G.A.T.A. IV Places 2nd in The 2008 AAU DII National Championship Tournament held in Memphis, TN, June 29th thru July 6th.

G.A.T.A. IV began the 2008 season in early January by holding a series of open training camps in hopes of getting better; the goal was to improve as a team through individual fundamental improvements. Looking to fill four spots was also a priority, as G.A.T.A. IV held its core players together but needed to assemble a complete team to win.

Once the team was solidified G.A.T.A. IV’s schedule was put together in hopes of helping the team prepare for the AAU National Championship Tournament. The strength of schedule was hands down better than the previous 2 year’s tournament schedule. G.A.T.A. IV would compete against the best teams in Texas. Ultimately, this proved to make a difference.

After attending the player certification meeting and the opening ceremonies of the 2008 AAU DII National Championship Tournament, G.A.T.A. IV had a very clear understanding of what it was up against. Seventy-six teams from all parts of the country stated their intentions of winning the tournament as a representative from each team stepped up to a microphone and introduced their team. That’s when it hit us; G.A.T.A. IV had arrived at its destination - The AAU Nationals. The road getting there was behind us and the 10 G.A.T.A. IV players could prove that the path they took was the right one, which was “ the road less traveled”.

G.A.T.A. IV began its bid for the nation’s top spot in what turned out to be the Champions pool.This pool of four teams ultimately held the two finalists in the National Championship Tournament G.A.T.A. IV and the Houston-based Gulf Coast Blue Chips.

G.A.T.A. IV’s first game of the tournament was against the Arkansas Fire and Ice. This team of well-coached aggressive players soon realized that G.A.T.A. IV came to play. Shooting lights out G.A.T.A. IV won the game decisively by a count of 66-43.

The second game was a concern for the G.A.T.A. IV coaching staff, knowing that the Gulf Coast Blue Chip finished in 3rd place in last year’s AAU tournament and were looking to win the tournament this year. G.A.T.A. IV took a 17-point lead in the 1st half and looked to close the team out in the 2nd half. The Chips made a huge run to tie the game, taking it into overtime where they claimed a one-point victory.

Knowing that only the 1st and 2nd place seeds would advance to the championship tournament, G.A.T.A. IV focused on not letting the lost affect their next game’s effort. G.A.T.A. IV took on a New Jersey team - The Garden State Knights. The Knights also felt the pressure of potentially being knocked out of the championship tournament and came out and played a very physical game. G.A.T.A. IV would ultimately prove that skill and team play would overcome the Knights’ physical style and handed them a 60-40 loss. The mood of the game was epitomized by what was ultimately called “the push.” A player from each team was asked to sit-out the last minute of the game due to player frustrations and the realization that G.A.T.A. IV would take the two seed and move to the championship tournament while the Knights would have to settle for the 3rd seed, ending their hopes to compete for the national championship.

It’s on to the National Championship’s bracket play for G.A.T.A. IV! Faced with having to play a “play-in” game, G.A.T.A. IV is among only 7 other teams that would have to play an additional game just to enter the championship bracket with the rest of the field. G.A.T.A. IV was faced with having to play the “play-in” game, and if victorious, a 1st round bracket game all in the same day.

G.A.T.A. IV faced another two seed from upstate New York –The D-Squad. An aggressive team that featured a strong inside presence and a never quite attitude, the D-Squad could not contain G.A.T.A. IV’s perimeter game, and G.A.T.A. IV earned a solid 80-58 victory.

Next up for G.A.T.A. IV was a well rested Missouri Team - The OZ Jets 7. Having scouted G.A.T.A. IV earlier that morning the Jet’s game plan was to be as physical as the referring would allow. G.A.T.A. IV was no stranger to those tactics and pushed right through with their strategy and claimed a 12-point win 56-44.

In the 3rd round game G.A.T.A. IV would face another Arkansas team - Arkansas Stars Select. The Stars Select were a tall and athletic team and would look to take advantage of their size and quickness. G.A.T.A. IV slowed the game down and took control of the tempo by methodically attacking the Stars’ defense and playing solid team defense against their taller, faster opponents. G.A.T.A. IV won resoundingly 58-29 and moved on to the Quarterfinals.

Advancing to the Quarterfinals (Elite Eight) G.A.T.A. IV played a team from Chicago -- Nothing But Net. A big team with good coaching Nothing But Net would jump to an early lead. G.A.T.A. IV made quick adjustments and began to chip away. Throughout the tournament G.A.T.A. IV’s free throw percentage was greater than 75%. Clutch free throw-shooting and shrewd ball handling ultimately proved to be the deciding factor against the Nets. G.A.T.A. IV wins 59-49 and moves to the Semifinals - Final Four!

After seeing over seventy teams go home, G.A.TA. IV prepared to play a very talented and tall team - New York Rising Stars. Featuring two 6 plus footers, the Stars brought a perfect record into the Final Four bracket. As the number one seed the Stars looked to continue to play a very effective high-low game knowing that G.A.T.A. IV did not have the height to compete with their twin towers. G.A.T.A. IV defended the towers with a very effective 1-3-1 zone defense, which would look to triple-team the high man and as well the low man when the ball was in their hands. G.A.T.A. IV looked to shoot the ball from the perimeter and not force the ball into the paint unless it was in transition. G.A.T.A. IV claimed the victory 59-49 and headed to the Championship game, a rematch with the Gulf Coast Blue Chips, the only team to claim an early pool play victory over G.A.T.A. IV.

The Finals proved to be a game of adjustments. G.A.T.A. IV looked to slow the pace down and play a very deliberate game. The Chips showed that they too could change their style of play by playing a half court defensive game, while looking to attack on offense. The game was always close and very much in doubt with the Chips maintaining a 6-point lead for most of the game. G.A.T.A. IV made a late 4th quarter run hitting several three point baskets and transition lay-ups. Unfortunately, the Chips were able to answer with a run of their own. During the last two minutes of the game G.A.T.A. IV tried to stop the clock, while the Chips tried to spread the floor to run time off the clock. G.A.T.A. IV fouled to put the Chips on the line, turning it into a free throw contest. The Chips shot well from the charity stripe and extended their lead to 11 and claimed the 2008 DII AAU National Championship. G.A.T.A. IV claimed the Runner-up spot.

The G.A.T.A. IV Basketball Organization has many Individuals to thanks; our player’s accomplishment could never have been realized if it wasn’t for the following:

At the top of the list are the players’ parents, for trusting in our Organization.

Our Middle and High School Coaches: Coach John Valenzuela - Madison HS, Coach David “DJ” Jones - Buckner Fanning School, Coach Tom Hines - Lee HS, Coach Fernando Alfaro - Laredo Alexander HS, and Coach Fabian Welch - Lopez MS

Our Sponsors, for trusting in us that we would be fiscally responsible with their funding and provide a worthwhile and meaningful experience for our players.

Our Coaching and Skills training staff: Bob Benavides - Assistant Coach, Kim Sutlive - Assistant Coach, and Walter Kramer - Skills Development.

Our Head Coach and Mentor Robert Johnson, for his passion for the game, selfless service and relentless commitment to our players.

To view the 2008 AAU DII National Championship Tournament Pool Play Results click here

To view the 2008 AAU DII National Championship Tournament Bracket Play Results click here

To view picture highlights of this tournament click here.