Sunday, July 31, 2011

Adidas Grand Finale-Day 1 Standouts

Everything went through Gretchen Harrigan early as she set the tone for Strictly Hoops. She attacked the whole with such aggressiveness as she scored at will and that aggressiveness carried over on the defensive side as well. Standing 5'10, she used her body well and whether it was inside or outside, she gave opponents match-up problems

Ishaina Burch was a sparkplug off the bench and provided instant offense off the bench for Strictly Hoops. I saw Ivonne Cook-Taylor drop a floater as their game against strictly Hoops started and knew I had to keep my eye on this young lady from Mission Rec I love watching athletic and acrobatic players and when you throw the skill factor into the equation, not to mention she's a guard close to that magic number of 6'0 , you have a formula for success

Taylor isn't the only player from Mission Rec, in fact they have several including Shannon Mauldin who was dominant at times around the paint. At 5'10, she showed she could hit the mid-range and handle the ball off the wing nicely

One thing you can't teach is heart and my Insider girls gave me one of my proudest moments over the 10 years I've been doing this.Traveling to an exposure event shorthanded with 6 players while competing against tough competition and over 50 college scouts deserves a shout out in my book not to mention all of the girls are next level players. Although she's only heading to the 9th grade, Brynae Thompson shows promise once she learns the game and could wind up being one of the top players in the area while Michelle Nwokedi has blocked close to a gazillion shots this season, yes that is a number. One of GPR's top posts in the area, 6'2 Nwokedi can score from anywhere on the court and I mean anywhere!

Smooth as silk Jessiah Johnson had one of the best days I've seen her play in three years, this is the same kid that has put up big numbers and includes a game where she dropped 8 threes in the Big  State Flava Jam. Inside or outside, she scored at will and her defense was outstanding. The great thing about all of this was her California relatives got to see her in action

Ashlyn Hargraves was a very late edition who paid dividends right off the top at Basketball On The Bayou. Need a three, dial AH and belive me that call shall be answered. This was shown by the fact that she got us going early in Cali scoring 10 of our 17 points in the first three minutes of game one

Kelichi Kalu comes from an athletic family, older sister plays at Texas State and younger brother is one of the top ballers in high school right now. She is a defensive stopper that can turn a game completely around and never runs away from a challenge

Bryce Owens teams up with Jordan Jones at DeSoto to form one of the top backcourts in the state. She's also one of the best points in the country as she can attack the basket at will and sees the floor as well as anyone. To top that off, she's not a one dimensional player as her man defense is somewhat impressive and her uncanny
anticipation skills are better than many defensive backs I've seen.

There was no shortage of 6'0 blond players with ponytails that could play in this California event as I expected however Margaret Huntington showed she was a "PLAYER" during the warm-ups. She opened the game for JBS Purple with three quick buckets as if she was playing around the world and never looked back

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Adidas Grand Finale

I always brag about Texas having so much talent and over the years I've proven myself correct however if you look hard enough, you will find it's everywhere and you only have to be able to recognize it. Since arriving in Oakland, I have seen so many sights that I won't shake from my memory off the court, it was good to see some talented players on the court and equally good to finally meet Clay Kallam

The inaugural event of the Grand Finale had close to 30 teams and over 50 schools represented from around the West Coast area and those coaches had a wide selection of players to choose from that could play at the next level

I walked in on a great game off the top against the Modesto Magic and JBS Elite which was tight through the end until the Magic'sVeAnne Navarro secured the win with 4 free throws down the stretch

Brianna Womack and 6'6 Jamie Curtis are two of the top players from JBS. Womack is a smart player with a nice stroke and didn't mind sacrificing her body on defense. Curtis is raw however she is from the Class of 2013 and being 6'6 is definitely something to work with

DFW Looks For Third Major


DFW T Jack has won Boo Williams and Basketball On The Bayou this season and they just won their pool at Nike Nationals in their quest to win their third major tournament this season. Moriah Jefferson is their star of stars, however there are others who shine not only on T Jack, but throughout the DFW program

Chelsea Jennings, Courtney Walker and Jordan Jones will be teaming up at Texas A&M , Kristina Higgins heads to Baylor, Empress Davenport to Texas and silent assassin Ashley Eli will be doing her thing at NC State


Bridget Robinson and Gabrielle Wilkins are two keys to the puzzle as they provide energy and do many of the little things you don't see in the box score.

 I saw Wilkins a couple of years ago before her minor injury and she was simply amazing. Fully recovered, she isn't asked to do as much on T Jack but she, as well as Robinson and 6'3 Ariel Chandler are players!


Taylor Washington brings so much energy to the game, it's hard not to notice her on the court. She understands what many players don't and that is effort truly impresses

Speaking of energy on the court, Roshunda Johnson brings heat on both ends. I love throwback players and the pressure defense I saw her put on an opposing back court that secured a victory was simply amazing

Always use the search bar to find players and if I miss the boat on one, EMAIL me please. I've been watching Breanna Hayden since her freshman season and she looks better every time I see her play. One of the most talented players in the Class of 2013 I've seen in Texas, Hayden is on the verge of breaking out as she and Johnson will probably be keys on T Jack next season

Friday, July 29, 2011

Basketball On The Bayou-What A Premier!

I always say that the game starts with the one and watching Brooke McCarty and AJ Alix grow up before my eyes has been something special. This game, DFW T Jack vs Cy Fair Premier was supposed to happen back in March or April. It was billed as Nike vs Adidas, Houston vs Dallas, but it fell through back then so it's ironic that it happened where the levee failed through and during the rain, well maybe it isn't but it was one of the most exciting games I've seen this summer. These two young ladies have been so valuable to whatever club or school team they've played on and like Moriah Jefferson who is sandwiched between them, I have seen them completely take over games

Courtney Latham and Aaliyah Brown are two very gifted players that team up with McCarty at Clear Springs and I've already placed the monkey on their backs as the team to beat in Region 3

Jazmyn Johnson and the Gilbert twins truly stepped their games up this summer, I already mentioned how the twins stock has taken a tremendous leap over the past few months

Underrated and under appreciated, Caitlyn Diaz and Bianca Winslow jumped ship to join the Premier for the last month which raised a lot of eyebrows and should help with some of the lunacy associated with spin. Diaz also plans on going out with a bang back at Tomball High School and teaming with her sister, Carissa, a promising 2014 player herself who also has the biggest smile of the front page. She was a key player for Westbury Christian this season who will be going through a rebuilding stage with the loss of Amber Orrange and Brianna Turner

Winslow hopes to go out with a bang as well as her and Alix team with with bombs away Raven Burns to try and get Bellaire to Austin. The Premier stayed with T Jack for most of the game, Tyler Gilbert wouldn't be denied in the paint, Moriah just would not be denied from anywhere and it was awesome to watch. One more story from the Bayou coming up and that's the stars of DFW!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Basketball On The Bayou-Express Keeps Rolling Without Alexis Jones

I have called Alexis Jones the best player in the Class of 2012. That says a lot, especially after Moriah Jeffersons spectacular performance to lead her team to the BOB Mardi Gras Championship but you can't go wrong with either of these Texas guards. Jones is doing her thing with 2011 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship team while her club team, who was the darling of the summer circuit last season keeps rolling

Her father David Jones is still at the helm coaching the team and many believe the decision to have Alexis play with her high school teammates helped Irving MacArthur win the Texas State 5A Championship

Although there aren't as many IM kids as last season, there are still quite a few and in the absence of AJ, a couple of players have from that state championship team are still rolling. Ayriel Anderson is a gifted guard who can go completely off on you. She is known for her range, I personally watched her drop 5 in a row from almost 30 feet last season

Khoria Newman is another player to keep an eye on with her. She can take it to the hoop, bang on the inside and step out and nail the mid range jumper consistently. Both players are under the radar however both will be keys when they team up with Alexis as they try and repeat as state champions.

Basketball On The Bayou- Fort Bend Stars Battle Through Injuries

Jasmine King and Nykala Richards are two bright young guards from the Class of 2013 that have had more than their share of injuries since entering high school. The Westside back court comes from a high school known  for it's tough defense which has carried over to their club scene play

Most of the spin on this club is about Aundrea Pipkins, but let's face it, 6'3 posts are a premium and this young lady has come a very long way since she and Richards were pegged Rising Stars last season

Michelle Bevan continues to grow and the way she drops those bombs makes her a hot commodity

Basketball On The Bayou-Essence Purple

Time Is Of The Essence-definition:time and dates mentioned in contract are very important to maintain and should not be ignored by any of the party under any circumstances or in other words, just because Top 10 and 6'4 Rachel Holivay isn't playing with the club and Precious Hall is 100%, this team has shown they are a group of young ladies to be reckoned with

Alexis Prince is everything I heard she was and with her size and strength, she makes things look quite easy against opponents on both ends of the court and can score from a variety of ways. Destinty Jones is another offensive threat who kept Essence close against T Jack in the Mardi Gras finals scoring 14 first half points

This squad is fast and furious and even though they may not be the same Essence team, don't count them out

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Basketball On The Bayou-Don't Mess With AE

It seems like Austin Elite has been around forever and they continue to be competitive and more importantly, give young ladies the proper platform to play at the next level

Whether it's their Black or Silver team, you know you are in for a fight time and time again. With Jasmine Ortiz and Alyssa Jones spearheading the Silver teams potent offense or the many young stars from the Black team who will be back for them next season led by 6'3 Tyesha Taylor who is on many schools short list for the Class of 2014, AE is solid

Basketball On The Bayou- Some New Life Action

New Life created quite a stir at the Big State Flava Jam by going point for point with DFW T Jack for almost 30 minutes. On this trip, two of their stars that committed weren't in uniform as well as Erin Peoples, center, who moved the DFW Gold squad. 2014 Taylor Lewis, left, is a gifted guard with speed and range, not to mention a very high IQ, on and off the court. Sandy Jackson, right, is one of those players that never stops on both ends as she created havoc and loves to run the floor. Anisha Johnson, below, shows no signs that her knee injury has slowed her down. She was a catalyst for their 2013 team that played quite well against some of the top squads and could be a force when she's completely healthy

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Basketball On The Bayou- Young Guns Team Up and Against

I kind of feel empty without my annual Erin Grant picture. For those of you new to the game, Grant is the "ONLY" Texas player to win four 5A State Championships and along with being one of the states first, if not the first MDAA. Erin went on to star at Texas Tech and now is an assistant at New Mexico!

The real reason I threw Erin in here is because my daughter was often compared to her just like Chastity Patterson is being compared to my daughter. The slender build and ponytail is what people see first however all three are as different as they are alike but the bottom line is they all get the job done and Patterson is showing that being headed to 7th grade is no setback as she could play on most varsity high school teams in the area right now and probably start on half of those she would be on. Will she be as dominant as the others? That remains to be seen but she's in a different position right now as not being the go to girl on her squad which would give her the chance to take things over early, she still is a special player who will only get better. The game between the 2014 DFWW and SA Rohaweks was a dandy as a lot of young talent saw what they will be facing in the future, lots of college coaches looking at them in an exposure event

Janvier Branch has been around the circuit in what seems like forever however as 5th grader, I saw something in this young lady and now standing close to 5'8, the 8th grader has a growth spurt or two left however she is definitely on the GPR Rising Star Watch List for 2016.

Talisha Presley was acrobatic and athletic and along with her upside has a bright basketball future ahead

Jefferson wasn't the only Moriah going off as Cresswell was a defensive dynamo

I've seen Desiree Johnson play so many times that I'm sold on her as a next level player

Darby James and Teanna Peavy work hard every time I see them on the court

I have certain sayings that I repeat over and over because like developing a deadly jumper, it takes repetition. One of the things I preach is that the game starts at the ONE, it truly does and if you don't agree, shame on you. The second thing is "it's not what you do, it's who you do it against" and the third is you have girl's that play basketball and you have girl's that are BASKETBALL PLAYERS

In order to be a basketball player you have to put something into it, work, and you have to be able to learn from your mistakes. It's always refreshing for me to see young talent coming up and Texas is a big state loaded with talent. I know Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Arkansas all have talented players as well and I will do my best to write a little something about them all but remember you can't be ranked, at least by me, if I haven't seen  the player play.