Every once in a while I hear about how great a player is or going to be. I get a email or text just about everyday talking about how some player is the next star. I’ve learned a long time ago never listen to anyone regarding how good anyone is suppose to be. I prefer to see the player myself because my standards are slightly different than most.
Last spring the name Angelica Velez came up in a conversation. I was told she would be attending Manchester High School in the fall. I was also told she would be one of the best freshman not only in the shore but the state. Like always, I pretended to be impressed and then gave the conversation not a bit of thought. I’ve had too many of these type conversations over the years. Then I finally see the player and they look nothing like I was told. I don’t see the competitive nature, I don’t see the willingness to accept coaching and more than anything, I don’t see the unselfishness all the great ones have. But in the case of Angelica Velez she lived up to all those wonderful things said about her and more.
The first time I saw Angelica Velez was at the NBS summer camp. When she walked in the gym, I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew she had a presence when she walked in the gym. You know all the great ones have a presence. There was a confidence cockiness, you could feel her presence no matter who you were that day. You see there are talented players and then there are great players. I found out that day at NBS, Angelica Velez is not going to be a great player….she already is a great player. Now what makes a great player in some folks eyes and mind are totally different. You see some folks think a great player is one that is the most talented player in the gym. The one who scores the most points or makes the most exciting players. No my idea of a great is one the can dominate the game mentally, physically, emotionally and imposes their will on teammates in a positive way. Angelica Velez does all these things and more.
I don’t think I have ever seen a player so young with the leadership skills of Angelica Velez. Most kids her age want to lead but do not know how. They either try and be friends with teammates though jokes or not holding them accountable or they do not know how to communicate in a positive forceful way. In one day with over 40 Division one players in the gym. Velez imposed her will on just about everyone who was part of any drill or game she played in. She understands the psychological part of the game. She understands how to lift a teammates sprit and when it’s time for to take control with out offending her teammates. Emotionally she gives nothing away, you cannot tell if she is up 30 points or down 30. What she does do is give you energy. She knows when to thrown sauce into her game and when to keep it simple. Folks this is rare stuff, because many players go for showtime on every play. They don’t understand show time is when you want to bring others, like teammates, the crowd and even coaches into the tent. Angelica Velez knows when to play jazz music and when to play elevator music.
Nothing turns me off more than having to read a players body language. You know, are they in a good mood or are they in happy land that day? No player is harder to coach than the one where the coach has to measure their words, out of fear of that player, losing their confidence. It goes to the mental toughness of a kid. You see there are some kids who only want to be coached when they want to be coached. You know that moody mega talented kid, who everyone thinks is so good. But kills your team chemistry, destroys your teams work ethic and has everyone on edge constantly because of their ability…not their work ethic or character. You see that one day at NBS summer camp, Angelica Velez showed me something you do not teach. A willingness to listen and accept coaching and embrace those around her. I told her to take care of the ball and she said ” OK” and did exactly that. I told her to stop going so deep on dribble penetration in the lane and she said “OK” and did exactly that. She didn’t take it as me picking on her. She didn’t care if her peers heard her being criticized. It’s why I believe if you are D1 school trying to win a national championship, Velez is the type of point guard you dream about… Here is what I know out about Angelica Velez ..she doesn’t need to have her butt kissed because she is a confidence ALPHA FEMALE..
Last week Angelica Velez showed up at NBS and the talent in the gym was off the charts. It was all killers on deck type of day. But Angelica Velez imposed her will on the building. She simply took over the day with her ball handling, shooting, passing and more than anything her ability to elevate her teammates. Later that evening Angelica Velez came to the boot camp and gave a replay of her NBS performance. But what stood out most to me was this … Future Power 5 center, Ally Carman of RBC walked up to me and said these words, If I was a college coach I would listen carefully. “Tiny I was so mad at you, I really wanted to play with Angelica at NBS. Can you please let me play with her this afternoon” It’s funny I think everyone. feels that way about Angelica.
I saw Angelica on Monday at after school shooting. She came up to me and said “you are saying my name wrong”. I laughed and said “I say everyone’s name wrong”. She looked at me with a strange look as if to say. I am not everyone. Guess what? She in not everyone. I believe Angelica Velez right now, today is one of the best point guards in the state of New Jersey. I think one day we will be calling Angelica Velez and her good friend Gabbie Ross the best backcourt in New Jersey….But more than all that, I think one day we will be calling Angelica the G.OA.T OF POINT GUARDS….Folks this is real talk about a real gift to the Shore basketball family.
NEXT FRIDAY LET THEM SHOP …WELL WE GET BETTER!