a tough business and it seems like you’re either about to get fired, or you move on to a bigger job.  There’s not a lot in between.  Coach assured me that IF he landed the Colorado job that our two boys (Elias, left & Garnica, right) would not be hurt by his decision. 
Look for Assistant B.J. Hill an extremely competent young assistant who was at point for much of the recruiting of Garnica & Elias to be hired as the new head coach. This will maintain continuity with Northern Colorado’s recruiting class, returning talent base and the strong community support that the staff has built in making this program an exciting place to play.
Expect another bombshell announcement by me as “collateral damage” from this move.  Congrats to Coach Boyle for his hire and all the best.  He’s a hard worker and deals with folks with integrity.