Jumping at an Opportunity

Cy Springs’ Mansa El takes leap into coaching boys

Mansa El charged into coaching boys at Cy Spring

Mansa El wasn’t supposed to be a Cypress Springs’ boys’ basketball coach when the school year began.

After being hired as an English teacher in September, El heard about an opening for the Freshman A head coach and varsity assistant positions. She nailed the interview for both.

“It kind of just happened,” El joked. “I’m not one to back down from an opportunity, so I went ahead and took it.”

El was a good fit for the roles because she played at Cy-Fair High School, and later North Texas, Tallahassee Community College and South Alabama.

She was also an assistant coach for West Virginia Wesleyan College and the University of Houston girls’ basketball teams.

She hopes her past experience guides her players to individual and team success, whether it’s winning district titles before high school graduation, or being recruited and playing in college.

“I was happy to share that with them, having been there in the past,” she said.

Even with a transition period, El found early success in year one.

It started with her competitive nature, which implemented the necessary winning mentality that will help her players make the jump to varsity. She also used her straightforward, tell-you-how-it-is coaching style to critique her players’ games. She made adjustments for the faster boys’ game, as well as developments in player mentality and athletic abilities.

It resulted in a winning record for the freshman A team, which went 14-11, and the varsity’s second-straight playoff berth.

“It was really fun for me to be so hands-on with everyone,” El said. “Once [varsity head] coach [Sam] Benitez told them that I was going to be there, they all bought into the idea of me being there. Varsity has really taken advantage of me being around. I think the freshmen are still getting used to me.”

This article appears in the March Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy when issues hit stands next week! 


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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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