D1 Nation Late Signees

The recruiting game is a funny business.  It’s definitely an art, not a science.  Sure, a player has to have talent to some degree but I’m a firm believer that everyone has a place to play at the next level.  Everyone?  Well, everyone who has kept all their options open by having above average to superior grades as well as showing they are coachable and socially adjusted.  Not everyone is a D1 player but that does not mean that basketball cannot marry along with academics to allow a dedicated player to have a wonderful college experience and to build a lifetime of memories.

Congratulations to the following D1 Nation alumni who will continue on to play in college having made decisions at or near the end of this summer.

Keynan ” Slim” Willis of Crosby has inked with Western Texas JC in Snyder, TX. Willis, at 6’9″ is a skilled player who doesn’t back down from anyone.  He’ll be at the high end of the mid majors, or a high major recruit at the Division One level after his two years at “Juke”.
 Jalen Washington of Pflugerville Hendrickson has inked with powerhouse Kilgore JC in Kilgore, TX.  Washington is a 6’4″ guard who can play from the one to the three position.  He rebounds well, and gets to the free throw line at will. (An average of 13 times per game in his senior season. He has turned down two Division One offers (Mount St. Mary’s (MD) and Southern (LA). As an academic qualifier he will move on after one year at Kilgore.

 Brooks Pawsat of Austin Hyde Park will bring his game to Louisiana as he is headed to Centenary.  At 6’4″, Pawsat plays hard and is a deadly perimeter shooter.  Centenary has recently dropped to D-3 but has an illustrious history.  It’s the alma mater of former Boston Celtics star Robert Parrish.  Pawsat’s outstanding academics has gotten him a huge chunk of money to offset the private schools big ticket.

 Sterling Smoak: San Antonio Brandeis has inked with Northeast Nebraska Community College. The 6’8″ Smoak is a late bloomer. If he gets that hunger their could be huge things ahead for him.  His Pops played in the NBA, so the kid’s got a pedigree.

Austin Jenkins (below) of Austin Hyde Park will play close to home this coming year for legendary Texas Tech and San Antonio East Central alum Coach Stan Bonewitz at Concordia University in Austin, TX.  The 6’7″  forward had several D1 schools flirting with him.  If he can put it all together he’ll be a heck of  steal for Concordia.

Santiago Paredes of Austin Waldorf will head to Grinnell College (Iowa).  Paredes is a heady PG who should have a nice career at Grinnell.  It’s particularly inspiring that when he move to Texas from Mexico he did not speak English.  He applied himself, and along with a great school boy career he distinguished himself in the class room.  What’s wrong with our schools?  Nothing that effort and commitment by a student can’t solve.  Good luck and vaya con Dios, Santiago!

Additional Signees: Shooting guard Jacob Palacios of San Antonio Clark has inked with Our Lady of the Lake in San Antonio, TX.  He’ll play NAIA ball for Coach Russell Van Landingham in his uptempo offense

Kyle Rutledge of San Antonio Clark has inked with Northeast Nebraska Community College.  At 6’4′ he is undersized but Rutledge has major hops and has a high motor.

Texas D1 Ambassadors 2012 WG Allex Austin of San Marcos

Over the years, the D1 Ambassadors have not only had 100 plus Division One basketball players who have worn their uniforms.  They’ve had some pretty good track men too.  Think back to the Class of 2006 and 2007 where the Reese Brothers (Terrell and Joseph) were doing their thing.  Terrell high jumped 6’10” at the Texas Relays, while younger brother Joseph blazed away in the 200 and 400 meters.  Both went on to play football at the University of Arizona.
Enter Allex Austin, a 2012 6’6″ WG from San Marcos, TX.  Austin has a legitimate shot at not only playing two sports in college, but starring in both.  Put a check mark in the track column as he had last spring’s top high jump in the country at 7’2″.  Most folks know that Allex’s Pops Charles Austin is the Olympic Champion in the high jump.  His son is on course to duplicate that feat.  The key to his success is his work ethic and the willingness to absorb the knowledge that Charles has.  For some reason, most teenage boys tend to clash with their parent’s ideas, but not Allex.
Allex Austin shown below with the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin
On the basketball front, Austin is improving by leaps and bounds as well.  After his sophomore season at San Marcos he played one of the D1 Ambassadors teams in San Antonio (while playing for his dad’s So High Team), and even though the team was overmatched Austin kept competing and in fact tried dunking on several D1 Ambassadors who were headed to college to play.  I told his dad back then, that we had to have him for this, his rising senior summer. I just loved how he competed.  Austin took his game this spring from a low major level to being a solid mid major player.  With his work ethic, I have no doubt that come next spring’s April signing period you’ll see him being courted by high majors.
In the first video below you’ll see 6’6″ Austin going up and successfully blocking 7’2″ Isaiah Austin’s dunk attempt.  Ike Austin is a future NBA Lottery Pick.  Allex just doesn’t care about those things as he competes fearlessly.

The second video is an extensive collection of Allex Austin highlights over the summer with the Texas D1 Ambassadors as he played alongside future D1 players PG Michael Hardge, P Drew Wikelius, and 2013 PG T.J. WIlliams.

Allex has made it clear that he will play both sports in college. He has all the major track schools courting him.  Last week alone he was visited by Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Florida State.  Most players get caught up by who’s offered them during the summer.  The Austins keep training hard every day at his Pops aptly named “So High Fitness Center/Gym” in San Marcos, TX.  Their goal:  to get better every day and the recruiting process will all work itself out.-Coach Max Ivany

D1 Nation Alumni Tidbits

Another summer has come and gone.  As much as some things never change, there are are others that do.  One of the pillars of the success the D1 Ambassadors have had in their 11 year history is that they have successfully bridged the gap with high school coaches where this summer program is seen as a supplement and a complimentary part of a player’s development in CONJUNCTION with the high school coaches. Much of this has to do with the quality of the coaches that the D1 Ambassadors have had on staff over the years.  We’d like to recognize a few that have been on the move recently.
Congratulations to D1 Ambassadors Coach Dee Hudson (below), who has moved from D3 Concordia University in Austin, TX to the Assistant’s position at Hill Junior College in Hillsborough, TX.  He’ll work for my old friend, Swede Trenkle who also coached my son, Chip at Hill his freshman year.
Below Right: Texas D1 Ambassadors Coach Tremaine Wingfield (shown with All American Prodigy Camp’s Mr. Hustle, Michael Hardge) has taken over as Head Coach at Austin Waldorf.  Wingfield, who played for Louisville and Texas before a 14 year professional career has worked with the D1 Ambassadors the last three years and has been responsible for the development of many of their younger players.

 Speaking of Austin Waldorf, I just got off the phone with their former Head Coach Rob Clifford.  Rob and I go way back when he offered my son Chip a scholarship to St. Andrew’s High School. He and his wife are now making their home in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico where he is heading into his first season as Head Coach at Santa Fe Waldorf.  Congrats to Coach Clifford! He left the program in pretty good shape for Coach Wingfield after their first ever TAPPS Final Four last spring.

Former D1 Ambassadors Coach Marquette Wilkins, former All American at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX has just been named Head Coach at Austin Hyde Park High School.  We wish Marquette well, and know that Hyde Park will quickly learn what defense is all about as Coach Wilkins was one of the best defenders at any level from the Austin, TX area to play at the college level.
Below: Former D1 Ambassadors alumni, Matt Derenbecker (Metarie Country Day, LA) has decided to transfer from Louisiana State University to Dayton.  Last year as a true freshman, Derenbecker a 6’7″ F average 22 minutes per game and 6.5 ppg.  Derenbecker transferred for personal reasons.  He was one of the most promising frosh in the SEC last year and will be sure to have a huge impact with Dayton in the future.

 It had been reported that Tre Demps (San Antonio Reagan) had torn his shoulder ligaments in a pickup game out in Los Angeles.  Demps, a  Texas D1 Ambassadors alum was expected to play a big role as a freshman this year in the Big Ten with Northwestern.  Demps is the son of former NBA player and New Orleans Hornets GM, Dell Demps.  I spoke to Papa Dell on Wednesday as they were headed to the doctor for a second opinion.  They are hopeful that surgery won’t be a necessity. We wish Tre well and to have a speedy recovery-Coach Max Ivany and the D1 Ambassadors Family

Upcoming D1 Nation Events

It’s hard to believe but once again another season of spring/summer basketball is under our belts.  Like an old oak tree, another ring is added to all of our lives.  The past year was a great one for me as I became a grandfather twice.  Noah Ivany is 16 months and Julian Ivany is 10 months. 

The D1 Nation continues to grow.  The exposure we provide for players has grown from our original base of Austin-San Antonio to include Houston TX, Lousiana, Mississippi, Oregon. There will be additional expanded coverage to come in the Fall of 2011. 

We’ll be expanding on our Fall Super Showcases for high school teams this year. This has proven to be an excellent way for high school coaches to get an early feel for their team and which young players may have an impact. This is achieved through match games against opponents they normally would not play in district.  D1 Nations takes pictures and evaluates key contributors and newcomers to the varsity scene. This fall we have events in Austin, Houston and San Antonio in late September and early October prior to the high school regular season getting under way.

Our All American Prodigy Camps have expanded to other parts of the country. Long before Rivals, Pangos, Nike etc knew who they were Max Ivany’s All American Prodigy Camp was the jumping off point for countless players to get on the recruiting map.  Past camp all stars are a who’s who. Cory Jefferson (Baylor), John Henson (North Carolina), Allyn Cooks (South Alabama), Deon Mitchell (Northern Iowa), Cody Doolin (San Francisco), Paul Garnica (Northern Colorado), Tre Demps (Northwestern), Daniel Alexander (Texas A&M), Gus Leeper (Arkansas-Little Rock), Joel Smith (Northeastern), D.J. Stephens (Memphis) to name a few. Class of 2012 Alumni include J. Mychal Reese (Texas A&M commit) and Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke commit).

Every session sells out.  Register today to reserve your spot.  www.d1nation.com  Be the next Prodigy to have their coming out party.- Coach Max Ivany

Jersey…..Sure!

 Any time my friend Dinos Trigonis puts on an event I support it.  Our last collaboration together was our D1 Nation/Full Court Press College Coaches Mixer at the NCAA Final Four in Houston this past spring. I arrived in Phoenix on Friday from Palm Springs, CA and one of my first stops was to Trigoins’ Pangos Lead Guard Camp. About 60 Phoenix youngsters were competing for camp honors, but one player interested me in particular.

2013 PG Johnny Azzinaro has had quite an odyssey the last year plus.  Most ballers travel coast to coast looking for their exposure in summer basketball camps and tournaments but The Azzinaro Family has literally moved across country.  Mrs. Azzinaro, an executive with a health services company has seen her job take her from the Jersey Shore, to San Antonio, TX and now to Phoenix, AZ.

You can be sure that San Antonio Brennan Coach Tommy Hines is hopeful that his talented PG shows up back in Texas in time for school to start next week.  Azzinaro has put on muscle, and seeks out physical contact more than he did last season.  He knows how to run a team and can also shoot it from the perimeter to keep the defense honest. What I like most about Azzinaro’s game is his ability to get to the lane and his understanding of how to attack a defense in the midrange area.  He was on Oregon State’s campus last week for an unofficial and I have it on good report that he did not look out of place with some OSU’s current players.-Coach Max Ivany

Upcoming D1 Nation Events

It’s hard to believe but once again another season of spring/summer basketball is under our belts.  Like an old oak tree, another ring is added to all of our lives.  The past year was a great one for me as I became a grandfather twice.  Noah Ivany is 16 months and Julian Ivany is 10 months. 

The D1 Nation continues to grow.  The exposure we provide for players has grown from our original base of Austin-San Antonio to include Houston TX, Lousiana, Mississippi, Oregon. There will be additional expanded coverage to come in the Fall of 2011. 

We’ll be expanding on our Fall Super Showcases for high school teams this year. This has proven to be an excellent way for high school coaches to get an early feel for their team and which young players may have an impact. This is achieved through match games against opponents they normally would not play in district.  D1 Nations takes pictures and evaluates key contributors and newcomers to the varsity scene. This fall we have events in Austin, Houston and San Antonio in late September and early October prior to the high school regular season getting under way.

Our All American Prodigy Camps have expanded to other parts of the country. Long before Rivals, Pangos, Nike etc knew who they were Max Ivany’s All American Prodigy Camp was the jumping off point for countless players to get on the recruiting map.  Past camp all stars are a who’s who. Cory Jefferson (Baylor), John Henson (North Carolina), Allyn Cooks (South Alabama), Deon Mitchell (Northern Iowa), Cody Doolin (San Francisco), Paul Garnica (Northern Colorado), Tre Demps (Northwestern), Daniel Alexander (Texas A&M), Gus Leeper (Arkansas-Little Rock), Joel Smith (Northeastern), D.J. Stephens (Memphis) to name a few. Class of 2012 Alumni include J. Mychal Reese (Texas A&M commit) and Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke commit).

Every session sells out.  Register today to reserve your spot.  www.d1nation.com  Be the next Prodigy to have their coming out party.- Coach Max Ivany

From Dripping Springs to Lake Lucerne (Switzerland)

One of the nicest people, along with being a talented player to ever wear the uniform of the Texas D1 Ambassadors is Daniel Alexander of Dripping Springs and Texas A&M University. Highly recruited out of Dripping Springs, including offers to Marquette and Arizona the 6’8″ Alexander decided to stay close to home and to Gig ‘Em.
As expected as a freshman last year, Alexander was redshirted to put on beef and to gain confidence as well as to develop a post game in addition to his perimeter skills and passing ability.  He put the time to good use and has packed on about 20 lbs of muscle for the upcoming season.
Daniel Alexander (below) shown with the Texas D1 Ambassadors at the Phoenix Desert Duel

The Aggies are now halfway through their trip to Europe (Switzerland and France) and according to Texas A&M Assistant Kyle Keller who texts me updates Alexander is making good on his opportunity under new Head Coach Billy Kennedy. Kennedy is a Christian man who is not a yeller and a screamer.  This is likely to bode well for Alexander who is a player who can be a difference maker in his career at Aggieland.  The key for him is confidence.
One minute, Alexander is having lunch at the Nutty Brown Cafe (a Dripping Springs favorite) and the next he is touring beautiful Lake Lucerne Switzerland with his Aggie mates. (Photo compliments of Texas A&M Athletics).  They were due in Paris, France today and scheduled to climb the Eiffel Tower.

Below: Alexander makes a scrimmage appearance last year at Reed Arena before putting on 20 pounds of muscle this off season.

A much ballyhooed player out of high school, I had the pleasure of attending Vince Carter’s Nike Skills Academy with Daniel and watching the NBA Draft while eating wings with Daniel and Vince.  During dinner, Daniel nudged me and said can you believe we’re cutting up with Air Canada (who got news of his trade to his hometown Orlando Magic that same day). Below: Daniel shown with LeBron at the Nike Skills Academy.
Good luck this season Daniel and good health-Coach Max Ivany and the D1 Ambassadors Family

From The ‘Ville To Brazil"

This time last year, Deon Mitchell had just finished up an outstanding summer campaign with the Texas D1 Ambassadors.  He’d already been offered by Big East power, Marquette at the end of his sophomore season (summer of 2010) but was in no hurry to commit.  The 2010-2011 high school season saw Mitchell get his Pflugerville Panthers deep into the Texas 5A State Playoffs. Last November, Deon signed with Northern Iowa who had just finished a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Tournament in the spring.  He was impressed with the constant commitment to watching his every summer game.  UNI Assistant Ben Johnson became a fmailiar face in the crowd as did Head Coach Ben Jacobson.

Pflugerville’s Deon Mitchell shown below with the Texas D1 Ambassadors

Fast forward to June of this year.  Mitchell was already on campus at UNI but because of a lack of campus activity, limited interaction with coaches and this being his first time away from home he began to feel homesick.  He called me saying” Coach, I think I made a hasty decision to come here. I don’t want to be this far from home”.  Anyone who knows me will attest to not enabling kids and giving them the easy way out. I politely told Deon to put his nose to the grindstone and that all would be well before he knew it.  With his parents and myself on the same page we encouraged him and told him to work his way through it.  He did.  Both in the classroom and on the floor, Mitchell is already making a difference. 

He’d also gotten his first passport and at the beginning of August, Northern Iowa made a 10 day, 5 game tour of Brazil playing several club teams and a professional opponent as well.  In addition to hooping in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the UNI players experienced lots of South American culture including a trip to famous Copacabana beach where they played frisbee and football as well as chatted up the local Brazilian beauties. They went 5-0 on the trip, including a nice win versus a top pro team outside of Sao Paulo called A.E. Americana which featured Texas native and former A&M Aggie Jeffrey Addai.  On Tuesday Head Coach Ben Jacobson called gushing that Deon was everything and more that they expected him to be when they recruited him to UNI.

Mitchell, shown below signing his National Letter of Intent at Pflugerville HS last November

With a roster featuring 6 freshmen, Mitchell was a starter right out of the gate in 4 of the 5 games.  Assistant Coach Ben Johnson gave me the following updates:

“Deon played extremely well at the point position! He scored it and ran the show. He has great court vision and feel for the game. We are very confident and happy with him both on and off the floor and look forward to him positively impacting our program from day one!  The sky will be the limit fore him as you know and I cannot express how happy we are with where he is right now as a player and how he has conducted himself as a student in the classroom and socially.” he led the team in scoring several times; got to the hole when he wanted, hit threes and got his team mates involved.-Coach Ben Johnson

Mitchell getting off the bus in Rio de Janeiro.  First the gym, and then the beach!

Deon, we are all proud of you and how you represent Pflugerville HS, your family, your community and the Texas D1 Ambassadors.  Don’t be distracted by those who want you to fail or come back home.  Also, don’t be swayed by the local schools who are bordering on tampering with your commitment.-Coach Max Ivany

From The "Ville To Brazil

This time last year, Deon Mitchell had just finished up an outstanding summer campaign with the Texas D1 Ambassadors.  He’d already been offered by Big East power, Marquette at the end of his sophomore season (summer of 2010) but was in no hurry to commit.  The 2010-2011 high school season saw Mitchell get his Pflugerville Panthers deep into the Texas 5A State Playoffs. Last November, Deon signed with Northern Iowa who had just finished a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Tournament in the spring.  He was impressed with the constant commitment to watching his every summer game.  UNI Assistant Ben Johnson became a fmailiar face in the crowd as did Head Coach Ben Jacobson.

Pflugerville’s Deon Mitchell shown below with the Texas D1 Ambassadors

Fast forward to June of this year.  Mitchell was already on campus at UNI but because of a lack of campus activity, limited interaction with coaches and this being his first time away from home he began to feel homesick.  He called me saying” Coach, I think I made a hasty decision to come here. I don’t want to be this far from home”.  Anyone who knows me will attest to not enabling kids and giving them the easy way out. I politely told Deon to put his nose to the grindstone and that all would be well before he knew it.  With his parents and myself on the same page we encouraged him and told him to work his way through it.  He did.  Both in the classroom and on the floor, Mitchell is already making a difference. 

He’d also gotten his first passport and at the beginning of August, Northern Iowa made a 10 day, 5 game tour of Brazil playing several club teams and a professional opponent as well.  In addition to hooping in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the UNI players experienced lots of South American culture including a trip to famous Copacabana beach where they played frisbee and football as well as chatted up the local Brazilian beauties. They went 5-0 on the trip, including a nice win versus a top pro team outside of Sao Paulo called A.E. Americana which featured Texas native and former A&M Aggie Jeffrey Addai.  On Tuesday Head Coach Ben Jacobson called gushing that Deon was everything and more that they expected him to be when they recruited him to UNI.

Mitchell, shown below signing his National Letter of Intent at Pflugerville HS last November

With a roster featuring 6 freshmen, Mitchell was a starter right out of the gate in 4 of the 5 games.  Assistant Coach Ben Johnson gave me the following updates:

“Deon played extremely well at the point position! He scored it and ran the show. He has great court vision and feel for the game. We are very confident and happy with him both on and off the floor and look forward to him positively impacting our program from day one!  The sky will be the limit fore him as you know and I cannot express how happy we are with where he is right now as a player and how he has conducted himself as a student in the classroom and socially.” he led the team in scoring several times; got to the hole when he wanted, hit threes and got his team mates involved.-Coach Ben Johnson

Mitchell getting off the bus in Rio de Janeiro.  First the gym, and then the beach!

Deon, we are all proud of you and how you represent Pflugerville HS, your family, your community and the Texas D1 Ambassadors.  Don’t be distracted by those who want you to fail or come back home.  Also, don’t be swayed by the local schools who are bordering on tampering with your commitment.-Coach Max Ivany

Bryan’s J. Mychal Reese To Texas A&M

Last night, old friend Coach John Reese of Bryan gave me a call to give me a heads up as to what was about to go down in College Station today.  His son, J. Mychal Reese one of the Class of 2012’s most decorated players was about to give his verbal to the Aggies.  Texas A&M is only 5 miles down the road from Bryan High School.  Young Reese was excited to be able to get the ball in his hands and to lead new TAMU Coach Billy Kennedy’s free wheeling offense.  You can expect other dominoes to fall in the recruiting world with this announcement as you can bet that other marquee’ players will want to play with an unselfish player like him.

2012 J. Mychal Reese of Bryan is the new Aggies staff first high profile commitment.

Reese has carried the mantle of being the country’s #1 player from the 5th to 9th grade (and beyond on some services rankings).  He may be the most scrutinized youngster in the history of bsketball because of this, with the possible exception of O.J. Mayo.  Through it all, young Reese has maintained a business like, stoic demeanor as everyone tried to give him their best shot.  This is a testament to his character and that of his family (John and Celeste Reese) as he never allowed the attention to cause him to lose focus or to get “a big head”.

The biggest uncertainty for the Reese Family occurred about 10 days ago when J. Mychal went down with a knee injury.  Thank God that a potential torn ACL turned out to be only a severe strain.  Now, the only 5A Texas All State Player in history to have earned that honor as a freshman, sophomore and junior can concentrate on his senior year and attempting to lead Bryan to a State Title. Amongst other honors Reese also attended the Deron Williams PG Camp this summer in addition to the LeBron James Camp. J. Mychal was also selected to play in the upcoming Global Games in Oregon but upon injuring his knee was quickly replaced on the roster by Nike.

J.Mychal Reese (shown below with the Texas D1 Ambassadors) in the summer of 2007. Photo courtesy of ESPN The Magazine. They came to Austin and Bryan to do a feature on the rising 8th grader who was crowned the #1 player in the country. At the time Reese (along with L.J. Rose, Rasheed Sulaimon, Winston Shepherd, D.J. Griggs and Uche Ofoegbu) led the Texas D1 Ambassadors to consecutive Final Four appearances at AAU Nationals in Memphis and Orlando.

From the D1 Nation’s archives I thought everyone might enjoy this reach back in time as J. Mike was featured in a Junior NBA promo video  with Suns guard Steve Nash.

Reese is an explosive lefty who gets to the rim when he wants, finishing with his devastating tear drop. Can score in bunches but loves to set up team mates and will get after it on defense.  Congratulations to The Reese Family-Coach Max Ivany

STAY TUNED ON THIS ONE AS THEIR MAY BE ANOTHER TWIST TO THE STORY!