Friday, December 2, 2011

Class Of 2016 Sets The New Standard

Take a look at the talent in the graduating Class of 2012 and 2013. There may be a total of 5 players in the combined classes that have a real shot shot at playing on Div. 1 level. Combine the classes of 2014 and 2015 and possibly up to 10 players have a shot to play D1 ball. The class of 2016/14u has 8 players in that class alone that are being courted by top private schools and some have already received letters of interest from D1 schools. You may ask what makes this class different then the rest? The answer is simple. Almost all of these players were exposed to AAU before turning 10. Their parents recognized that they were not as good as everyone said they were and the players themselves recognized that they had to learn to play the game at a faster pace. In our post yesterday, we talked about the lack of defense on the island. Go to a game at any level and you will see that most kids have no idea how to play defense. That reality allows for players with decent offensive skills to develop habits which are exposed in a more competitive environment. For most players from Puerto Rico they rarely get a chance to play at a high level until reachingHigh School. For most, it's far to late to make changes in their style and the speed in which they play. But for those who have the opportunity to play at the AAU D1 Nationals they typically come back to the island humbled and hungry. More importantly, the parents get a chance to witness lots of players who are superior in every facet of the game. "Eating some crow" tends to change one's one appetite and that is always a good thing. The following players are on the list have a real shot to play D1 ball with a couple of them potentially being really, really special. * the list below is not a ranking. Edwin Cancel Josh Colon Nicholas Washington Robert Aviles Jhivvan Jackson Ebube Ebube Georgie Pacheco Leandro Allende

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Who Is Teaching Young Players To Play Defense?

One of the greatest challenges for players making the transition from Puerto Rico to both prep school and college seems to be their inability or unwillingness to play defense. Local coaches do a wonderful job developing fundamentals in young players but defense seems to be the "forgotten fundamental". When talking to stateside coaches the complaint we seem to hear over and over again is how far behind players from Puerto Rico are when it comes to understanding defensive principles. Puerto Rico has earned a reputation of producing undersized fiery PGs and bal pressure on the defensive end is critical to disrupting an opponents offense. Part of this is a result of how local leagues prevent some of the younger age groups from pressing full court along with almost all youthcoaches playing zone defense exclsuviely. It should also be noted that FIBA's influence is ever present thus zone defense is the preferred discipline. We are not suggesting that there is anything wrong with playing zne defense. We take the position that it is impossible to play zone if players have not been taught and understand "ball, you, man", "help and recover" and basic rotations. Players must be taught that playing defense can help them make the team, increase playing time and is the key component in winning championships. Nike has produced a series of videos which should help coaches introduce that defense is cool. Reward players who make defensive plays. Chart deflections, charges and defensive rebounds. See link below and remember, Defense Never Sleeps!