Thursday, April 30, 2009

Marquin Chandler back at it

Marquin Chandler
Marquin is leaving his mark

It's been a while since Marquin Chandler was romping around the basketball courts at San Jose State and Newark Memorial High but we always like to keep track and make note of Bay Area ballers.

Here's the latest on Marquin:

Chandler steers Giants past Tigers
Rey Joble
Manila Standard

Marquin Chandler knows his quest for a championship with Purefoods will be a long journey.

Last night, the former Philippine Basketball Association Best Import did not waste time and buckled down to work quickly, steering his team to an inspiring 92-85 triumph over Coca-Cola in the Motolite-PBA Fiesta Conference at the Araneta Coliseum.

Chandler finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks as he assumed the familiar leader’s role for a team, which he led once to the finals in the 2005 to 2006 season...

Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

All-East Bay Boys Basketball Team

Chris Brew
Chris Brew on his letter-of-intent signing day

Here's the Contra Costa Times with the best players in the East Bay:

All-East Bay Boys Basketball Team
Conta Costa Times

Brian Barbour
SCHOOL: Monte Vista
YEAR: Senior
THIS SEASON: Barbour, a 6-foot-1 guard, guided Monte Vista to the NCS Division I title and the NorCal final — the finest season in school history. He averaged 19.7 points per game, including 27 in the NCS quarterfinals against Castro Valley that included a buzzer-beater that sent the game to overtime, and 25 in a 52-43 NCS championship win against Newark Memorial.

Chris Brew
SCHOOL: St. Mary's
YEAR: Senior
THIS SEASON: The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 18 points per game in a 28-6 season. Brew, a first-team All-Bay Shore Athletic League choice, was the go-to player on a talented Panthers team who provided production at both ends of the court. He'll join his brother, Will, at UC Santa Barbara next season.

Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

An Aussie big is at Yuba College

The following is a great story, with the hope of a very happy ending.

Coming soon to a campus near you
7-foot-4 Australian pursues hoops life
Ryan Klocke
March 9, 2009

He commands attention the instant he walks into the Yuba College gym.

Little kids stare in amazement. Students and parents look upward while forming facial expressions that say "who is that man who just had to contort his body just to get through the door?"

His name is Kewal Shiels. He's 7-foot-4 and slender as a lamppost. He's from Australia and — if everything goes according to plan — will be in a 49ers basketball uniform come next season.

The story of how he got here is baffling...

Go here for the remainder, including a photo of Shiels.

Friday, April 24, 2009

San Mateo County Times picks All-County team

Peter Pappageorge
Peter Pappageorge, MVP
(photo by Margaret Gallagher)

Here's the San Mateo County Times with a nod to the best players in the county this season:

All-San Mateo County Boys Basketball Team
Glenn Reeves
San Mateo County Times

Jorsen Baysac
SCHOOL: El Camino
YEAR: Senior

THIS SEASON: Baysac averaged 14.7 points and made 77 3-point field goals. He made 48 percent of his field-goal attempts, 45 percent of his 3-pointers and shot 80 percent from the foul line (44 of 55) in helping lead El Camino to a PAL North championship. He had 47 steals, 43 assists and 27 turnovers...

Go here for the other selections.

Here's a feature on Peter Pappageorge, the county's most valuable player.

Gary Payton sponsors a club basketball squad

Gary Patton
Payton is giving back

He lives in Las Vegas, but former NBA-er Gary Payton hasn't forgotten his roots.

Payton takes off gloves, shows his love with hoops team
Carl Steward
Inside Bay Area

When Derek Smith decided he wanted to form his own club basketball team this year for Oakland-area youth, he found a powerful partner to help realize his dream — none other than one of the city's leading hoops legends, Gary Payton.

A family friend for years, Payton was doing a speaking engagement last year at Alameda County Juvenile Hall, where Smith works as a probation officer.

In passing, Smith mentioned to Payton about his vision for the team, and Payton said, "Let's do it, and I'll sponsor it."

Hence, the creation of the GP Gloves, a team made up almost entirely of high school sophomores from which Smith and Payton hope to build the foundation of a model club...

Go here for the remainder.

Marin Catholic's Leslie Smith to Lafayette

Leslie Smith
In a year from now, Smith will head to Patriot League

A wrist injury curtailing exposure in your senior season is never in the plans, but Marin Catholic's Leslie Smith has still landed a college basketball scholarship. Congrats to him.

Smith gives verbal commitment to Lafayette
Marin Independent Journal

Marin Catholic High basketball player Leslie Smith gave a verbal commitment for the class of 2010 at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, the first day of the regular signing period for basketball.

Smith, who missed the most of his senior year at MC with a wrist injury, will attend a prep school on the East Coast during this upcoming academic year. MC athletic director and head basketball coach Rick Winter said Smith needed to improve his SAT scores 50 points to get an offer from Lafayette this year. He bumped up his score 110 points, Winter said, but the scores were posted a day after Lafayette's deadline...

Go here for the remainder.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Hoosier - Rebel coalition

A new day is dawning in the Bay Area
A new day is dawning in the Bay Area

In 1906, a devastating earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay Area. Then the Loma Prieta temblor occurred in 1989. Both cost lives and caused extensive destruction. Yet another seismic shift took place recently here -- one not involving the earth's crust but rather the club team basketball fault -- although few were aware of it or felt it. However, there were only positives resulting from this shaker.

Melvin Landrey, Oakland Rebels, and Rob Jones, Hoosiers

Melvin Landry (l) of the Oakland Rebels and Rob Jones (r) of the Hoosiers

The latest movement was caused by the coalition of the Bay Area Hoosiers and the Oakland Rebels, two club basketball team organizations sharing a common cause. Both are dedicated to the development of their student-athletes reaching full potential on the basketball court, as individuals in the community and in the classroom.

The Rebels group is led by Melvin Landry, also an NCAA referee and the head of the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department. He is considered a basketball icon in the East Bay. The Hoosiers have co-founder and CEO Rob Jones heading that organization. Now because of the collaboration, Landry's Rebels will focus on working with youngsters eighth grade and below while the mission of Jones' Hoosiers will be the development of teenagers in the ninth grade and above.

The Rebels organization began in 1987, making it the oldest in the Bay Area. But developing a consistent flow of funding has been a tough task for the Rebels. As a result of the new agreement, "It will maximize the situation for our kids," Landry said. "We lacked any real main sponsorship and it has been a struggle to get our older kids the exposure they deserve." The partnership with the Hoosiers will ease the financial burden.

Jones has a similar take. "This is a bringing together of two organizations truly in it for the kids. Both of us want to get kids better on the court and provide greater exposure so that each has more college opportunities. Their [the Rebels] coaches are like Phil [Philippe Doherty, the Hoosier Director of Basketball Operations] and myself in that the emphasis is on skill development. We also share a focus of mentoring these kids away from basketball, seeing them as unique individuals."

Philippe Doherty

Philippe Doherty, Hoosiers

Both programs are not about wins and losses on the court but wins and losses in life, where we can help," Doherty said. "The development of the person, the development of the player and greater exposure are what we emphasize."

There are educational advantages to being connected to the Rebels and Hoosiers. Both stress -- no, make that require -- the getting of good grades. "Some kids need help getting over the hump and we provide those resources," Jones said. "With the high school kids, we're always talking with the school staff to determine what classes and units are needed and we also provide SAT preparation classes. School administrators also call us when there are any concerns."

As Jones put it, "Both these organizations are like a family, it begins in the third grade and on up."

Actually, the relationships don't end once a youngster heads off to college. "I still get calls from {former Hoosiers] Rob Jones (San Diego), Ian O'Leary (St. Mary's, Oliver McNally (Harvard) and others," Jones said.

Aalim Moor II, the Director of Public Relations for the Hoosiers, offered this vision. "We want this unique coalition to develop into one of the premiere youth programs in the country. We see it as a historical time. What we are offering is a life program to change the lives of young people."

What was the genesis of the coalition? Landry and Moor are longtime friends. The former grew up in north Oakland, the latter in east Oakland "There were older people that helped us out back then and we are trying to return that favor," Moor said. "We got to talking" and the result ultimately blossomed into a wide-ranging -- Bay Area, Central Valley and Sacramento -- treasure chest to better those communities by aiding the next generation.

"We have amassed the top talent in the entire Bay Area," Moor continued. "Not just with the players but also the coaches, business professionals, lawyers, a clinical psychologist, teachers, administrators and a host of dedicated volunteers. With the Hoosiers and Rebels, we have close to 30 coaches volunteering their time. It's a virtual army of people of good will ready and willing to roll up their sleeves and work."

William Brew, the Chief Operating Officer of the Hoosiers, recalled a long ago conversation. "We [Melvin Landry and himself] were talking about joining forces way back when my sons [Chris and Will} were in the third and fourth grade. Melvin was leading the Rebels and we were the Bulldogs and we would end up playing against one another in a lot of the tournaments. If we had been together then, we could have won a number of the national tournaments."

As Moor summed it up, "It's all about kids and community and those willing and dedicated to making it happen."

Better students, better players, better people equal a better world.

What's more desirable or worth supporting than that?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NorCal kids on the CalHiSports all-state squad

Kudos to Brendan Lane, Brandon Smith, Will Cherry, Reeves Nelson, Chase Tapley, Jerry Brown and Jared Cunningham for their selections to the CalHiSports all-state team.

Go here for the article.

Congrats to Jared Cunningham

Jared Cunningham Cunningham receives another honor
(photo by Bay Area Hoosiers and Rivals)

We offer a hat tip to Jared Cunningham for his selection to play in this all-star game -- thanks to Jay Drew/Salt Lake Tribune for posting this.:

"...Jared Cunningham will play in the Senior Showcase All-Star game for high school players on Saturday at Freedom High School in Orlando, Fla.

Here is Team USA's Roster:
  • Darius Morris, Los Angeles, 6-4 (Michigan)
  • Kenny Hall, Stone Mountain, Ga., 6-9 (Tennessee)
  • Aaric Murray, Concordville, Pa., 6-11 (LaSalle)
  • Glenn Rice Jr., Marietta, Ga., 6-5 (Georgia Tech)
  • Shawn Kemp Jr., Marietta, Ga., 6-10 (Alabama)
  • Jeronne Maymon, Chicago, 6-7 (Marquette)
  • Tyler Haws, Alpine, Utah, 6-5 (BYU)
  • D.J. Richardson, Chicago, 6-3 (Illinois)
  • Zeke Marshall, McKeesport, Pa., 6-11(Arizona)
  • Lamar Patterson, Lancaster, Pa., 6-5 (Pittsburgh)
  • Victor Rudd, Van Nuys, Calif., 6-8 (undecided)
  • Jared Cunningham, San Leandro, Calif., 6-3 (Oregon State)."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chris Busch departing from Eastern Washington

Chris Busch(Chris Busch is in the red uniform
photo by

Former East Bay hoops star Chris Busch has decided to leave Eastern Washington and is looking for a new basketball destination.

According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, Busch is looking at non D-1 schools and has visited Colorado State-Pueblo and Alaska-Anchorage.

He graduated from San Leandro High and also attended Santa Rosa Junior College and Merritt Junior College before moving on to Cheney, WA.

CalHiSports list of nominated all-state players

CalHi Sports ListHere's the CalHi Sports list -- with nominations still open and details/explanations available -- for California all-state basketball players. We pared the list down to the NorCal kids:
  • Greg Allen (Eureka) Sr.
  • Kori Babineaux (Folsom) Soph.
  • Tony Baldocchi (Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa) Sr.
  • Brian Barbour (Monte Vista, Danville) Sr.
  • Daniel Bartow (Redding Christian) Sr.
  • Marcus Beaird (Bear Creek, Stockton) Sr.
  • Marcus Bell (Enochs, Modesto) Sr.
  • Chris Brew (St. Mary's, Berkeley) Sr.
  • Greg Brown (Skyline, Oakland) Sr.
  • Jabari Brown (Salesian, Richmond) Soph.
  • Jerry Brown (Sacred Heart Cathedral, SF) Sr.
  • Will Cherry (McClymonds, Oakland) Sr.
  • Jared Cunningham (San Leandro) Sr.
  • Lucas Devenny (Piner, Santa Rosa) Sr.
  • John Dickson (Fairfield) Sr.
  • Dave Douglas (St. Elizabeth, Oakland) Jr.
  • Yevgeniy Dyachenko (River City, West Sacramento) Sr.
  • Zach Etz (Monte Vista, Danville) Sr.
  • Arthur Fodor (Hillsdale, San Mateo) Sr.
  • Shawn Grant (St. Francis, Mountain View) Sr.
  • Kevin Greene (Sacred Heart Cathedral, S.F.) Sr.
  • Keenan Hale (Lincoln) Sr.
  • Demaree Hampton (Mission, SF) Sr.
  • Niyi Harrison (Bellarmine, San Jose) Sr.
  • Josh Harper (St. Mary's, Stockton) Jr.
  • Robbie Herndon (St. Patrick-St. Vincent, Vallejo) Soph.
  • Justin Herold (Carrillo, Santa Rosa) Sr.
  • Max Hooper (Valley Christian, San Jose) Jr.
  • Teandre Hubbard (Thurgood Marshall, SF) Sr.
  • Alex Huddleston Jr. (Merced) Sr.
  • Tony Johnson (Folsom) Sr.
  • John Kennedy (Hanna Boys Center, Sonoma) Jr.
  • Derriq Knaules (Encina, Sacramento) Sr.
  • Jeremiah Kreisberg (Head-Royce, Oakland) Jr.
  • Steve Lackey (Ponderosa, Shingle Springs) Sr.
  • Sean Landberg (Delta, Clarksburg) Sr.
  • Brendan Lane (Rocklin) Sr.
  • Robbie Lemons (Sacramento Country Day, Sacramento) Jr.
  • John McArthur (De La Salle, Concord) Jr.
  • Aalim Moore (St. Mary's, Berkeley) Sr.
  • Darius Nelson (Sheldon, Sacramento) Soph.
  • Reeves Nelson (Modesto Christian) Sr.
  • Eric Obeysekere (Miramonte, Orinda) Sr.
  • Peter Pappageorge (Burlingame) Sr.
  • De'End Parker (Lincoln, San Francisco) Sr.
  • Damon Powell (McClymonds, Oakland) Sr.
  • Stephen Powell (Stuart Hall, San Francisco) Sr.
  • Ryan Richardson (Clear Lake, Lakeport) Jr.
  • Cameron Richmond (Rodriguez, Fairfield) Sr.
  • Josh Ritchart (Forest Lake Christian, Auburn) Jr.
  • Robby Rowland (Cloverdale) Jr.
  • Desmond Simmons (Salesian, Richmond) Jr.
  • Brandon Smith (De La Salle, Concord) Sr.
  • Jonathan Sosa (Alisal, Salinas) Jr.
  • Noah Springwater (University, San Francisco) Soph.
  • Charles Standifer (Capital Christian, Sacramento) Sr.
  • Ryan Sypkens (Franklin, Elk Grove) Sr.
  • Chase Tapley (Sacramento) Sr.
  • Xavier Thames (Pleasant Grove, Elk Grove) Sr.
  • Tyler Thesman (Pacific Union College Prep, Angwin) Sr.
  • Josiah Turner (Sacramento) Soph.
  • David Weaver (Venture Academy, Stockton) Sr.
  • Marcus Wells (Lick-Wilmerding, San Francisco) Sr.
  • Christian Williams (Sierra, Manteca) Sr.

Yevgeniy Dyachenko and Charles Standifer going east?

Two Sacramento area players -- Yevgeniy Dyachenko of River City High and Charles Standifer of Capital Christian High -- appear to be moving a few time zones over in order to upgrade their games at a prep school. Bill Patterson of the Sacramento Bee has the details here.

Here is a short video of Standifer.

Kyle Oddister still headed to Cal Poly

Joshua Scroggins in the April 9 edition of the San Luis Obispo Tribune provides an update on Kyle Odister, formerly of Rio Americano High in Sacramento and New Hampton Prep in New Hampshire.

"...Odister said he’s still locked into Cal Poly after speaking with Callero by phone Thursday. Odister hadn’t wavered from his commitment to the Mustangs but was eager to hear if Callero would run an offense complimentary to his skills..."

Here's the link to the full article.

Here's a very brief video of Kyle knocking down a trey, while getting knocked down.

A two-sport star hitting the radar

Glen Baral
Baral will be big next year

Glenn Baral doesn’t have the nickname "Double" as yet -- we’ll wait for Chris Berman to weigh in on that one down the road -- but he is proficient in two sports, basketball and baseball. However, being adept will soon be an understatement as the 6-foot-2 St. Mary’s freshman has a tremendous athletic future regardless of it taking place on the court or the diamond.

Here’s Ryant Diew, who along with Shawn Hadnot, coaches the Bay Area Hoosiers 15U squad, on his young protégé, "He hasn’t shown half of what he can do and because of his work ethic being second to none, he’ll be able to write his own ticket eventually."

St. Mary’s High Coach Manny Nodar adds, "He’s very polished skills-wise for his age."

For those of you wondering why Baral isn’t topping the Bay Shore Athletic League scoring charts or bursting out on-line with jaw-dropping videos, here’s Nodar again: "Glenn is respectful and quiet and has blended in very well."

Diew concurs: "He’s just trying to fit in right now."

It is Baral’s initial season at the varsity level and he plays alongside seniors Chris Brew and Aalim Moor as well as juniors Dominique and Demetrius Lee.

Diew foresees great things for Baral. "He can be as good as he wants to be and already he can shoot and post," Diew offered. "He can take his defender out to the perimeter and can flat out shoot the ball to 25 feet or go inside against smaller foes -- Glenn has a different kind of game. He’s going to be a two -- a Paul Pierce type."

The young Baral certainly has noticed the differences between middle school and high school. He said, "Now, everyone is faster and more physical and plays a lot harder. You could lose to anybody if you don’t come with your best game."

What has aided in Baral’s transition was "my playing with the St. Mary’s varsity this summer" and some of the upperclassmen taking Baral under their wing. Away from the gym, "some of the St. Mary’s guys introduced me to their friends."

St. Mary’s senior point Moor understands. "I remember my freshman year and the seniors [then] helped me out. Glenn came into the season open-minded and eager to learn. Myself and the Lees saw that so we have been passing on as much as we can to him."

Asked what is his best skill at the moment, Baral succinctly answered with "Probably shooting." Reversing the question, he responded with "My dribbling, it’s getting better."

Baral’s promise hasn’t gone unnoticed nationally. The NCAA First Team Program, which identifies those student-athletes going into ninth grade likely to be highly recruited, approached Baral last summer as well as fellow Hoosiers David Andoh (Archbishop Mitty) and Jamaree Strickland (McClymonds) during the Rumble In The Bay Tournament. Each subsequently attended a seminar in Arizona designed to familiarize them with the do’s and don’s of the recruiting process from the angle of a top prospect as well as that of a suitor. The trio will be traveling to Puerto Rico this coming summer for another NCAA First Team program symposium.

Earlier, Baral played for the Berkeley Y squad. He was the biggest player on the team and therefore positioned inside. However, he was also the fastest player and this still allowed him to nab steals and zoom down the court ahead of everyone. It made sense for Baral to navigate from the Y team to the Oakland Rebels so that he could begin the transition to playing away from the basket.

But there is also Baral’s national pastime habit - baseball. He has worked out for some time with Shooty Babbitt, the former Oakland A’s second baseman who is now a scout for the New York Mets and has already demonstrated right-handed power beyond his years. "My baseball coach helps me with baseball skills but also in personal areas."

Baral actually prefers basketball over baseball -- "I don’t t like standing around as much as being a part of it all" -- but isn’t ready at this point to shut down one for the other.

Also worthy of notice is Baral’s academic prowess as he owns a 3.37 grade point average, making yet another smooth transition from the middle school level.

Baral’s mother Chris and father Jerry are enthusiastic spectators of their son’s athletic feats and proud of his academic effort. "Glenn is the blessing of our life," Jerry Baral said. "Watching practices is the best part of my week."

The elder Baral also has supportive words for Nodar. "I observed Coach Nodar at a game, one in which his team was way ahead. What struck me was he was still using each moment as an opportunity to teach." The Barals live a short distance from St. Mary’s so it was natural for Glenn to go to high school there.

It won’t be difficult to keep tabs on this youngster in the next few years as more and more discover him. But he understands and appreciates, even at his age, that success is not a solitary endeavor and also continually earned.

The Bay Area 2012 class is loaded

Class of 2012A look at the Bay Area Class of 2012

So where in the Bay Area is the ‘new’ Drew Gordon? Who is coming up that will remind fans of Modesto Christian’s Reeves Nelson? Is there a Damon Powell jump-alike on the horizon?

Well, there won’t be any of that diaper-dandy gibberish in the following. Instead it will be a sober look at the 2012-ers, the freshmen of promise. That’s right, it’s freshman who are being featured, meaning some will blossom, a portion will remain shackled to that promise of potential and even a few will disappear from view as the seasons roll by -- sort of like life in general.

Ryant Diew, the 15/U Bay Area Hoosiers and 14/U Oakland Rebels club teams coach, is one person very familiar with the youthful prospects around the Bay Area and beyond. It is his opinion that the 2012 class will be the greatest ever in the Bay Area.

We ran a few names by him but he certainly alerted us to quite a number of other kids to watch. Here are Diew’s takes on the various freshman:
  • Jamaree Strickland, 6-foot-9, McClymonds High - "Jamaree is the fastest learning player I’ve ever seen. Three years ago, as a 5-foot-11 sixth-grader, he could barely make the ball reach the basket. Now he runs the floor well, is an excellent scorer with excellent touch on his shot". Strickland is a member of the NCAA First Team program which consists of 45 of the nation’s top frosh.

  • Freddie Tagaloa, 6-foot-8, Salesian High - "He is a good player who is massive. Freddie has a nose for the ball but needs to get aggressive." Tagaloa came off the bench in this, his first varsity season at Salesian.

  • Brandon Ashley, 6-foot-8, Bishop O’Dowd High - "Brandon is probably the most talented frosh. He’s a good shot blocker, he handles the ball well and runs the floor effortlessly."

  • David Andoh, 6-foot-6, Archbishop Mitty High - "David is another NCAA First team program member and the brother of Enoch Andoh who is a freshman playing basketball on scholarship at Bucknell. He is explosive, gets off the floor quickly and is an excellent shotblocker. We call him a man-rebounder because he can board outside his area and the ball ‘pops’ when he gets his hands on it. David will be a high major recruit and has pro potential."

  • Richard Longruss, 6-foot-6, Bishop O’Dowd High - "Richard is another super talent and a long 6-foot-6, 6-foot-7. He handles well and is the best shotblocker I’ve ever seen at his age. He played out of position a lot but that’s because he can play the 1, 2, 3 and 4 spots and he typically guarded the opponent’s toughest player."

  • Maceo Bell, 6-foot-4, McClymonds High - "He is the second coming of Damon Powell with his ability to jump out of the gym. Last year as eighth graders in The Rumble in The Bay tournament, we were playing against a 16/U team from Fairfield. Fairfield began to play real physical to try and intimidate our kids but Maceo dunked on a lob pass and that ended that."

  • Delvon Nisby, 6-foot-4, Oakland High guard - "Offensively, Devon appears to have no weaknesses. He can jump with the best, shoots with range and handles the ball equally well."

  • Corey Haynes, 6-foot-4, McClymonds High - "He has the best dropstep of anyone in his class and he plays real physical. He’ll defend and rebound for you."

  • Glenn Baral, 6-foot-3, St. Mary’s High (Berkeley) - "Baral is the third member of the NCAA First team program. His shooting range is tops and he will go through or over a defender after backing him down. He also has the potential to be an absolute scoring machine. A definite Pac-10 type player."

  • Langston Walker, 6-foot-3, Berkeley High - "He’s a warrior who is pretty skilled and keeps improving. Langston is a great athlete and competitor who backs down to no one."

  • Lawrence Otis, 6-foot-2, McClymonds High - "One of the best passers in the class, with excellent court vision." His brother is Frank Otis, now at Southern Methodist.

  • Casey Norris, 5-foot-10, Newark Memorial High - "Casey is a very good shooting guard."

  • Charles Smith, 5-foot-9, Oakland High - "Charles is one of the best shooters in this class and he defends like crazy. He knows how to play."

  • Rodney Cook, 5-foot-8, Bethel High - "His basketball IQ is off the charts and he’s an explosive slasher and an excellent defender who is absolutely fearless."

  • Dom Artis, 5-foot-7, Salesian High - "I love this kid, he’s a warrior who doesn’t back down. Anthony Eggleton, a well known trainee in this area, says by far that Dom is his hardest worker." Artis was starter at the point for Salesian this recently concluded season.

  • Isaiah Taylor, 5-foot-7, St. Mary’s (Berkeley) - "He dribbles like a Globetrotter and can make every shot imaginable. Isaiah is very talented skills-wise and just needs to get stronger." His cousin is Armondo Surratt, the former Oakland Tech star who played at Miami and USF.
Here’s Diew again : "Someone on one of the message boards posted that there will be 20 major D-1 talents in the 2012 class with about 10 mid-major kids. I agree with that observation."

Diew also mentioned two other kids, Cam Stewart, 6-foot-7, Valley Christian High and Rodrigo Pulicemo, 6-foot-4, Burlingame High as players to be included on the list but he hadn’t seen them play as yet.

So there you have it, a first look at the top 2012 talent in the Bay Area.

Meet Jeremy Russotti

Jeremy RussottiRussotti on hoops

Jeremy Russotti, owner of 1% CLUB Basketball, offers summer skill training sessions where his concepts and principles populate the curriculum, ones that proved extremely beneficial for two prepsters in particular.

Russotti is known throughout California but especially so in the Sonoma County area. That has been his home for some time. He is presently a schoolteacher nine months out of the year but he has been a player and a coach and now finds the time to impart his concepts as a basketball trainer.

Both Josh Akognon and Angelo Tsagarakis in particular are oh so glad about this. Under Russotti’s tutelage, Akognon went from someone who never played basketball until after entering high school to earning a scholarship to Washington State in the Pac-10. Likewise, Tsagarakis parlayed his interaction and hard work with Russotti into an Oregon State scholarship. Both former Casa Grande High students were never considered members of the crème de la crème prep recruiting portfolios yet what each displayed induced a head coach from one of the top college basketball conferences to extend an offer.

Another Russotti protégé is Jackie Gemelos who averaged 39.2 points a game, 8.9 assists a contest and 6.5 rebounds each time out as a senior at St. Mary’s High in Stockton. She was named the top female prepster in the state of California, enjoyed national ecognition as one of the nation’s best and is now at USC after changing her mind and de-committing from Connecticut.

However before any rushing to judgment, hear Russotti’s mantra regarding improvement on the court: "There is no microwave in basketball."

Nevertheless as a society, we do want what we want generally now, now, now but skill building in any capacity doesn’t operate in such a framework. "The key word is balance -- balance between playing and skill development," said Russotti. "Josh did not play with summer AAU club teams because he needed to get better -- not play. He was in the gym every day focusing on his skill training."

It was purposeful work, designed with an end result in mind. Playing in games and tournaments can be fun and often result in personal write-ups on recruiting sites and media recognition unavailable to 99.9% of other 14 to 18-year-olds, but all that does not necessarily advance the real purpose. "Josh’s willingness to stay behind the scenes, his not needing any ego stroking is one of the major reasons he is successful today," said Russotti.

It’s not that Russotti cloisters kids in darkened gyms and chases away any basketball paparazzi milling around but the key is "don’t expose yourself until you are ready to be exposed."

That was what was necessary for Akognon whose non-basketball background necessitated a total immersion in order to make up for lost time. Akognon realized and understood this and most importantly, he committed himself to continuous improvement.

Russotti had undergone his own personal road to Damascus. After compiling a 91-9 record in four years beginning as a 21-year-old junior varsity basketball coach at Analy High [his alma mater] in Sebastopol, Russotti moved over to Casa Grande High in Petaluma and won back-to-back league titles, aided by the presences of Akognon and Tsagarakis.

It was at this point that Russotti and his friends began the 1% CLUB, so-named because they believed that only one per cent of the world’s basketballers trained at their level and passion.

In addition, a falling out of love with team coaching took place. "My heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I found that I would rather spend my hours training individuals, rather than a whole team" according to Russotti so he transformed his long connection with basketball into the challenge of developing players individually.

His morphing from coach into trainer has proven to be a win-win. "I can now work with a variety of youngsters from all over California -- junior college players, NAIA kids, those in D-2 as well as the Division 1 level players and even overseas professionals," he said. "It is amazing to have the opportunity to work with NBA type players."

His non-traditional techniques and focus on biomechanics is what makes his training philosophies different from most traditional trainers. "Basketball skill training is no different from being a really good school teacher," Russotti said. "If you have a unique curriculum that is backed by success, students will gravitate toward your style. Learning becomes easy when you believe and buy into in the process."

His showcase events were developed in retrospect due to the career path of Akognon. According to Russotti, "I wanted to form showcase events that were not solely based on exposure or rankings. Our events are instructionally based and we always have a wide variety of players at the event since every player in the nation needs to get better. We invite kids that want to be around ballplayers and love to improve. The exposure element is still part of the events, hopefully providing more opportunities for players at the junior college, NAIA, or D2 levels."

A new component coming this summer is weekly 2 1/2 hour skill clinics led by Russotti. They will be at gyms located throughout the Bay Area from June 23 to August 9. These particular clinics are for the moderate to highly skilled players who are serious about upgrading their games.

We asked Russotti one last question, getting him in on the recent discussion of transfers. His response: "So often kids and their parents make college decisions based on what name will be on the front of their jersey, where they’ll make the team but may not play much. Colleges recruit over players and college coaches also make mistakes [in assessment] so some players are pushed out. Kids get ranked early on, they are given stuff and all of a sudden they’re at a place where everyone is good and they’re not getting the level of attention they are used to receiving. Also, some kids can’t handle the freedom once in college and get into trouble.

Meet Phil Handy

Phil HandyWho You Gonna Call? The Handyman

Remember the children’s book series titled ‘Where’s Waldo?’" We’ll go one better with where’s Phil Handy? But first, let’s start with who is Phil Handy, which will illustrate why parents and their basketball-playing youngsters should be listening to him.

Immersed in hoops for decades, Handy is a native of the Bay Area who graduated from James Logan High, then attended Skyline and Ohlone Community Colleges before finishing college with the University of Hawaii from 1992 to 1994. Then he enjoyed stints with the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trailblazers. Playing ball has also taken him to England, France, Israel, Italy and Australia, as well as various Continental Basketball Association franchises in the United States.

Handy currently operates his personal business, 94 Feet of Game, where he tutors and mentors prepsters who want to maximize their college basketball scholarship possibilities. Some of his protégés have moved on to such schools as Santa Clara, Hartford, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Sacramento State and the University of Denver. But Handy also has college and professional basketball clients and, to finally answer the second question we asked in our opening, Handy is currently overseas working with a possible first-round National Basketball Association prospect.
Seizing upon his immersion with just about every aspect of basketball, we recently asked Handy for his insight into the primary attributes and qualities college coaches are seeking in recruits. After a deep breath, his response was,"most college coaches these days are looking for kids who are not going to be trouble makers. A headache to the program is no-no as far as they are concerned. The days of being a superstar athlete and terrible person are over. They are looking for kids who can manage the best of both worlds and truly be a student athlete.

He added, "The kid who can play the game at a high level, has a good attitude, great work ethic, is a good student and in general just a good citizen is what coaches want. Of course, the kids have to be able to play but that’s not the only thing anymore. Coaches want kids with character, they want kids who will be a good representative to the program, let alone be a hard worker on the court."

What came as a surprise was this warning from Handy. "Most players today don’t realize that a coach will come to a game early just to see how they warm-up," he said. "They want to see how this kid interacts with his teammates, how does he respond when he is subbed out of the game or when the coach jumps on his case? Is he/she coachable? How are they when things are not always good, how do they deal with adversity? How do they approach the game? Believe it or not coaches sometimes know if they want a kid before the game even begins."

His advice is succinct to those high schoolers with Division I college potential. He offered, "‘No books, no ball’ is a phrase I heard from a high school coach a few years back and it has stuck with me ever since. That would be the first thing. Kids sometimes shoot themselves in the foot by not taking care of the books. You can be the best baller in the area but if you are not hitting the books with the same intensity, you are wasting time on the court. Without grades, there is no scholarship, it’s just that simple.

This may be even more so given how the Academic Progress Rate currently dictates the total number of player scholarships a coach has available.

Continuing on, Handy said, "The other thing is working on your game. Kids don’t really understand how fast, strong and skilled the players at the D-1 level are. Working on and developing your skills is essential, it’s the most important thing to being a good basketball player. There are millions of kids wanting to play ball at the next level but only a few who have the discipline it takes to be focused on truly becoming fundamentally advanced basketball players. It takes putting in time and working hard at it."

Getting to the parent part of the equation, Handy offered, "I think parents always have the best interest of their kids at heart and every parent is passionate about their kid being able to play at the next level. The disconnect is when the parents want it more than the kid does. I think parents should be supportive and involved with their kids recruiting to make sure no one is taking advantage of them. I also think parents need to be educated about the whole recruiting game and how it works, because it is a game. Most have no idea what they are entering into and it can sometimes smack them and their kid in the face. I tell parents all the time “recruiting is a process” and a long one at that."

He continued, "This goes back to coaches looking at kids and trying to find the best one for their program. They want to make sure they have a good kid with a good family when possible. It can also be a frustrating process and parents need to learn how to wade through the BS college coaches sometimes put out there. Parents need to be direct and demand the same thing from the coaches who are recruiting their kids. I also think it is important that parents not expect anything from college coaches. Some go into it with the mindset that the coach is going to see their kid play, fall in love with them and give them a scholarship right away. That does happen but not the norm. Recruiting is like dating and we all know what that is like. Sometimes it takes years before you find the right one. Players and coaches don’t have years so to speak but it still takes time to find the right school and the correct player."

Handy, along with Guss Armstead and Bryan Gardere, are the forces behind the upcoming Sacramento Valley - San Francisco Bay Area Showdown scheduled for May 31 - June 1 at Newark Memorial High. As its name implies, the Showdown pits youngsters vying for geographical bragging rights in a variety of games and events.

When asked how the Showdown came to be, Handy explained, "The first Sac vs. Bay Showdown was in 2006 at Capital Christian High School in Sacramento. It was a very big success -- attendance far exceeded our expectations. Co-founder Guss [Armstead], Bryan [Gardere] and myself do a lot of skill development work together with various NBA, high school and college level players and in 2006 we wanted to do something to show that there are a lot of good basketball players in the Sacramento area that do not get enough exposure. Since we worked out most of the top high school players from the area we kicked around a few ideas and finally came up with creating an event that put Sacramento up against the Bay."

Continuing on, he said, "The moment we jumped into the idea it quickly became something that was not only good for Sacramento players but all of Northern California. We wanted to do something to showcase the many student athletes who come from northern California and go on to play college basketball. Sacramento has always felt unappreciated and under exposed and the Bay has always felt it had the best talent. Generally, the kids from northern California do not get enough respect nationally or sometimes not even in our own state, as the north always plays second fiddle to the south."

He added, "The McDonald’s all-star game is the pinnacle of high school basketball, it’s the cream of the crop and something that very few are selected for. If we are lucky, northern California will have one McDonald’s All-American in any given year. So our kids didn’t really have anything in this area that really celebrated the things they have accomplished on and off the court. We wanted The Sac vs. Bay Showdown to be northern California’s McDonald’s event, a first-class event for our student-athletes and something the kids would want to be selected for as participants. We really wanted to do something positive, competitive, popular and 100% about the kids. For the most part, we have been able to do that."

One of the aspects we’ve noticed about the events Handy and Company sponsor is the seeking out of basketball fan involvement in the planning. In the Sacramento versus Bay Area Showdown in particular, a unique aspect is having fans nominating and voting on the participants. This is because as Handy puts it, "This event is nothing without the fans. They are the ones who come out and support the athletes along with the families and friends. When the fans are involved and offer their opinions about players it truly becomes a community event and that’s what the Sac vs. Bay Showdown is. We can only do so much and know so much. We can’t see all players and know all players. Fans will always have a voice in sports and we like having their input for the event."

Besides that democratic element, there are two other special components connected to the Showdown that will be taking place -- an educational ingredient along with a community service project. Here’s Handy on those: "ASC (Advanced Student Connection) is a big part of the Sac vs. Bay Showdown because it’s not just about basketball. ASC is a college prep non-profit organization based in Sacramento but they serve kids all over northern California. They offer great tutors, mentorship and most importantly, they help student athletes get prepared for college from an educational standpoint. This seminar will be very helpful to a lot of student athletes and parents who know nothing about the recruiting process. Many parents and players have questions about the SAT, about college admissions, about college applications, you name it. This part of the event is something we wanted to make happen because it is needed."

As for what will be taking place away from the gym, this is what’s planned. "The community service part of the Showdown is also something we put in because it’s another way to be involved with the community," Handy said. "Community service is something that every kid and adult should experience in their life. It’s truly is a thing of giving. We will get the seniors out into the Newark community for a couple of hours. Hopefully, they will see it as another chance to do and experience something different. Most of these student athletes don’t realize that wherever they go to college and play ball, they will also at some point perform community service. Every college basketball program in America does it."

As with previous editions, the Sacramento Valley - San Francisco Bay Area Showdown opens with a banquet. Here’s why: "Every year we have the Tennis Shoe welcome banquet which is the kick off for the event," Handy said. "It’s a fun evening with the players, family members, sponsors and some media. The last couple of years we have had Chipotle Mexican Grill and P.F. Chang’s as the sponsors of the event. This year, we were looking to bring Everett and Jones in because the event is in the Bay Area. We’ll have guest speakers from various backgrounds, player introductions, awards and generally just a good night with all of the participants. It’s another way to have kids from Sacramento and the Bay in one room having some fun."

This is the first time the event will be held in the Bay Area, having taken place twice before in Sacramento. The first night will feature a three-point shootout, a dunk contest and a freshman game. Former Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings head coach Eric Musselman will be in charge of the Bay Area underclass boys squad.

The second day lineup is an underclass girls game followed by the underclass boys game and then a senior girls match up and eventually a senior boys contest.

Introducing Anthony Eggleton

Anthony EggletonEast Meets West with Anthony Eggleton

Anthony Eggleton is a longtime resident of the East Bay and an Oakland Fremont High graduate. He played sports but his focus even as a prepster was an entrepreneurial one. He began his professional life in the physical therapy/sports rehabilitation field working with post-surgical patients and also those in need of regaining usage of their hands, arms, legs and the like. "I developed a good reputation," Eggleton said, "working with injured people who couldn’t walk and getting them back on their feet and developing and implementing plans for those with arm injuries that were limiting them."

He’s been at it for 25 years now and an earlier branching out led to the expansion of his clientele -- he’s working with Bay Area youth and collegians and also professional footballers, basketball players and boxers.

Eggleton’s life is dedicated to bettering others but not only in the physical realm. His prism is a holistic one, viewing not a separation but a congruency between the mind and body.

His plans of action include working on body mechanics to achieve multiple goals and results: greater balance and flexibility, quicker reactions to stimuli, improved strength and lateral movement quickness, plus quicker and more controlled directional changes.

That is the usual.

But Eggleton’s curriculum also utilizes meditation, breathing visualizations and energy and concentration centering exercises, all with the intent of leading to higher level performance, greater mental enhancement and quicker physical rejuvenation.

"We want to turn on the centers of will," he explained.

So how did he get where he is today? A Hollywood script couldn’t top the actual reality.

"I meditated for a short period, then I asked a higher power to help me to choose a new career that would allow to make a difference in the lives of people," Eggleton offered. "While doing this I had a yellow pages phone book in my lap, but closed completely at the time. I then closed my eyes and asked for guidance. With my eyes still closed, I opened the phone book, turned the pages and then placed my finger on a advertisement for a physical therapy clinic. After that I made plans to work in the physical therapy field."

But that was simply an initial step in the journey.

"Then I decided to study the methodology of strength and conditioning coaching after helping neighborhood athletes prepare for sports competition," Eggleton said. "I was doing okay but decided I wanted to get much better at it and to find a way to make it my career."

He continued, "When I decide to do any task, I can’t settle for mediocre results. This led me to hours and hours of research in translated German, Soviet and Bulgarian training manuals and text. I was lucky to read a book that contained the curriculum of the Soviet training methodology for athletes."

It’s been a lifelong study of martial arts, metaphysics, quantum physics and human consciousness -- a zest and a quest for ever greater knowledge.

"The blending in of Eastern methods and philosophy was easy due to my having studied under masters of various disciplines for over 30 years," offered Eggleton. "I took what worked for me, then re-formatted it to fit into my training model."

He’s rightly proud about helping kids enter higher education through sports scholarships but also "about fulfilling my dreams of giving back to my community and to all youth that crossed my path."

Though the body functions and performs better via his methods, Eggleton’s ultimate focus is on "changing people’s reality," a matter he describes as "simultaneously complex and simple."

He continued, "To me, what I am passing on to the kids is that there are no separations of philosophy. Everything began from one source. So what I am teaching and incorporating is just an extension of oneness. In other words, to me there is no East or West, there,just is. I do not go through my daily journey of life with partially closed eyes. Instead, I try to see all existence and all possibilities. It is just natural to me to use all of mankind’s vast wealth of knowledge."

Voracious in learning from the best, Eggleton has studied with a litany of the best and brightest:

* Russian springting coach Remi Korchemny
* weightlifting guru Louie Simmons
* Charles Poliquin, a trainer of Olympic athletes in multiple sports
* strength coach Al Vermeil who was affiliated with the 49ers and other National Football League teams, plus various National Basketball Association franchises and Major League Baseball teams

As for familiar client names, Eggleton has been working with Shane Skov, a Stanford commit and the #3 ranked outside linebacker, as well as three members of the Japanese national basketball team. Other members of his clientele: Duke’s DeMarcus Nelson, Quentin Thomas of North Carolina, Antonio Kellogg, who is preparing to play in Europe, Frank Otis, the Brew brothers, Casey Morris, Dominique Hamilton and a number of Cal and Stanford footballers. Eggleton also works with Salesian High, Piedmont High and Ohlone Junior College, having prepared strength and conditioning programs for implementation.

His work with young athletes begins with sending individuals through a core of exercises from which he makes individual evaluations. Then it’s on to an individualized master plan. "You are only as strong as your limitations so we develop a plan to make weaknesses become strengths, something we tend to resist the most," Eggleton said.

He also times an individual’s program so that it coincides with that person peaking for his or her particular seasonal sport.

But all is not simply a couple of hours in a gym. "My trainees must be willing to accept a challenge and need to take on my mentality as part of the process," he said, "because I’m not taking on theirs. We have a goal in mind for each session."

But beyond the impressive names, Eggelton’s preference is for working out kids. "My purpose is to try and get them into a position to better themselves," he said.

With Buddhism, the bodhisattva or teacher lives a ‘give and you shall receive’ mindfulness. Eggleton claims no such rank but he’s been a longtime fixture in the East Bay, aiding in the development of bettering the individual, not just the athlete.

Here's AE's web site. Here's how to contact him: Anthony D. Eggleton 1237 Channing Way Berkeley, CA 94702 510.841.2137.