It’s no secret I love Arizona and it doesn’t take a whole lot of an excuse to visit and get a little golf in or in the summer time, sunning by the pool. The last 10 days though have been strictly business as I continue to cultivate relationships that can help players in the states I serve; Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Oregon and Arizona. It’s been a whirlwind tour of the Grand Canyon State.
Stop 1. Grand Canyon University. Phoenix, AZ. Currently a D2 program, but with old friend and former Arizona Wildcats Head Coach Russ Pennell at the helm and the recent grand opening of a beautiful new arena it’s only a short while before GCU is D1. Their facilities and organizational structure are already superior to half the Southland Conference. I was on hand pregame to well wish and shake hands with Coach Pennell and Arizona State Head Coach Herb Sendek. I can’t tell you how much pride I have in the players who have represented the D1 Ambassadors over the years as both coaches were gracious and professed that they “love recruiting the D1 Nation both because of the quality of the players but their character as well.”
Stop 2. University of Arizona. Tucson, AZ. Chilled for a couple of hours with the U of A coaches prior to the game that evening discussing prospects in general and Assistant Coach Emmanuel Booker in particular vow that he has to recruit talent rich Texas harder. I am his eyes and ears in the Lone Star State. As an added bonus, I met the coaches from that night’s opponent, Duquesne University who upon hearing I was the Founder of the D1 Ambassadors asked me for their help with a late signee in April.
Stop 3 Arizona State University. Tempe, AZ. Arizona State seems to be hurting for a Pac-12 team. It may be a long year as they barely handled Montana State and zoned them. I touched base with Montana State as well who had a couple of Texas kids on their roster.
Stop 4. Keith Perrin of www.azgamecast.com got wind that I was in town and contacted me to be on his webcast. AzGamecast does a great job of hyping high school sports and providing streaming video og games in Arizona. They are evaluating as to whether they take it nation wide. Based on their studio and technical expertise coupled with love of high school sports it looks like a no brainer to me. I will provide a link to the interview in the next day or so. I’m still nervous in front of the camera despite having done national tv interviews with ESPN’s Outside The Lines, among other programs but anytime I can talk basketball prospects and share recruiting knowledge I am down with it!
Stop 5. At Arizona State University again to see my guys from Pepperdine; Head Coach Marty Wilson and Assistants Damon Lopez and Mark Ameril. We spent half the day at Pepperdine’s campus back in early June of this past summer on an unofficial visit with Alex Caruso and 2012 G Chase Brogna (Houston St. Thomas). They Wave loves the D1 Nation, having offered Texas D1 Ambassador Alex Caruso last summer. He decided on Texas A&M. Now for any of you folks who have not been on Pepperdine’s campus…just close your eyes and think about what heaven might look like. It has to be comparable, as it’s perched high on the cliffs of Malibu overloooking the beautiful California beaches. They already have a verbal commitment from Houston player Dylan Jones, son of former Houston football player Sean Jones.
Tomorrow evening I meet with New Mexico Head Coach Steve Alford and Assistant Craig Neal. I’ll be sure to catch up with Del Valle(TX) and Texas D1 Ambassadors alumni Senior 6’8″ Post A.J. Hardeman who stars for the Lobos. Both Coach Alford and Coach Sendek will be grumpy as they are both coming off losses. Then on Monday I’ll be back home in Texas to enjoy some San Antonio high school hoops/Thanksgiving Day and on to Houston to run my D1 Nation Thanksgiving Jamboree which has a great line up of high school teams from Houston and Louisiana. I hope to see you there!-Coach Max Ivany