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Taking a Look at the Class of 2006: Part 1 - PGs

Erik Woods

West coast guards this year are not dominant nationally compared to years past. But if a good guard of 6-2, or 6-3 with anywhere near Mario Chalmer's ability comes on the scene as a 2006 PG he will be a lock for the #1 spot. After talking with a lot of coaches it seems thats what todays college programs are waiting for. Many other PGs will emerge in the next year or two to challenge for the spots on this list. The current listed guards will stay on top of this list if they can just do three things that coaches seem to value in their future pg:

  1. Bring the ball up with a 3 to 1 assist to turnover ratio and set the table for competent teammates
  2. score 2-3 buckets a game on 50% shooting and avoid forcing the situation, and
  3. hustle on defense to make a steal or two while hopefully disrupting the passing lanes with long arms.

Easy request, huh? But I have seen only a small handful of players with the potential to accomplish this with regularity. This means that the kids who are on this list now and want to be recruited as high majors in the future are going to have to leave it all on the floor, act unselfish, and show leadership to run the dang offense. Honestly, the feeling Im getting from many high major DI's is that if the top 2006 PG's don't step up their games out west they will just load up on the skilled small forwards/big men of 2006, take JC PG's, consider waiting to get a 2007 pg if possible. Or they will take an east coast PG class of 2006 guard like 6-0 Eugene Harvey from NJ who showed a pretty good game on his trip out here to the Pangos Shoe Camp. The west coast pg's must compete nationally with east coast pg's for Pac-10 spots and vice versa in the ACC.

Point is: DI coaches out west aren't offering any PG's in 2006 for at least a year IMHO because they aren't satisfied with what they see. Remember, the following is a West Coast listing and ranking. Honestly, I attended 5-6 quality events in the last few months out west for the Las Vegas Spring tourney, Networx Adidas tourney, Pump Brothers All West Camp, Best of Summer Camp and bits of two other tournaments. That isn't enough time to really get a complete feel for the prospects out west. However, I do seek out the advice of very good and fair talent evaluators to discuss prospects in a constructive and positive manner.  I also talk to the prospects coaches/family and they send me a lot of video on them. I listen to their fellow teammates and competition about their level of game and attitude on and off the court. This research along with my natural instincts as an educator gives me the ability to see in them the human potential that translates into how much better will they be going into college because they have their life together for example. Im of the group assessor model versus the narrow minded I'm a guru model of certain scouts that think they know it all - which none of us do.

Curtis Eatmon

The *** signifies combo guards that will probably be listed as shooting guards but this is where I list their pure point guard skills if they were to be recruited only for their ball handling and point guard skills.

Curtis Eatmon 6-3 PG Los Osos- Rancho Cucamonga h.s. Heady guard that is coachable, possesses good grades, and he makes those good decisions along with some pesky defense. He only lacks a little bit of killer instinct to be offered now by high majors. With a milkshake or two and continued progress with his personal trainer Hernando Planells (ELITE TRAINING) from the I.E. he is the next Anthony Goods for sure. Expect big things out of him because of his incredible family support and work ethic.

For more information on Curtis Eatmon or ELITE TRAINING, please call 323-481-4733 or email elitebballtraining@yahoo.com

Slamball articles with Coach Hernando Planells

What's Good?: The New Offseason Series

By Andrew Cross

February 20, 2005

Hello everyone, and welcome to this month's edition of the new offseason series here on AllSports, "What's Good?" During his two year tenure in Slamball he's been known as a fiery, 'in your face' coach that has his teams performing at the highest level. His wired halftime speeches even became controversial at one point, but make no mistake about it, his style has made him one of the premiere head coaches in this young sport. Struggling with key injuries all last season, his team's quest for a title ended very quickly. This month, we sat down with Bouncers Head Coach Hernando Planells and got his thoughts on this past season, plus his experience of recently being a part of the new motion picture "Coach Carter."

Cross: For those that don't know out there, can you enlighten us all on the role you played in the movie "Coach Carter?"

Planells: Former Diablo’s Coach Mark Ellis and his business partner Rob Miller of ReelSports, hired me as the “Basketball Coach” for “Coach Carter”. Coach Ellis, myself and the Reelsports staff evaluated and chose the athletes who would participate in the movie (including Nana Gbewonyo who played Junior Battle). From there my responsibilities were to draw up the playbook and choreograph the basketball action that was featured in the movie.

Cross: What kind of experience did you get out of working with all of those people on this movie?

Planells: The experience was simply amazing. I was able to work with some of the top people in the entertainment industry from Samuel L. Jackson to the Director Thomas Carter. I learned a lot about how movies were made and the tremendous planning that surrounds such a production. Working with Coach Ellis everyday was an experience like no other. This is a man who has worked on some of the best sports movies of all time and here I was learning from him every day.

Cross: Many people, including Larry King have stated that "Friday Night Lights" was the 'best sports movie of all time.' Do you feel "Coach Carter" topped "Friday Night Lights" for those honors?

Planells: Both movies were tremendously inspirational. Since I worked on “Coach Carter” I am a little bit partial. From a basketball standpoint, I think “Coach Carter” was a good basketball movie. There haven’t been that many great basketball movie besides “Hoosiers” so I think that this one has a chance to be considered a pretty good one after everything is said and done.

Cross: When you look at yourself as a coach, do you compare your coaching style more towards a discplined "in your face" type coach in a Bill Parcells or say a Larry Brown? Or do you feel you're actually kind of a laid back type of coach, like a Byron Scott or Gregg Williams?

Planells: I'd like to say Parcells or Brown. Both coaches have had tremendous success and are good role models to follow. I just hope that I can emulate their success. I put a lot of pressure on myself and our players to perform at a high level night in and night out.

Cross: We've all heard plenty of your halftime and timeout rants throughout the past two seasons, and we know at one point you've apologized to some parents at a basketball camp for saying the things that you did on national TV. During these two seasons that you've been the Bouncers head coach has there ever been any player that's "fallen out" on you?

Planells: I have never had a player fall out on me or the team. I am tough on the guys but I believe that they know how much I care about them and about the Bouncers. I have ridden players pretty hard, during year 1, I was tough on Gerrie Herring and Carlos Ardines. I believe for us to be successful our bench has to be as mentally tough and prepared as our regulars. For season 2, they were drafted by the Bandits and both of them played significant roles for Coach Berrokoff. I hope that practicing against Bailey, Young, Maiden and Wilson everyday along with me being “tough” on them had something to do with their success.

At the end of the day, WE are all playing for the same goal… and that’s to win a championship. I’m not here to baby players, sooth egos or worry about who I am disrespecting… I am here to help the team win a championship. It takes sacrifice, passion and hard work to get to that level and I believe (barring injuries) we are getting close to that level. “Focus, Discipline and Accountability leads to Ascension”

Cross: The following season your team was only one slam away from going to the Finals. How disappointing was it for you this past season to see the team struggle like this and to see your star players getting injured?

Planells: It was tough watching the players go down with these types of injuries. From Chris Young barely being able to practice to Rob Wilson’s and James Lee’s knee, Jeff Kreiling’s Shoulder, and Jenero Hempihill’s ankle. On top of that Rodney Bond had badly dislocated his hand in the first half against the Bandits, which left us without a stopper.

The tragedy of all this was that the fans couldn’t witness the explosiveness of James Lee, he was on the verge of having a great rookie year. Kreiling was an unbelieveable enforcer that no one saw, he smacked one player through a door and made several game changing hits for us. Hemphill was very versatile on the tramps and on the open floor and would of given us another dimension for us to play with. Injuries are a part of sports, I hope that next season we will be healthy and contend for a championship.

Cross: What's the health status of James Lee and Chris Young for the upcoming season?

Planells: They are doing well and are waiting anxiously for the season to get underway.

Cross: What were your reactions to hearing Rob Wilson state his retirement from Slamball after last season concluded? Did he let you know ahead of time what his future was?

Planells: We talked about it and I supported him 100% in whatever decision he made. He was invaluable to the team and myself and I hope he can come back and assist us in any way to win a championship.

Cross: With Wilson gone from the team now, is your main focus now on picking up a stopper who can come off the bench and give you quality minutes while resting Rodney Bond?

Planells: I think that stopper is a hole we need to fill as is gunner and handler. When tryouts begin we will reevaluate our needs based on the talent that is on hand. Of course draft position and how deep the draft pool is will play a huge role on who we take.

Cross: Can you give us a quick evaluation on your star gunner, Dion Bailey? Even when the team was struggling all throughout last year, the man gave it his all out there every night. He was your Mr. Double-Double man whether it was with scoring, rebounding or making open floor hits.

Planells: Dion Bailey is an amazing athlete who plays hard every second. The way he improved his overall game is exactly what we expected. He has all the skills and intangibles to be one of the best players on the court. He can shoot and drive to the basket effectively and has a knack of getting loose balls. He is a player that can play gunner and handler, although gunner is where I would like to see him more often.

Cross: How dangerous do you think this team can be next season with everyone healthy?

Planells: Just like any team, if we were completely healthy we have a chance of making it all the way. In sports you need a couple of breaks and good luck to make it to the top. I think we have the pieces to make a good run. The combination of our returners and draft picks should help us get closer and closer to our goal.

Bouncers Are Ready To Take SlamBall By Storm

By Sheryl

March 28, 2003

Creeping around the corner, incredibly slow it seems, is SlamBall's Season 2. With that, all of SlamBall's teams have acquired new talents that are expected to live up to their coach's expectations as well as the fans. I asked Bouncer's Coach Hernando Planells a few questions to find out what his expectations are for his team and what the word on the new players is. He has high expectations and according to him, the Bouncers are gonna rock and roll this season.

Coach “H”, how does your team look so far?

Well, Sheryl, we are definitely coming along. We are working very hard this year to get better and better on the tramps and getting more and more comfortable in the air. Last year we were a strictly fast-breaking team that tried to beat everyone down the court for a score. This year we are adding several wrinkles to our system that will serve our personnel best this year. With our added size we definitely want to be much more physical on the defensive side of the ball. Because of the lack and size in our lineup last year, we wore down as the season progressed. Now we will be able to sustain our pressure and create more turnovers.

Are they coming along as well as you expected or better?

Well I think just like in any sport you would like to see the development of your team to go quicker. Unfortunately in Slamball it takes a little longer. Our new guys are working their butts off to become “tramp masters” by the time the season starts. I am very impressed on how our team has gotten our fast break system. We seem to react better to the ball during transition.

How do you think your team's potential will measure up to the other teams?

Well, I think that with our recent additions our potential as well as the other teams potential has grown to new heights. Last years' teams had set the bar for future Slamball seasons. Slamball Season 2 will set the bar even higher than we ever imagined. Obviously, every team drafted uniquely talented athletes, but it will be up to the coaches to mold them into the championship-caliber teams that we are expected to.

What do your players have to offer SlamBall?

The number 1 thing they can offer Slamball is respect for the game. I think that all the new players never thought how hard jumping on the trampolines would be. They take this game very serious and are always looking to get better.

Does their backgrounds in sports do justice to their talents in SlamBall?

Our draft picks have a phenomenal background. Every one of them has had 3 to 4 years of college basketball playing experience. That’s what I was looking for when we were in the draft war room. James Lee has had an exceptional career at Ventura City College and the University of San Francisco. At USF he is in the top 5 to 8 in almost every major statistic, from scoring to rebounding. Rodney Bond is a physical presence and played for Oral Roberts University before transferring to Northeast Oklahoma University. Jeff Kreiling was a 6’4 255 pound 3 year NAIA All-American at Cardinal-Stitch University in Wisconsin. Jenero Hemphill finished his playing career at Florida A & M where he was top 5 in steals and assists. These players all have the maturity and patience to learn role responsibility which will be very important to the Bouncers Success!

What are your expectations for Season 2?

Well, Sheryl, anything less than a championship would be disappointing. I really believed that we had the talent and the capability to win it all last year, but things did not pan out the way we had envisioned it. The Bouncers are more determined now to complete our journey to the championship.

Did you choose new players because they would complement the returners you chose to protect?

Most definitely, I needed the Bouncers to get bigger, tougher and more versatile. I hated to lose Herring, Berlowski, Ardines and Stallworth. Herring is doing a fantastic job for Coach Berokoff. Expect big things from him next year. Berlowski decided to hang it up and pursue a lucrative career in Pharmacudical sales. Ardines and Stallworth are still available to get picked up. I absolutely loved our team last year, but we needed to get bigger, stronger and faster. Our draft really solidified several areas we needed to improve. Kreiling and Bond give us tremendous size and depth at the stopper and gunner positions. Those 2 guys combined are close to 500 pounds of flesh flying through the air. James Lee is a 6’6 220 gunner who is getting his head above the backboard. He has alot to learn but he will definitely make a run at a starting position. Hemphill is a “change-of-pace” handler. He has improved the most on the trampolines. He is so active and throws the ball very well.

Do you expect your team to hold up better over the second half of the season than they did last season?

Last year we took a beating. Of the players that received significant playing time only Rob Wilson and Ben Berlowski were over 200 pounds. This year 3 out of our 4 picks are well over 200 (Keiling 250, Bond 240, Lee 220). This will lessen the pounding that Maiden, Bailey and Young had to take last year. That means that our defensive intensity will be able to be sustained through the course of the game and season.

How much has the talent level improved the SlamBall?

On every team rosters 1 in 8 have the capability of doing great things in this sport. The talent level is so amazing that when fans watch season 2 they will be on the edge of their seat waiting for the next phenomenal play to occur. When teams can pick up a Martice Moore (6’8 225 Gunner/Stopper) or a stud gunner in Trevor Anderson in the first round and still find a Jeff Kreiling in the 7th or a talented handler in Skitz in the 8th, you know this is a deep and talented draft. You mix in those players with the returning vets from the previous year, you have a deadly mix.

Do you have any revelations as to who might shine as a player this season?

Well, on the Bouncers, I think you will have to watch how my newcomers will excel. Their development is going very well and Lee, Kreling, Bond, and Hemphill have the capability to have a fantastic rookie year. They will have every opportunity to leave their mark. As for my returner, Young, should have stellar sophomore season, You will see much more offensive output by Rob Wilson. With our recent additions we will be able to play him all over the court. Maiden understands that he will have to be more aggressive if he wants to become a star in this league. But I really believe that Dion Bailey will be a force to be reckoned with. Last year he was a dominant shooter, but now he has become absolutely fearless on the tramps and is making some spectacular plays at the rim.

Is there a friendly rivalry building up between your team and the Bandits team with Coach Berokoff?

Coach Berokoff and I will always have a friendly rivalry. I consider Mark to be one of my closest friends. In fact he was best man at my wedding. I truly believe that Mark is one of the best coaches around and I am really excited that he is working on Slamball. I admire him as a coach and a friend. We are great friends off the court, but on the court we are extremely competitive. I fully expect that when the Bouncers and Bandits go at it, it will be an all out WAR!!!!! When all the smoke clears this rivalry may become the greatest in Slamball's young history

There you have it folks. Coach Planells is pumped up about the upcoming season and he has every confidence that season 2's championship will belong to the Bouncers. All I can say to the other teams is look-out and be prepared for some fierce competition from the Bouncers. Again Coach, thank you for your time and giving us a report on your team. I want to say good luck to all the teams this year!



SlamBall Coach Hernando Planells Jr. Gives His View From The Top
The man who makes it happen for the Bouncers
By James Anderson
August 30, 2002

Thanks Coach Planells, we’re glad you could take the time to talk with us and give us your point of view on the sport, its players, the future of the sport and just any thoughts you may have.

Coach Planells, what’s your background athletically? Did you play and coach sports?

Please call me Coach H. Well I played basketball and football in high school and played a little college basketball before hurting my knee. I then decided to turn to coaching. I started off as a High school assistant at Monrovia High School for football and basketball. Then I became a head High School basketball coach at the age of 20 in Tucson, AZ. I came back to LA and took over the LA High program, and then I was fortunate enough to go over to UNLV and help out with the program over there. Then Slamball came up…

How did you hear about the job as a coach for the SlamBall League and did you approach them or did they approach you?

One day I was surfing the net and came across the ad looking for coaches for this new sport. I thought that the idea of full contact basketball with trampolines would be interesting. At the time I had decided to take some time off full-time coaching and devote more time to my family. I read the ad and thought “what the heck”, I sent in my resume and I received a call back.

What changes did you have to make in your style to go from coaching conventional basketball to SlamBall?

I really didn’t change too much. I basically took my fast break system and tweaked it a little. I didn’t see the need to change a whole lot; I took what seemed to work and ran with it. As the game evolves so will the drills and methods that the coaches use.

Is your greatest influence on a game in the preparation, halftime talk or other methods? One of my writers Maniac Man said you gave a halftime tirade that seemed to get the team going.

I think a little bit of everything influences how I coach a game. Preparation is key because you need to be ready for your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. How you capitalize on your opponent’s weaknesses during the last few minutes of a game will determine a W or an L. My halftime approach is usually intense and filled with adjustments. I have been lucky that my players have been able to respond to my tirades with their own sense of urgency.

Do you try and utilize your players talents based on what they formerly played or based on your own strategies?

Our strategies are based on the talent I have out on the floor. I really don’t put so much on what sports they have played in the past. I try to tailor our system to our team’s strengths. For instance my team the Bouncers had exceptional gunner play. We had guys who could attack the tramp from everywhere. We also had a stopper (Rob Wilson) who could run the floor and establish a defensive presence. Our whole offensive strategy was to constantly attack the rim. We rarely worked on lobs, because passing was not one of our strengths, running and dunking was!

Are you surprised at how talented players like Chris Young, Mike Goldman, Dion Mays, Sean “inches” Jackson and Stan Fletcher are?

Not really, all the players had some sort of athletic background, whether it was football or basketball. What I was really impressed was the heart and courage to go out there every single day and get pounded over and over. These players should be admired and commended for the toughness they displayed night in and night out.

Do you feel there’s a big difference in overall athletic abilities between players in this league like Sean Jackson, Chris Young, Stan Fletcher and the aggressive LaMonica Garrett and players in the other sports?

There is not a difference in overall talent between Slamball and other sports, but there is a difference in the passion, heart and courage that these athletes display. You can see it in their eyes, their determination and fire runs through these players deeply and it is not matched in any sport.

Do you feel players from the NCAA or NBA could be successful in SlamBall? I ask because they are used to being babied by referees based on their reputations and in SlamBall the toughest survive.

It’s going to take a certain type of NCAA or NBA player to survive in the Slamball world. Players who don’t like the contact shouldn’t even step on the court. The aggressive nature of the sport will attract many players but will also scare of a good many.

How would you explain the great attitude towards the fans and specifically our SlamBall site here at Allsports.com by the players in the league?

In this day and age when player strikes and high salaries pollute the sports world, I think that fans are looking for a sport where the players play hard and where money is not the issue. Fans are driven by passion for their sports teams; all they want are for the athletes themselves to show the same type of devotion and passion. Slamball offers all of that. These players take the sport very seriously; they are hungry and driven by hard work and the determination to be a success. That is what drives the American Dream and that is what people want to watch and root for.

Most athletes in major sports take it for granted that common courtesy isn’t needed because they’ve made it big. Having coached at the NCAA level and SlamBall league, is one more fun then the other?

It’s hard to compare the two. In college you recruit your players. You travel the country looking for the best possible player to fit into your scheme. This usually is a 1-year continual process. You’re also dealing with athletes straight out of high school who are trying to find themselves while playing basketball. In Slamball your dealing with established athletes. These are athletes who are more mature physically and mentally. As Slamball grows so will scouting and all the other intricacies that are involved with team sports. I had a lot of fun coaching in both, but since Slamball is something new, it was more exciting and it is definitely something I would love to continue.

Do you think more athletes will look to SlamBall to prolong their athletic careers, as it becomes more acceptable publicly?

Actually I think athletes will jump straight to Slamball instead of going to pursue their dreams of pro football or basketball. This sport has so many opportunities and most of what can be done has been untapped. People are naturally curious, I think that many athletes will want to explore the potential of the sport.

What do you truly feel the long-term chances for success are for SlamBall?

I firmly believe that Slamball will be around for a long time. With the long-term plans in the works, with the promotion and the continued support from our fans, Slamball has no limit.

Any final thought you want to tell the SlamBall fans out there?

I would like to thank the fans for their overwhelming support and love that they have shown. Without them, Slamball would just be a novelty item. There are many players from different sports that always claim that they “play for the fans” or that “money is not an issue”. But that usually isn’t the case. I am proud to be affiliated with a sport that the player’s give all out effort and love, and that they play not for the money but for the fans.

I want to say thank you again to Coach “H” for giving us some of his time to talk about the players involved in SlamBall and his overall thoughts on where this game can go. Coach “H” is a true gentleman as we talked off the record and I can tell how much he wants this to succeed and will give his best to help it do just that. He has supported us just by coming back continuously to see all the new interviews and stories that are going up constantly and passing the word of mouth on to all interested people.

Thanks again and we hope to come back and talk to him again in the future.

James Anderson SlamBall Editor and Leader of the Pack!!