Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Player Spotlight: 2012 Aly Mohamed of Houston Trent International

Only 10 days out from the first live event of the NCAA recruiting period various roster tweaks are occurring as top level players are making decisions on where their best opportunity is for playing time and exposure in the key July period.  There's no doubt that the Houston Defenders are one of the country's elite teams this year and are on every college coaches radar.  So, too are the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston who are loaded with talent.  The Defenders have Big Shaq Cleare who commands and deserves lots of playing time.  2012 big man, Aly Mohamed wants more time for his game to shine.
On Sunday,  2012 6'9" Aly Mohamed has crossed over to the Texas D1 Ambassadors camp and gives the orange and black a true man in the middle at 6'9" and 260 lbs.  The native of Egypt who played last season for Houston Trent International is a high, high level player.  He has a special combination of size, strength and a wide ranging and intriguing skill set that makes the sky the limit for him.  Down low he has great footwork and an assortment of nifty low post moves.  When he faces the basket he can knock down the mid range shot. In fact, he can shoot the three too.  He is devastatingly accurate as a passer out of the high post as well.  Our players are quickl dreading practicing against him because he is PHYSICAL.  However, they can't wait until the games begin and he's on their side of the ball because he is a PRESENCE.

Check out his video below from a year ago.  He's that much better again today as witnessed by his outstanding performance at the recent Under Armour Camp in Atlanta, GA.  Overall he graded out as the #3 ranked player at the UA Atlanta Camp.

Mohamed joins a talented D1 Ambassador frontline that includes 2011 F 6'9" Keynan "Slim" Willis of Crosby, 2013 6'9" Johnathan Motley of Houston Northshore, 2012 F 6'8" Maurice Letcher-Ellis of Houston Yates,  2014 F 6'8" Kendrick Morris of Phillips Exeter (NH)  and 2013 F 6'7" Parker Callender of Houston Clear Springs.

His backcourt mates are a fearsome foursome of 2012 guards.  Chase Brogna of Houston St. Thomas, Joshua Hagins of Bossier City Airlne (LA), Devon Turk of Houston St. Pius, NBA Player's Camper Alex Caruso of College Station A&M Consolidated and 2011 G Jalen Washington of Pflugerville Hendrickson.

After the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston break camp in Galveston their July schedule is as follows:
July 7-8 Atlantic Slam Myrtle Beach, SC

July 9-12 GASO Duncanville Duncanville, TX
July 13-15 Best Buy Summer Classic Minneapolis, MN
July 22-25 Las Vegas Fab 48 Las Vegas, NV
July 27-28 Desert Duel Phoenix, AZ

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Great American Shootout -Pearland Wrap Ups

For many of Texas' teams with their sights set on the July recruiting period, the Great American Shootout-Pearland is a final tune up before they hit the trail in search of scholarship opportunities for their athletes.  The Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio arrived in Pearland with the goal of defending the championship they'd won 3 weeks ago at the GASO in Bryan/College Station, TX.

Texas D1 was super pooled and went through their 3 pool games unscathed:

GASO Pool Play:
Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 60  Team Texas-San Antonio 53
Team Texas jumped on top 9-3, but Texas D1 went on a 29-14 run to lead comfortably at the half. 2012  Uche Ofoegbu of San Antonio Stevens led the balanced scoring with 15 points.  He's getting recruited mid to high major.  He's receiving serious consideration from SMU, Tulane, Colorado, Texas A&M, Stanford, Penn State and Yale just to name a few.  

2012 Adam Perez of San Antonio Clark dropped 13 in support of Ofoegbu while 2013 G Justin Graham was the best player on the floor for Team Texas-San Antonio as he had 15 points and handled constant pressure well in the loss.
2012 Uche Ofoegbu of San Antonio Stevens keeps raising the level of his game.

Texas D1 Ambasadors 57  Deron Williams Elite 48

Once again Uche Ofoegbu led the way in the scoring department as he notched 21.  2012 P 6'9" Connor Lammert had 10,  as did 2012 G Matt Gramling.  2012 F Antoine Burrell had 13 for D-Will Elite. 

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 61  Houston Lynx 55
2012 G Matt Gramling showed why his San Antonio MacArthur squad went deep into the Texas 5A State Playoffs as he scored 20 points and had several key assists in the win over a solid Lynx squad.  2012 Jacolby Green led the Lynx with 13 points.

GASO Bracket Play: 1st Round

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 64  Houston Starting 5 Phenoms 52
Balanced scoring was the order of the day as Texas D1 went deep into their bench.  Adam Perez, 2012 G Niko Maxwell of San Antonio Clark and 2012 Matt Gramling all had 12 points as they cruised to the W.

GASO Bracket Play: 2nd Round

Texas D1 Ambasadors-San Antonio 75 Corpus Christi Islanders 60
As Yogi Berra used to say, "It's deja vu all over again" as for the 3rd consecutive GASO event the Islanders were sent packing by Texas D1.  The Islanders went up 13-4 but popped their cork too early as Texas D1 kept it's composure and came roaring back.  The Texas D1 squad is a reflection of even keeled, classy Coach Paul Josephs. They just don't get rattled. It was a close game until coaching techs took the wind out of the Islanders sails, sinking their ship.  2012 W 6'6" Jeffrey Rodewald, MVP of his district with Alamo Heights gave them the business as he dropped 22 points, recored double digit rebounds and 6 blocks.  Adam Perez also added 22 in the blowout.
2012 Jeffrey Rodewald of San Antonio Alamo Heights is moving up the D1 radar as July nears.
GASO Semi Finals

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 51  San Antonio Legends 44

There's only one legendary group out of San Antonio, TX and that's the D1 Ambassadors with 96 D1 players and counting.  In a spirited affair, Texas D1 went on a late 18-5 run to win going away.  Credit Jeffrey Rodewald's high revving motor and Adam Perez penetrating to the paint at will as the keys to victory.  2012 Taurean Waller-Prince was the best player on the other side of the ball as he had 14 in the loss.

GASO Championship

Houston Hoopstars Elite 60 Texas D1 Ambassadors 51

In the third meeting of heavyweights in the past three weeks, the Houston Hoopstars Elite downed the Texas D1 Ambassadors in a great summer basketball game.  The Hoopstars led by double digits several times, and Texas D1 kept battling back.  With less than 2 minutes remaining Texas D1 had two chances to knot the score at 54 but could not get it done against a well coached, and talented Hoopstars squad.

Not too often that summer games are kind to big men in terms of flow and mathups but for the second straight GASO championship game as the two Pangos All American Campers: 2012 Cameron Ridley (Texas commit) and Connor Lammert battled all game long with intense post play.  Both kids are really good, both academically as well as in a basketall sense.  It's going to be a great July recruiting period for Texas players as they head on the road for the July period.  Good luck and safe travels to all!
2012 Connor Lammert takes an unofficial visit to Texas A&M tomorrow

Friday, June 24, 2011

Player Spotlight: 2012 PG Joshua Hagins of Bosssier City Airine (LA)

The State of Louisiana is chock full of great athletes, many with the pedigrees of pros.  There are a couple of PG's there with the complete package, including academics.  Down on the Bayou and throughout the country most everyone knows New Orleans St. Augustine's Javan Felix who has made a national name for himself.  The "other guy" is ready for his coming out party this July.  He resides upstate, his name is Josh Hagins from Bossier City Airline.  He earned  5A All State honors this past season.
2012 G Josh Hagins of Bossier City Airline
Hagins is the latest player In our long tradition of great players from Louisiana who have suited up for the Texas D1 Ambassadors over the years. (Matt Derenbecker-LSU, Brian Williams-Oklahoma State, Trevante Drye-Tulane ..to name a few). He'll strap it on this July with the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston squad as they travel fom coast to coast putting their talents on display for hundreds of Division 1 coaches.

For Hagins it all starts on defense where he's an outstanding on ball defender.  On offense when the ball is in his hands he's able to do what all great PG's do...get in the lane where he draws defenders and hits the open man.  He is tough to stay in front of but if you sag off him he's more than capable of hitting an assortment of midrange shots or he's also a threat to let fly his pretty rainbow three pointer.  He'll compete alog with his D1 mates at the following live recruiting events.

July 7-8     Atlantic Slam                          Myrtle Beach, SC
July 9-12   GASO Duncanville                 Duncanville, TX
July 13-15 Best Buy Summer Classic    Minneapolis, MN
July 22-25 Las Vegas Fab 48                  Las Vegas, NV
July 27-28 Desert Duel                             Phoenix, AZ

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Player Spotlight: 2012 Chase Brogna of Houston St. Thomas

2012 G Chase Brogna has built a nice body of basketball work in his prep career. He was the District newcomer of the year at Cy Falls as a sophomore in 2009-2010.  Last season he transferred to Houston St. Thomas High School and along with 2012 back court mate Christian Sanders they steamrolled their way to the Texas 5A TAPPS State Championship blowing out highly regarded Prestonwood Academy and Kansas commit Zach Peters.  Brogna averaged 16ppg and had the hot hand in the 'Ship as he dropped 27 points in the win.

2012 G Chase Brogna of Houston St. Thomas
Recognizing the need to move from the off guard spot at his high school to the lead guard spot in summer basketball, Brogna has proven to be a quick study. Count 5A TAPPS All State and an invitation to the prestigious Pangos All American Camp as part of his impressive resume'. He'll play with the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston in the July period at the events listed below:

July 7-8     Atlantic Slam                          Myrtle Beach, SC
July 9-12   GASO Duncanville                 Duncanville, TX
July 13-15 Best Buy Summer Classic    Minneapolis, MN
July 22-25 Las Vegas Fab 48                  Las Vegas, NV
July 27-28 Desert Duel                             Phoenix, AZ
Check out Brogna's YouTube Highlights:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Player Spotlight: 2012 P 6'9" Jake Belford of Battleground (WA)

Hello Oregon! Welcome to:  http://www.d1nation.com/

Welcome to the inaugural post from the D1 Naton's Oregon Report.  The site is designed and maintained by basketball professionals who are interested in the well being of players from Oregon and the surrounding area both at the high school and club level. Be sure to bookmark us at http://www.d1nation.com/ and read our fresh reports on today and tomorrows prep stars.

2012  Jake Belford                      6’9” F       Battle Ground (WA)
Let's introduce you to Jake Belford from nearby Battleground Washington.  The 2012 6'9" post player is a long athletic guy who gets it done down low but can also flick it when facingthe bucket. After attending Washington State's Elite Camp this past weekend in Pullman, WA he was voted the top performer at the Wazzu Camp.

Jake is rising fast this spring and will play in July with the Oregon D1 Ambassadors-White team as they head to four high level events during the open recruiting period where he'll be coached by Cameron Turner.

July 8-12     Great American Shootout            Duncanville , TX
July 13-15   Northwesthoops.com Invite         Portland, OR
July 22-26   Fab 48  Las Vegas                         Las Vegas, NV
July 28-30   Best of Summer                             Anaheim,CA

Texas D1 Ambassadors Attend Ivy League Elite Camp

We've had great blue chip athletes over the years with the Texas D1 Ambassadors.  Our 90 plus D1 players are on every level from low to mid to high.  It's not our only focus though, as academic achievement is also highly valued.  I believe that if a person is disciplined in their social and academic life then it stands to reason that they'll be disciplined as an athlete and a leader. 

Three such players from our program attended Columbia University's Elite Camp this past week on the beautiful Ivy League campus located in New York City. They were 2012 PG Carter Josephs of San Antonio Clark, 2012 P 6'7" Shelby Lane of San Antonio Alamo Heights and 2013 P 6'8" Kendrick Morris of Houston St. Pius, who is ransferring this fall to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.  All three distinguished themselves.  They are very good basketball players, but even better people.

2012 Shelby Lane of San Antonio Alamo Heights was named the Top Rebounder at the Columbia Elite Camp.  Lane, a hard nosed guy who bangs down low will be a big part of Alamo Heights potentially deep run this coming season.
 2012 Carter Josephs of San Antonio Clark is blossoming at the lead guard position.  Thrust into a starting role late in the season when Clark had a couple of academic casalties Josephs took advantage and never relinquished his starting spot. He takes care of the ball to a fault and runs an offense efficiently.
 2013 P Kendrick Morris of Houston St. Pius (en route to Phillips Exeter (NH) is still a young pup, but he's not afraid to compete against the best 17 year olds the circuit has to offer. Morris is also reclassifying to the Class of 2014 for the coming school year as he enters the rigorous academic curriculum on the East Coast.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Alex Caruso Named Breakout Player At NBA Player's Camp

The story below is courtesy of my friend's at ESPN.
Breakout Player: NBA Player's Camp
Alex Caruso

(College Station, Texas/ A&M Consolidated)
2012, SG, 6-5, 180 pounds

A virtual unknown until now, Caruso is a SG with a deceptive athletic ability and instincts for the game on both ends of the floor. With his vision and passing ability, he makes the assist or keeps the ball moving to help an offense stay fluid. Without the ball in his hands, he understands spacing and will play off his teammates to free himself. He is comfortable and confident with his long range shooting and can put a streak of points together by taking advantage of defensive mistakes. Defensively, his anticipation off the ball is quick and he doesn't gamble but gets his share of good steals.
Photo Courtesy ESPN's Davide de Pas:  2012 Texas D1 Ambassadors' Alex Caruso

Friday, June 17, 2011

Recruiting Tidbits

I don't have a lot of info to pass on from the NBA Players Camp YET, but I do know that Houston Strake Jesuit's Rasheed Sulaimon did his thing to the tune of 17 points in one game, Danuel House (Fort Bend Hightower-15) and Danrad Knowles (HCYA-15) in another.  Alex Caruso is also playing well, showing that he's a facilitator at almost 6'6".

Two Texas D1 Ambassadors: 2013 Johnathan Motley (Houston Northshore), and 2013 Parker Callender of Clear Springs  (and one from Mississippi D1 Ambassadors: 2012 Avery Woodson of 6A State Champion Wayne County) were on hand at Colorado State's elite camp.  All impressed the staff but only one walked away with a scholarship offer.  That would be the 6'7" Callendar who picked up the first of what should be many 'ships.  Colorado State Assistant Craig Smith told me all the current players on the roster loved his physical play and ability to shoot the three.
Speaking of Motley, didn't someone else's site claim he was on another roster?  WRONG.  No retraction of the misinformation either. Come to think of it, it was eerily quiet in Houston on the "tweeting" front after the GASO Championship was decided.  Anyway, count the Texas Longhorns for those in the hunt for the ultra long Motley as Coach Chris Ogden is on his trail.  Expect Motley to be one of Houston's hottest commodities next year as he combines academics, length, agility and a pretty shot from 15 feet and in.
2013 Johnathan Motley on a leadership conference in Washington, DC
2012 G Avery Woodson of Wayne County, MS may not be a household name in the country (or for that matter anywhere outside the Deep South) but make no mistake he'll be a catch for someone as he can shoot it with the best of them.  He went head to head against all of Mississippi's great guards last year and when they raised the 6A State Championship trophy it was Woodson who held it high for Wayne County.
Mississippi D1 Ambassadors' lights out shooter, Avery Woodson

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NBA Players Association Camp

High level ballers are catching flights to Charlottesville, VA today for the 2011 edition of the NBA Player's Association Camp.  Camp Director, Dave Telep has a bumper crop assembled in the Class of 2012.  It has a heavy flavor of Texans and also a number of players with associations (past and present) with the D1 Ambassadors.
2012 Alex Caruso of College Station A&M Consolidated shown below at the Pangos All American Camp (Photo from ESPN Rise)

Caruso's recruiting action is en fuego, where I've received calls from UCLA, Marquette, Gonzaga & Georgetown yesterday alone. Look for him to continue to build his rep at the NBA Players Camp.  He'll play on a team with man-child Andre Drummond & crosstown rival J.Mychal Reese of Bryan High. What are the odds that two youngsters from the Brazos Valley would be in the Top 100?  Sweet!

Players to watch that have been part of the D1 Ambassadors at one time or another are:
 J-Mychal Reese 6-2 175 PG/SG Bryan TX Bryan 2012 (shown below at Max Ivany's D1 Nation Sweet 16 in Austin, TX : October 2010)

 L.J. Rose 6-4 185 PG Houston TX Second Baptist 2012
 Winston Shepard 6-8 215 SF Henderson NV Findlay Prep 2012
 Rasheed Sulaimon 6-4 190 SG Houston TX Strake Jesuit 2012
These 4 players are all childhood friends and had a great two year run in the AAU Nationals Final Four with the Texas D1 Ambassadors.  While in Bryan this past weekend at the Great American Shootout I was reminiscing with old friend, Coach John Reese of Bryan (J.Mychal's dad) about those days and how time flies by.  Almost 5 years ago to the day, Coach Reese and I drove a group of players to the Five Star Florida State Camp in Tallahassee, FL.  J. Mychal Reese became the first 7th grader in the storied history of Five Star to play in the "NBA Division" of that camp.

The other two youngsters in camp to make noise with the New Orleans D1 Ambassadors are:
00 Javan Felix 6-0 195 PG New Orleans LA St. Augustine H.S. 2012 Lakers
55 Ricardo Gathers 6-8 250 PF LaPlace LA Riverside Academy 2012 Heat
Felix (near bottom) is one of the nation's smoothest point guard prospects, while Gathers (far bottom) is a monster.  Both are shown with new Orleans D1 Ambassadors at the Las Vegas Fab 48, 2010

Below are the additional Texans in the house for the NBA Player's Camp.  Good luck to all and congratulations to their families.-Coach Max Ivany

42 Danuel House 6-7 195 SF Hightower TX Hightower 2012 Thunder
106 Shaquille Cleare 6-9 280 C Houston TX The Village School 2012 Bulls
06 Darrin Minnifield 6-1 160 PG Houston TX Bellaire 2013 Lakers
82 Cameron Ridley 6-10 250 SG Fort Bend TX Ft. Bend Bush 2012 Spurs

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

D1 Nation Going Viral: Oregon/Washington

It's been a wonderful journey over the last 11 seasons.  The D1 Nation originally was nothing more than one team of players in Austin, TX chasing their summer basketball dreams being led (as best we knew how at the time) by Coach Max Ivany and Mark Beasley.  Time flies by and now both of our son's have not only lived their college basketball dreams, but they've graduated with their bachelor's degree.  My son, Chip from South Alabama/Texas-San Antonio and Mark's son, Bryan from Rice.

I never could quite rid myself of the basketball bug, and now along with Chip Ivany the D1 Nation has grown into so much more. In addition to having scores of players that we assist on the summer circuit, we have honed our system to enhance most any player's chances of living out their basketball dreams regardless of where they live, North America wide.

We'd like to welcome our newest friends as part of the program.  A couple of years ago I met and ended up brainstorming with a high school coach from Oregon, Coach Cameron Turner.  Like us, he had a different vision for club basketball. He offered an alternative to much of the club basketball scene. It was one where he gave players a wholesome surrounding to develop and be showcased.  We've become friends and have a lot of respect for each other so it was only natural that we'd come together in a positive way for the youth of Oregon and Washington.

His club, Williamette Regin is chock full of quality players (and even more importantly quality people). They have now officially become the Oregon D1 Ambassadors. In addition to Coach Turner's discipline and coaching skills these kids now have the full benefit of all the relationships built by the D1 Nation.  You'll soon be reading a stand alone, Oregon D1 Nation Oregon Prep Report as well as seeing his always tough and potent teams out on the circuit, flying the D1 Flag.  Welcome Oregon!
Beautiful downtown Portland, Oregon with Mt. Hood in the background

Monday, June 13, 2011

GASO Champions Crowned: "Houston We Have A Problem"

Typical of most times a team from San Antonio plays a Houston or Dallas squad they're cast as the underdog.  The lone exception to that year in and year out are the Texas D1 Ambassadors.  This weekend at GASO was no different as they took on the best the DFW Metroplex had to offer as well as Houston.  The road to the championship went through the Houston Lynx in the semi finals and eventually the Houston Hoopstars for the title.
Texas D1 Ambassadors:  GASO Champs......Again!
left to right: Coach Max Ivany, Cole Martinez, Carter Josephs, Jeffrey Rodewald, Uche Ofoegbu, Niko Maxwell, Adam Perez, Connor Lammert and Coach Paul Josephs
Texas D1 Ambassadors 68  Houston Lynx   61
Texas D1 jumped out to an early double digit lead but the Houston Lynx just wouldn't go away.  The score was tied with 7 minutes to play before one decisive, final run put it away. Balanced scoring has been the order of the tournament for Texas D1. 2011 Cole Martinez (Air Force)18, 2012 Connor Lammert 14, 2012 Adam Perez 13 and 2012 Uche Ofoegbu 11.

Texas D1 Ambassadors 63  Houston Hoopstars  60
Anytime we strap it on with the Houston Hoopstars it's a battle.  They beat the Houston D1 squad back in the spring, and back to last summer the Austin D1 squad bumped them from this same GASO event.  A pool play victory Saturday morning over the Hoopstars (minus Cameron Ridley who was at Adidas Nation) would not be easy to replicate.  It's hard to beat a good team twice, and especially so as they brought their McDonald's All American candidate in for the final game.

For most of the first half the lead changed hands several times in a bruising, physical matchup.  Then near the end of the half the Hoopstars went on a run, leading31-23 at the break. Midway through the second half the lead was 9 before Texas D1 started chipping away.  The last three minutes, the lead swung back and forth by a point, eventually being tied at 60 with 1:30 left to play.  With Texas D1 running a weave and holding the ball for the final shot they finally got the look they wanted.  With 15 seconds left, San Antonio Catholic's Cole Martinez did what he does better than anyone.  The San Antonio Player of the Year let the three ball fly and snapped the twines.  Bingo!  The last 15 seconds were frantic and when all was said and done, the Hoopstars squad never did get off a shot attempt.

The game featured 3 campers from the recently completed Pangos All American Camp in Los Angeles. Cameron Ridley (Hoopstars), Uche Ofoegbu and Connor Lammert (Texas D1).

Cameron Ridley is everything they say he is, maybe even better.  He's made great strides under Coach Keith White and his upside is huge.  As a Texas alum, I am excited to see him wearing burnt orange in the next year.  Lammert does not have the notoriety or the overall game that Ridley has, but at 16 years old is developing rapidly.  He has a special skill set too with his passing ability and being able to step out to the three point line.  Even though Ridley dunked on him several times the youngster stayed composed and got a couple of his own including an impressive tomahawk off a loose ball on the rim. 

Texas D1 received balanced scoring including 14 from Lammert, 14 from Alamo Heights Jeffrey Rodewald and 14 from Martinez.  Ridley did his thing and had 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead all scorers.

This is the Texas D1 Ambassadors 4th GASO Championship in the last 3 years. The credit always rests with the players but Coach Paul Josephs deserves a pat on the back for steering the ship.  His calm demeanor and balance between calling sets at the right time, mixed in with giving the players some freedom to improvise makes this a dangerous team.  SAT and ACT priorities kept us down to 6 and 7 players for the entire tournament, so the players really bonded together despite missing 6'7" Shelby Lane and 6'5" Aaron Ramirez. Both of them bring depth, size and toughness to the team as they head into July.

I'd like to give a shout out to my son, Chip who was 24 years old on Saturday.  Without him this program would never have existed.  Coach Chip Ivany's squad won the Father's Day tournament in 2009 behind Cody Doolin (San Francisco), Dylan Elias (Northern Colorado), Paul Garnica (Northern Colorado) and Deon Mitchell (Northern Iowa).  Interestingly enough, all 4 of these guys are playing PG at the next level.  Last year Coach Paul Josephs San Antonio squad behind the Lammert Brothers Connor and (Clark-TexasTech) won the GASO Spring Opener followed by Coach Mike Hardge's Austin squad taking the 2010 title at the GASO College Station behind Eric McClellan (Tulsa), Jaleel Williams (San Jose State), Deon Mitchell (Northern Iowa) among others.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Texas D1 Ambassadors 2014 Unveiled @ GASO

It's time to introduce the 2014 D1 Ambassadors "Fab Five" freshmen to the rest of the basketball world.  I've been meaning to do this article for awhile but last night I saw my old friend, Ray Jackson of Michigan and Fab Five fame at Bryan High School.  After chatting with him I resolved to quit procrastinating and get this done.

The Great American Shootout's are an excellent way to evaluate where you're at as a player and a team.  The young frosh were entered into the NCAA (mid division) of the event which typically consists of high school teams or of select teams who are made up of sophomores and juniors. Someone forgot to tell these guys to walk softly.  They came out carrying a big stick, blowing out two opponents while also beating a talented Houston Lynx Yellow squad.
From left to Right: 

2014 6'4" W Garret Gray of Marble Falls
Add Gray to our long list of track men who were also outstanding hoopers too.  He's a blazing 100 meter man with a nice mid range game and a bounce in his step.
2014 6'1" WG Matt Perry of Kerrville Tivy
Perry, whose brother Jonathan is a D1 alum, competes hard every time out and already shows the trademark Perry perimeter game and basketball savvy.
2014 6'0" PG Chase Carlton of Austin Westlake
Carlton is a floor general and a tough competitor who will find the open man as well as knock down shots. He looks to get his team mates the ball first, but leave him open and he goes off.
2014 6'1" CG Trey Dilworth of Round Rock McNeil
One of Texas' purest, powerful and skilled athletes.  Dilworth can shoot the three but is devastating when going to the rack, where he wants to flush everything.
2014 6'5" CG Aubrie King of Mumford
Son of legendary shooter, Alvie King.  The Mumford Musket was one of the State's top scorers and three point shooters as a frosh.  He sports the old school Chris Mullin 'do and shoots like him too.

The rest of the country will get to know these youngster quite well in the near future.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Player Spotlight: 2011 G Jalen Washington

Attention D1 college coaches.  For those of you with a scholarship available in the Class of 2011 here's your mid summer steal. 2011 G Jalen Washington at 6'41/2" is your man.  He has just qualified academically with his combo of SAT/GPA. The Pflugerville Hendrickson star is a versatile player who can play the one, two or three position.
2012 G Jalen Washington of Pflugerville Hendrickson
Washington originally committed to Mount St. Mary's (MD) as a PG prospect after an official visit there last fall but after mulling it over, opted not to sign in the early period.  He reopened his recruitment and decided to play his senior year. Lack of passing through the NCAA Clearinghouse kept recruiting to a minimm although South Alabama, Colorado State and others kept flirting with him in the spring.  And well they should as the talented player had a monster senior year, with multiple games over 40 points as well as a 50 point effort. 

He is not a one trick pony though as many times the ultra long athlete had double digit rebounds and was on the free throw line more than anyone in the State of Texas, averaging 13 attempts per game.  All this while running the point at his high school!  The Super Cen Tex selection is one of the country's hidden, unsigned gems who is available NOW.  If Washington does not receive an offer in the next couple of weeks he will suit up with the Texas D1 Ambassadors for his second campaign. He'll make stops on the circuit at Myrtle Beach (SC), Duncanville (TX), Minneapolis (MN), Las Vegas (NV) and Phoenix (AZ).

D1 college coaches may contact me at 512-791-5455 for further info.  You're getting a quality person as well as a quality player.-Coach Max Ivany

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Complete List of Pangos Award Winners

The recognition keeps pouring in for the Texans who attended the Pangos All American Camp in Los Angeles last weekend.  2012 Alex Caruso's achievements have been well documented on every national site in the country.  2012 Chase Brogna of Houston St. Thomas also made a name for himself.  In addition to http://www.areacodes.com/ giving him props, the combo guard with the sweet perimeter shot snagged the "Best Three Point Shooter Award" as named by Ronnie Flores of  http://www.espnrise.com/


(Selected by Ronnie Flores of ESPNRISE.com)

Rafer Alston award (Best handle in open court): Daquan Walker, Constitution (Philadelphia, Pa.)
John Stockton award (Best handle in half court): Tyler Lewis, Forsyth Country Day (Lewisville, N.C)
Stacey Augmon award (Best on-the-ball defender): Jahmel Taylor, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)
Trent Tucker award (Best three-point shooter): Chase Brogna, St. Thomas (Houston, Texas)

Bill Russell award (Best shot blocker): Jordan Bell, Poly (Long Beach, Calif.)
Kevin Love award (Post interior passer): Grant Jerrett, La Verne Lutheran (La Verne, Calif.)
Scott Skiles award (Best perimeter passer): Marcus Paige, Linn Mar (Marion, Iowa)
Ronnie Fields award (Best dunker): Anthony Bennett, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
Kurt Rambis award (Hardest worker in the paint): Charles Mitchell, Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)
Mario Elie award (pleasant surprise): Alex Caruso, A & M Consolidated (College Station, Texas)

Lamar Odom award (not playing up to potential): Isaiah Austin, Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas)
Ralph Sampson award (not using god given talents): Aaron Gordon, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
Schea Cotton Award (player who looks good in camp environment): Dominic Artis, Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
Phil Ford award (player who would shine in more structured setting): Paige
Player who deserved to be in Top 50 game: Travon Landry, Bryan (Bryan, Texas)

Best Top 50 who deserved to be in Top 25 game: Jordan Bell
Top 25 player better suited for the Top 50 game: Jabari Bird, Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
Biggest sleeper that emerged: Stefon Jankovich, Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. Va.)
Best Overall Prospect: Andre Drummond, St. Thomas More (Oakdale, Ct.)
Camp MVP (highest consistent level of play in every game): Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)

Leander's Mark Nwakamma To Hartford

Nice guys reall can finish first!  2011 F Mark Nwakamma a 6'6" beast from Leander, TX and a 5 year alum of the Texas D1 Ambassadors has just sent me a text that he has committed to the University of Hartford. He joins fellow Cen Tex star Yolonzo Moore of Austin Akins as an incoming freshman in the America East Conference.
Mark Nwakamma (shown below with Texas D1) rebounds and goes up for the short jumper vs Memphis Magic.
The soft spoken, humble and hard working Nwakamma has found a perfect fit of quality basketball coupled with his 4.6 GPA and near 1800 SAT score.  He'll like pursue Pre-Med on his way to becoming a doctor.. An unfortunate break of his foot derailed Nwakamma's Junior high school season.  He played for three weeks and finally the pain became unbearable.  After an extensive rehab period ending last June he just did not have his trademark explosiveness on the circuit last July.

Fast forward to this spring and Mark accompanied the Texas D1 Ambassadors to the Elite 8 in the Desert last month. He quickly attracted the attention of the various media outlets on hand, including http://www.d1nation.com/ and http://www.areacodesbasketball.com/   He not only was his old explosive self but he's also added a new dimension with range out to the three point line, and improved handles which makes him a big three/faceup four man.  This versatility will serve him well at Hartford.  They are getting a hard worker, a great team mate, an excellent student and an even better person.

Congratulations to Mark Nwakamma and His Family-Coach Max Ivany and the D1 Ambassadors Family

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pangos All American Camp Wrap Up

Day Three at Pangos saw all 4 of our Texas D1 Ambassadors players continue to build their reputations in their final (4th game) of the camp which was played Sunday morning.

2012 Chase Brogna of Houston St. Thomas saw his confidence grow from session to session as he finished with 13 points. His smooth jumper began to fall which makes him tough.  Ask Prestonwood Academy as his 25 points in St. Thomas' TAPPS 5A State Championship win would attest.  He can flick it.  A 3.2 GPA coupled with a 1720 SAT makes Brogna a guy to target in conferences such as the Patriot, Northeast, Atlantic Sun and any other academically stringent school looking for a guard.

2012 P 6'9" Connor Lammert ended up with 6 points in his final session.  In a camp where guards chuck it up like it's a hot potato, the workmanlike 16 year old kept plugging away without complaint.  Put Lammert in the high end academic spectrum as well.

2012 Uche Ofoegbu showed his athleticism all camp long. He had 12 points on the final day and showed wasn't shy about banging heads with other high major guys.  The common theme here is that Ofoegbu is also an excellent student. His two older brothers (Ike and John Ofoegbu) are pros, so don't be surprised if you see a late growth spurt out of him where he ends up at 6'7" plus and moves to a whole new level.

2012 Alex Caruso of College Station A&M Conslidated did his thing from start to finish.  He is now on his way to the NBA Players Association Camp in Charlottesville, VA in a week having earned an invite with his all around play.  Caruso can play the 1, 2, or 3 but is at his best with the ball in his hands.  I respectfully disagree with my friend/colleague Clark Francis of Hoop Scoop Online that Alex is not a "point".  Don't be surprised if Caruso tops out at 6'7" as he has just turned 17.  He was selected to the Top 25 Cream of the Crop Game, but had to leave after two trips on the floor so we could catch our flight back to Houston.
Once again, Dinos Trigonis gets it done.  He had an incredible array of talent at camp this year as per usual.  There is no question that Andre Drummond from Connecticut, Shabazz Muhammad (LasVegas, NV and Anthony Bennett (Toronto, Canada) were the studs of the camp.  Throw in Cameron Ridley (Houston, TX) and Isaiah Austin (Dallas, TX) and you've got a who's who of the 2012 Top 10 Nationally.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pangos Camp-Day 2

Texas D1 Ambassadors @ Pangos Camp
2012 G 6'5" Uche Ofoegbu of San Antonio Stevens continued his aggressive play.  He scored 12 in one game and 17 in the next including an impressive windmill dunk that had the crowd buzzing.

2012 G 6'0" Chase Brogna of Houston St. Thomas had 4 points in the first game, and upped it to 9 in the second game as he got touches his shot began to fall.  It included a nifty crossover dribble to the left, where he finished at the rim with some slick English to finish over the shotblocker.

2012 P 6'9" Connor Lammert of San Antonio Churchill was frustrated by a lack of offensive touches but that didn'y keep him from hustling, defending and rebounding all camp long.  He had 4 in the first game and 6 in the second including an impressive flush.

2012 G 6'6" Alex Caruso was his usual self.  he didn't score a lot, but he scored enough.  He accumulated rebounds, and dropped several sweet dimes.  His second impressive tip dunk of the camp was icing on the cake.  After the second game ESPNU's Dave Telep informed us that Alex was invited to the prestigious NBA Players Camp in Charlottesville, VA from June 15-19th.  Expect the high major offers to start flowing for Caruso.
Here's what Fox Sports Evan Daniels had to say today:

CARSON, Calif. -- Aaron Gordon and Shabazz Muhammad showed off their high level motors today, while Texas native Alex Caruso made his presence felt on day two of the Pangos All-American Camp.

Winston Shepard, PF/SF – Much like Muhammad, Shepard, a 6-foot-7 combo forward, plays with a strong motor and a lot of energy. During the nightcap, Shepard channeled his energy to pushing the break, rebounding and attacking the basket. He seemed to live at the free throw line and is certainly capable of finishing through contact when he goes to the basket.  (Props to Houston native Winston Sheppard, the former Texas D1 Ambassador who now attends Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, NV).

Alex Caruso, SF – It’s always nice to see a guy breakout and that’s exactly what Caruso did. Earlier in the spring he received some attention and he certainly built on that at Pangos. With a number of scouts looking on during an afternoon game, Caruso made a handful of terrific basketball plays, including a one handed no-look touch pass for a bucket, a sweet dunk in traffic and a floater in the lane. It’s clear he knows the game and he has the ability to score from all three levels.
Texas' two marquee big men, Isaiah Austin (Baylor) and Cameron Ridley (Texas) tangled with Connecticut big man Andre Drummond in separate games.  Drummond is clearly the most ready at the moment with his combination of athleticism and his physicality and likely will be the NBA's #1 draft pick if the choice was made today.  Austin is more skilled but has to catch up body wise.  Ridley is not as athletic.  However, I felt Ridley was the hardest worker and under the tutelage of Keith White, with his work ethic who knows what Cameron's ceiling will be.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pangos All American Camp-Day One

Myself and Coach Richard Law arrived in California yesterday to attend the Pangos All American Camp. Two of our players are in tow (2012 Chase Brogna and 2012 Alex Caruso) with the other two (2012 Uche Ofoegbu and 2012 Connor Lammert) joining us later today at the camp. We took an unoffcial visit to Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA on what is arguably the most beautiful campus in America). 
Pepperdine University
Early this afternoon we took the boys out into Long Beach Harbor, rented a speed boat and checked out the Queen Mary , sea lions basking in the sun and the whole California beach scene.  I'm a big believer in taking as many campus visits as possible when we travel witho our players as well as immersing them in the local culture.

Texas D1 Ambassadors @ Pangos All American Camp
For those fortunate enough to get an opportunity, Dinos Trigonis' Camp is one of the most talented and classy events in the country.  There's always a load of talent and Trigonis makes sure the media and the players are treated like kings.  He puts us up in 4 star hotels near the beautiful Long Beach waterfront, feeds the players and always has a great venue (This year it's Cal State- Dominguez Hills).

2012 Alex Caruso 6'6" G from College Station A&M Consolidated
Look for Caruso to continue his climb up the lists of high major sleepers.  He can score, has great court vision, is unselfish and is a high level athlete.  (Caruso plays with a balance of swagger and respect for the game. He had 7 points, including an impressive dunk while making sure that Houston Bush's Cameron Ridley (Texas) got to touch the ball.

2012 Chase Brogna 6'0" G from Houston St. Thomas
Brogna will get a chance to show off his high level shooting ability, and his improved handles and ability to run a team.  He's not new to high level play as he led St. Thomas to the State Championship with a 25 point finals output. (Brogna was off the ball most of the time, and received limited touches.  He did have a nice steal, several assists and finished with 4 points.

2012 Uche Ofoegbu 6'5" G from San Antonio Stevens
This camp is best suited for Ofoegbu and his athletic game.  He'll get up and down the floor, rebounding and scoring above the rim and beyond the three point line. Ofoegbu was not shy about getting his.  He had 14 points, including a couple of three pointers.

2012 Connor Lammert 6'9" P from San Antonio Churchill
All star camps are always tough on big men, as the guards tend to dominate the ball and take most of the shots.  Still only 16, Lammert will show his varied skill set which includes a three point shot in his arsenal. (Lammert had almost zero touches in game 1, but he did have an impressive tip-dunk.
Here's some National ink received on Day One by Texans

By Josh Gershon of Rivals.com

Recruiting Analyst

CARSON, Calif. - The Pangos All-American Camp is always loaded with high level recruits and the 2011 version is no different with prospects such as Shabazz Muhammad and Cameron Ridley showing off on Friday.

Cameron Ridley, C (Houston Hoop Stars): The physical post was a beast on the glass and when he got touches in the paint, he converted easily, throwing down a handful of dunks in the second half. Potential matchups with Andre Drummond and Isaiah Austin are looming, but if Ridley brings it like he did Friday night, he's going to be competitive in any matchup thrown his way.
Alex Caruso, SG: (Texas D1 Ambassadors) The scoring was sporadic, but the passing was terrific. Cameron Ridley wasn't getting a ton of touches, but once Caruso got the ball in his hands, he made sure the big guy got the ball where he needed it around the hoop. A versatile player, Caruso did a good job rebounding and defending even though he wasn't scoring as he's capable of. This is a big weekend for the temporarily under the radar guard and Friday was a good start.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Great American Shootout Results-Monday

It's always a good sign when you're playing on the third and final day of an event.  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Hardge were down to 6 players on Monday as half the team had to return to Austin for final exams on Memorial Day as the semester was extended by bad weather days. 

Texas D1 Ambassadors-Hardge  62    Top Achievers Pistons  51
2012 Michael Hardge led the way with 17 points, and 2013 T.T. Williams added 15 as D1 cruised to the win in the quarter final game.

Dallas Mustangs  66  Texas D1 Ambassadors-Hardge 55
The Mustangs are always a tough opponent, and the Texas D1 Ambassadors bowed out of the seni final game the same way they began the tournament on Saturday morning, with a close loss to the same Dallas squad.  An 8 point half time lead disappeared as the Mustangs kept coming with their deeper bench and some timely 3 point shooting by Niem Stevenson and the tough inside play of 2012 Zach Leday.

Thanks to our friends at http://www.texashoops.com/  for recognizing two players from the Texas D1 Ambassadors as part of their Baker's Dozen of the Top 13 Performers at the Memorial Day GASO Tournament. Below is their overview of Michael Hardge and Uche Ofoegbu.


Class: 2012

Height: 6'0"

School/AAU team: Georgetown HS/Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Hardge

Notable: Hardge was one of the best ball-handlers of the entire tournament. When he had the ball, he showed his explosiveness. He also showed how difficult he was to stop. Look for Hardge to be one of the GASO's most consistent players.
2012 Michael Hardge

Class: 2012

Height: 6-foot-5

School/AAU team: San Antonio Stevens HS/Texas D-1 Ambassadors-San Antonio

Notable: Ofoegbu showed that he can put the ball in the hole at the GASO. On a team full of potential scorers, Ofoegbu had one of the better offensive productions throughout the tournament. He also showed his ability to play defense.
2012 Uche Ofoegbu
The following is also an article from www.texashoops.com where they interview Texas D1 Ambassador Allex Austin.  Texas Hoops Writer Damon Sayles shows his age as he recounted to me that he interviewed Pops Charles Austin back in the day when he was a cub reporter at then Southwest Texas State University.
CARROLLTON, Texas - When it comes to pure athleticism, the expression "like father, like son" couldn't be any more accurate for dual-sport athlete Allex Austin of San Marcos High School.

A couple weeks ago, Austin won the Class 5A high jump title at the UIL state track and field meet. He jumped 6 feet, 10 inches to win - and he did so while battling injuries. He also did so in his very first year of competing in varsity track.

Part of his success stems from genetics. His father is Charles Austin, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1996 and is currently the U.S. record holder in the sport with a jump of 7 feet, 10 ½ inches. Allex, in addition, has a vertical leap well over 40 inches.

Allex admitted that as talented as he was in track and field, he has a passion for basketball. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound, high-flying forward suited up with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Hardge over the weekend at the Memorial Day Great American Shoot-Out in Carrollton.

TexasHoops.com Senior Writer Damon Sayles had a chance to sit down with Austin to discuss basketball in the present and the future.

Congratulations on winning a state gold medal, first of all. How does it feel?

"It feels good, but I don't let it get to my head. I don't talk about it much unless someone else brings it up. I don't let it get the best of me."

How long have you been high jumping?

"Not long. This was my first year doing it. It was something I just started picking up on, just something to do extra."

How long have you been playing basketball?

"I've been playing for as long as I can remember. This is my first year with the Ambassadors. I like the competition a lot."
2012 Allex Austin

Your dad is a world-class athlete. What advice does he give you when you're competing in track and field or basketball?

"He'll tell me to worry about myself and not to let the things I can't control get to me. With hard work, everything is going to pay off."

I'm sure you're getting plenty looks in track. What about looks in basketball?

"Colorado State has called, and TCU has called. I've heard from Stephen F. Austin, too. The rest of the schools just call my dad. He tells me not to worry about it and just focus on working hard."

Do you want to do both sports in college?

"That's what I'm looking for the most. I want to play both."

So what's it like having an Olympic gold medalist for a father?

"Everyone seems to freak out, but to me, it's cool. It helps because I know what he had to do to get where he is. It makes me want to put in the work.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Great American Shootout-Sunday Results

Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio  96   Las Cruces Dons (NM) 67
The final pool game, early Sunday saw Cole Martinez (Air Force) score 20 points, and 2012 Uche Ofoegbu of San Antonio Stevens chipped in with 19 in the win.
The Air Force Academy  has gotten a steal with Central Catholic's Cole Martinez

Bracket Play
Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 65  Corpus Christi Islanders 56
After the Islanders upset Team hardge in pool play for their first win over the D1 Ambassadors in 11 years, the San Antonio squad showed that lightning doesn't strike twice in one place as they controlled this game from the opening minutes behind the athletic play of Uche Ofoegbu and the above the rim display put on by 2012 F 6'5" Aaron Ramirez.  Ramirez, out of tiny 2A Santa Rosa by way of Mississippi will be a force to be reckoned with.  Stay tuned.

Flower Mound Marcus  67  Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 62
The Marcus squad has now won back to back GASO events.  They've got a tough squad who have structure and familiarity with each other.  Couple that with a will to win and 3, and quite possibly 4 D1 players (Marcus Smart, Phil Forte, Nick Banyard, A.J. Luckey) and you can see that their championships are no fluke.  Texas D1 could not hold their 6 point half time lead. Uche Ofoegbu had 21 points, while Ramirez added 14.  Phil Forte had 23 to lead the way for Marcus.  Oh yeah, Marcus Smart is a beast, no doubt about it!  Texas D1 finished 5-1 in the event without their twin towers, 2012 6'7" P Shelby Lane of Alamo Heights and 2012 6'9" Connor Lammert of San Antonio Churchill.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin 69  Champions Select 66
Balanced scoring from 2012 Mike Hardge of Georgetown and 2012 Matt Gramling of San Antonio MacArthur led the way to the victory.  D1 led by double digits all the way.  This was Gramling's first action in 3 months as he had some nagging injuries and also participated in some spring football drills as he ponders whether to take on the QB role in his senior year.
2012 Mike Hardge of Georgetown brings intensity and quickness to the party.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin  85   Run N Shoot (OK)  76
2013 T.J. Williams of Pflugerville is firmly establishing himself as one of 2013's best in Texas as he scored 26 points in the win.  2012 Allex Austin of San Marcos, fresh off the best high jump in the Nation (7'2") quickly began to get his bsketball legs under him and he went for 17 points.
2013 T.J. Williams of Pflugerville Panthers is on the prowl with his amped up game

Franchize All Stars Memorial Day Tournament---Sunday Report

Franchize All Stars Memorial Day Tournament-Houston, TX
With many players having to make up "bad weather" days, the Houston event packed in a lot of games in a two day period.  The Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston had to cancel their Chicago trip but finished the local event 5-2, while nursing injuries and kids attending prom, graduation etc.

Texas D1 Ambassadors  69   Gulf Coast Blue Chips-Will   56
Balanced scoring was the order of the day as 2012 Alex Caruso had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists; 2013 Johnathan Motley had 9 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks;  2012 Chase Brogna had 10 points and 3 assists; and 2012 Maurice Letcher-Ellis had 9 points & 4 rebounds.

Texas D1 Ambassadors  87   D Gib Hoops 63
2011 F Keynan Willis
When things go well it's usually because of a team effort.  Texas D1 poured it on with 2011 Keynan Willis scoring 14 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.  Alex Caruso had 11 points and 6 rebounds,  Chase Brogna had 13 points and 3 assists. Johnathan Motley had 16 points and 12 rebounds while 2012 Joshua Hagins of Bossier City Airline had 16 points and five assists (including 4 three pointers).
2012 Joshua Hagins

Texas D1 Ambassadors   84  Texas Airmen  73
Texas D1 was led by 2012 F Maurice Letcher-Ellis of Houston Yates who had 18 points and 7 rebounds. 2011 Keynan Willis of Crosby had 16 points & 11 rebounds, Johnathan Motley had 10 points and 8 rebounds. Chase Brogna had 12 points and 7 assists, while Joshua Hagins had 8 points and 8 assists.
2012 Maurice Letcher-Ellis
Gulf Coast Elite-Jackson   77 Texas D1 Ambassadors  59
For the most part, the guys were a no show in this one. Motley had 14 to lead the way in the stinging defeat.