Updated: Jun 22, 2020
First weekend back with basketball in over four months and while I didn't make the trip it was great to watch online and keep up with this Louisiana U team and several of the other girls from the state we had competing on Texas teams. Louisiana U 2025's finished 3-1 on the weekend and really represented against some of the top teams in the region! It's safe to say the future basketball in the state is in good hands with all the talented young teams we have to showcase. This team has a ton of talented players and they really get after it on the defensive end applying pressure full court. It's going to be a lot of fun watching them develop over the years but its great to see a group of young ladies so passionate and enjoying being back on the basketball court! We caught up with Coach Johnson and asked about the experience being back in the gym during this Q&A:
How'd it feel to be back in a gym and competing with your team this weekend?
It was a great feeling, it was like a family reunion, Myself and Javar have been with the core of this group of parents and young ladies; since these girls were 7/8 years old. We’ve watched these young ladies grow into the players and young ladies they’ve become. We were there for the tears, hard aches, tough lessons (loses), grueling practices, and victories. It was a feeling of euphoria; to see the young ladies compete at such a high level this weekend.
How did your players and families feel concerning the virus? What is the new normal?
There were concerns in reference to the COVID-19 situation. We had spoken to the parents and players about the situation prior to resuming the season and rearranging the team schedule. The guidelines were explained to the parents in reference to tournament and practice precautions; which they were agreed to and were satisfied with the measures being taken.
When it comes to practice, it’s a little different. We take and document their temperatures upon arrival and try to limit contact as much as possible during practice. We also stress the use of hand sanitizers and wipes; during, before, and after practice.
In reference to traveling to and from tournaments; with the current situation there is a heightened sense of safety. We stress the use of masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, etc to our parents. We also advise them to limit the amount of stops along the way.
In reference to staying at the hotels, we stress the use of Lysol, wipes, etc. We ask the parents to keep themselves and the girls in the rooms as much as possible.
Going out to eat is a major change. This organization has a strong family environment. We’re use to going out as a group to eat and enjoy each other’s company and socialize; which we all look forward too. In this current pandemic, the majority of restaurants are drive through only. So it’s a bit of a change for the parents and girls.
What's your thoughts on the team both positive takes and things you need to work on?
My thoughts in reference to positive takes about the team; is that the girl’s competitive instincts kicked in. They handled the adversity and didn’t let anything fluster them. They communicated on the floor, trust the system, and played their hearts out. They left it all on the floor; we were proud of their effort, sportsmanship, and ability to adapt.
There is always room for improvement. Patience and spacing are a couple of things we need to work on; which will come in time.
Going out to Texas and giving your girls a taste of that level of competition, what do you think we can do here in Louisiana to move girls basketball forward?
We need to get the girls seen and come together; It has to be about these ladies. We have to put personal feelings, motives, egos, etc aside. In my opinion the talent pool there is not better than the talent here.
We have to continue to create platforms and put them in the right position / tournaments to be seen. A Coach made the comment once “how can I recruit you if I didn’t see you play.” So we have to be willing to venture out and compete against the best.
The difference is the support system is different. Individuals are investing in their kids and programs financially and time wise. For example, there were a couple of teams that held practice after playing games (tournament). Players and parents showed up without any complaints.
Where will your team be traveling to next and what about the rest of the summer where can we keep up with Louisiana U?
Battle in the Boro July 9th - 12th
Atlanta Peach Splash July 20th - 22nd
National Championship July 23rd - 25th
LGR's Standout Players:
Playing at events such as these allows LGR as well as college coaches and other scouting services to evaluate your talent. Traveling to play against other top teams (college prospects) its much easier to evaluate your skill set versus other players that also have college potential. Highly recommend participating in AAU events such as this one.
Makayla Charles / Vandebilt Catholic / 2025 / Guard
We already knew Makayla could play but what stood out was her ability to GUARD in one on one situations. The team picked up full court leaving her guarding other smaller and what you would assumes was quicker guards but she got down in a stance and was keeping them in front. On the offensive end she's just a natural playmaker using her "bigger frame" to penetrate the lane and apply pressure to defenses.
Koi Williams / Crescent City Christian School / 2025 / Point Guard
Koi is already playing high school basketball and it really showed this weekend. Her decision making has improved and the speed of the game has slowed down for her. She mostly ran point this weekend and made the game easier for her teammates pushing the ball in transition and controlling the tempo when need be.
Journee Johnson / West Thibodaux Middle / 2026 / Guard
One of the younger players on the team but that didn't stop her from standing out. When you have guards like Makayla and Koi your going to need shooters to help space the floor. Journee provides that for the team as she moves well with out the ball and shoots it well for her age. She'll be one to keep an eye on and she continues to grow and develop her game..... it's always great when you can play up and compete!
Other Louisiana Players In Competition
While I think it's safe to say Louisiana is behind the Texas players simply because they have been in gyms sooner than we have due to the virus. The rust was very evident at times and most struggled with the conditioning but again it was great to see some of our girls back on the court and pushing through some adversity. I'm not holding this weekend against anyone I'm just happy to see everyone back on the court.... it's time to work on your game and get better! We'll be able to tell this summer who was sitting around during these last four months and who has been working this was just a small sample:
Both Manuel and Manley are playing up on Texas Phenoms top team and are worth taking a look at this summer! It'll be a good learning experience for both playing in some of the top divisions... looking forward to seeing how they compete!
Katlyn Manuel / Northwest / Forward / 2021 #8
Mikaylah Manley / Barbe / Guard / 2023 #2
Cy Fair 17U National
Mackenzie is playing up and on the second Cy Fair team this summer. It was our first time watching her play at this level and she showcased some skills versus other college prospects. Looking forward to watching her more this summer and she'll look to crack the top 25 in the latest rankings update in October!
Mackenzie Joseph / Vinton / Forward / 2022 Honorable Mention
Any other Louisiana players playing on Texas AAU teams please reach out and let us know so we can evaluate you this summer.