Zach Howell

Yanders Law Blue Elite (16u) - Homegrown, top-tier AAU squad

Today we spotlight the 16 & under Yanders Law Blue Elite team that is living up to their name and putting the AAU scene on notice.

The NY2LA Spring Warm Up over the weekend confirmed what many already knew: the Yanders Law program can claim many of the top sophomores not only in the state, but beyond. Yanders Law Blue Elite defeated the Green Bay Gunners, ET21 Buckeyes, Mac Irvin Fire EYBL, and Team Teague in the 16u platinum bracket.

Blue Elite fell to Meanstreets (another EYBL team), which went on to win the bracket. This Yanders Law squad is a team of guys from Southwest Missouri that have mostly been playing with each other for four or five years. Many of these other teams consist of new, recruited players from a wide area.

For Yanders Law Blue Elite to be able to hang with teams that have shoe deals or NBA players backing them is immensely impressive. With all the noise this team is making after just a couple weeks of practice together, a few of these guys are likely to be more heavily recruited themselves.

Every player on this team contributed in one way or another at the NY2LA Spring Warm Up. Scoring, defending, or being active from the sidelines are all important; we saw plenty of that this weekend. One player that has truly upped his game recently is Zach Howell, and it showed in Milwaukee.

“Zach has improved a ton” said Yanders Law founder and namesake, Rob Yanders. “He hit some huge shots this weekend and showed out.” Another player that was making things look easy against stiff competition was Anton Brookshire.

In a recap of early tournament action, the NY2LA website had this to say about Brookshire:

Brookshire really captains the ship for his team with his play and is efficient in his work. He picked up where he left off last summer with a solid opening game, getting to the hoop and finishing with good control, burying shots from both the mid and long levels and was otherwise operating as a facilitator for his teammates, pushing the ball up the floor and getting his guys scoring opportunities.
— NY2LAsports.com

One more player that has to be named is Isaac Haney. If you were paying attention to his season in Dora, you know that he has taken his game to another stratosphere. The kid can score with ease and had one of the prettiest shots in the whole tournament, regardless of age or association.

Things are just getting started for not only this team, but all of Yanders Law Basketball. To keep track of our guys and girls, make sure to follow along on Twitter @YandersLaw and add us on Facebook.

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.

Zach Howell and Kanon Gipson - Blue and Gold division winners

Yanders Law and The Basketball Movement’s Zach Howell and Kanon Gipson help their teams to titles in the Blue and Gold Tournament’s two divisions.

We are proud of a couple of our players that showed out in The Blue and Gold tournament this week - one of the most prominent annual tourney’s in Southwest Missouri.

In the Blue Division, Logan Rogersville took the title with the help of Yanders Law sharpshooter, Kanon Gipson. Rogersville was picked as a 6 seed and had to go through the 3, 2, AND 1 seeds on their way to the championship. Gipson says this was a big moment and the team is very happy with what they accomplished.

Kanon Gipson is a pure shooter and that shined through several times in the tournament. The biggest was a three with under a minute to play in the championship game. When asked about the confidence required for a shot like that, he gave a lot of credit to his coaches: “The coaches always tell me your time will come and they give me a green light to shoot.”

Before the championship, he had a three point barrage against Willard, hitting four in a row in the first half. He said that he knew he needed to keep shooting whenever the ball made its way to him, but knew not to force in order to do what was best for the team.

Asked how The Basketball Movement and Yanders Law helped prepare him for moments like these and stages like the championship, he brought it back to coaches once again.

I’ve learned to handle adversity and remain composed. Rob and Craig trained me so hard and it is all paying off.
— Kanon Gipson

Though he’s only a freshman, Zach Howell played a big part in taking Catholic all the way to their second consecutive championship at the Blue and Gold in the Gold Division. “It’s special to be back-to-back champions - it’s a pretty great feeling”.

Currently undefeated, Catholic is certainly off to a hot start. Zach credits the start to playing well as a team and gelling from the get-go. Of course that includes playing hard and having great team defense.

In the championship, he had one of the key plays of the game when he put back a missed dunk by a teammate late. “I saw him going up and could tell it was going to be contested.” Having his teammate’s back and being prepared for anything was a great snapshot of the player Zach is.

We also asked Zach how The Basketball Movement and Yanders Law has helped prepare him for big plays and big games:

I go to The Basketball Movement all the time. Rob has helped me so much. We’ve done so many drills and put in so much work - It has made me confident.
— Zach Howell

Coming off the bench can be a tough challenge, even on a good team. Zach Howell still found a way to put up nice numbers in this tournamnet and we asked him for advice for other players in similar situations. He said that “every player will get their moment.” In order to get a feel coming into the game cold, he says “When you have an opportunity, make sure you take it.”

These two players did a tremendous job of embodying what Yanders Law and The Basketball Movement are all about this weekend. We do our best to grow their skills, conditioning and more, but their determination and passion for the game are their own.

Congrats to Kanon Gipson, Zach Howell, and their teams. Good luck going forward to these and all other Yanders Law players as high school ball starts getting serious. We’ll be watching!