Rayvonte Rice (Champaign Centennial) and Karl Madison (Springfield Lanphier) both are kids who had plenty of options as to where they could've chosen to play their college ball. Rayvonte is one of the top ten players in Illinois, and is having arguably the best senior season of any player in the state, including McDonald's All-American Jereme Richmond, who Rayvonte outplayed when his Centennial Chargers defeated Jereme's Waukegan Bulldogs to claim the title of top ranked team. A 6'4" wing player with a big body and big time hops, "Trey" doesn't have many flaws to his game on offense or defense, and has been proving all season long that he deserves some consideration for a national ranking. Karl Madison is a point guard's point guard, and the 41st in the nation, according to ESPN.com. A lighting quick floor general with a tight handle and a basketball IQ that's through the roof, Karl can dominate a game by driving and dishing to set up his teammates just as easily as he can take over in the blink of an eye with his deadly three point stroke. Just like his buddy Trey in Champaign, Karl often gets left out of the conversation for the state's best players due to his distance from the Windy City, but when one sits down to watch him play it's almost comical to think that people forget to bring him up when discussing the state's elite back court players. Both of these kids had a lot of college options, there's no doubt about that, and they would've had many more suitors had they waited to commit until after their senior season; so, you may ask, why did they commit to Drake? A mid major school in Iowa that's going through a rebuilding process with a new coaching staff? For real guys? Easy...where you see a question mark, they see an opportunity. Some kids like following others, but kids like Trey and Karl like blazing their own trail. Where you a mid major school that's rebuilding, they see a program with great fans, in a great conference, with a passionate and energetic coach- a program that just needs a couple of players to believe- a team with potential to do extraordinary things with the addition of a few perfect pieces. Where you see fear, they see excitement; where you see a risk, they are so confident in their skills that that same risk looks to them like a sure thing. Drake fans: You better buckle your seat belts, because for the next four year's you'll be in for the ride of your life. Congratulations... For more info email DanielPoneman@gmail.com.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Rayvonte Rice & Karl Madison- Highlights & Interview with Dan Poneman- "Drake Fans- Congratulations"
If you are lucky enough to have ever encountered Winston Shepard, then you can vouch for me when I say that he defines one of a kind. A 6'7" wing with freakish athletic ability and a flair for the spectacular- Shepard is considered one of the top ten sophomores in America thanks to a collection of natural abilities that you only see in a handful of players per generation. Strangely enough though, it isn't until he steps off the court that Mr. Shepard truly enters his element. With a big, bright, white smile that he flashes at all the right times, extra long limbs that fit perfectly into his navy blue sweatsuit- and seem to move in just the right way as he glides out of the locker room and down the hall to greet his adoring fans, and a innate confidence that only can come from being arguably the top prospect on the top high school basketball program in the world- Shepard's social presence might just surpass that which he has on the basketball court. By the time Winston had finished his freshman season at Hightower High (TX), there was an undeniable buzz that stretched far beyond the Lone Star State about the unbelievably talented kid from Houston. With enough talent to garner early offers from a long list of schools including Texas, Okahoma, and Arizona, it would've been easy for Winston to have ridden out the rest of his high school years in Texas being "the man," living (what most kids his age consider) "the dream" and never having a care in the world. But that dream wasn't Winston's dream; his dream involved a decorated NCAA career, an NBA contract, and a life filled with choices that he could be proud of when it was all said and done- a dream that he knew would take hard work, dedication, and a whole lot of sacrifice. So Winston packed his bags and left home to go out west to the desert of Henderson, Nevada- passing up being big man on campus back home for the opportunity to be a part of the most prestigious and highly regarded high school basketball program in the world. Winston knew that the private school academics, college style training program, and national travel schedule was going to be a challenge to say the least, but he knew that if he wanted to truly become the best, that meant becoming a Findlay Prep Pilot. In his first season at Findlay, Winston is thriving; he competes with and learns from teammates like Tristan Thompson (going to Texas), Nick Johnson (#18 junior in the nation), and Cory Joseph (McDonalds All-American), he provides a spark plug off the bench as a role player for the #1 ranked Pilots, and, if it wasn't already a given, he makes hoards of new friends and adds members to the Winston Shepard fan club in every city they stop in. Winston Shepard may still be young, but that might just be the best part about him- the future is his canvas- and I couldn't be more excited to see what this young man is going to paint... For more information email DanielPoneman@gmail.com.
Basketball is not what I do, it is who I am. When I was a senior in high school I made the decision to forego college so that I could commit every waking moment to my passion. I've tried to give my job a label, but there really is no one title that describes it. My old site focused on covering high school basketball in Illinois and reporting recruiting news, and DP B-ball was created to enable my staff and I to do much much more. This blog is a transition site until the real DPBball.com gets released, and my staff and I will be updating daily with tons of fun and exciting content about everything high school hoops. With highlight videos, interviews on camera and off, recruiting news from around the globe, compelling feature articles, and much more, DP B-ball is the place to be for anybody who shares my passion. It's YOU, the people of the basketball community, that make it possible for me to do what I love every day, and for that I am forever grateful and willing to do whatever I can to help you all just like you do for me. So email me anytime, and if you love hoops like I do, consider me your friend. Thanks, and enjoy!