From the mailbag

Received an interesting e-mail about Army basketball the other day and thought I'd share it. It is from the father of an Army recruit who will spend this year at the U.S. Army Prep School.

That, by the way, could be a good sign for the Cadets if Jim Crews is able to start stashing kids there for what amounts to a redshirt year. That concept has worked very well for Navy over the years. Anyhow, here, without comment or editing, is the text of that message:

I ran across one of your blogs regarding Army basketball. Better times should be coming – not a daring prediction, as there’s nowhere to go but up. Just a few thoughts.

My son Chris (Walker) and his high school teammate Jon Sizemore are currently at USMAPS. Chris drew strong mid-major interest, with scholarship offers from Mercer, Belmont, Lipscomb, Army, and Navy. Jon did not have similar fortune, but he made a poor choice in an AAU program and did not get the exposure Chris did during the pivotal summer. Chris and Jon made the various All-County teams, and Chris was named honorable mention All-State by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Their high school North Gwinnett made the Sweet Sixteen in state, proceeding two years of Elite Eight finishes, and was a top-10 team in Georgia’s largest classification.

I won’t go on about Chris, as he’s my son and no parent is objective about their child. He’s an athletic legitimate 6’9” with long arms and excellent post moves. He would be a match for someone like McNaughton strength-wise. When he arrives at USMA, it sounds like some potential quality size is preceding him (Williams, Brandewie).

Jon will play probably play 3 for Coach Crews. He is 6’4”, and is explosive and strong enough to play “4” in the Patriot League. He is an exciting finisher on the break, a 40+% career 3-point shooter at North Gwinnett, and always leaves everything on the floor. He reminds me of a Jerry Sloan/Mike Newlin type of player – not the smoothest guy on the floor, but someone that is hustling and physical. His ball-handling is the weakest part of his game: if he works on that he could be a great player.

I watched Army practice a couple of times when we were at West Point for Chris’ official visit. Whew . . . I don’t think they could have beaten our high school team. They work hard, but they just didn’t have any athletes, especially up front. But I am optimistic about what the Crews years hold for the program. He has a vision. They will never compete with the Dukes and North Carolinas of the world, but they should become competitive in the Patriot League. It’s always going to be a challenge: I can tell you some amazing stories of the red tape we have had to go through after saying “yes” to Army. A lot of kids would just say to heck with it, but my son is as excited about the military side of the equation as the basketball side.

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