"It's All About The Game"

Practice Notes: Takeover 17u/16u Black 5.18.13






Ron Bailey, Publisher

It's not always smooth sailing.

May 21, 2013 - It was Saturday morning and overcast on May 18th. Team Takeover’s 17u/16u Black teams had again converged for practice, this time in preparation for the following weekend’s trip to Minnesota, where a Elite Youth Basketball League beckoned for the 17u team, while the 16u may end up in Richmond. Following the workout just two days ago, more participation was expected of players by coaches.

The young guys responded in that regard, as most available players were on tap. But maybe it was the overcast day. Possibly reuniting with teammates served as a distraction. Whatever you tab it, the players were not as focused and dialed in as they could have been - were expected to be.
Coaches on hand were not pleased, and communicated that during and afterward.

“We’re 13 and 0 (17u) one, won back to back championships (16u)” stated 16u assistant coach Ray Brewer afterward. “We need to concentrate. We don’t settle”! He was concerned players may have been reading their press clippings.

“Basketball is not always about X’s and O’s” noted Jamil Jones, an assistant coach with the 17u unit. “Sometimes, you have to just play”. Jones was referencing a penchant for players to not play as aggressively and focused as necessary, particularly when the play broke down. .

Matt Henry, a coach that works with multiple teams in the organization forcibly said, specifically to the 17u crew “People don’t care about you. Despite being 13-0, nobody cares”. He went on to cite the lack of recruiters at their games as justification, and continued “If that doesn’t fire you up, you’re in the wrong business”.

Challenging player’s pride, assistant 16u coach Darryl Prue commented “If you think you are the best player in the gym, you should be checking the best player on the other team, showing up on time….this is the time to get better”.

What were organization’s director, Keith Stevens' comments?

“I’m not going to sit here and say I was the best player in the gym” said Stevens, in the center of everyone present, at times circling, making eye contact with the players. “But I always competed. That’s something; you have to want to play”!

Bryant Crawford is a player the Takeover staff expects much of.

Regarding defense, Stevens recounted “Great teams defend the basketball”, before citing the penchant of Takeover alumni Victor Oladipo, Mo Creek, Julian DeBose, and James Robinson to all walk into the with the mindset “I’m going to check the best player”.

In Stevens’ estimation, this upcoming trip to Minneapolis will be “our toughest weekend coming up”. The reason is not only the team’s unmatched Nike circuit success this season, but the 17u crew not having a full deck to play with; Martin Geben will not play, Marcus Derrickson might not, and Therence Mayimba is an expected late arrival.

Add the fact other teams desire what Takeover has done, which is secure invites to Nike’s Peach Jam – that shoe companies’ championship, one which corresponds with the NCAA open period (and possibly the Super Showcase).

“I think a lot of us have been caught up in this” said Stevens, clearly perturbed by delivering his message in a firm, measured manner. After Saturday, if his players didn’t understand it, they did then.

Player Notes:

Josh Reaves – 6’3”, 165 pound, sophomore guard/forward, Paul VI (VA) – A left handed slasher, Reaves loves to attack the tin, specifically during fast break and open court situations. Reaves is very athletic, and uses it to make plays. Will rattle the rims with force.

He understands the need to improve dribbling and his jump shot’s consistency, thereby making him a more complete player.

Colleges have taken note, as Reaves noted “Detroit, Virginia, Tennessee and Boston U” have all expressed interest.

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