Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We love you Roberto Nelson

Snail mail, email -- it doesn't matter as we get far more junk-related offerings sent to us than any anything of value. In the following, the mailing campaigns meant to seduce eventual Oregon State signee Roberto Nelson are detailed. It's a very good read.
You've Got (too Much) Mail
In the age of Facebook, Twitter and texting, top prospect Roberto Nelson was still courted through thousands of postal deliveries from college coaches. Is the annual flood of letters effective—or a waste of paper?
George Dohrmann
August 3, 2009

During his sophomore year at Santa Barbara (Calif.) High, Roberto Nelson placed a cardboard box behind a green recliner in the family room of his home. It was a decent-sized container—it once had been used to ship a microwave—and a sufficient catchall. If he tossed something behind the recliner, it almost always fell safely into the box.

Mail arrived at the apartment complex where Nelson lived at around 2 p.m. each day. Larger envelopes didn't fit through the slot in the front door, so the mail carrier often dumped the delivery on the doormat. Nelson would leaf through the stack when he got home from school and then toss everything over the green recliner. Sometimes he would mimic a jump shot as he cast that day's bundle into the box...
Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We liked the following a lot

We found the following valuable:
The Thirds Rule
Coach Cash
Joe Cascio
Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm a basketball coach. That's what I do. I want people around me that have the same passion for the game. I don't feel that I'm overly demanding, but one thing I absolutely demand is sacrifice. I ask my players to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the entire team. I tell them that they need to give up the desire for personal accolades and focus on team goals and team rewards.

After pounding that concept into them for days and weeks, I ask my players to create goals for the season. Without fail, 90% start with goals like "get a scholarship, average 20 points per game, average 10 assists per game, make All-Conference". "Win a championship" is usually 3rd or lower on the list, if it even shows up. Where does my message fail? Our society is raising selfish kids that don't understand that when the team achieves their goals, EVERYONE gets what they want...
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An update on Vince Legarza

Here's some new on former St. Ignatius star Vince Legarza, now playing at Miami (Ohio):
Men's Basketball Summer Update--Vince Legarza
Vince Legarza
July 23, 2009

Summer has flown by. It has been busy since the day I got back to San Francisco in May. The second day I was home I underwent back surgery. The surgery was a huge success and the doctors are confident that I will make a full recovery. About a week after surgery I began the rehab process. I have rehab five mornings a week. It has been going really well. I have been amazed at the rate that I have been healing... Go here for the remainder.

So are you a tough player?

Read the following and re-calibrate you definition of toughness because it's not simply playing physical.
Defining toughness in college hoops
Bilas By Jay Bilas
January 29, 2008

I have heard the word "toughness" thrown around a lot lately. Reporters on television, radio and in print have opined about a team or player's "toughness" or quoted a coach talking about his team having to be "tougher" to win.

Then, in almost coordinated fashion, I would watch games and see player upon player thumping his chest after a routine play, angrily taunting an opponent after a blocked shot, getting into a shouting match with an opposing player, or squaring up nose-to-nose as if a fight might ensue. I see players jawing at each other, trying to "intimidate" other players. What a waste of time. That is nothing more than fake toughness, and it has no real value.

I often wonder: Do people really understand what coaches and experienced players mean when they emphasize "toughness" in basketball? Or is it just some buzzword that is thrown around haphazardly without clear definition or understanding? I thought it was the latter, and I wrote a short blog item about it a couple of weeks ago.

The response I received was overwhelming. Dozens of college basketball coaches called to tell me that they had put the article up in the locker room, put it in each player's locker, or had gone over it in detail with their teams.

Memphis coach John Calipari called to say that he had his players post the definition of toughness over their beds because he believed that true "toughness" was the one thing that his team needed to develop to reach its potential. I received messages from high school coaches who wanted to relay the definition of toughness to their players and wanted to talk about it further.

Well, I got the message that I should expound upon what I consider toughness to be. It may not be what you think.

Toughness is something I had to learn the hard way, and something I had no real idea of until I played college basketball. When I played my first game in college, I thought that toughness was physical and based on how much punishment I could dish out and how much I could take. I thought I was tough...
Go here for the remainder.

Here's an interesting take on Lucas Devenny and Chris Brew

Here's an article by Joel Welser in which he suggests that Lucas Devenny and Chris Brew, a pair of well known northern California preps, might be sitting out this season as redshirts at UC Santa Barbara due to the depth of the Gaucho squad:
Key Newcomers:

Coach Williams will not need much production from guard Chris Brew or Lucas Devenny and those two are likely candidates to redshirt this season...
Go here for the complete article.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

High schoolers, runners and agents

The following is fairly rare for northern California basketball (but yes, there certainly are exceptions). What happens more in these parts are kids jumping from one club team to another upon the receipt of a pair of shoes or some athletic wear.
Agents Creeping into College Hoops
Bob Zagoria
July 22, 2009

NEPTUNE, N.J. – A little while back, a Division 1 coach from an East Coast school received a telephone call that caused him to perk up just a little bit more than usual.

“I received a call asking if I was interested in a player and the call did not come from his high school coach or AAU coach, but rather from an agent,” the coach recalled.

The coach says he ultimately turned the player down, but the call reveals an inside glimpse into how college basketball really works.

More and more, elite high school prospects, or those who are especially tall, are “handled” not by high school or AAU coaches, but by NBA agents or “runners,” people who work for agents in return for something else.

If a high school or college student-athlete has a written or verbal agreement with an NBA agent, they automatically lose their eligibility. An agent can serve as a prospect’s “advisor,” but the advisors can’t speak on their behalf to other professional entities.

Yet how prevalent is this?
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Sacramento prep basketball update

Here's a nice summary of Sac hoops. Yes, there are other names that deserve inclusion but we'll take what we can get.
High school notebook: For some, July means basketball
Bill Paterson
Sacramento Bee
July 20, 2009

For top-level high school basketball recruits, the month of July is the true test of stamina.

The top athletes play dozens of games far from the comfort of home because July is when the NCAA allows college coaches to observe top incoming high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Some overlooked seniors may also raise their profile to possibly land a late scholarship offer.

Two of the area's established boys Amateur Athletic Union club teams – Play Hard, Play Smart and the NorCal Pharaohs – compete Wednesday through Sunday in the 136-team Reebok Summer Classic in Las Vegas...
Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dave Bliss redux

We certainly believe in second chances but the unfathomable action by Dave Bliss of smearing Patrick Dennehy (Oakland born and a former St. Francis High student), one of his players who was murdered by a teammate, is an insurmountable act of evil.
Disgraced Bliss comes out of hiding
Associated Press

OVILLA, Texas -- Former basketball coach Dave Bliss is back in Texas after hiding from a scandal that started with a player's killing and snared Bliss in a web of lies and financial shenanigans.

The one-time Baylor coach spent time in North Dakota and Colorado before returning to be near his first grandchild. Basketball seems to be far behind him, yet he is now candidly discussing what went wrong in Waco -- and shouldering the blame.

On a Sunday in late spring, he brought his testimony to a suburban Dallas pulpit.

"I've heard all the things, sometimes secondhand, about how bad a person I am," Bliss told the congregation at the First Baptist Church of Ovilla. "I heard about stuff on ESPN. But I did an autopsy on myself. They were wrong.

"I was worse than that."
Go here for the remainder.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This is a shame

Parents and recruits should make this item a mandatory part of their recruiting questions. And where is the NCAA and Myles Brand on this if the 'mission' of the organization is supposed to be looking out for student-athletes?
College Athletes Stuck With the Bill After Injuries
Kristinq Peterson
New York Times
July 16, 2009

After years of concerns about inadequate health coverage for college athletes, the National Collegiate Athletic Association started requiring universities to make sure their athletes had insurance before competing.

But the association never established clear standards for that coverage when it introduced the rule four years ago, leaving colleges to decide for themselves. While some colleges accept considerable responsibility for medical claims, many others assume almost none, according to a review of public documents from a cross section of universities and interviews with current and former athletes, trainers, administrators and N.C.A.A. officials.

University officials say they go out of their way to inform students about the limits of insurance. Yet the situation has confused and frustrated athletes and their families, some of whom have had to shoulder large and unexpected medical bills.

“I thought I would be covered,” said Erin Knauer, a Colgate University student who piled up $80,000 in medical bills after injuring her back and legs in training for the crew team. Insurance has covered less than a third of the cost because of the way her condition was diagnosed. “You never think you’re going to rack up that much of a bill.”

Other athletes discover their financial problems long after their bodies have healed. An Ohio University football player, temporarily paralyzed during a workout, learned that he still owed $1,800 in unpaid medical bills when he went to buy a car six years after his injury.

Many students, whether athletes or not, have medical insurance through their parents. But these plans often exclude varsity sports injuries, limit out-of-state treatment or do not cover much of the bill. Some colleges buy secondary policies to fill the gaps, although even these plans have holes. And only players hurt badly enough to require extensive care can turn to the N.C.A.A. for coverage. Its catastrophic insurance carries a $75,000 deductible, which will increase to $90,000 next year.

The absence of mandated coverage for athletes has prompted calls for change...
Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quentin (GQ) Thomas is a music professional

Former North Carolina and Oakland Tech basketballer Quentin Thomas is delving into the music field.
Former UNC player Quentin Thomas tries his hand at rapping
Chris Chase
The Dagger
July 13, 2009

The history of basketball players-turned-rappers is littered with cringe-worthy efforts from Shaq, Kobe, AI and, most recently (and ridiculously) Ron Artest. So to hear that a former UNC basketball player is trying out his hand in the rap game, it's natural to be skeptical. Even if he's better than Chris Webber, that's not saying all that much. It's a low hurdle to clear, you know?

But if the recent success of Quentin Thomas is any indication, the stigma that basketball players should stay out of the studio may be lifted. (At least until Derrick Rose releases his first single.)

Thomas, a reserve guard who was part of Roy Williams' first recruiting class at Carolina, has teamed up with acclaimed hip-hop producer 9th Wonder on a song that will be featured in the intro to EA Sports' upcoming NBA Live. He hopes that the song, and an upcoming mix-tape, will help him secure a record deal. (You can listen to some tracks at Thomas' MySpace page. He raps under the name "GQ". It's pretty good, if a little metaphor-heavy. And, yes, MySpace apparently still exists.)
Go here for the remainder.

This link to a July 10 Raleigh News and Observer piece is in the article.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Found this article on Philippe Doherty of the Bay Area Hoosiers

Here's an older article on Philippe Doherty, the Director of Basketball Operations for the Bay Area Hoosiers club team. We couldn't find a link to it so we're posting the complete article, which we consider a must-read.
AAU at its finest
Justin Adler
May 14, 2008

At first Bay Area Hoosiers' coach Philippe Doherty appears to be like many other AAU coaches as he paces up and down the sideline, screaming like a frenzied maniac at his team. But upon watching him closer it becomes obvious that their is a great deal of method to his madness.

Doherty prides himself and his team on being one of the most respectful and loyal squads in the AAU circuit.

"If we're the only team in the country that cleans our benches after games, shakes our officials' hand and shakes the tournament director's hand than I shouldn't be different that should be the way it is," Doherty said.

Just as Doherty expects his players to Doherty leaves everything on the court as he coaches.

"My energy is the only way I know. I work out guys a lot, I have to get guys going and I carry that over to the floor," Doherty said. "My style is positive yet structured. It's a reactionary game and I don't want them to rely on my enthusiasm or energy, but I want them to make sure that the moment that they are playing is extremely important. It takes a lot of focus."

Doherty's positivity-driven coaching style was the result of his experience playing at Santa Clara University.

"The only reason I'm in coaching is because my first day in college, the assistant coach was negative for no reason," Doherty said. "It almost took my whole confidence away and to that day I promised myself that when I coach I am going to try to be positive almost every second of the day.

I'll always remember the exact words that were said to me, the day of the practice and the time of day. It changed my life. I was a very positive and confident kid who was trying as hard as I could against two pros and it wasn't enough for someone," Doherty said.

Doherty took much more from his Santa Clara experience as he played for coach Dick Davey, who he describes as an "unbelievable human being." Doherty also played alongside two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and former Boston Celtic Marlon Garnett.

Before coaching the Bay Area Hoosiers Daugherty coached his high school alma mater Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep and also worked on the University of San Francisco coaching staff.

"I don't want to be a reactionary coach, like when someone messes up, I don't yell "Why'd you screw up!" like he meant to screw up," Doherty said. "On the next play I just make sure they don't sulk, don't pout and don't let that affect their game."

He also credits his upbringing for making him the man and coach he is today. Doherty was born in France, and spent the first seven years of his life growing up in West Africa before moving to San Francisco as a child.

"I grew up in San Francisco a little bit different," Doherty said. "These kids are so spoiled and so lucky to play AAU ball. They have to be humble (when they get home) the first call goes to mom, the second phone call goes to our team owner to thank him for the opportunity."

Doherty also enforces morals in his team as he prohibits them from cussing, using the n-word and wearing hats indoors. He also sets a standard by making sure his entire coaching staff wears matching clothes with the shirts tucked in.

Off the court Doherty is constantly communicating with his team via e-mail with educational articles on nutrition, motivation, education and other important fundamentals that will help them prepare for college."I want these kids to value the moment, you never know who's watching, be as good to as many people as you can," Doherty said. "If you're just in it for a pair of shoes, you can go somewhere else."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Here's a Ryan Anderson update

Former Cal and Oak Ridge High baller Ryan Anderson was recently traded out of New jersey to Orlando, a sort of get out of jail card.
Ryan Anderson trades up
Ross Siler
True Hoop
July 11, 2009

In his final installment from Orlando, The Salt Lake Tribune's Ross Siler checks in with the forgotten man in the big Magic-Nets trade:

As traumatic as the first trade of a young player's career is said to be, Ryan Anderson appears to be grieving about as much as a lottery winner after being sent to Orlando from New Jersey as part of the draft-day deal involving Vince Carter.

Ryan Anderson Ryan Anderson: "He's one of those guys ... It leaves his hands and you say, 'It's in." (Fernando Medina/NBA via Getty Images)
"The way that the trade went about, it wasn't a traumatic thing,” Anderson said. "If it was a situation where New Jersey was like, 'We don't want this guy, let's put him in the deal with Vince, throw him out of here...'

"That's definitely not what it was. I talked to the whole staff in New Jersey. It was a hard decision for them to make, but if I could go with anybody, I'm glad I came with Vince.”

It took just five summer games for Anderson to make Orlando look like his personal Magic Kingdom. He finished with 33 points -- one shy of Travis Diener's league-record -- and 14 rebounds Tuesday against Boston...
Go here for the remainder.

A feature on John Bryant

Former Pinole Valley High star and now ex-Santa Clara Bronco John Bryant is updated in this feature:
Bryant hones body to put zip in career
Steve Kroner
San Francisco Chronicle
July 11, 2009

John Bryant's professional basketball career began - sort of - Friday in Las Vegas, where his college career ended in March.

The 6-foot-11 center did not play for Sacramento in the Kings' 86-77 summer-league loss to the Detroit Pistons.

In the four months between the WCC tournament and the NBA summer league, Bryant:

1) got his sociology degree from Santa Clara,

2) spent weeks at Impact Basketball in Southern California, trying to improve his body and his game,

3) didn't get selected in the NBA draft...
Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Eli Holman and Detroit at Cal in November

Here's a heads up: according to Jeff Faraudo's article in the CC Times, Detroit is coming out west to face Cal on November 11. Former Richmond High star Eli Holman is on the Detroit basketball squad.

College Sports Recruiting

We stumbled across this post and found that it links to a goldmine of information about recruiting. This is a must-read for anyone who has a son or daughter about to enter the process of college sports wooing.

Go here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Perelman serves

President Obama had made increasing the participation in community service one of the many focuses of his new administration. There certainly is an ever-increasing need for such volunteerism and many are hearing this righteous call and stepping forward. However, Bay Area Hoosier Coach Mark Perelman raised his hand close to two decades ago when a want was brought to his attention and he's still going strong working with Bay Area youth.

Perelman was raised in southern California but graduated from UC Berkeley with a political science degree, followed by a law degree from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Currently, he is a partner in the firm of Murphy, Pearson, Bradley and Feeney, also in San Francisco.

But way back in 1990, he began his avocation -- at least the one that takes up the most time -- coaching youth basketball. It began at the now-defunct educational startup called the New Learning School, located in proximity to the YMCA on Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco's Tenderloin area.

"One of my law partners who was on the school board asked if I would coach basketball for the school." Perelman related, adding "I was surprised and thinking about it when he added 'I hope you'll agree because I told them [the other board members] you would do it.'"

Thus began his basketball coaching tenure at the New Learning School. His team practiced and played at the nearby YMCA.

Bob Drucker (aka The Wizard of Westlake), a legendary coach at St. Ignatius for more than two decades, was instrumental in Perelman's success during the stint. "I had helped Bob during a summer camp so I called him right after I accepted the coaching job," Perleman said, "and he gave me a bunch of coaching material."

It was Drucker who also provided the golden rule to the novice coach. "Bob said, 'always remember you're doing it for the kids.'"

Perelman kept that as his focus. "I was just past 30, a white Jewish guy stepping into this crucible, and many of the kids had almost no skills and very little direction," he said. "I knew I would lose them if I took the approach of let's learn how to run the motion offense or the 2-2-1 zone press. It was hard enough to get the kids to show up on time so life issues became the real focus, not basketball. The kids didn't have the means to address their issues so we made character development and responsibility the foremost subjects. I was a basketball coach and counselor."

The school closed after three years but the inviting yet slippery slope Perelman inched out on then morphed into more. He stayed on for the next decade as the YMCA club basketball instructor. All sorts of youngsters turned out, eventually including some college players.

His allegiance to the organization eventually extended even further as he has been the Golden Gate Avenue branch Chairman of the YMCA Board of Managers the last six years and on the board for a decade and a half.

After his coaching tenure at the YMCA, Perelman then joined the basketball coaching staff at Sacred Heart Cathedral, one of the schools making up the West Catholic Athletic League.

Now he is part of the coaching staff of the Bay Area Hoosiers club team organization. Consider that in the field of law, representing a plaintiff or defendant free of cost is described as pro bono, meaning for the public good. Perelman's taken that to the basketball court and the verdict is a successful one, for all involved.

It's been about relationships via basketball and basketball via relationships all along because, besides helping kids develop, one of the ironic twists of this tale is that current Bay Area Hoosier Director of Basketball Operations Philippe Doherty assisted Perelman in the YMCA basketball play. "I also coached Phil's best friend," Perelman added and eventually it was Doherty who brought Perelman into the Hoosiers organization.

So why did his coaching efforts evolve to a position with Hoosiers? The answer, or at least part of it, derived from Perelman's initial entry into coaching.

"Because the Hoosier focus is on teaching the kids to be better basketball players rather than winning games or tournaments," Perelman said. "The training is built around empowering the kids. We give the players a framework, some simple but strict guidelines so that they can determine how to react in a given situation on the court. That has them take responsibility for their own skill development and allows them to develop their own basketball IQ. This approach makes the individual personally responsible for his personal success or failure."

But in what has always been Perelman's approach to life in general, "it's been a learning process both ways and it continues to be. I always want to learn new things about basketball but also about listening better and relating to people. I constantly ask myself, 'how can I convince this person that what I have to say might be interesting?' 'how am I being listened to?' what are the techniques to learn about how to approach people?' By me listening and acting as a sounding board when I am coaching, that let's the kids take responsibility."

This approach obviously also benefits his lawyer trade in developing relationships with clients, judges and juries.

This method also aids in a player developing his basketball smartness. Perelman's take is youngsters shouldn't necessarily be proscribed exactly what to do and how to handle a certain situation. "That makes it too rigid and guys don't learn how to play because you don't give them the responsibility to assess what is happening on the court. I want players to assess what is taking place and determine how to succeed or fail rather than 'do this and only this because I said so.'"

He recalls, "I still remember going to a John Wooden (his next door neighbor) basketball camp when I was 13. First, he explained how to put on our shoes and socks, then he gave a lecture on success which he defined as the peace of mind which is the direct result of the self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable. He never talked about winning or losing but how you are responsible for best preparing yourself. It's a philosophy based not on results but on working hard and it made me personally responsible for my success or failure."

To this day, Perelman said, "If I really work as hard as I can and do the best to prepare, then I can live with whatever results."

One outgrowth of this philosophy was never more solidly illuminated when Perelman and a parent of one of the players took about 20 Hoosier team members to a Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n' Waffles restaurant after a game in Los Angeles. "We walked into this restaurant, all these tall teenagers, and took over seven or eight booths. The people working there looked nervous. But it was all 'yes ma'am, no ma'am' because the kids knew what to do and how to act -- they were used to taking responsibility for their behavior on and off the court. That's the first step at becoming an adult."

Perelman continued, "Later on a security guard told me that he didn't normally let that many teenagers come in at once and the manager said the guys acted like perfect gentlemen and that he was pleased to have them."

Perelman added, "What's great is when you see a groups of kids taking real steps as young men because it's about young people being responsible for themselves and their teammates' behavior and actions. That and seeing a kid I coached back in the 90s getting his doctorate in applied math or getting invited to the wedding of another former player. That's why I stay hooked into this. Plus, the kids are hysterical, they keep me in stitches."

The latter was never more true than during that visit to Roscoe's. With the players more familiar and certainly more comfortable with eating accommodations like Panda Express or any number of pizza places, the concept of going to a sit-down place that served the seemingly unusual food combination of what the name implies prompted one of the young Hoosiers to say "but that would be like pancakes and tri tip."

The kids loved the food.

It's all pretty heady stuff for someone who has always loved the game despite some physical limitations. "I played basketball as a kid in Los Angeles," Perelman said. "But I was too short for my speed so playing at Cal was out of the question."

So Cal's loss became the community's gain.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wendell McKines is a blogger

Former Richmond High basketballer Wendell McKines has ventured into the on-line world.

Go here to access McKines new blog and initial entry.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Damon Powell to Fresno State

Spoke to Damon Powell this a.m. and he is heading to Fresno State and not College of Southern Idaho. He is eligible and will play next season as a Bulldog. Look for a number of stories to come out soon.

In the meantime, enjoy these vids: here and here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Merritt College men's basketball update

Merritt College men's basketball The restoration of the Merritt College men's basketball program continues with new talent being added to the 2009-2010 squad. Here's Coach Keenan McMiller reporting the latest:

* the program is sporting an 85% graduation rate

* Matt Busch is headed to Regis University, a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Interestingly, his brother Chris who also attended Merritt, is now at Colorado State University Pueblo, which is in the same conference as Regis. It will be brother versus brother twice during conference play.

* Jeff Pyrol, 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds, is moving across the bay to Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont and will play for ex-San Jose Stater George Puou, the longtime coach there.

* Korel Mitchell, 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, had multiple destinations as options but elected to stay at Merritt and finish earning his AA degree. Mitchell is also working out to get stronger and hopes to end up at possibly Sacramento State down the line.

* Andre Martin is completing summer classes with the plan to travel down the road just a bit and play for Cal State East Bay in Hayward.

* The fall semester timeframes for the Merritt basketball student-athletes are already mapped out: classes from 8-12:30, study hall from 12:30-2, practice from 2:30-5, with additional scheduled study time as needed

As for new Thunderbirds:

* Trent Archer, out of Las Lomas High (Walnut Creek), whose uncle was the late Phil Smith of USF and Warriors fame

* Isiah Robinson, 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, out of Natomas High (Sacramento), described as quick on quick and a very good defender, was a team captain in high school

* Mike McElroy, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, out of Central High in Fresno and Columbia College in Sonora

* Roman Robinson, 6-foot-3, out of Rodriguez High (Fairfield) was named the most valuable player of the Solano County Athletic Conference in 2009 and also captained his squad. McMiller said he's an excellent athlete with a great attitude who also speaks fluent French and actually preaches at his church. Here's a link to some video on Robinson.

* Saajid Polite, 6-foot-3 out of Grant High in Sacramento, sat out last year but McMiller described him as "very athletic with a high motor."

* Shawn McCoy, 6-foot, out of El Cerrito High, was a second team all-ACCAL Alameda/Contra Costa Athletic League selection, a member of the school academic honor roll and was named Youth of the Year by the YMCA of the East Bay.

Youth Giving back to Youth at the YMCA
Hilltop YMCA Youth of the Year: Shawn McCoy

During his three years as a volunteer youth coach in the Youth Sports Program at the Hilltop Family YMCA, Shawn has been extraordinary mentor to several middle school participants in the youth basketball program.

Shawn is an outstanding athlete at El Cerrito High School and has gone beyond the scope of just coaching basketball at Hilltop. His mentoring has helped some of our youth through personal, academic and social challenges. Sports alone could not solely provide these young men the guidance required to help them succeed in the classroom and in life.

Shawn understands that young men growing up without fathers need the guidance of someone that they can look up to and view as a role model. Shawn has served as that role model for many of our youth who don't have someone to talk to about the hurt they feel and the doubt they feel in reaching their dreams. He has spent one-on-one time at the Y talking, practicing and tutoring middle school and student athletes. He has participated with adult coaches in conducting workshops for student athletes, promoting academic excellence and drug- and alcohol-free lifestyles.

Shawn grew up longing to play basketball and to have someone spend that extra time with him just shooting the ball or practicing a particular move or shot, someone to help him work on his dribble. It became important for him to be that someone for the young people who looked liked him and experienced some of the hardships of not having a father figure in their lives. Shawn succeeded in becoming that someone and in providing that same inspiration to young people that his dad, family and coaches were able to give to him.

As an honor roll high school student athlete, Shawn has modeled his life as a beacon young people can look to for guidance. He has been big brother, friend and coach. His academic and athletic achievements, alongside his volunteer work at the Y, have provided our youth participants a genuine example of good choices and their impact on one's life. Committed to academic excellence and living a healthy and drug-free lifestyle, Shawn stresses the importance of faith to the young people under his guidance. He teaches them the value and meaning of the principles of caring, respect, responsibility and honesty.

And these are just the local/regional student/athletes.

Leon Powe is a free agent

There are very few who have faced more trials and tribulations than Leon Powe. Off the court, his life has been a series of challenges and various injuries have set up roadblock after roadblock to his basketball development and career.

Unfortunately, Powe is injured again and the Celtics have cut him loose but anyone who is familiar with Leon Powe knows that hurdles to him are like crossing the street to most of us.
Leon Powe, Celtics say goodbyes
Mark Murphy
Boston Herald
July 2, 2009

ased on what he has already overcome - homelessness and life in California’s foster system as an adolescent, then two knee major surgeries before he ever reached the NBA - anyone with a heart naturally pulls for Leon Powe.

Doc Rivers was so shaken in April by news that Powe would need a third knee surgery, the Celtics [team stats] coach said that, if it was up to him, the relentless power forward would get another contract once the summer began.

But the decision obviously wasn’t Rivers’ to make.

The Celtics, strapped for roster space as they delve into the free agent market, have decided to part ways with Powe. That, at least, was the impression given the Celtics forward following a conversation with Danny Ainge on Tuesday.

Powe, recovering from his third knee surgery, did not receive a qualifying offer from the Celtics by the Tuesday night deadline. As a result, Powe became an unrestricted free agent. Five teams reportedly called with interest in the power forward after midnight, including Miami, Memphis and Orlando...
Go here for the remainder.