Episode #23 “The Students”

•February 14, 2011 • 16 Comments

THE SEASON: Episode #23

Featuring music by The ARE

I work the grave yard shift at the local Chevron gas station on weekends.

I’m mentioning that because there are a lot of new followers of The Season and they may not know that. Yeah, to keep this project going I work nights ringing up beer, cigarettes and a ton of junk food to blackjack dealers getting off work, drunks and kids trying to pawn off their fake ID’s.  Anyway, last summer during the Pilots off season Coach Johnson came in the store while I was working.  After talking up Chicago Bulls basketball (cause that’s what real fans do), I asked him how everything was going with the Findlay team since I hadn’t really heard anything. It was then that he confirmed the new system for the Findlay Prep program. Basically the Pilots were going to continue living at the house and attending Henderson International, which as of earlier that year was no longer operating as a traditional high school. The new setup involved just the Findlay players and one other student from last year.

After he left I kinda sat on it and thought, “Doesn’t this make it harder for them?”

You have to understand, the Findlay Prep program got (still gets) a lot of flack about not being a “real” high school last year. People didn’t see that the players actually attended a very well respected private high school in Henderson, NV. I’m telling you from my own account, the setup was no different than any other private high school institution. But with Henderson consolidating their campuses in to one, I knew understanding the new system would be tough.

So that’s part of what this episode is about. When I sat down with Coach Peck and Coach Simon, I asked them, “Doesn’t this make it harder for you guys? Are you prepared for the critics?”

We also spend time with Senior Nick Johnson on the opening day. This was the day the Pilots played Impact Academy, and I covered those video highlights with Episode #18. That’s why I didn’t stay with the highlights long in this episode. Originally I didn’t have any highlights from that game, but it looked awkward going from the pre game talk to the half time talk and then to the end of the game. I thought seeing at least a few plays helped that transition.

Kabongo now a McDonald’s All-American

•February 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Canadian and Findlay Prep Senior Myck Kabongo has been selected as a McDonald’s All-American. Well deserved. I’m still kinda puzzled Nick Johnson didn’t make the roster. I think he’s just as deserving.

From Ray Brewer of the LAS VEGAS SUN

Findlay Prep point guard Myck Kabongo on Thursday was one of 24 high school basketball players nationwide selected to participate in the McDonald’s All-American Game.

He’s the fourth player in the last three years from the Henderson-based program picked for the game, which is March 30 in Chicago.

The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Kabongo, who has signed to play next year at Texas, is averaging 17.1 points, 7.4 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2 steals per game this winter. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 9 overall prospect for the class of 2011 by ESPN.

Avery Bradley in 2009 was the first from nationally respected Findlay to be named a McDonald’s All-American. Last year, Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson represented the Pilots.

“It’s a tribute to the guys, to the individuals who made it,” Findlay coach Mike Peck said. “It’s a product of all of the hard work they have put in.”

Kabongo, a native of Toronto, is one of three Canadians selected this year. Joseph and Thompson, who are both playing significant minutes at No. 3 Texas, are also Canadian. Bradley played one year at Texas before being drafted in the first round by the Boston Celtics last April.

“First and foremost, I’m blessed to be in this position,” Kabongo said. “I’m trying to follow the lead of some great players who have come before me.”

 

Celtics recall Avery Bradley from D-League

•February 7, 2011 • 1 Comment

(from WEEI.COM Sports Network)

The Celtics announced Monday that they have recalled Findlay Prep alum rookie guard Avery Bradley from their D-League affiliate in Maine. Bradley is expected to join the team in time for its game with Charlotte Monday night.

With Marquis Daniels out with a serious spinal injury for at least the next month, if not longer, and Delonte West rehabbing from a broken wrist, their numbers were getting thin. Before Bradley’s recall they were down to just 10 healthy players as Shaquille O’Neal is also out with an Achilles injury and Jermaine O’Neal is out 6-8 weeks following knee surgery.

Bradley averaged 17 points, 4.8 rebounds, five assists and three steals with the Red Claws, and tied a D-League record with nine steals against Tulsa on Jan. 30. The rookie guard from Texas has played just 66 minutes for the Celtics this season and has seemed overwhelmed at times, but he has also shown a willingness to play through his mistakes and compete.

Anthony Bennett Dunk!

•January 31, 2011 • 1 Comment

My guys over at Flagrant Fouls captured this amazing Anthony Bennett dunk at the MAIT Championship game down in Florida.  I got the mad face looking at it…ha ha.  You can read more about the MAIT tournament and their coverage of the Canadian players here.

Episode #21 “The Rhymes”

•January 30, 2011 • 1 Comment

I watch a lot of videos online to help inspire me to work harder on The Season, but nobody inspires me to make my work better than my younger brother Eric. We both learned how to edit video around the same time, so our skill set behind AVID and Final Cut Pro while different, is about the same (I know he’s reading that and laughing). We both left the comforts of Chicago on the strength of our editing skills and we both had opportunities go sour. I ventured west for KVBC Las Vegas while Eric went east to Bristol, CT to work at “The Mothership” ESPN. After a few years cutting highlights for “duh duh duh, duh duh duh”, Eric felt he had more to offer and returned home to start the “Sportscenter” of Illinois high school sports: Illinois Prep.

Part of me has always wanted to see The Season through the eyes of another photographer and editor. I have a certain style, but just like some of my favorite shows on HBO and Showtime it helps to bring in a fresh set of ideas. I got that opportunity when Findlay Prep entered the State Farm Tournament in Peoria, IL. Eric was already planning on covering the tournament for Illinois Prep, so I asked if he wanted to put together an episode of The Season.

So here is The Season through the eyes of one of my biggest fans. Eric got to spend an afternoon with the Pilots as they did shoot around and hung out at the hotel. If you’re interested in seeing more prep clips from Illinois, check out and subscribe to his YouTube page. All the top talent in Illinois, especially Chicago, will cross his lens.

“The Last Game” by Siri Larkins

•January 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I received a mention on Twitter from filmmaker Siri Larkins saying The Season influenced her work with the New Heights Youth, a non profit educational and AAU program in Harlem.  I’m all about supporting exposing untold stories.  Here is the package she put together from the Adidas Super 64 here in Las Vegas.

Episode #22 “The Future”

•January 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The Findlay Prep program holds their end of the year banquet at the Main Street Station Casino in Downtown Vegas. Fresh off the heels of their first NHSI Championship, they all gathered for dinner and an end of the year video highlighting the season (put together my me of course). Afterwards Coach Simon introduced me to Virgil Williams-Goss. I found out that his son was attending Findlay Prep next year and that their entire family was moving from Oregon to Southern Nevada in the coming weeks. Right then, the wheels started spinning in my head about the possible story elements.

Season 2 started and I had a ton of ideas I wanted to address including the Nigel story. Honestly, I really should have done this episode last year while he was a freshmen. I think it would have been interesting to watch his game grow after 4 years of Findlay Basketball. When the season started, for some reason I never got a chance to start the story. Nigel was always put on the back burner. And I wasn’t alone in my thinking because I would receive emails and messages from people via YouTube saying “Why don’t you dedicate an episode to the Goss kid?” Why did it take so long? Well, I knew it wasn’t something I couldn’t just shoot in a month and post on YouTube. Nigel’s story ran deeper than that, and I wanted to explore a lot of different elements.

Fast forward to the summer of 2010, I attended a couple of Nigel’s AAU games with Double Pump (which you see in the beginning of the episode). It was there that I saw how much he had grown as a player. I spent a lot of the summer at the Williams-Goss household just hanging out talking basketball. So after shooting and editing this, I’ve come to realize that this is just a small piece of a much larger story. I cut a lot of stuff out that I plan on revisiting later (UNLV committment, leaving Oregon for Nevada, etc), but they all deserve their own episode.

So here is a small introduction to Nigel Williams-Goss, essentially the future of the Findlay Prep program.

 
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