USJN Toledo Blue Star Media Recap

The Cincinnati Angels finished 3-1 over Memorial Day weekend at the USJN Toledo Tournament.  Mark Lewis of Blue Star Media was there providing a few twitter updates which helped those of us who couldn’t get up north for the games.  He had a nice recap of the weekend and featured a couple of Angels players, including my favorite one on the team.  Here’s what he wrote about them specifically.  You can read all of this thoughts on the Blue Star Media site.

The Cincy Angels may have not had a full roster nor did they play their best basketball but its hard not to still take notice of the talent on hand.  Swing player Sydney Brackemyre (Harveysburg, Ohio – 2014) already has major offers on the table but there could be plenty more knocking once July rolls around.  Combining good size at 6-1 with strength and skills makes her a tough assignment defensively.  The ballhandling is there to get to the rim but the form and range will force tight closeouts as well.  There’s a patience to her game on the catch that allows her to read and break down defenders.  The tools are there to defend both the forward and wing spot and she has the agility to be a factor in pressing situations.  Brackemyre is already well suited for the college game and what she does the next two years will determine just how far she can take her game and at what level.

Brackemyre wasn’t the only standout for the Cincy Angels.  Point guard and recent St. Bonaventure commit Imani Outlaw (Cincinnati, Ohio – 2013) demonstrated the game that has Jim Crowley’s staff excited up in Olean.  The 5-8 Outlaw was on constant attack and made things happen both off the drive and from the perimeter.  Using her explosive first step she got by on ball defenders time and again converting at the rim and from a consistent pull up.  She also added several deep jumpers that forced opponents to commit to containing one element of her attack or the other.  Defensively her physical strength offsets any lack of size and allows her to contain and steer opposing ballhandlers.

Angels Highlighted by Blue Star Media

The Angels are off to a great start this AAU season.  The 15u and 16u teams both won this weekend at the AAU Super Regional in Mason.  The 16u team crawled out of a 10-0 deficit in the first quarter and finished strong with a 20+ win.

A couple of weekends ago the Angels traveled to Chicago for the USJN Windy City Classic.  Blue Star Media featured four teams they watched in Chicago.  Here is what was written about the 16u Angels. (You can read the entire article here.)

Cincy Angels 16 (Cincinnati, OH): A while back Disney produced a baseball movie called Angels in the Outfield. The Cincy Angels could be cast in a basketball version called Angels on the Hardwood. If you’re a coach looking for size, you definitely need to take a long look at this team. This squad is stacked with talented and multi-skilled prospects.  Kayla McDowell loves to create off the dribble at 6-2 and the senior to be runs the floor in transition with the guards. She finishes well in the paint and has a nice shooting touch that stretches beyond the three point arc. Their Class of 2014 is very strong and has some depth. First one to catch your eye is 6-1 wing Sydney Brackemyre.  With a college ready body she’s skilled offensively posessing a nice face up game that includes a jumper that extends out to the three point range.  Brackemyre, in addition to matching up on the perimeter defensively, can also battle down on the block as needed. Jenna Gunn also has a strong build and good size at 6-0 that she effectively uses to defend and rebound. She handles the ball efficiently and loves to attack the paint with no reservations about contact.  Ana Richter has lots of versatility at 6-0 allowing her to play with her back to the basket or exploit her smooth midrange shot. Richter also does a good job of handling pressure and demonstrated good vision passing out of double teams.  Rounding out the Class of 2014 is 5-8 point guard Imani Outlaw.  She does an impressive job of attacking and creating in traffic but at the same time has a smooth reliable jumper. The Angels are a well-coached ball club with sound defensive principles. Their post players are well schooled fundamentally and contribute both in getting stops and providing offensive firepower. The Cincy Angels will not beat themselves and you’re going have to bring you’re “A” game if you plan on coming out on top.  

Angels Win in Chicago

The Angels got off to a great start to this year’s AAU season by winning the USJN Windy City Classic this past weekend in Chicago.  This was the first tournament for the 16u team (pictured) and the second for the 15u team (they won the Bearcat Classic last weekend).

Both teams look to be strong with the addition of some new players on both teams.  Excited about what the upcoming tournaments will bring.

Parents Should Sing Praise This Spring

I follow ESPN HoopGurlz and the article below was posted today on their site.  It is a good reminder for parents who have kids playing spring/summer ball. It relates specifically to basketball, but can be modified to fit any sport.  It’s a good read for parents (including me) about what should make up most of what we say to our kids from the stands.

A girl I once coached was at the free-throw line, where she always was aces. As she went through her pre-shot routine, the crowd at the state tournament game hushed, as they all do. From that silence rang a single, familiar voice.

“Make your free throws!” the voice commanded.

It was her father. His words plunged into her psyche like torpedoes. And … she … missed … both … free throws so badly, I swear it was on purpose.

With spring comes the chirping. And I don’t mean the robins, either, although they, too, are harbingers of the new season.

It’s the symphony of the parents that I’m talking about. Their caustic cacophony is the soundtrack to club basketball. They sit a lot closer for club games than high school contests, so you literally can hang onto every word — not that you’d want to.

Sing along. You know the words:

Take care of the basketball! I often thought to tell my players to, go ahead, toss an errant pass into the front row, make it whistle past your mom’s ear. Let her know that she needs to keep reminding you, because you are considering being careless with the basketball the entire game, perhaps the entire tournament. Maybe the next game she can remind you about every three seconds to take a breath.

Let them play! I imagine that, back in the day when women were required to wear skirts and only allowed to roam half of the court, a referee lassoed the lot of them and prevented them from playing. That image somehow sticks in the DNA of helicopter parents, causing an irrational anxiety. In my experience, savvy officials do indeed let the players play. That makes for shorter games, which makes for longer rests between games or just plain going home sooner.

Shoot the ball! This is a prime example of the delayed processing that proves the futility of screaming instructions from the stands. You yell, she hears, but the moment has passed. And what sense are we to make of the parent who yells this command as his/her daughter is retreating on defense? This is the first cousin, by the way, of, “Pass the ball!” (Translation: pass it to my baby so when she catches it, I can then yell, “Shoot the ball!”).

Take her! Sorry but in a girls’ sport, I cannot think of many things more vile. This conjures, at least for me, images of medieval knights “taking” a “wench.” Or soldiers “taking” an enemy. This is the sister phrase, by the way, of, “She can’t guard you.” Ugh. On the other side of one of these back-handed exhortations is another girl you’re insulting.

What are you doing? Once, just once, I’d love it if a player grabbed up her coach’s whiteboard, marched into the stands and diagrammed some of the offenses and defenses her team is running. Your kid knows what she’s doing, which means she knows when she has made a mistake. There are few things more grating during the heat of the moment than a sarcastic remark like this.

When my daughter was playing high school ball, during the preseason parents’ meeting her athletic director always revealed results of a survey of the players about what they wanted most from their parents. Oddly enough, “Scream instructions to me during the game,” never appeared on that list. Neither did, “Insult the refs,” or “Yell at my coach.”

Parents, if your daughter looks to you in the stands during a game, she’s looking for support, not your rolling eyes or your head cradled in your hands. Those only reinforce the dismay she already feels. This is a difficult game she is playing, so next time try throwing her a kiss, flashing her a smile, clapping your hands.

And if you must say something, how about something encouraging like, “Let’s go!”

AAU Team Rankings – Dabbs Blog

I’ve reposted some information from Jim Dabbelt’s website called The Dabbelt Report.  He does a nice job covering girls basketball in our area.

This week he posted his top 5 AAU teams leading into the spring/summer season.  Here’s what he posted:

AAU team rankings heading into huge weekend

By JIM DABBELT / Mon. April 16

With the spring eval period almost here, I will be taking a look at the Dabbs Top 5 AAU teams here early in the season. Now, notice I didn’t mention clubs…these are teams, which could come from a club, or could stand alone. A lot of people misinterpret the difference. When it comes down to the best club in Ohio from youngest to oldest, it is the Dayton Lady Hoopstars. Now call it biased or whatever, but those are the facts.

When it comes to the top 5 teams, they can come from any club, organization, or single team. Now to be fair, I have yet to see everyone play, but with that all being said, here is the list of the top 5 AAU teams in Ohio right now:

5. Ohio Lady Attack Black- another solid season so far for the Attack, as this year there are two teams. The Black team is young, in fact there are only 3 juniors on this “Premier” team, and the rest are underclassmen. Ashton Lovely (5-10 Greeneview, 2014) is a D1 prospect, and is their top all around player. This group won the season opening AAU Tip-Off event, only to lost last weekend in the Dayton Lady Hoopstars SRT. A couple of other players to watch during the evaluation weekend are Autumn Whirley (5-6 Eaton, 2015), Halee Printz (5-10 Tippecanoe 2015), Elizabeth Haley (6-1 Oakwood, 2013), and Kara and Emma Bockrath (Alter, Kara 2014, Emma 2015). This team has a strong nucleus to have another nice summer, as they won the AAU National title last summer. This weekend: Deep South.

4. Dayton Metro Premier- Standing at 10-4 on the season, the Metro “right now” may be the best team in Dayton. Three of their losses were close games to outstanding teams (All-Ohio Black 64-59), Team Supreme (83-81 3ot), and DLH Premier (59-57). But they have put together some good wins along the way. They beat both DLH Elite and Lady Attack Black twice, also cruised past W Va. Thunder 61-44 to win the DLH Super Regional on Sunday. Guards are their strength, as they are led by next-level type players Chelsea Welch (5-10 Fairmont, 2013), Trischa Lacy (5-10 Urbana, 2013), Konner Harris (5-9 Sidney, 2013), and one of the hardest working players around, Sarah Ammons (5-10 Mason, 2013). Victoria Wabler (Wayne), Sidney Cera (Brookville) and Ciara Poppa (Carroll) add to their guard depth, while Samantha Phillips (Beavercreek), Chelsea Winner (Marion Local) and Megan Galloway (Greenville) control the inside. This weekend: Deep South.

3. Cincinnati Angels- I saw them last weekend in a huge leave-it-all-on-the-floor scrimmage against Sports City, and let me tell you….don’t pass up seeing this team. They run the floor very well, put good pressure on you, and likely have at least 7 D1 solid prospects on the roster. Sydney Brackemyre (6-0 Clinton Massie, 2014), Jenna Gunn (5-11 Mason, 2014) and Kayla McDowell (6-2 Mason, 2013) all were very impressive. All three are major D1 prospects. Ana Ritcher (6-0 Talawanda, 2014) will break onto the national scene this summer well, and Alex Henning (5-10 Centerville, 2013) is a very underrated player who fits in nicely with this team. I am impressed with Leah Schafer from Highlands, KY, and throw in a solid group of guards, and you are looking at a team who can compete at all of their events. They also have a younger team who won their first tournament of the season last weekend. I figured this team would be the “real deal”, now everyone else is about to find out. This weekend: Windy City Classic.

2. All-Ohio- This team is loaded, and every college coach in America will want to see this team. It all starts with the best player in Ohio, Kelsey Mitchell (5-10 Princeton, 2014), who will attract everyone. Add in Vanessa Smith, and Taylor Agler, and you have quite a group to work with this season in Columbus. They also have the likes of Marley Hill and Alexa Hart, meaning they have one of the strongest complete lineups in the nation. They can run you out of the gym, and have the solid posts to pound it inside and dominate. Honestly, you take the top 4 on their team,and it would hard to say who is their 5th best. Seven kids on any given night can step into the fifth spot, and they wouldn’t lose a thing. This weekend: Boo Williams.

1. Sports City U- They are back on top again to start another season, and when you look at this team, it is hard to find a weakness. They have size, with six kids over 6-foot-1, they have speed, experience and youth all blended together to try to eclipse their national ranking they get every season. You can start off with the top 3 junior guards in Ohio in Alexis Peterson (5-6 Northland), Ashley Morriessette (5-9 Twinsburg) and Bianca Quisenberry (5-8 Tecumseh), meaning you better be ready to run. Trying to score inside? You will be staring at Paige Cashin (6-5 Newark, 2013), and Alyssa Rice (6-3 Reynoldsburg, 2014). If you take Rice, along with SCU teammates Makayla Waterman (6-1 Fairmont) and Kathryn Westbeld (6-2 Fairmont), you have the top 3 sophomore posts in Ohio. Add in the multi-dimensional Alexis Gassion (5-10 Fairborn, 2013) who can handle the ball, play the 2, or post you up, along with Jenny DeGraaf (6-1 Springboro, 2013) who can play inside or step out, and the potential is unlimited. Martha Thompson (5-9 Solon, 2013) is a quiet gem who can contribute, and add in the two young ones, but good ones. Tierra Floyd (6-1 Toledo Notre Dame, 2015) is the state’s top player in the class, and Celina King (5-5 Landmark Christian, 2016) is considered Ohio’s top PG in the incoming freshman class next year, and you are looking at a machine ready to roll. This weekend: Windy City Classic.

Sydney featured on The Dabbelt Report

Jim Dabbelt is the creator of a website called “The Dabbelt Report” which follows Ohio high school girls basketball in our area.  He spends a lot of time in the gym watching teams and blogs and tweets to give the girls in our area some exposure.  On his blog, he features a basketball player who is standing out among the many talented players in this area of Ohio.  This week he featured Sydney.

You can read the article on The Dabbelt Report website.

I follow his blog posts and on Twitter.  If you like basketball in our area, he will keep you up to date.

Here’s the article about Syd:

By JIM DABBELT
When it comes to the most talented sophomores in the Miami Valley, the bar is set at the very top with the Fairmont duo of Makayla Waterman and Kathryn Westbeld.  But next in line is a player who has exploded onto the scene after having an outstanding summer.
Clinton Massie 6-foot small forward Sydney Brackemyre has vaulted into the elite status in her 2014 class, and for the standout, she has a lot to credit to her summer AAU program, as she looks to lead Massie far into the playoffs this winter.
“This summer was amazing for me,” she said.  “About a week before AAU tryouts, I had no idea where I was going to be playing.  Chris Arington gave me the opportunity to play for the Cincinnati Angels, and it was probably the best decision I have ever made.”
Brackemyre was a key part as the team went 34-3 over the summer, and competed against a lot of tough teams from all over the United States.
“Coach Arington was a great coach who has an incredible knowledge about the game,” she said.  “He is a great role model for me this summer.  He also asked coach Dante Harlan to help train the three Angels teams.  He trained with us about three times a week.”
While the Angels were beating nearly everyone they played, Brackemyre’s stock went up.  She credits her time with the Angels and Harlan for that happening.
“Two of the biggest benefits of playing for the Angels are working with coach Harlan and the ability to train at Ignition in Mason.
“I worked out at Prasco with Dante during the entire off-season,” she said, getting to work out with some of the top players in Cincinnati such as Raeshaun Gaffney, Jenna Gunn, Nicole Bell, Brianna Glover, Chloe Pavlech, and other great players.  “They expanded my game to be strong and creative on the offensive end as well as quick and physical on the defensive end.”
All of that hard work has led to what she hopes will be a very memorable season with Massie.  The super soph knows the team is capable of playing well, with some solid players.
“There are some big expectations for our team this year, but we have definitely come into the season ready for the challenge,” she said.  “We have a really strong team with a lot of speed and athleticism.  Our team is very diverse and that is why I think we will be so successful.”
Brackemyre is joined on the Falcons squad by 6-foot sophomore Kasey Uetrecht and Brianna Machado, along with solid guards Mary Moyer, Allison Monnin, and Brittany Smith.
“We realize we have a long way to go, and our coach (Allen Wilkinson) does a great job keeping us humble when we win big, and encourages us when we get down.  We just want to come in everyday and get better.”
Not only is Brackemyre working on helping guide her team to a great season, she also has to worry about all the attention she will be getting from this point on.  She is no longer a stranger to the college coaches in the area, and while is talented, she also knows she has a long way to go.
“There is a huge room for improvement, but I think I need the most work on my defense,” she said.  “After (visiting schools) and talking to coaches, I have realized that defense is a huge part of what they expect from a player, not just that they can score.”
“I want to also work on making better decisions on the court, just being a smarter player and cutting down on turnovers.”
A lot of her attention came at the prestigious OGBR Skills and Exposure Camp at Denison, held every year in early July.  Last summer, she turned a lot of heads with her play at that camp, and opened the doors to a positive experience with the recruiting game.
“I had a great experience at that camp,” Brackemyre said.  “Going into it, I didn’t know a lot about it, but it was huge in my recruiting process.  Between that camp and the Top 64, I received a ton of exposure to college coaches.”
“OGBR also allowed me to experience some of the great players from other areas of Ohio that are really getting a lot of attention.  “Tom Jenkins is a great guy and he has allowed me the opportunity to be involved in things like camp, and the opportunity to work at some of the events such as the Classic in the Country.”
While she looks forward to working that great January event, it would mean a lot to her as well if she could experience the Classic from another angle…as a player.

First Unoffical Visit

If you have been reading much of this blog, I’ve posted a number of things from my daughter’s basketball endeavors and accomplishments.  She experienced a successful summer with her Cincinnati Angels teammates and from that, had exposure to college coaches.  Playing in the OGBR Top 64 also gave her the opportunity to get in front of college scouts again.

This weekend we make our first unofficial visit to a college basketball program.  We have another one lined up for next weekend and a few coaches are coming to watch her at her high school practices or games.

This is all brand-new for us and obviously, pretty exciting. Syd’s desire is to play at the next level and she has been working hard toward that.  We are looking forward to seeing what doors open up for her.

For now we will get as much info as we can and she will continue working on her game.  Be interesting to see what the next few months have in store.

Angels Update – Lost in Semi-Final

Just got a text from DC and the Angels lost in their semi-final game 45-40. Not sure who they played or how the game went, other than the outcome. It’s never fun to lose, but this is only the second loss of the season for them. I think their record stands as 32-2 for the summer. Not too bad I would say.

The girls will get cleaned up and hit the road for Bowling Green, OH, to play in their final tournament of the summer. They will be playing in a 14/15 mixed pool, so may face some stiff competition. The good thing is that Bowling Green is a lot closer than the original destination of Philadelphia, so I will get to catch a game or two.

Great job Angels! Keep up the good work.

Final Angels Update….until tomorrow

The Angels won their pool by going undefeated.  They won their last game today 51-36.  Syd had 11, but also took an elbow to the eye.  She said her eye is hurting and the elbow also got her mouth.  She has braces so she is going to see an orthodontist to make sure nothing is bent.  Hopefully she just comes out of it with a black eye.  They play in the semi-finals tomorrow.  With some ice and some rest tonight, hoping she is ok to play tomorrow.

Go Angels!