Super sophomores make All-State teams

Anton Brookshire and Isaac Haney top off incredible sophomore seasons with All-State team selections.

We have bragged a lot this season about Yanders Law and The Basketball Movement athletes, Anton Brookshire and Isaac Haney. What began the season as a couple of sophomores that were defying lofty expectations turned into routine torchings of bigger, stronger, and older opponents. What seemed exceptional in the early going became routine for these two athletes.

Anton Brookshire led his Kickapoo team on an incredible stretch that fell just short of a Missouri Class 5 final four appearance. Along the way, Brookshire was named Player of the Year in his conference as well as POY in District 11. His buzzer beater to seal the district championship certainly didn’t hurt his cause for that honor.

Again, only a sophomore, Brookshire has been named to the All-State team for Missouri’s largest class. Anton has already been receiving plenty of interest and offers from good basketball schools, but his stock is undoubtedly about to spike following a fantastic finish to his year two campaign.

Isaac Haney had himself an eventful sophomore season as well. “Ice” Haney was on a heater all season long. Like Brookshire, Isaac was all-conference, all-district, and all-state for class 1 in Missouri. He carried Dora all the way to the state championship game, coming up just shy of a perfect season.

Despite Dora losing their final game, individually, Isaac Haney’s body of work was undeniable and he was named Missouri Class 1 Player of the Year. This is an incredible honor that will also draw the attention of multiple D-1 programs, regardless of class. The size of your school doesn’t matter when you can put the ball in the hole at an elite level.

Congratulations to both of these young men who had exemplary years for their high school teams. We’ve said it before, but their work ethic and dedication perfectly personifies what we strive for at The Basketball Movement and within the Yanders Law program. We could not be more proud and are thrilled to get to see these guys in action for years to come.

Focus on strengths - Insulate weaknesses

You know what you are good at and you know what needs work. Which is more deserving of attention?

As a player, unless you are blinded by supreme confidence, you are aware that you are not perfect. Perhaps you have never been the best shooter or maybe you are an undersized post-player. You also know where you shine on the court or in the locker room.

With something like the sport of basketball, it is easy to get caught up in the areas that need improvement. This is not always a bad thing, there are always opportunities to elevate skill level, but do not forget also to focus on your strengths that set you apart.

Players like Shaquille O'neal and DeAndre Jordan have been mercilessly criticized for their free throw shooting woes. They are also heavily applauded - Shaq was an NBA MVP and DeAndre Jordan was 1st team all-NBA last year. You see where we are headed with this?

Focus on what sets you apart

Shaq was not a great free throw shooter, but it did not matter because he was so dominant in other facets of the game.

If you are a great shooter, keep working on shooting. Never fully ignore any one aspect of the sport, but stay sharp and keep improving even your best qualities. The all-time great shooters were not content with being decent. They still practiced shooting every single day. 

Even if you are hyper-focused on strengths, do not forget:

Insulate weaknesses to make sure you do not fall behind

Just because you are focused on what sets you apart does not mean you can ignore the other aspects of the game. You can become a great shooter, but coaches will be hesitant to play you if you never bothered to work on defense.

Not everyone can be fast. Stay in shape and keep your conditioning at the best level you can, but do not sweat it too much if you are struggling to improve foot speed. Focus instead on foot work and body positioning to insulate this weakness. Then, get right back to focusing on what sets you apart.

Great rebounders practice rebounding. Glue guys focus on defense and ball-movement. Shooters get up hundreds of shots. Be a well rounded player, but make sure your best skills are kept the sharpest for your team.

Deonte Burton signs with Oklahoma City Thunder

At long last, the Oklahoma City Thunder have officially signed former Yanders Law player, Deonte Burton to an NBA contract.

Robert Yanders and other Milwaukee guys knew, then Iowa State knew, then Korea knew, then the NBA G League knew. Patient OKC Thunder fans knew and they could barely wait. Finally, the Oklahoma City Thunder have signed Yanders Law alum, Deonte Burton to a multi-year NBA contract.

He was already on a two-way deal, meaning he could play some games for the Thunder, but mostly with their G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue. His new contract means that he will be available for the OKC Thunder’s 2019 playoff push.

Burton still has a way to go as far as working himself into the Thunder’s regular rotation. In the playoffs, those rotations typically get even tighter for most squads. Given minutes though, Deonte has proven that he can be a force on both ends of the floor. If nothing else, his ferocious dunks and big blocks have made for some incredible early highlights for the Oklahoma City Blue as well as the Thunder.

Deonte Burton said before in an interview with Wil Harrington of The Basketball Movement that his time with Rob Yanders and Yanders Law helped him greatly with the mental side of the game.

That part of the game is really big. I’m physically gifted, but so are other people at this level. Discipline and hard work separates everyone.
— Deonte Burton

Always talented, and now mentally tough enough for the greatest basketball league in the world, Deonte Burton is on an incredible path that we are thrilled we got to be a part of. The successes of organizations such as Yanders Law or The Basketball Movement are not always tangible. The more our athletes succeed, the greater our true accomplishments.

Deonte has had help from many sources over his young career, but at the end of the day, he is completely responsible for taking lessons to heart, working hard every day, and staying determined in reaching his goals.

Congratulations, Deonte. We know that you are going to prove the OKC Thunder right for giving you this incredible shot. You deserve it. Also, send us a jersey would ya?

Players from Yanders Law set to face off

With their teams gearing up for a Missouri class 5 sectional showdown, we talk to a few of our athletes as they prepare for battle.

Anton Brookshire and Elijah Bridgers play for perhaps Springfield, MO’s most prominent basketball school - Kickapoo High. They are also players that we have had the privilege of working with at The Basketball Movement and Yanders Law. Drew McMillin is another one, but he plays for a Republic squad that has exceeded expectations and finds themselves squaring off with the above Kickapoo duo in sectionals.

Kickapoo won their district title in dramatic fashion and are now hoping to go on a run. Following a workout at The Basketball Movement, we chatted with Brookshire and Bridgers to get a feel for their mindset as the stage continues to get bigger and brighter.

Perhaps no player in the state has made the splash to this point that Kickapoo’s Anton Brookshire has. That splash being a game-winning three pointer to take the district title over Nixa.

Anton Brookshire

During the final play of of the district championship game, Anton Brookshire’s adrenaline was pumping. “It was a dream come true. I knew that I would take the shot, but I also knew that I would make the shot.” Despite having such a huge moment already, Anton is poised to raise his stock, even as a sophomore as Kickapoo prepares for sectionals.

Brookshire says they have already watched a lot of film and will continue to scout Republic. He says that the team’s chemistry and bonding these last few weeks has grown exponentially and that they will be ready.

Being at The Basketball Movement almost everyday surrounded by good people has made me grow as a player and a person. The way my game has grown - I think that this is the greatest environment a player can be in.
— Anton Brookshire

Elijah Bridgers

Another Kickapoo player, junior Elijah Bridgers can confirm that the team is focused, determined, and willing to do whatever it takes to stay alive. “We approach every game the same way, but this time of year, you have to turn it up,” Bridgers said.

If they play the right way, Elijah says they can beat anyone. He pointed out that they have already beaten plenty of good teams this season. Asked about takeaways from Rob and Yanders Law, Bridgers said that the intensity will translate well into March basketball. Every time you take the floor for Yanders Law, you need to bring your A-game. The same will certainly apply at sectionals as well.

Drew McMillin

On the other side of things, we had the opportunity to chat with Republic’s Drew McMillin before Thursday’s big tilt. In his time with Yanders Law and The Basketball Movement, Drew said that he has learned how to deal with almost all possible situations on the basketball court. This experience will help as Republic locks in on the Kickapoo Chiefs; he says that their coach has stressed the importance of staying in the moment and focusing on taking this run one game at a time.

McMillan says that as they buckle down to face the stiffer competition that the offense has a renewed focus on getting smart shots as opposed to free-flowing ball that could lead to mistakes.

Asked about the biggest moment of the season, Drew believes the win over Ozark to seal the conference championship takes it so far. “We had lost several games before that win and it really helped us to come together,” he said.

A win over Kickapoo in the sectionals may be sweeter, but he’ll have to go through Brookshire, Bridgers, and company to do it.

Good luck to these and all area athletes as high school ball nears its conclusion. Keep and eye out as we talk with more of our successful athletes soon about their quest for a state championship.

Multiple athletes gearing up for state push

With their teams preparing for the biggest stages of high school ball, we reach out to a few of our Yanders Law athletes to get their thoughts.

Yanders Law’s Isaac Haney, Zach Howell, and Kanon Gipson are easy for us to get a hold of. These young men are staples of The Basketball Movement facility - always coming in to get work. Even now at the height of the season, their desire to stay sharp keeps them coming back.

Hard work is a constant with contributors on good teams. It is no surprise that each of these young men are still playing despite districts coming to a close.

Isaac Haney

If you have been paying attention, it won’t surprise you to hear that All-District selection, Isaac Haney has taken his team to the final four in class 1. Dora has been dropping a lot of points on opponents - most of which have been supplied by Haney. “It feels like the hard work has paid off,” said Haney. “We just have to make sure we stay together and do what we’ve been doing; put an emphasis on teamwork, defend, and jump on people out of the gate.”

As Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. Dora has been jumping out to big leads early and will look to continue to gain that advantage. If that doesn’t work out though, Isaac says they will be ready.

Zach Howell

Springfield Catholic (28-3) played strong right out of the gate this year. That put a target on their back, but it hasn’t mattered as they are preparing to kick off their class 3 final four appearance against St. Paul Lutheran. Two of Catholic’s losses came in the Tournament of Champions, which hosts some of the best teams in the nation. Freshman Zach Howell says that if the team locks in and plays the way they can, that they are poised to win it all.

Howell says that being on one of the few teams in the state left playing is a great feeling. Unlike most teams though, he feels that they essentially hold a home court advantage in the final four. “We have played at JQH about as much as we have played on our home court this year. We’ll be familiar with the court and space, which will be very helpful.”

After putting in so much time with Yanders Law and The Basketball Movement, Zach says he is ready for anything.

Working with Rob can be applied to anything, but on the court I am prepared skill-wise and mentally. Rob says basketball is 90 percent mental and I agree. I’ll be ready.
— Zach Howell

Kanon Gipson

The other of Springfield Catholic’s three losses came to Logan-Rogersville and sharpshooter, Kanon Gipson of The Basketball Movement and Yanders Law. LR is now preparing for their sectional tilt and Gipson says he is determined to make sure his senior teammates don’t hang up their jerseys early.

“At this point any team can get you because they are there for a reason. You just have to give it your best shot,” said Kanon. “Our mentality has been the same all season”. Gipson still has the green light from deep and says that his main takeaway from The Basketball Movement will be stepping up his defense.

I’ve learned how to apply more pressure but also how to handle pressure. I’ve learned to deal with every obstacle.
— Gipson's takeaways from Yanders Law

Good luck again to these and all of our high school athletes that are getting to continue their push towards a state title. We will be watching and hoping for the best for each of you. For those of you that are prepping for the offseason - remember the number one facility for not only staying sharp, but improving your skills on and off the floor.

Anton Brookshire wins district championship for Kickapoo

Yanders Law and The Basketball Movement’s Anton Brookshire scored three of his 23 big points as the buzzer sounded on Kickapoo’s District Championship victory over Nixa.

Whether it is a walk-off homerun in baseball, an overtime touchdown in football, or a game-winning three in basketball, there are a few plays that outdo the rest. The higher the stakes, the more exciting and memorable the play. Only a sophomore at Kickapoo High, Anton Brookshire pulled off a huge play when the lights were bright.

In the District Championship matchup between the Kickapoo Chiefs and Nixa Eagles, regulation almost did not provide enough time to reach a conclusion. Almost.

Before the buzzer could sound, a cool, collected sophomore guard called game. Anton Brookshire has been making noise for years, but this noise has blared loudly over all that have come before it. All he needed was a little daylight to hoist a game winner from deep that sealed the ship.

In a preseason interview with The Basketball Movement, Brookshire said that the team’s goal was a district title and that he wouldn’t mind being an all-district player as well. You can rest assured that he is setting new goals now, so class 5 Missouri basketball should take notice.

All of the hours spent in the gym, the practices and games that came before - this is the moment that it all lead to. The best part is that there will continue to be more big moments for years, let alone this title run for Kickapoo.

Anton already had offers on the table from Missouri State, UWM, UNLV, Texas State, Bradley, and Tennessee State in addition to interest from OSU, Tulsa, Creighton, and Missouri. That list will only continue to grow with Brookshire’s current and future level of play.

Good luck to Anton Brookshire, his Kickapoo team, and all the other Yanders Law athletes as they make the push to extend their season.

With seasons winding down, don’t forget to have a plan in place this offseason to help you stay sharp.

Shooting: Extending to three-point range

In today's game, it is almost impossible to get by without a shooting touch. Is a three-point shot realistic for you?

For a long time, three-pointers were reserved for point guards and shooting guards. Post players would be chastised for daring a shot attempt beyond 16-18 feet from the rim. In today's game however, big players are getting faster, handling the ball better, and showing finesse in their shot attempts. For guards, shooting has become even more important to hang with such players.

The saying goes: "The grass is always greener on the other side." Players that can shoot would give anything to be a powerful dunker the same way a powerful dunker wishes they could shoot (though of course some can do both). Needless to say, most players wish they could drain threes from anywhere like Steph Curry.

Shooting, especially long-range shooting, is not an inherent talent. Shooting takes years of work to perfect. Players do not start out shooting from deep either. Before you can hit threes, you need to be able to hit deep two-pointers. Before deep twos, mid-range shots should be no-problem. Before that: shots in the paint.

This applies not only to young players, but also current ones that would like to extend their range. You must be able to hit mid-range before long balls the way you must be able to walk before you can run.

Determining if you are a three point shooter

No one can stop you from working on outside shooting. However, if your coach says "Stay in the paint", then stay in the paint and practice everything that they tell you while you are on their watch. Sometimes if you want to branch out, you must do it on your own time. Get in a gym - maybe one with a basketball shooting gun at its disposal... The Basketball Movement may be able to help with that part.

As mentioned previously, you can't become a deep-threat overnight. Extending your range must be a gradual process. Get comfortable hitting mid-range jumpers from everywhere on the floor. Once you are fully comfortable and efficient from that range, reward yourself with some three-point shots. Just make sure you are practicing the right way.

For many young players it is a matter of strength. If heaving up threes takes you out of your traditional shooting motion, it might be a little early. Keep working on your strength and shooting from shorter distances. Patience is a virtue.

If you are already an established player looking to extend your range, seek guidance to make sure that you are starting the right way in terms of form, focus point, and situational awareness (contact The Basketball Movement to get started).

Outside shooting is not for everyone, so do not get discouraged if it doesn't work out. There are always other skills that you can work on to make you the best player you can be. You may possess abilities or qualities that other players wish they had, so focus on your strengths and keep grinding.

Dealing with referees

Referees have the impossible task of trying to point out every reasonable instance that rules are not followed. Sometimes, they get some things wrong.

If you have been around basketball at any level, for any amount of time, you have seen a referee miss calls or misinterpret infractions. Whether they are youth sports volunteers, part-time high school refs, or professionals, they all make mistakes just the same.

In a competitive atmosphere such as basketball, it is not tough to get heated when things like calls aren't going your way. Turnovers and mental errors are within your control as a player, but when something outside of your control like not getting calls starts happening, it can take you out of your zone. What are you supposed to do in these scenarios?

Sometimes it may be easier said than done, but you must always do your best to shrug-off bad calls and not let them get to you. Referees are human, and are prone to make the same types of errors with calls that players sometimes make with the basketball. Keeping your head in the game and not letting referees get to you is the best thing that you can do for your team.

Never let your emotions overcome you by slamming the ball, throwing your hands up, or verbally displaying your frustration. These things show your opponents weakness. If a foul call, accurate or inaccurate, can get under your skin, so can an opposing player.

Maintaining a next play mentality is a key in the game of basketball. If you get called for a charge or travel, give up the ball and try to make up for it on defense. If you are called for a bad foul, shake it off and be a little more careful next time, but still play hard. One of the worst things you can do for your team is start to accumulate technicals and take yourself out of the game, so always keep your cool.

Malicious referees

Once again - refs are people too. They are not only prone to some mistakes, but some other human flaws as well. Rarely, you may cross paths with a referee or two that make things too personal. Maybe they have a bias toward one team that skews the whistle blowing. Maybe they don't like your face. Hey, I'm sure you have a great face, but not all refs are going to be great people.

How do you handle these kinds of refs? Glad you asked! You handle them the same darn way.

The number one thing you can do if you feel like "getting back" at a terrible ref is to be unflappable. When someone is trying to get under your skin, keeping your cool and acting like you don't even notice is the best way to make them feel ridiculous.

The crowd may be getting rowdy as well as your teammates or coach. Parents - calling out refs from the stands will likely just make matters worse. They aren't going to reverse any calls; don't give them a reason to prolong their biased whistle blowing. Players - if your teammates are getting heated, go cool them off. Get between them and their issues, make eye-contact, and explain to them that their energy is needed for the game.

The individuals most equipped to deal with these situations are the coaches. Coaches - you need to keep your cool as well. Feel free to engage in occasional conversations with the refs, but don't scream. If you act reasonably, the refs are more likely to respond reasonably.

There have been some unfortunate instances of emotions boiling over recently that have been floating around online. Some have even turned physical. Remember, keep your cool and let your play and demeanor do the talking. We all want to win, but at the end of the day, the players, coaches, fans, and even referees are their because we all love the GAME.