INDIANAPOLIS, IN – If you have ever wondered what it is like to be an AAU coach with Eric Bailey and myself, this blog will sum it up nicely. Not only was this week fun and exciting for us, this week was also exactly what the mold for 2020 has been…a lot of miscommunication, figuring things out on the fly, frustration, ups, downs, and most importantly…hope.  Like most sports, we can metaphorically compare them all to life. Whether it’s the grit on the football field, small success of baseball, and this past week – the tale of two halves of basketball.

If you know anything about our area, you know it’s made up mostly of small schools.  This week would have been “Roses week.”  A week most AAU programs throughout the nation look forward too, where we flock to Louisville, Kentucky to all compete in the nation’s biggest AAU Basketball Tournament under one roof, “TFN’s Run 4 Roses.”  A typical year 1300+ teams would descend to the Kentucky Expo Center, which would be laid out with 79 full size basketball courts, seating for parents, baselines full of college coaches, media, and a plethora of retail companies up charging your standard t-shirts. There is always an aura to the week, anybody and everybody, that’s a somebody in girls basketball is there.  As you can imagine, it takes months to plan….and as we found out, only a day to move to a completely different location… twice. With the Coronavirus peaking its ugly head and making its presence known to the world this past March, it changed the platform of the sports world. 

For Eric and myself who attend and work the “Run4Roses” tournament, we had to move the location from Louisville to Nashville, TN at first which was back up plan #2. At the time Nashville was allowing us to utilize the Music City Center for our event as long as they were in Level 4 of reopening.  Level 4 never happened.  So here comes back up plan #3, rent out and utilize gymnasiums, sports complexes, and anything else that has a basketball court in surrounding areas of Nashville. Once again Corona had a different plan. Four days before departing for Nashville, the state of Tennessee held tight on its level 2 status, not allowing any large gatherings of more than 25 people in an area. So if you’re still following this, you can see how this would be a problem. All of the teams, players, and parents that are booked and ready to roll for the event, basically had the rug ripped right out underneath their feet. Thus creating backup plan #4 which was move “Run4Roses” to September and find a tournament/location where we can send hundreds of teams to, infiltrate a city in 96 hours, and run it without a single glitch. Welcome to Indianapolis!

July 5th – 8th: Nike Tournament of Champions Session 1 – Six games in three days, and I won’t talk about the 14 hour work days helping run the tournament, countless waivers that had to be signed over and over again and the mass amount of boneless chicken wings and caffeine that was consumed.  Through all the chaos we decided to merge 5 or 6 players from each of our teams. This was mostly due to the fact we needed to ensure we had enough players. Not everyone was committed or had prior engagements.  Finally it was time to play.

Day 1 – games 1 through 3: The first 2 games were rough, real rough. Actually, make it the first 3 games. It’s a learning curve for girls in our area at an event like this. You have teams that are commingled from hours away that can show up, play, and beat everyone without even blinking. If you’ve ever said “Yeah well that’s girls’ basketball” I hope you attend an exposure event. These girls won’t just tower over you, they will school you on the court as well. Now back to our team. We are made up of mostly players who tend to be role players on their team. The learning curve is very sharp, and most of the time it is spent trying to get them to get out of their own way. After a few 30+ point ass beatings, and a few coaching adjustments, we figured it out.

Day 2 – game 4: We are headed into OT.  A one point loss, a complete coaching loss (yes I know all losses are coaching losses) but we turned a corner.  We figured out rotations, Eric threw in two full court presses on the fly that counteracted what I would do with my group. You could tell a lightbulb went off in the players as well. The realization of “we aren’t as talented individually as these players, but we are gritty.” We truly started to embody the Youngstown way. It won’t always be sexy, but you’ll know we are here.

Day 3 – games 5 and 6: The games coaches dream of, shots fell, created countless turnovers, two 30 point wins (one of them being the team we lost to in OT), and as a coach all you had to do was stand there and clap your hands like Jason Garret did with the Dallas Cowboys for way too many years. Nike Tournament of Champions Session 1 final record, 2-4.

July 10- 12th:  Nike Tournament of Champions Session 2 – I’ve never had a root canal before, but I Imagine the first 8 minutes we played in our first game was fairly equivalent to one. It was just painful, numbing, and annoying. Half way through the first half we are down 20-3. It wasn’t even being upset that they didn’t score but that they started to give up on themselves.  So after some senseless yelling, mumbling to myself and vivid fidgeting, the girls cut the lead to 10 going into half time. It was the tale of two halves.  We ended up losing by 10 after a great 2nd half.  We cut the lead down to 6 with a little over a minute.  Missed a couple easy looks, had to foul, and ended up on the wrong side of things. Message of the day…when you step on the court it’s go time. The next two games were fairly identical. Our pressure gave us easy lay ups, easy lay ups gave us confidence shooting the ball, we weathered their come backs, and we ended up on the right side of the score board.

On day two going into our 4th game we are sitting at 2-1 with a lot of momentum and everyone is feeling good about themselves. The 4th game was once again a tale of two halves.  Up 10 at half time, and we just hit a wall; mentally and physically.  A team we play 10 times I feel we beat 9 of the 10 times.  It was one of those games in the 2nd half you could just the energy was gone. It was like watching a live version for the alien from Moron Mountain in Space Jam take the NBA player’s ability to play. We were just done. As a coach, there isn’t much you can say, sometimes you just cut your losses, have to fight through things, adapt and then overcome.

July 12th: Text message sent to the team, “Looks like we’re rolling with 5 – Be ready you’ll get plenty of PT.” Them: “Nice… What Court.”

The response pretty much sums up my team. Honestly, they aren’t the best team in any tourney but they are the closest team. We’ve added players, we’ve subtracted players, and they’d be the first to tell you, they don’t eat, sleep, or breathe basketball.  Which is weird for someone who does like Eric and myself. But nevertheless, with five players we cruised to victory. It’s not the first time we’ve done it, and it’s probably not the last. Individually, you’ll look at them and see what looks to be average players, some of them better than others, some of them there because they know basketball will stop for them before others and they are enjoying the moment. Most times you’ll see us laughing and talking about Snoop Dogg before games, or whatever TikTok trend they are trying to accomplish. Not just 5 of them, but generally the entire team. They have an uncanny way of bringing the best out of one another, and ultimately that’s what this trip is all about.



CANFIELD, OH – If you have ever met me in person, you would find that I am most likely holding a bottle of Mountain Dew or at have one in my bag. When I found out that Mountain Dew has created a “game” on their bottles, naturally I had to take a shot at winning it. The challenge Mountain Dew gave to its drinkers, is to collect all fifty states. They print out different states on each label and under the cap is a code that you must enter online then proceed to scan the bottle to collect that labeled state. Once you collect all fifty states, you win a $100 prepaid Visa gift card and are entered in to win the grand prize of one million dollars.

As of right now I am currently sitting at sixteen collected states out of the fifty. I have currently collected Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, Alabama, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine. I have also agreed with D.J. to give back half of the grand prize to YSN if I am lucky enough to win it!

Heres where I need all of you out there! If you want to help out and help us collect all of the states and help us at YSN to get entered into the million dollar sweepstakes, send your Mountain Dew bottles with the cap that are unscanned/entered to YSN to help us reach out goal!



CANFIELD, OH – As most of you know, I am a basketball guy through and through, but when challenged to step out of my comfort zone, I decided why not go for it all and talk about baseball. When it comes to baseball, I know the basics of what goes on, might watch a game here or there, usually go to two or three Indians games per season, and I talk about baseball almost never.

But thankfully for this blog, a recent decision by the MLBPA to postpone a voting about whether or not the season will return this year occurred so it provides me a topic of discussion. The MLBPA announced on Friday that the league would not counter the proposal for a 70 game season, which is giving the players one of two options, either accept the MLB’s 60 game season offer with expanded playoffs or force Commissioner Rob. Manfred to implement his own schedule.

At this point, I believe baseball will not come to an agreement and play a season. I think it has gone on for too long now and although a lot of people want to see the MLB play this year, I think there is too large of a divide for a season to occur.

What do you think will happen this summer with baseball? Will there be a season? Tag us on social media with your opinions; I look forward to seeing your thoughts!



CANFIELD, OH – After being on the Power Hour this past Thursday, the discussion about local sports documentaries got me thinking about what I, personally, would want to see from our Youngstown area. The possibilities are definitely endless but there were a few that stuck out more than others, those are the ones that I want to mention.

The first one that I would want to see would be one about the coaches that have made it big in their respective sports but mostly focused on football. Being in northeast Ohio, the sport that seems to stick out the most is football and our area has produced some incredible coaching not only in high school but in the NCAA and NFL ranks as well. The most notable NCAA coaches from Youngstown are the Stoops brothers, the Pelini brothers, Bob Dove, and Matt Cavanaugh.

The second documentary that I think would be a good one to watch would be a documentary about Warren G. Harding High School football. Harding has produced some of the areas best athletes over the years, including the most gifted football player to ever play in the area, in my opinion, Maurice Clarett. Others that went on to have solid careers in college and even the NFL are Paul Warfield, Korey Stringer, Mario Manningham, the Browner brothers, Daniel “Boom” Herron, Prescott Burgess, and most recently Lynn Bowden.

The final documentary that really sticks out to me would be another one we discussed on the Power Hour; which is one about Kelly Pavlik and what he went through to get to where he is at today, but also to shed light on his baseball career that he gave up to become a boxing champion.

Let me know what you guys think a good documentary would be for our Youngstown area. Tag us on social media with your responses, I look forward to seeing all of your responses!


LISBON, OH – With states beginning to reopen everything; the AAU season has been getting scheduled to return in the coming month. Being the coach of an AAU team I have been able to see the process of what is happening with schedules and I am pleased to say that my girls team will be competing in the “Run4Roses” tournament and “Battle in the Boro” tournament in Nashville, Tennessee this July along with a few other tournaments back here in Ohio.

The return of AAU is something that is exciting beyond words for my team, myself, and anyone else involved with the great group of girls that I have the privilege of coaching. I know without a doubt, the wait has been stressful and deflating but with this great news, a lot of “us” are relieved that we can return to doing the things that we love on the basketball court.

The best part of this return, in my opinion at least, is that it is going to allow these players the opportunity to play in front college scouts and allow for them to get a chance to earn a spot at the next level. These players have worked on their basketball craft for a long time and this return is giving them that opportunity now. It was a devastating blow to these players when COVID began and there wasn’t a guarantee that a season was even going to happen, but now its back and these players are going to be even more hungry to prove why they should get a shot at the next level.



EAST PALESTINE, OH – The shot clock being added to professional basketball was one of the better inventions of all time in my opinion, but in regards to high schools becoming the next in line to adopt them, I think they need to stay away. Now I know there are plenty of reasons why it would be beneficial but at the same time, there are plenty of negatives as well. This plan just does not seem feasible to me at the current moment.

The two biggest reasons why a shot clock would help, in my opinion, are that the pace of play will become increased which will prevent teams from “stalling” on the offensive side of the ball and a shot clock will help prepare those players who are moving on to the collegiate level a little bit better. To me though, the negatives to a shot clock are what will prevent these from coming to fruition in the coming year.

The biggest negative in my opinion is that the clock itself will cost a significant amount of money to install in the gyms of these schools plus you will be requiring these schools to have an operator for the games. Another negative is that a shot clock takes out a very important part of the game, “stalling.” Now I know I said that it is a positive as well, but that is. because certain teams are structured to where they run and gun as their. primary game plan so that “stalling” technique is only going to hinder them throughout a game, but at the same time, when you are a grind it out type of team or maybe even an overmatched team, “stalling” is going to become a significant part of your game plan to try to limit the damage the other team can cause in the course of the game.

At the end of the day there is always two sides to each argument, but as a small school basketball coach, I am not in favor of the shot clock.



CANFIELD, OH – The AAU girls basketball scene has been a big part of my life for the past few years and today I wanted to release my top ten list of the best girls AAU players that I, personally, have seen play in AAU games over the past year. The list is broken down into two sections, the best of the class of 2020 and then the top girls in the class of 2021 that you can’t miss this upcoming high school season.


Class of 2020:

Nevaeh Dean – HS: Lakota West / AAU Team: Sports City U – committed to Virginia Tech

Malia Magestro – HS: Kennedy Catholic / AAU Team: West Virginia Thunder – committed to Youngstown State

Jenna Riccardo – HS: Beaver Local / AAU Team: Western PA Bruins – committed to West Liberty

Tanner Hoffer – HS: Crestview / AAU Team: Ohio Lakers – committed to Point Park

Aneziah Fryer – HS: Niles / AAU Team: Ohio Lakers – committed to Mount Union


Class of 2021:

Shyanne Sellers – HS: Aurora / AAU Team:  SMAC Lady Ballers – committed to Maryland

Danielle Vuletich – HS: Western Reserve / AAU Team: Western PA Bruins – committed to Robert Morris

Molly Howard – HS: McDonald / AAU Team: Ohio Lakers

Kennedy Miller – HS: Western Reserve / AAU Team: Ohio Lakers

Kyla Jamison – HS: Salem / AAU Team: SMAC Lady Ballers