imageD-2 Southern Indiana University is the second visit on Shelton Boykin’s list of teams he may accept a scholarship to play basketball.  He visited Western Georgia University several weeks ago and was thoroughly impressed. 

The Unimageiversity has a modern 300-acre (1.2 km2) suburban campus situated within wooded rolling hills.[4] USI athletic teams participate in Division II of the NCAA and are known as the Screaming Eagles. USI is a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The university is home to an extensive student life, with more than 100 student organizations.

SIU had a solid season this year 19-8 but was knocked out of their Conference tournament in the first round. 

Updates as they come in.

coach FrazerIts been quite a couple of years for AVC’s assistant coach Ryan Fraiser.  While building his happy family, his other accomplishments have been impressive.  In his two years at Antelope Valley College, the team went into the semi’s in state tournament twice.  AVC has won the Western State-South championship two straight years.  He sports an 51-11 record during his two years at AVC. 

In addition,  Coach Fraiser completed his Masters Degree and currently is teaching full time at the Palmdale Aerospace Academy, a Charter School located in Palmdale, California and is part of Palmdale School District.  This school is in such demand that it uses a lottery to chose the students for the limited slots.

This year Coach Fraiser was asked to apply for the head coach position at Fullerton Community College.  He went through the process and was named as one of the final three candidates for the position.  The position was given to another young outstanding coach and although disappointed he felt it was an excellent experience to go though. 

Add to all of  Fraiser’s accomplishments in the past two years, he was recently named the Athletic Director at his high school.  He will be building the athletic program for the two year old school.  Looks like his boss is doing every thing she can to to keep Fraiser at the elite High School. 

As a selfish AVC fan I am worried that it is just a matter of time before we lose Fraiser to the “big time.”  As a fan of Coach Fraiser, no one is better qualified or skilled for the next level than Frasier.

 

August 24, 2015 is a big date.  It is the date Antelope Valley College starts its Fall semester.  Transfers, high schooler’s, red-shirt’s and new sophomores will be starting their push to get an AA/BS degree and for a select few, possibly down the road to play professional basketball.  A very important day!

If you read my blog you will know that I highly recommend that student athletes join the their college as soon as they graduate from high school or transfer in.  The competition for playing time at this level is so intense that taking the summer off or playing AAU ball may make a huge difference in playing time.  Remember, a number “applicants” have already come and gone.  It’s a tough road but the high road. 

In a little over 60 days from now, the 2015-16 July Summer JUCO Tournament will be on.  Time is flying.

“Great Week of Basketball Classes.”  This is the first time that I have said this in April.  There is such an interesting mix of players currently in class; graduating sophomores staying in shape for their next gig,  players new to the program/college, red shirts, and freshmen that at the end of the semester will be sophomores. 

This class is not for the faint of heart. Counted in one practice where the point guard ended up hard on the floor when he drove into the paint;  12 times.  He popped right up and headed right back into the paint.  Tough guy!

Just as important is that the new student athletes are learning that they must attend class and pass their tests.  At AVC academics is real. 

They know more players are coming in to try to take the minutes they want for themselves.  They are doing everything humanly possible to impress the coaching staff so that will not happen. 

Its very early for me to be having so much fun!

NCAA D-1 Rule Changes

The D-1 NCAA Legislative Council approved measures that they call the “Well-Being Rules.  The Board of Directors of the NCAA will finalize these rules on April 28, 2015. 

The Legislative Council approved measures that would:

  • Division I student-athletes can receive unlimited meals and snacks in conjunction with their athletics participation,
  • Require strength and conditioning coaches to be certified from a nationally accredited certification body,
  • Require someone certified in CPR, first aid and AED (Automated External Defibrillation) to be present at all countable athletic activities,
  • Reduce the penalty for a first positive test for street drugs during championships.

I can see it now, basketball of the  future.

It’s the team meeting after a very slow mellow workout.  Everyone was happy with the 9-6 win in their “up tempo” last game and the coaching staff brought in from the local Dope Shop special of the day, 16 different kinds of Marijuana on a tray.  The munchies were outstanding and by rule, unlimited.

First discussion was where the university was going to money for new scales…the old ones just don’t go high enough!

 

The majority of the 2014-15 AVC team were together for the past two year.  Nine sophomores on the team who knew where they stood and the routine.  Now the current freshmen are finishing up their academic year and show their controlled aggression on the basketball floor during basketball class show how serious they are about  showing the world who is coming back in 2015-16. 

Then, you look at the “next generation” and you are saying to yourself, “Oh My!” and “How will this fit?” and even “Are you kidding”?  We hear rumors about those high school studs and…gosh, darn, it looks like a great year.  Stay tuned.

Every JUCO player has a story.”

I have been following Junior College Basketball(JUCO) for 20+ years.  Following means attending practice, summer scrimmages, pre-conference tournaments, conference games and playoff/state tournaments.  I remember the games, the tournaments, the trips to the State Tournaments but I best remember the players.

The vignettes about the JUCO players that I will be writing are not about specific players.  They may be a amalgamate of several players or have changes made to protect the innocent and the guilty. 

Hope you enjoy and in some cases feel the pain of the stories as much as I did recalling them.

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When you grow up in one of the most dangerous cities in the world…you learn how to survive.  It’s a lot  easier though, no matter where you live, when you are 6’5”  by time you’re a freshman in high school. 

Two things were very different for basketball players in those days.  No “Social Media” to let the world know how good and “bad” you were and players could not play NBA basketball right out of high school. 

The best/controversial college basketball coach in the nation recruited “Bars” to the most talked about D-1 University of the time.  True or not, the players at the university, were thought to be recruited mostly from the prison systems and the mean streets.  Rumors floated that the “Mob” funded the program and made sure they were “protected” from their enemies; the NCAA, law enforcement, professors and other D-1 teams.  I am sure these were all just rumors of course. 

“Bars” right out of high school wasn’t prepared for this university environment.  He needed some tempering in a place that was far way from everything, supervised by a D-1 head coach that could handle special players.  They found a JUCO that fit those requirements perfectly. 

It was quite a year!  He went to work with the basketball team. Oh my.  No one could stop him at 6’5”, 215 at the shooting guard position.  Averaged 30+ points a game.  Yep, 30+ points a game.  He was ready for the big time.  But, as everyone knew, it wasn’t basketball that needed improvement at the JUCO.  It was the need to learn social and academic skills so he could play and survive at the next level. 

Stories, stories.  He loved kids.  He would protected them with his life.  On the basketball court he would would look for a way to “do in” a competitor who “dissed” him.  On and on and on.  What a year.  But at the end it was determined that “Bars” has learned enough to head off to the big time. 

He fit perfectly there.  One of the most talented group of players to ever play together at a University.  The university was in full war with the NCAA during “Bars” three years there.  He led them to a national championship(taken away by NCAA), conference championships, and one year averaged 29 points per game.  He ended his “college career” by being suspended from his team just before playoffs due to allegations of having someone doing his academics for him.

“Bars” checkered college career did not stop the NBA from recruiting him as a top five pick with, for that time, big bucks.  He was so talented that he was named NBA rookie of the year and averaged 19 ppg for three years at one team.  Things really started down hill from there.  Six teams in nine years.  “Bars” was dogged by a variety of personal problems, including accusations of drug use and assault. 

When he was finally waived for the last time by the NBA, he was said to be broke due to his drug habit and his “fake friends”…can you say posse?  The low point of his young life was when he put in jail for a whole number of charges including possession of cocaine. 

Looking back, “Bar’s” one year of JUCO basketball may have been the best time in his life.  No money, very little “freedom”, isolation, just going to class, and basketball practice.  It kept him away from drugs, bad company and life threating decisions.  When he he started making his own decisions….it end up with him “Looking out between the bars.”