Nothing trumps family, but signing day in the early November period is always the most satusfying moment of my professional life. Todays is that day for 2011. The D1 Nation reaches far and wide, from Mississippi to the Pacific Coast now. It seems like a hundred years ago since the first signee to ever come out of our program inked his National Letter of Intent to play Division 1 basketball. That signee was Jeremy Buttell of Colleyville Heritage (TX) who signed with Texas Tech. Jeremy eventually transferred to and graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago where he is now an Assistant Coach.
In between that day and now the D1 Ambassadors has churned out over 100 Division 1 players, a McDonald’s All American, NBA and overseas pros as well as guys who have represented their countries in international events. Today, I am proud to announce the guys who have worn our jerseys and represented the D1 Nation with class and top level performances as they reach their goals of playing in college. In Alphabetical order:
McDarion Abrom C 6’10″ Canton (MS) Alcorn State
The 6’10″ Abrom burst onto the scene with Mississippi D1 as a sophomore alongside Top 100 player Leantwan Luckett and put his name on the map. He’s still raw, having only played basketball for three years but he’s got a great body and eats space in the paint. Played some of this season with Jackson Tigers and has committed to former Jackson Provine Coach Luther Riley who is getting it done. (His third Mississippi D1 alumni in two years.)
Alex Caruso G 6’5″ College Station A&M Consol (TX) Texas A&M
Appearing out of nowhere to finish in the Top 100, Alex Caruso spent his final two seasons with Texas D1. He shot onto the scene like he was fired out of a cannon with scintillating performances on the spring circuit in Las Vegas and Denver and then he followed it up with an outstanding Pangos All American Camp and then a strong performance at the NBA Players Camp in Virginia. Caruso can play the one, two or three position and is an extremely high riser. Alex’ dad Mike Caruso played for Eddie Sutton at Creghton and is the Associate AD at Texas A&M.
Javan Felix PG 5’11″ New Orleans St. Augustine (LA) Texas
The Texas Longhorns get a winner in Felix. He’s a physically strong guard who is pass first. Led St. Augustine to a Louisiana State Championship as a junior last season. Did his thing at the Las Vegas Fab 48 with the New Orleans D1 Ambassadors Elite. Just what the doctor order for Texas Coach Rick Barnes. Felix will be a steady influence in Austin for 4 years.
Matt Gramling G 6’2″ San Antonio MacArthur (TX) Army
Gramling turned down 10 offers to play with his brother Chris at West Point and to serve his country. Coached all the way through the AAU ranks by his father, Jon Gramling who brought him to the D1 Ambassadors “because Coach Max doesnt’ screw around with his top teams, he gets it done” in his father/son’s words. I take that as a huge compliment and take the rsponsibility of positioning these kids for their opportunities very seriously. Gramling, a hard nosed guard who runs a team and scores when needed is a recruiting coup for Army.
Joshua Hagins G 5’10″ Bossier City Airline (LA) Arkansas-Little Rock
Hagins was easily the best on ball defender that the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston squad had this summer. His quickness and perimeter stroke will serve him well as he joins Texas D1 alum Gus Leeper with the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans
Connor Lammert F 6’9″ San Antonio Churchill (TX) Texas
The second member of the D1 Nation to commit to the Longhorns in this recruiting class, Lammert has an incredible upside. Having turned 17 in late August it made his performance against some of the country’s top big men this year all the more remarkable. led the Texas D1 Ambassadors-San Antonio squad to the Las Vegas Live Championship as they crushed Nike teams Seattle Friends of Hoop, California Supreme and Houston Hoops along the way.
Uche Ofoegbu Southern Methodist (5 years)
R.J. McGhee G 6’6″ Baton Rouge Istrouma (LA)/Dodge City JC (KS) Eastern Illinois
Originally signed with North Texas out of high school, McGhee is now finishing his Associates degree at Dodge City. He is a superior shooter who when he gets hot is unstoppable.
Aly Mohamed C 6’9″ Houston Trent International (TX) Rice
Mohamed continues the Egyptian connection with Assistant Marco Morcos. Rice steals a high major in Mohamed who was one of the top performers at the Under Armour Camp in Atlanta and also led Egypt to the Under 18 Fiba Africa Cup two summers ago. Great footwork and sleight of hand make the massive Mohamed an intriguing prospect.
William Nelson W 6’7″ Louisiana Prep (LA)/Hutchinson JC (KS) Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
The ultra athletic Nelson has overcome a tough background to keep his dream alive. One of my favorite players. Played two years at Hutchinson JC but was still short academic credits. Former D1 Ambassadors Coaches Isaac Amedee and Bobby Sibley took him under their wing as a regular student this year at Dodge City (KS) in order that William finish his associates degree. A&M-Corpus Christi Coach Willis Wilson gets a high level player in this young man.
Uche Ofoegbu WG 6’5″ San Antonio Stevens Southern Methodist
Ofoegbu follows in older brothers John (Texas Tech) and Ike Southern Methodist as he inks today with SMU as well. Big guard who will likely grow more. Physical player who amps up his game when he’s going against someone with a “rep”. Ofoegbu’s a winner and a great competitor and like his brothers will represent Nigeria and play professionally several years from now.
Avery Woodson G 6’2″ Wayne County (MS) Southeastern Louisiana
Woodson is a big time shooter with a hair trigger release. As good a player as he is, he’s an even better person. Great snag for Assistant Coach Larry Cordero. he joins Mississippi D1 Ambassadors alum Donovan Ross at SELU.
The following three players: Reese, Rose and Sulaimon were the nucleus (along with Winston Sheppard of those great Texas D1 Ambassadors teams that were the scourge of the AAU ranks for several years, and then finishing with the Houston Hoops. Alll are great kids of character with nice families and strong academics to go along with their superior basketball talent.
J. Mychal Reese Texas A&M
Reese, the lefty carried the weight of being the country’s #1 ranked player for several years. He and his family never let him lose focus and he kept his head level and had a great high school and summer career. Reese’s father John a respected high school coach at Bryan (TX) is now an Assistant with Texas A&M.
L.J. Rose Baylor G 6’2″ Houston Westbury Christian (TX) Baylor
The consummate point guard/floor general. Rose can hit big shots but he’d prefer to find the open game down. Controls the pace and is a winner.
Rasheed Sulaimon G 6’3″ Houston Strake Jesuit (TX) Duke
Offered by everyone on the planet. Sulaimon is a superior shooter who also gets to the rim and rebounds way above average. Photo compliments of Scout.com
Congratulations to all these players and their families as they continue their basketball dreams.-Coach Max Ivany and the D1 Ambassadors Family