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2022 Winston-Salem Stealers Parent Meeting Notes and Video Link

2023 Parent Meeting Notes and Video Link

Parents and Guardians, below you’ll find our parent meeting notes and video link for the 2023 Season.

The first document below is for the parents of our 3rd-11th grade participants and is the general parent meeting packet (hard copy is available on request):

The second document below is our college recruiting parent information packet (hard copy is available on request):

Here is a link to our parent video: 2023 Parent Meeting Video.

An idea of our program from the perspective of Appalachian State University Head Women’s Basketball Coach Angel Elderkin:

Parent Meeting Video (Points of Reference):

  • 0.01 Introduction 
  • 6:50 History of North Carolina AAU Girls Basketball

Bill and Jean Christy of North Carolina AAU Girls Basketball.

  • 9:05 How NCAAU Girls Basketball began to change.
  • 9:25 Chante’ Black – Our program’s first superstar, our first McDonald’s All-American, our first ACC Player, our first WNBA Player, and our first Professional Overseas Player.

Chante’ Black as a 12 year old.

  • 10:50 Hosting the 2001 and 2004 16-and-under AAU Girls Nationals in Winston-Salem. What that did for our organization.
  • 13:33 NCAAU began to break up, USA Basketball Introduction.
  • 16:50 Not going the “super power team route”.
  • 18:50 Not following the world of college recruiting but instead valuing direct relationships built over time with college coaches (see Document II below as well).
  • 20:50 How USA Basketball reflects our core philosophy and how that supplements our program directly and indirectly.
  • 24:08 Elle Sutphin and Lauren Bevis, just a couple of examples of being inconvenient to reach a goal.

  • 28:00 The credibility that USA Basketball brings.
  • 28:40 How the NCAAU Girls Basketball world fell apart and kids began to jump from program to program.
  • 29:42 “The Stealers won’t last” and they came after Chante’ Black.  Straight From The Parent’s Mouth:  MAZIE BLACK and other parents.
  • 30:33 Meeting every Major DI College Coach in America in 2002-03.
  • 31:57 What college coaches are looking for straight from the top coaches in America… the beginning of the 292 Program.
  • 35:30 What the 292 Program will and will not do.

(Above, Brittany Strachan, 2007 Stealer Alum who was at the time playing at NC State along with Megan Buckland on her recruiting visit, who graduated in 2011.  Megan ended up going to UNC to play basketball.)

  • 37:06 2021 Louisville “Run For The Roses” Team – Recent Example of the 292 Program.
  • 45:15 The Maddawg Center
  • 51:33 Blessing Box
  • 52:57 Program Rules and Policies
  • 53:42 No Return Policy
  • 54:03 The 24 Hour Rule 
  • 56:00 Team Parents Role
  • 1:01:18 Team Practices

  • 1:01:59 No rising 9th-12th Grade Practices in June (or at least limiting those so they don’t interfere with high school team camps).
  • 1:03:41 Issy Hinshaw, parent of Krissy Hinshaw on one of our first ever Winston-Salem Stealers Teams.

Krissy Hinshaw, one of our original Winston-Salem Stealers.

  • 1:06:23 Jennifer Penley, our Class of 2009 who went onto play basketball at the Naval Academy.

Jennifer Penley, Class of 2009.

  • 1:07:34 Stealers For Life
  • 1:08:54 The Teach The Game Program
  • 1:10:19 The CRC Program
  • 1:11:47 Social Media Accounts
  • 1:14:26 Kayla Robinson, Class of 2016 Alum’s Thoughts.
  • 1:15:30 Lauren LaPlant, Class of 2016 Alum’s Thoughts.
  • 1:17:20 Team Uniforms
  • 1:19:06 How Have We Survived
  • 1:25:53 Conclusion – The basketball has brought us together, good and bad, and when the basketball is put up what you have left is the relationship. (26 to now 27 years.)

Felicia Gibson went onto play at Pfeiffer.


Winston-Salem Stealers 2023 Travel Team Information

The Maddawg Basketball Training Center

February 4, 2023 3rd-6th Grades – Opening Day

March 13-15, 2023 7th-11th Grade Tryouts.

Program Founder’s Philosophy:


“Seek out those who can do something better than you can, or those who are just simply better than you are, and learn from them”. = Anonymous

“The only way to do great work is to love the work you do.” – Steve Jobs

Our program mission statement: The Winston-Salem Stealers Girls Basketball Program has an annual goal of trying to provide a developmental atmosphere inside of a competitive environment in hopes of teaching young female players positive life skills that they can take with them long after their playing days are over.

Contact / Communication:

  • Contacting coaches / me (Coach R):
    • Email is always the best to contact me (Brian Robinson) at or . 
  • I can usually get back to you within a couple of hours or so if not sooner.
  • Emailing the coaches is the best way to contact for general questions. 
  • If a player is going to be late to or miss a practice / game, texting is the best option. (see below under Program Rules & Policies for additional information on contacting coaches.) 

Our Coaches:

  • Understand that all of our coaches are volunteers and have a personal life. Please do not call our coaches as a “minute to talk” request typically turns into a 20-30 minute conversation. 

Website / Information:

  • Most season information can be found on the front page of or under “WS Stealers Girls Programs” on the left hand menu. 

The Maddawg Basketball Training Center:

  • We moved into The Maddawg Basketball Training Center on June 1, 2020. The YMCA’s, YWCA’s, recreation centers, church gyms and schools were closed due to COVID.   
  • We asked if we could use just the old event center (the building we practice and play in) on campus and turn it into a basketball court.
  • The owners agreed and we transformed the empty building into a court.
  • The Maddawg Center allowed us to keep our program going through the early stages of the pandemic while others around us had to pause.
  • The entire campus is abandoned (used to be Dudley Hair Products) except for our facility.

Skills, Camps, etc…

  •  Can be found under “Teach The Game’ on the website. 
    • Understand that my individual skills fill up sometimes a month or so in advance.
    • I try to dedicate time to hold individual skills and every so often I can get one or two in at the last minute.
    • Camps are offered year round featuring outside guests as well as in-program sessions.
  • Group and individual skills are posted under “Teach The Game” on our website. ■ Team practices are used for team concepts (offenses / defenses / press breaks / out of bounds plays etc…) with some individual skills time mixed in. 
  • We bring in outside guests to run camps and clinics annually. 
    • Some of our past guests include WNBA and Olympic stars Sue Bird and Stefanie Dolson, DII, DIII, and NAIA College Coaches, National Skills Trainer Ganon Baker and National Evaluator Brandon Clay.

Weekly Updates:

  • I send out a program update each week which your team parent should send out to you. The email will keep you updated on any happenings of note taking place in our organization. 

COVID-19 Program Policies: 

  • Our program will continue to follow the guidelines as set for by our state and town. 
  • We do not have control over any tournament postponement or cancellation. 
    • We will try to give each family as much notice as possible as to the status of each tournament. 
    • We do ask for your cooperation and patience on daily changes / updates. 


  • Those opportunities will be presented later. 

 Difference Between the 292 Program and the Travel Team Program? 

  • 292 is a consulting service offered from Coach Robinson that allows for feedback from college coaches and recruiting advice for parents. The Travel Team is part of the 292 program, but not everyone on a Travel Team is in or required to be in 292. 

What is the Teach The Game Program? 

  • The Teach The Game Program is a developmental program focusing on fundamentals and skills. 
  • More information is on the website. 

What is the CRC Program?

  • This program was created to provide monthly, written feedback for all grades, not just 7th-11th grade travel team members.
  • Coach R coaches these teams.
  • Not everyone on the team(s) that Coach R coaches is a CRC member in the younger groups.
  • Written feedback is important, especially at the younger grades so development and correction can be made before bad habits set in.

Program Rules & Policies:

  • Leaving the program / playing – practicing with another club / AAU team?
    • Means that your daughter cannot return to play with the Stealers. 
      • The bouncing back and forth from program to program in search of something better causes too much drama and chaos thus the reason for not allowing folks to return once they leave.
    • At least once a year someone will do this and then claim that they did not know about this particular program rule. 
    • If you are unclear or think that something may jeopardize your daughter’s eligibility in our program, ask me first before participating. 
    • This usually happens when school teams get together in the fall season stating that they are preparing for the school season. School ball doesn’t start until late October / early November. 

Playing another sport, school activities, etc..:

  • Playing another sport, especially a school sport, is encouraged by our program as long as players and parents understand that it is the responsibility of the player to keep up to what their Stealers’ team is working on each day. 
  • If a player misses a practice, she has to understand that most of our coaches are adding new plays, new defenses, etc … at each practice and a coach cannot put the team in a tough spot if he/she plays a player, especially in a tight game, and they don’t know where to be on the court. ○ That’s not fair to the team.
  • Our teams don’t have “starters” – they have “players”. Parents sometime question why a player loses her starting spot for missing practice. Starting is not as important as finishing going by our program’s long-standing philosophy. Starting does not equal the best players. It’s typically the five players that work the best together who begin the game to get the team off a good start.
  • Sometimes parents will say “She received the plays she missed from her teammate through a phone call or text”. That’s fine, but she has to figure out a way to make sure her coach can trust that she can perform them in a game. 

Handling issues:

    • We do not handle any playing time, coaching decisions, etc… by text or phone call unless initiated by the coach, which our coaches shouldn’t be doing. 
      • These concerns need to be handled face-to-face on a practice day working around the coach’s schedule. 
      • Send the coach a 1-2 sentence email requesting a meeting. 
      • Please do not send a request to meet after every tournament. Sending a request after the first tournament is not a good idea as we only allow parents to meet with the coach concerning playing time once during the year. 
  • Refund policy.
    • Once the season starts, understand that we have to pay well in advance for college exposure events and most other tournaments so we can reserve a spot. If your daughter quits, understand that her fee has already been used to pay for these events and no refund can be returned.
    • Team meeting.
      • Each team typically has a parent meeting with their coach before or after a scheduled practice night just to cover the season. 
      • Team parents, if not already chosen, will be determined then.
      • Typically the ones that miss the meeting have the most questions or issues later on during the season. ○ 

Bench Personnel:

  • All bench personnel at college exposure events, up to three / team, has to hold a USA Basketball Gold License. or email Coach R for more information.
  •  All bench personnel has to be approved by Coach R and the team coach.
  • USA Basketball Gold License fees will be reimbursed by Coach R if the holder has been approved ahead of time (by coach / director). 

Tryout days / dates:

  • Tryouts for the 3rd-6th grades will be on Saturday, January 15th from 12:00-1:30 for 3rd-4th grades and 1:30-3:00 for 5th-6th grades. 
  • Tryouts for the 7th-11th grades will be on Times will be March 14-16th for 7th-9th Grades from 6:00-7:30 and 7:30-9:00 from 7:30-9:00 for 10th-12th Grades. If there is inclement weather and we need to postpone tryouts, please visit our website for info. 
  • Do I have to attend each day? 
    • It’s best to do so to give your daughter the best opportunity. 
  • Team selection process – How to handle questions.
    • Early team requests are just that… requests.
    • Nothing is set but it just gives us an idea of where we should place coaches as far as grades / age level goes. 
    • Email me any questions about team placement. 
    • Coaches do not pick their teams. 
    • That responsibility goes to Coach R. 
  • The way team selection works is as follows:
    • Coach R slots the first 7-9 players per team then asks each coach (during tryouts) who they think will fit their team for the final 2-5 spots (11 players total). 
    • Goal is to balance out teams as best as possible by positions. 

During tryouts: 

  • Make sure your daughter arrives at least fifteen minutes before the start time. If she has a school activity, just email ahead of time to inform us. 
  • Players are encouraged to jog from drill-to-drill (walking around is not a good look during tryouts, nor for practice or games for that matter).

3rd-6th Grade Teams:

  • Are very important years for development during practice.  
  • There will be times when the team will get beat badly, but that is all part of development, at least it is in this program.
    • It won’t be that important in the 10th grade that you won a local tournament in the 4th or 5th grade.
    • What will be important in the 10th grade was that your daughter learned how to play in the 4th and 5th grade.
  • Being patient and helping, but also letting, your daughter work through her process of getting better is vital
  • From experience, parents that are too overbearing at this point, meaning the team has to win all of the time, plays have to be run a certain way, etc… have not enjoyed their time in our program.
    • We believe in trying to teach players how to play vs. constantly running plays.  Yes, we do run some plays, but if we teach them how to play, they can take that with them to their future teams at school or wherever they play.  They typically won’t be running the plays we teach them on their future school team.
    • Teaching them how to handle winning and losing, how to compete for playing time, how to work through their mistakes and how to take coaching from their coach (not others in the stands) is important right now.

Team Assignments:

    • Understand that team assignments, at least for the first couple of months, won’t change. If we move one, we have to move all that request, thus changing the balance / makeup of each team. 
    • This causes issues on the NCAA website for our older teams that play in front of college coaches.
    • Leads to internal issues (program drama). 
    • We do have a “Request to Transfer” form that, if approved, allows a player to move from one team in our program to another. 
    • The form is only good one time. 
    • You cannot use the form multiple times during her career with our program. 
      • This keeps confusion and drama to a minimum. 
      • The request to move to another team can only happen if the team a player is transferring to has ten or less players. 
      • The best thing to do is give each team a chance before assuming your daughter is on the wrong team. 
      • Typically 3-5 emails come in on the day teams are posted stating that their daughter is on the wrong level or needs to play with better players, etc… and the team hasn’t practiced / played yet. 
      • The other thing is don’t compare other player’s team assignments to your daughter. This is always an issue. Have your daughter grow and be her best where she is placed and not worry about where her past teammates or friends are. We are not a “play with your friends” program. 
      • It is just about trust that your daughter will be placed in a situation where she can be her best.
        • Does it always work? No, but more often than not it is about having a positive mindset and giving things a shot before discarding, complaining or moving on to something else.
      • Worrying about where a past teammate is slotted this season takes away from making sure your daughter is ready to compete for playing time on her current team. (Comparison kills joy.)
      • Team selection is about “fit” and giving each player the best opportunity to improve and compete for playing time. 
  • High school team / performance vs. Travel Team.
      • Don’t send any information on how your daughter did in middle or high school ball. School ball is not club ball and vice-versa. 
      • She may have been a top player, starter, All-Conference, or MVP on her school team that was very successful, but now you’re in a position where she’s up against players who were also top players or starters on their school teams as well. 
      • As you know, not all school situations are the same so we do our best not to include school ball performance as part of our team assignment process. 
      • We try not to use our teams as a way to place all of your school team members together. 
      • We do want your daughter to improve and be the best she can be for her school team when her school season starts (founding principle).
  • Levels of Teams:
    • The 3rd-6th grade teams typically play around the Triad, maybe sometimes venturing to Charlotte, Raleigh or Roanoke.
    • The 7th-11th grade teams have two levels:  local and national.
      • The local team stays in and around the Triad.
      • The national team plays out of state in July with maybe a tournament or two out of state in the spring and fall.

Coaches and Practice Schedules 

  • Note: Understand that the level of each coach may change when tryouts start due to trying to balance out skill levels and positions played for each team. ○ Level each coach will be on (using spring 2022 grades) will be posted online closer to tryouts. 
    • Note: Each team has the potential to have a couple of older and a couple of younger players on each team. The grade listed beside the team will be the majority of the team.
  • 2022: Coach R will try to coach as many teams as he can as long as parents and players understand that he has several other obligations* that may pull him away in the spring or summer.  
    • If that takes place, Coach R will find a replacement to coach.
      • If that is an issue, please request ahead of time to be on another team in the program or do not tryout.
    • *=Other obligations are working with the WBCA HS All-American Selection Committee during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament or working for USA Basketball.

Succession Plan

  • Part of our hidden success is having younger players learn how things work from older players.
  •  Our program culture is very important to our stability and the best way to remain consistent is having players understand and teach / lead by example. 

Playing “up” is allowed. 

  • We don’t want to push a player too fast too early, but at the same time if she can handle it mentally and physically, we will allow it.

Uniforms and Medical Release Forms

  • Make sure to wash uniforms in cold water. Do not iron or machine dry.
    • You will receive a uniform contract (in addition to a medical release form) at or before your team parent meeting. 

Social Media: 

  • Follow us on Twitter @wsstealers @StealersWS or @Teach_The_Game or @MaddawgThe or follow Teach The Game on Facebook or Instagram 
  • Our social media accounts are used to highlight program accomplishments, alums, team success and individual / group skills. 
  • We try to stay away from high or middle school accomplishments or the posting of personal (non-bball) items. 
  • Team parents and coaches are encouraged to send us game results so we can post. If you don’t send those in, we won’t know if your team is playing away from The Maddawg Center.

Parent Video:

  • For the first time we will have a parent video which will go a little further in depth to how our program works.
  • We have several folks who miss the parent meeting annually and then when the season starts either have lots of questions that were already covered in the meeting or cause some issues that could’ve been answered back in January.
  • This website page will allow you to access the link to the video.

College Recruiting Packet:

  • In addition to this packet, there is a college recruiting packet that can be downloaded.
  • This will help to explain how our program handles college recruiting.





2022 Winston-Salem Stealers Parent Informational Meeting

Saturday, January 22, 2022

College Recruiting

Statement from Brian Robinson (aka Coach R): 

“I enjoy what I do which is direct the day-to-day operations of The Winston-Salem Stealers.”

September 9, 1996 Program Purpose: 

“The Winston-Salem Stealers sole purpose is to provide opportunities for girls basketball players to be better for their school teams. “Anything additional* from that is a plus.”

*What is Considered “Additional”?

  • The main and most talked about “anything additional” point is receiving an opportunity to play basketball in college.

How Many Players Have Gone Onto Play In College From The Stealers?

  • 172 players in 25 years or an average of 6.8 per year.
  • Some years we have 10 or more and some years we have 3 or less.
  • Breakdown: 51 Division I Players, 47 DII Players, 61 DIII Players, 13 JUCO / NAIA Players.
  • 1 McDonald’s All-American, 1 WBCA HS All-American, 2 WBCA HS All-American Honorable Mention.

Farrahn Wood – Class of 2012 On Her Signing Day With App. State.

Why We Operate The Way We Operate When It Comes To College Recruiting?

  • Being different and not following the “world” based off of twenty-plus years of experience has allowed our program to continue to provide college opportunities for our players.
  • It’s not flashy or shiny, but it is consistent and effective.

Please Understand That Our Central Purpose Has NEVER Focused On Sending Players To Play In College.

  • We didn’t start the program for that reason, but we have had a lot of players go on to play in college .
    • How? Our focus is, again, providing players opportunities to get better.  If a player is constantly improving, more often than not the player will put themselves in a position to play in college.
  • If the player and / or parent’s sole focus is to play ball in college, the player and / or parent will be unhappy in this program.  
  • You can’t go wrong, however, trying to improve on a daily basis.
  • You focus on getting a college scholarship and you end up losing the joy of playing basketball, making friends and improving.   You focus on getting better, then your joy and love of playing comes out, you’ll have fun because you are improving and those at the next level will see all of your good traits and skills.  The college coaches can tell when you are and are not having fun playing the game.

(Above, Brittany Strachan at her home visit with the late Kay Yow in 2006.)

How Does The College Recruiting World Work From The Stealers’ Standpoint?

  • The 292 Program was started in 2003.  The 292 Program provides advice to players and parents on the college recruiting process and informs college coaches on where and when our teams are playing in NCAA Certified Events. (There is a recent example of how the 292 program works at the end of this packet.)
  • The college coaches then make the decision whether or not to come see the players in the certified events. If the college coach attends, he or she will then determine whether that player is a fit or not for their program.
  • The 292 Program was built from direct feedback from the top college basketball coaches in America.  Over twenty Division I college coaches gave their thoughts to Coach R on what it takes for a player to play ball at their level. Coach R built the 292 Program from the college coaches thoughts.
  • Coach R makes sure that everyone involved in the program knows that The Winston-Salem Stealers will not promise anyone a college scholarship.

In Regards To College Recruitment, What Will The Winston-Salem Stealers Promote On Their Social Media Accounts?

  • We try to stick with facts and not opinions.   
  • If we promote one player on social media as “A can’t miss” or “A sleeper” or “College coaches need to take a look at…”, those are opinions.   
    • If those opinions don’t match how the college coach views that player, our credibility is ruined.
    • If we promote or provide opinions on just one player, what are the others in the program thinking if we don’t promote or provide an opinion on their daughter?
  • What do you consider to be facts?
    • A player visits a school = fact.
    • A player receives an offer to play in college = fact.
    • A player sends us a highlight video to post on our website and @StealersWs Account = fact.

Besides The 292 Program, What History Does The Program Have When Evaluating Players?

  • Coach R has worked for USA Basketball (see the following page) since 2007.  
  • USA Basketball is the top of the basketball world.  
  • Coach R served on the USA Basketball U16 and U17 Women’s National Team Selection Committees from 2009-2012, as a U16 and U17 coaching staff member in 2013 and 2014 and as a U16 support staff member in 2021.  
    • Each of those seasons, the team won a gold medal.
    • Serving each season has allowed Coach R to directly work with hundreds of Division I level prospects while they are in high school.
    • The opportunity allows Coach R to see what a high school freshman, sophomore or junior that will be a high major Division I player looks like on a consistent basis.

How Does Working With USA Basketball Help The Winston-Salem Stealers Players?

  • Coach R can take his USA Basketball experiences of working with Division I Players, Division I College Coaches and NBA / WNBA Coaches / Players and bring it back to the Stealers’ program.
  • Every skill session is used to A) Work on fundamentals, B) Challenge players to get out of their comfort zone, and C) Develop repetitive skills that can transfer to games.
  • Coach R uses what works for USA Basketball Participants (the best players in America) and then tailors it to help our players improve.  
    • It takes time and patience and it takes a willingness to improve.
    • If those skills help the best in America, it will help our kids, again, if they are willing to put in the time.

So If My Daughter Does Not Have A DI Offer By The Beginning Of Her Junior Year, We Should Just Give Up On That Dream?

  • No, but all other options (DII, DIII, NAIA, JUCO) should be explored while still continuing to get better.
  • Division I college coaches start evaluating players as early as the 6th and 7th grades.   We have had three players receive college offers as early as the 7th grade and have had one commit to play in college as early as the 8th grade.
    • Division I college coaches are looking for height, athleticism, and speed.  Very few players have those traits, though there are a lot of really good players out there.
    • Once the height, athleticism, and speed players are identified, the colleges will then look for those who show a unique skill set (ball-handlers, shooting consistency, defense, rebounding, passing and Basketball IQ).
  • What the Stealers have done and why the Stealers have had so many kids go onto play college basketball at all levels is that Coach R tries to project and identify early on where the player’s ceiling is. He then tries to offer enough opportunities outside of the team concept (individual skills, group skills, camps, outside evaluators) for the player to take advantage of to close the gap.
  • Sixteen of our program’s DI level players received their first offer after their junior year in high school.  Seven of those sixteen received their first DI offer during their senior year.

What Mistakes Do You (Coach R) See Being Made:

  • Posting too much on social media.
    • College coaches get inundated daily with social media posts or tags.  
    • Examples:  “Coaches, don’t miss out on this girl”, “Coaches, this player is under the radar”, “Coaches, you need to get on this kid”, etc…
    • College coaches may actually miss out on a girl here and there, but more often than not they know where the players are that fit their programs.
    • Think about it:  if one high school or AAU coach or “scout” in your area  posts one of those statements above and tags a college coach and then you multiply that post times all of the “areas” in your state, how many posts does a college coach get?
    • Then, multiply your state times the other forty-nine states and their areas and a college coach eventually begins to ignore all of these posts. 
    • Some college coaches have others in their offices that sort through all of these posts and begin to identify who to pay attention to and who to ignore.
      • Thus, if you continue to post about every kid and you’re doing that just to appease folks in your program, you, as a coach / director / scout, lose credibility.
  • Getting caught up in that world trying to “compete” against people you don’t know and thus waste time that could have been spent on the court which leads to:
    • Comparing too much on social media and what the world is doing.
    • Too much comparing of what other programs and teams are doing.
      • Understand The Winston-Salem Stealers are different. We try to build your game year to year from the time you join the program instead of going out and trying to recruit the best or better players and put a team together.  Most teams or programs don’t offer their kids opportunities in the 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th grades.
  • Not focusing on your personal improvement and not preparing for the “moment”.
    • Preparing is not just skill work, but daily conditioning, eating right, taking care of your grades, getting enough sleep, jumping rope and, if old enough, lifting weights.
  • Too many “empty” games and tournaments vs. trying to improve before the actual main event(s).
    • Coach R hears it all of the time “We need to play in bigger tournaments in other states.” Coach R’s reply is “What’s the purpose of constantly traveling across the country playing in events if no college coaches will be there?”
    • Playing in 1-2 of those events are good, but not on a regular basis unless college coaches are going to be there. If no college coaches are present, it is just an “empty” tournament which you could do closer to home.
    • The other argument is “Well, playing better teams consistently, makes you better.” There is some truth to that as long as you are putting in the time to get better before and after you play in these events.  There is no use going out and getting beat by 20-30 points each weekend if the players aren’t willing to put the time into finding ways to get better.   
    • If players are finding ways to get better, then yes, playing in bigger tournaments can help.
  • Not Understanding The Big Picture: While players / parents look at things in a small sample (i.e. a local high school conference or AAU region), college coaches are looking at the bigger picture (players across the United States and in some cases globally).
    • Thinking that your daughter is on her way to a major Division I college because she is MVP of the team or the best player in the area is all that matters can lead to disappointment and frustration.
      • Remember, there are lots of MVPs of teams and lots of “areas”.
      • Again: You can’t go wrong trying to get better.
  • Underestimating the value of the Stealers (and Coach R’s) relationships from years and years of being in the “business”. 

  • Above are pictures with:
  • Km Barnes-Arico, Head Coach at The University of Michigan.
  • Two-Time National Champion Muffet McGraw, former Head Coach at Notre’ Dame.
  • Amanda Butler, the then Head Coach at Florida, now the Head Coach at Clemson.
  • Sue Semrau, the Head Coach at Florida State.
  • Joanne P. McCallie, the former Head Coach at Duke.
  • Courtney Banghart, Head Coach at the University of North Carolina.
  • Brenda Frese, Head Coach at the University of Maryland.
  • Katie Meier and (again) Amanda Butler when both were at UNC-Chartlotte, Katie is now the Head Coach at the University of Miami.
  • Jeff Walz, head coach at Louisville with assistants Shay Robinson, Stephanie Norman and Jonneshia Pineda.
  • Former Texas A&M Head Coach and 2011 National Champion Gary Blair.


  • The Stealers and Coach R have been a part of the college recruiting world at all levels for over twenty years.
  • Those experiences help when it comes to college recruiting because of the relationship forged over the years.
  • There is a certain way to fit a player into a college program and, again, our “way” is not reflective of the process the majority of programs operate today, but it still works.
  • College Coach “A” starts off at Job “B” and then 2-3 years later he / she is at Job “C”. Maybe Job “B” didn’t fit a player that Coach “A” wanted, but treating Coach “A” with respect is / was important so that when he / she is at Job “C”, maybe the fit is better.
  • Parents get upset and impatient because things aren’t happening on the surface fast enough for them, but underneath things are being done.  It’s hard to tell you how many gave up right before things were about to happen.   
    • Things aren’t happening because the fit isn’t “ready”.  Let the colleges sort through their lists, keep them informed on the progress of the player / recruit, and when it is time, it will happen as it needs to, but don’t force it.
  • That you have to play on an EYBL, 3SSB, UA or any other “Circuit” in order to be recruited.   
    • If you can play you can play.  The college coaches don’t care. Yes, a lot of kids in one setting makes things easier for the colleges, but it also leads to a group of players going for “theirs” instead of working with their team.
    • Again, 172 kids have gone onto college from our program and being a part of USA Basketball trumps all of the EYBL, etc… circuit players / teams as those players all want to play for USA Basketball at U16 and U17.
  • That the program or Coach R isn’t doing anything to help your college recruiting. 
    • Once again, Coach R does not work for any college coaching staff. 
    • The college coaching staff(s) make those decisions to go after who best fits their program, we / I just put you in front of them with games, video, or emails. Just because nothing is happening doesn’t mean something isn’t happening behind the scenes.  
    • Our program does things differently. Always has and always is, but the past results can’t be argued with or disputed.
    • There are too many kids in the program to help my kid.
      • Wrong.  Each player’s college recruiting is important, but you can’t rush or force these things.   The parent and player may want it now, but that’s not how this works.

Recent Example of how the 292 Program Works:

  • A more extensive explanation of the 292 Program can be found on our website.
  • The 292 Program is offered to everyone in the program.
  • Louisville 2021: Run For The Roses College Exposure Tournament.
  • Coach R had the college wish list from each player on this team based off their 2020 292 Meetings.
  • Coach R emailed the college coaches ahead of that tournament letting them know when and where the Stealers team would be playing.
  • The team had only two practices and one shoot-around before the tournament. A concern was how would they play in front of college coaches with just a couple of practices? 
    • Simple = if you’re serious about college ball, you’ll work on your own to be prepared for the moment. It’s not a secret that July basketball is an exposure period time so there is ample time to prepare on your own.  (see note above working daily to be ready.)
  • A total of thirty-seven (37) different colleges attended our five games including a high of twenty-six (26) at our first bracket play game that we won by one point over a team from Massachusetes. 
  • We went 4-1 overall so the college coaches saw our players trying their best to win each game vs. trying to impress. Trying to win brings out all of the best traits in players.
  • Coach R kept the same starting lineup and basically the same rotation each game.
    • Game 1: Won by two.
    • Game 2: Won by one in OT.
    • Game 3: Won by double digits.
    • Game 4: Won by one.
    • Game 5: Lost by double digits.

July 2021 Run For The Roses Team:

  • When I sent a followup email to the college coaches BEFORE the tournament, letting them know I was with USA Basketball’s U16 Team in Indianapolis I immediately received responses back from 100% of the coaches. 
  • I then let them know I was heading to Las Vegas again for work with USA Basketball and the college coaches stayed in touch all summer wanting to know about the experience.
    • Only two girls basketball high school coaches in the United States were offered the Pre-Olympic Training Camp experience, so credibility with the college coaches I didn’t know was established immediately.
  • At the conclusion of the tournament in Louisville, the college coaches had to determine what they saw from each player to decide if they could be a potential fit for their schools.  The college coaches saw what they saw. I am not privy to their internal coaching staff meetings before or after their evaluations of all of the summer events.
  • The college coaches, in August, then contacted me about “Player A” or “Player B”. If the college coach did not ask about a certain player, it doesn’t mean the player isn’t good. It means that the player is someone who is not a fit for their program or someone they are not interested in right now.

The 292 Program alerts college coaches to where and when you are playing and then allows them to do their job which is evaluate players.  The 292 Program does not tell the college coach(es) how to do their jobs.  The college coaches seem to appreciate that approach and they know that The Winston-Salem Stealers are consistently going to approach each player’s college recruiting the same way annually.  

Our approach does not reflect the way the college recruiting world operates, but it works over and over again.   People don’t believe in the program because they can’t see working until after the fact and people stick with it because they can see the history of twenty plus years of player after player (170 plus) going through the same process they’re going through now.

Below is a hierarchy of how basketball is structured in the United States with USA Basketball being at the top and middle school / recreation / YMCA ball at the bottom. College coaches understand the hierarchy. 

In Regards The Importance Of Relationships, Coach R Is Pictured Here With Joy Cheek and Kristen Phillips At The 2005 USA Olympic Development Festival In Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Joy Played AAU In Charlotte and Kristen Played AAU In Greensboro. Both Were Rivals, But Friends With The Stealers As They Grew Up. Joy Cheek Played Her College Ball At Duke and Kristen Played At UCONN Before Transferring To Richmond. Joy (now Joy Smith) Is Now An Assistant Coach At Clemson.  



                               Yours for Better Basketball Always,

Coach R

Coach Brian Robinson (Coach R)


Coach R’s 2022 Additional Thoughts:  I think a couple of things I have been most proud of this program are the fact that we have been able to bring a lot of folks together and that our reach has extended across the state, region, country, and even, world.  The first point about bringing people together is awesome.  Players and parents have made friends through their time with the Stelaers that they probably would have never had.  I think bringing people together that end up being friends for life is an incredible thing.  The second point of the program’s reach extending to other parts of this world is a compliment.  Having multiple programs with former Stealers being involved is great.   Most of the folks got their basketball start with our program and were introduced to travel ball through the Stealers.

The Stealers Being A Reflection of The College Basketball World:  If you are in tune with the college basketball world, you know the transfer portal is a big deal right now.  If a player or parent is not happy with their situation in college, they can place their name in the transfer portal.  They can then choose from whatever school is interested in them.  Our program is a direct reflection of the NCAA Transfer Portal.  On average, a DI College Program with an average of 12 players loses 1.5 players per year to the portal.  We have a program of over 120 kids so we’ll lost around 15 kids per season.  However, just like a college program, we will fill those roster spots and in most cases, continue to grow as a program.   

The “Quiet” Time in College Recruiting:  The “Quiet” Time in College Recruiting is what our program calls the period between the end of a player’s sophomore year and the spring of their junior year.  This is the time when DI coaches have identified and offered the can’t miss kids because of their height, speed, athleticism and the DII and DIII coaches aren’t ready to aggressively pursue prospects.   That is the time when folks begin to panic and when you see the majority of folks jumping from program to program.  DII and DIII College Coaches don’t have the financial resources to recruit everywhere so they have to wait until it is almost as close to a sure thing that a player does not want to or is not going to play DI Basketball.  However, when the “Can’t Miss” kids get an offer, those who don’t receive the same get concerned that they are being left behind and other programs unfortunately, take advantage of their uncertainty offering to help or making promises to do something that we are supposedly not.   With the Stealers, the majority of our players who went DI received that offer near the end of their junior year.  The most recent examples are Jennifer Penley (Naval Academy), Lauren LaPlant (Western Carolina), Lauren Bevis (Gardner-Webb), Brittany Strachen (NC State), LaShaunda Pratt (Boston College), Callie Scheier (High Point) and Breanna Foster (Campbell).

Questions on the 2022 Tournament Schedule for each team?  The tournament links will be posted soon.