07/29/2015 2:21 PM
Baton Rouge based Louisiana Leadership is not afraid of the big stage.
Only being the second year as a group, Roderick Sims’ ninth grade 15U team took home the first place trophy in Dallas for the PrimeTime Nationals.
Southern Louisiana is where most of the recruiting is done but Leadership is an institution and has a class every day.
Wayne Toussant flies high en route to a PrimeTime NBC Championship
“We have the biggest high school band in Louisiana,” Sims said. “Cleo Fields ex-senator is over the institute.”
Fields is a member of Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church and served as Chair of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus from 2000-2001, but recently served as co-chair of Rainbow/Push Board of Trustees.
Louisiana Leadership lives by this motto:
“Success starts with me and my ability to remain Sane, Sober and Serious about achieving my goals. Therefore, I say to myself every day: ‘It is not my environment, it is ME. It’s the quality of my mind, the integrity of my soul, and the determination of my will that shapes my life and determine my future.’”
“The goal of this team is to win a championship but also get them ready for the varsity level,” Sims said. “We have long practices in a hot gym every day. Working hard and fundamentals is what we strive on.”
Leadership characteristics can come as an inherit trait in some individuals; while for other individuals, these “traits” must be developed by learning.
In order to provide such opportunities for development and improvement for students in the Baton Rouge area, the Louisiana Leadership Institute was formed in 1998 to facilitate this need.
“The mission of the Louisiana Leadership Institute is to be a non-profit organization,” Sims said. That delivers programs and services to form leadership, advance academic skills, and increase self-esteem and motivation in the Greater Baton Rouge Metro area students.”
Knowledge Acquisition, Character Development, Social Interaction, and Global Viewpoint are the four characteristics that Leadership molds their life lessons about.
Each player on Leadership recognizes the mission of the team and shows it on and off the court.
“Tyler Panyonavong 5-foot-11 is a strong guard,” Sims said. “He is one of the guards that can handle and go through the contact without looking for fouls. He hit a lot jump shots and was the leading scorer over through the tournament and averages at least four three a game. Derrick Rose like but not as quick as him.”
Keandre Randal is another kid with a great story. He is the shortest, but arguably the best on the team.
“He is a small quick guard,” Sims said. “He is a great shooter and he is one of them guys that work out 2 or three times a day. He is about 5’8” and plays at Plaquemine High School with a 3.6 GPA and he is a smart defender. He can guard the best player and come back on offense and be productive.”
Josh Quiett from McKinley High in Baton Rouge also shows his academic excellence having a 3.4 GPA.
“Josh Quiett is a 6-foot-4 forward and is a defender,” Sims said. “He averages at least 12 boards a game.”
Herb Thomas is the only player going into the ninth grade as the team’s starting point guard.
“He is one of them players if he was on the eighth grade level he would be ranked,” Sims said. “He is quick on his feet like Westbrook. And he is a penetrator but can get to the rack and finish or make a play.”
Louisiana Leadership prefers to play a spread offense.
“We like to use back and up picks,” Sims said. “We also like to change the tempo of the opponent’s defense. We like to run transition offense and can do half court too.”
Last year, Leadership only lost one game at the PrimeTime Nationals but this year they rebuilt their team and added a few players.
“We look forward for next year,” Sims said.
“I hope that I was a good example to the kids as a man but we stress on education and grades. Everybody has a 3.0 GPA and higher and strong academics.”
LA Leadership’s players live up to their name, on and off the court.