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 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

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!

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.

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.)

Cinco Ranch Chris Saiz R.I.P.

Chris Saiz R.I.P.
Earlier today I received an email from my friend Chip Morris, whose son had played summer basketball in the past with Chris Saiz on the Texas Cagers team.  Today the Saiz Family grieves the loss of a son.  The entire Texas basketball community and the D1 Ambassadors Family grieves with the Saiz Family.  God Bless.  Coach Max Ivany
By ADAM COLEMAN Houston Community Newspapers
Cinco Ranch standout guard Chris Saiz was killed late Tuesday in a car accident that left the Cinco Ranch community reeling. “Chris was such a fine young man, an intelligent young man,” said Cinco Ranch basketball coach Neil King. “He was a great student-athlete. He did everything in the classroom that was ever asked of him.
“Obviously you’ve seen him play before. He’s a very talented young man on the court. He comes from an outstanding family. His mom and dad and brother are just unbelievable people.”
The standout basketball player was in a car with fellow teammate Derrick Jones when the car spun out of control and hit a tree.
Saiz was taken by helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Jones was injured in the accident, but survived.
King said he received a phone call Wednesday morning about the accident.
At the hospital, King said, many of Saiz’s teammates as well as former Cinco Ranch players were there.
“ It’s a sad day,” King said. “We’re just trying to lean on our Cinco family and try to get through this.”
A memorial service was planned for Wednesday at the school’s gym. No other details on funeral arrangements were available.
Saiz was a talented point guard, who was the second-leading scorer on the team with 15.4 point per game. He also was a master at distributing the basketball and was the catalyst on a talented Cinco Ranch boys basketball team.
Saiz teamed with Garrett Wilson to form a dynamic backcourt for the Cougars.
Saiz was known as a slasher who penetrated defenses while Wilson is a standout shooter.
Saiz was also a master at making the right pass at the right time. He had a team-high 41 assists on the year.
He also was a asset on the boards, snaring 71 total rebounds this year.
In an interview earlier this year, Saiz said what he’s able to do on the court combined with Wilson’s ability made Cinco Ranch as dangerous as any team in the district. Opponents had to choose who they wanted to guard, which allowed the other to thrive.
“Garret’s a great shooter, so he stretches the floor,” he said. “So when he’s shooting well, it opens up the floor for me and when I’m driving, I can kick it to him. So it’s just hard to guard both of us at the same time.”
Wilson has the same sentiments as his teammate in remarks made earlier this year. He said it’s hard to lock both of them down defensively.
“Pretty much when one of us gets it going, the other feeds off that,” he said. “But even when one of us isn’t shooting as well, the other one picks it up. It’s just back and forth, back and forth.”
Cinco Ranch plays its next game in the Alvin Holiday Classic on Dec. 27. It was unclear as of press time whether the team would still play in the tournament.

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.