Since having concentrated this website primarily on The NBA and NCAA Basketball, I thought I would change the emphasis this one time to High Lighting a truly outstanding High School Basketball program-WASATCH ACADEMY from Mt. Pleasant, Utah. This tiny little town of 3,300 people happens to be home of one of the top High School Basketball programs in the entire country.
When talking about Wasatch Academy, you have to start with its undeniable Leader their Dynamic Coach Curtis Conde. Of course, right away it is clear how his basketball expertise is of the highest quality. In basketball speak, he is an outstanding X & O man. But to leave it there would be a great injustice to this man who is many things to the young men he coaches, to this school, to his community, to his friends and family. I have met a lot of coaches in my thirty plus years in basketball, but I can say without hesitation he may be the most likable coach I have ever met. Don’t get me wrong many coaches who may not necessarily be likable are actually very successful. But Coach Conde is one of the rare ones who is both likable and extremely successful !!! Reminds me a lot of Coach Wooden. Another aspect of this dynamic coach, which is something Coach Wooden really prescribed to is that Coach Conde is a TEACHER first! Everything he does wit his young men comes from a “Teaching” angle. Whether it’s when to initiate the offense, when to make the right pass, to not talking to the officials (“Keep your Mouth Shut”), to how to have respect for everyone, especially your opponent. He works tirelessly for his team and each every player on it. Out of the 12 players on this elite team, all 12 will probably receive scholarships when they graduate.
Hey, what about the players????
Ok,ok, the Players. Just like their world class coach, these young men also reflect the classiness of their coach. When I secured them a practice site because they lost their original practice location at UCLA. they were so appreciative of my getting them their practice facility that they each came up to me one by one to personally thank me for that. These young men are so talented that they could be like a lot of young people today with attitude and over the top conceit. But they are NOT! In this first game of the Christmas Tournament Chatsworth was in no way competitive with Wasatch Academy. The players played their ferocious defense, fast-breaking every chance they got, and simply demolishing the under-manned Chatsworth team. The score was lopsided as expected 86-33. However, I noticed how the players conducted themselves. Never did they get into the opponents face and “rub it in”. No, they showed complete class and respected their opponent. In the current climate that is very hard to do with kids from 18-19. Of course, this goes back to their coach who personifies Class.
When I was in High School and hypothetically played Wasatch Academy. as I would get off the bus and see 7’1″ Bryan Penn-Johnson, 6’9″ Mady Sissko, and several other 6’7″ players, not to mention an NBA shooting guard at 6’4″ Matt Bradley, I would simply just get back on the Bus than have to go against that line-up. In this particular game, Coach Conde didn’t even play his most talented player Mady Sissoko. But the realization is they are ALL TALENTED. The NBA-Type shooting guard Matt Bradley. is probably their best athlete. I mean with his NBA body and strength it is totally intimidating to go up against a player like that. He also has some of the quickest hands that I’ve seen in quite a while. Another thing going for Matt is that he is a LEFTY which is doubly hard to defend. When you look at all their Bigs, they have excellent Footwork which is most important in their effectiveness. Can’t say enough about their very smart point guard Damion Squire. He is a true leader in every way. The second he makes a mistake he knows it and will own it, and probably not make the same mistake again. Of course,the steady voice of Coach Conde will be heard just to remind him. By the way, Coach Conde never degrades his players but has a very open adult like dialogue with them during the game. All messages get through. Additionally, Coach Conde has the able assistance of AJ Spencer. He really relates to the team since he is closer to their age.
One other point. I know coach Conde through my association of our Radio/Podcast show on Blog talk Radio called “Hardwood and Hoops”. You all know I have the link on my website. Simply click on Hardwood and Hoops Radio sow.
Well, there you have it. An inside look at one of the most successful High School teams in the Country. If your a parent that has a talented young man ( and, and OMG, he better be talented) this is the High School he should attend. He will be in a good community with great teammates, and the Finest Coach in the Country.