06/22/2015 1:19 PM
Go as far as the horse goes. It is a motto that became a logo that became a way of life for the Southern Stampede grassroots basketball program.
Hard work and determination is at the root of the mantra. It stems from the gridiron but has moved to the hardwood.
Coach Rob Tate originally played football in college but his first love has always been basketball. Since taking over for founding father Al Durham, Tate switched the name but kept the vision of the program.
“We were first called the Atlanta Knicks but ended up getting the Nike deal after being with Converse and switched,” Tate said. “We try to push the tempo on the court but getting the kids education is the main goal and objective.”
Known more for its talent on the football field over the last years, the Southern Stampede organization feels that the best basketball still comes from the Peach State.
“We have Atlanta and surrounding areas to get kids,” Tate said. “I feel like the state of Georgia is the top talent for basketball. We feel like even if we put together some great teams, a lot of players in the state of Georgia would still be left out.”
Practicing hard is a task that Southern Stampede builds on.
With plenty of naysayers of the grassroots basketball style of basketball, Tate feels like his team plays the right way.
“Mostly in grassroots, there are many super groups of all stars,” Tate said. “My group works on fundamentals, ball handling, defense, and chemistry. That is every practice and we practice at least two hours a day. You don’t get that with a lot of grassroots teams in the country.
“Our practices are tougher than the games.”
Southern Stampede coaches push the players to get after it in practice to the point of exhaustion.
With so many great players within the organization, there are a couple of big name players from Southern Stampede that is getting the recognition that they deserve.
“We have two kids in the Nike 100 in St. Louis,” Tate said. “Collin Sexton is one of our standout players. He can do it all; he can shoot it and dribble the ball as if it is a yo-yo. He eats drinks and sleeps basketball. He has no social media and is a smart student that has a 3.7 GPA. He will dunk on you and will always play hard.
“Al Durham, Jr is another special kid that is in our program as well.”
Even though Southern Stampede is based in Georgia, there is recruiting done within the surrounding states as well.
“We got a lot of top players from Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina,” Tate said. “And our 17U Elite Southern Stampede team has a player from North Carolina. Last year we had kids from Florida and we are doing some recruiting in New Hampshire right now.”
With all of the practices that Southern Stampede commits to, there is a large variety of offensive sets that the team applies to perfect them in games.
“My style is to get after it and make teams feel uncomfortable,” Tate said. “We want to see if teams can learn on the fly. We tend to adjust each quarter. We may play half-court, full-court man, and half-court man and take whatever we had the most success in. We have a thing where we try to score within 7 seconds. We mimic the 1990 Loyola Marymount team and score from 90-100 points a game.”
There are a total of nine teams within the Southern Stampede organization.
At the end of the day, it is about more than basketball for Coach Tate.
“I just have a passion for the game,” he said. “I want the kids to experience the college life and become great citizens long term. I like to be realistic and I hope our kid’s makes six figure jobs and enjoy life.”
Without being book smart, basketball would not be an option for any kid trying to play in college.
Tate makes sure to send both messages.
“Just to see them all get to college is the goal,” Tate said. “And basketball is taught while we preach academics.”
He knows both can take his players further than a horse will.
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