Both the boys and girls basketball teams at Davis High School look like they’re on the upswing this season. A closer look at this early-season success suggests the influence of the Davis Hoops feeder program and its 20 teams of players ranging in age from 10 through high school.
The brainchild of Bob Silva — longtime Blue Devil boys junior varsity coach — the Wildcats (as Hoops players are known) have been growing in stature in recent years. To wit, the George Sousa-coached high school-aged boys finished in the top four of the 64-team Las Vegas AAU shootout last summer.
According to Sousa’s assistant and brother Steve, the ‘Cats now draw players from as far away as Stockton and Fairfield. The nucleus remains Davis kids, but Dixon and Winters supply their share of emerging court talents as well.
The 250 girls and guys involved have terrific coaching, including Al Seyfort (St. Francis), Jean Gelpi (Dixon), Karen Foster (Davis girls), Silva and others.
Recently, the Hoops family has turned its attention to younger players.
While they’re not providing regular league competition, the Hoops folks have offered a series of free drop-in trainings for the little Kobe wanna-bes, ages 5-9.
Also this Sunday, a four-hour clinic from 1 to 5 p.m. will provide kids with basic skills, according to Steve Sousa, while being fun and including some scrimmage time. The $65 buy-in covers a T-shirt and camp perks.
The thing that’s terrific about this Sunday outing at the old Dixon High gym is that coaches range from Hoops graduates like Graham McDaniel (DHS) to Sousa (who has young ballers ages 6 and 2) and Gelpi, whose 1 Percent Basketball Program is the rage of Northern California youth circles.
“Our mission of the Junior Wildcats is to introduce young athletes to the proper skills and techniques, while helping to develop a passion for the game,” Sousa explained recently. “(It’s all) in a fun and well-organized structure.
“Junior Wildcats’ inspiration came from always seeing the little kids dribbling to the side; kids who came with their families for older kids’ practices,” Sousa continued. “We thought there’s nothing in Davis for kids 4, 5, 6 years old to do. We said ‘Let’s target current brothers and sisters of players already in Wildcats and see what we can do.’ We already had a database.”
Sousa said more than 75 kids were involved in the recent drop-in clinics.
He likes that the Sunday outings for the little ones (more clinics are planned for January and February) don’t get in the way of Davis’ recreation basketball program (for players in third grade through junior high) and Woodland’s pee-wee division of YMCA ball.
For more information about Davis Hoops, visit www.davishoops.com. Registration forms for Sunday’s camp are available on the website.
While I Have You Here: Expect a new football coach at UC Davis next week. While names from Paul Wulff and Paul Hackett to Mike Moroski and Nick Aliotti have surfaced during 20-year mentor Bob Biggs’ farewell tour, the most intriguing suggestion remains Dan Hawkins — the former UCD player and assistant who went on to bring Boise State to national prominence before flopping at Colorado.
This former fullback is a defensive wizard (of all things) who leaned heavily on current Bronco coach Chris Petersen for Boise’s high-octane offense. Hawkins can excite fans, raise money and recruit.
Gen. David Petraeus could have learned from Hawkins, Aggie administrators and those close to the selection process. No matter how hard the media try to break the code, the new football coach remains a public mystery.
If you’re in Las Vegas, put $10 on Hawkins for me.
— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer at The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at email@example.com or 530-747-8047.