AZ Redshirts 2010 Summer Tour - Part II

The Arizona Red Shirts headed back to Las Vegas on July 21st for the second time this summer to compete in the Adidas Super 64 tournament. This tournament is one of the best youth basketball tournaments in the world, drawing all-star teams and deep D-I talent from across the country.

The Red Shirts first matched up with the East Coast Fusion from Virginia in pool play. The Red Shirts lost that battle but went on to win their next two pool games in front of hundreds of college coaches. The Red Shirts dominated the Colorado Rage and the Bakersfield Revolution in front of scores of recruiters.

After going 2-1 in pool play, the Arizona Red Shirts lost to Capistrano Valley from California by one point at the buzzer. The team held a 6-point lead most of the game and just as the time expired, they lost on a miracle shot by the other team.

Coaches from UC Irvine, Fordham, American University, Whitman, Grand Canyon University and NAU made it a point to attend numerous Arizona Red Shirts games to scout players from the team. The boys performed well and this exposure will hopefully lead to increased college interest.

Coach Brian Fabiano says, "The summer trip was a great success. Coming from a basketball market like Phoenix, our boys are not heavily scouted. The objective was to get the team matched up against nationally recruited talent, as well as to catch the eye of college coaches with hard-nosed play, as they came to see the more touted and statistically dominant players."

Coach Jordan Ballard says, "The Red Shirts players had a coming out party this summer. There are many teams in the 'valley of the sun' that have had a history of collecting top players, but the Red Shirts proved this summer that they have some of the best 'under the radar' talent on this all-star Arizona team."

"Half the team members are sophomores and half the team members are juniors," says Ballard. "We played all summer against senior teams that included up to three age exceptions per team (players that had already finished their senior year). This team was young, but still managed to win the AAU Junior Championship in May in Denver, Colorado. They also went on to win runner-up in the 19U division in Denver and the gold division bracket in the Southwest Showcase in Phoenix in April. They won the Las Vegas Swoosh Nationals in July at the 17U/18U bracket. The team beat Rivals top ranked 3 PL Hoops of Las Vegas and then returned to Vegas to take second in their pool in the Adidas Super 64."

The Arizona Red Shirts team consists of players from 8 different high schools around the Valley. The players include: Mitchell Burnett II - Central HS, Tyler Guy - Horizon HS, Brandon Stiles - Washington HS, Judah St Amand - Scottsdale Christian HS, Lorenzo Pineda - Camelback HS, Alec Savage - Desert Mountain HS, Tony Fabiano - Desert Mountain HS, Jake Cooper - Desert Mountain HS, Randy Azuogu - Desert Mountain HS, Austin Cooke - Desert Mountain HS and Mark White - Paradise Valley HS.

Directly from the Adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas, the team took a redeye flight to the AAU Nationals in Orlando. They arrived in Florida at 5:30AM ready to defend their AAU Regional Championship title that they earned earlier in the summer. The team's first pool game was originally scheduled and posted to tip 24 hours after the team's arrival in Orlando.

All day the team participated in outside team building experiences until check in time at the hotel. The plan was to let the players check in, feed them a huge meal and let them go to sleep for 14 hours.

As a veteran travel tournament team, the coaches double-checked the game times before they packed it in for the night to ensure the schedule had not changed since the night before. Much to their surprise, they found the game had been moved up a day!

Coach Fabiano reports, "We had a team meeting at the hotel to let the players know they were expected to be showered and sleeping in one hour and the coaches would be by shortly for room check. They sauntered off to shower, Coach Ballard and I checked into the room, got out our laptops to check the game time before we signed off for the night and discovered the Red Shirts first pool game had been moved and was tipping in one hour at Cypress HS in Kissimmee, Florida.

"We called each room and told them what had happened and to meet in the lobby dressed for battle in 5 minutes. And they thought I was joking at first," says Fabiano.

The coaches and players were sleep deprived, on full stomachs and in a lethargic state of mind. But, they had to transform their mindset into competition mode.

The Red Shirts arrived at their first game 30 minutes prior to tipoff and were greeted courtside by their first opponent, a well-rested Georgia Lakers team. With two minutes remaining in pregame warm-ups, the coaches gathered the team and gave them one last word of encouragement.

"We tried to give them the message that sometimes in life the difference between winners and losers is demonstrating your best effort. We told them that we expected them to leave it all out on the floor. We just wanted them to give whatever it was they had," says Fabiano.

Amazingly, the game was filled with Red Shirts heroes as one player after another put mind over matter and performed flawlessly to create the win. The hallmark of the game was continual pressure defense and maximum effort by all ten players.

Coach Ballard says, "I have been around basketball my whole life and I've seen a lot of games, but this truly was a miraculous effort powered by sheer will and determination shown by these young men. These kids have been playing together since early grade school and they know how to win together."

After finally getting back to the hotel and getting some sleep after 35 hours of no rest and a game under their belts, the Red Shirts would get up the next day to do it all over again. The team would play their next game on the main court at the ESPN World Wide of Sports complex, and would face another strong east coast team, the New York Knights.

The Red Shirts put together another team effort and dominated their east coast opponent.

Coach Ballard says, "It was rewarding as a coach and fan of the game to see our boys gain the respect from the east coast teams and represent Arizona in the fashion that they did."

Coach Fabiano says, "The team attended the majority of the major west coast tournaments this year, and we are pleased to announce the decision to defend our Regional AAU Championship title in Orlando, Florida was the best decision we made all summer. The boys played in front of 3 times more college coaches then in all of the west coast tournaments combined. It is no secret that the quantity of potential scholarship providing schools far exceeds the west coast. We will be back next year with a team that has been there before, only more seasoned and more mature."

About The Arizona Red Shirts

The Arizona Red Shirts, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based youth basketball club, have been playing as a team since kindergarten. The team is a non-profit organization with a mission of community outreach, utilizing basketball as a means to teach future business leadership. Coach Brian Fabiano established the team as a vehicle to ensure that hard-working young men who might otherwise be overlooked get a chance to be seen by college programs. The Arizona Red Shirts players have all committed to harness their athletic skills in order to build a platform for their education to one day become team leaders of our community.

For more information or to see the players' profiles, visit