HIGH SCHOOL FALL CLASSIC
Duncaville, TX.- The scene was the infamous Duncaville Fieldhouse, where it’s historically known to have some of the best basketball action in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Couple that with the TexasHoops.com crew hosting their annual High School Fall edition, the recipe for success wreaked throughout the day! The DFW already boasts some of the top boys basketball high school programs in the REGION let alone the state of Texas, so with that said, we were getting an early look at what to expect from some of the state’s top programs.
I was impressed with a lot of teams, but what I saw from the Waxahachie Indians was somewhat surprising to me. Sure they have 6’3” SR guard CJ NOLAND and 6’5 SR guard JALEN LAKE returning (they both were hitting on all cylinders too), but the other pieces that were unveiled, provided a level of play that spells state championship contender! They opened out with a huge win over Richardson High 83-41 and then put it on Killeen Ellison 77-55. Sticking out like a sore thumb for the Indians was the outstanding shooting from 6’1 JR guard PRINCE BANKS! He didn’t miss much at all, he did not force anything, he made the right passes, and he is an outstanding on-ball-defender that stays in your face! Equally impressive was transfer guard MONTEZ YOUNG, a 6’6” SR guard that played well above the rim and gave the Indians another scoring threat. The Indians have a good inside presence in 6’7” Sophomore DARKAUN KING that I’m extremelyexcited about, showing some toughness and grit on the boards. King has a very high basketball IQ and is very effective from the high post, he makes great passes (inside/out), he can hit the jumper from there, and he can put the ball on the floor and finish with either hand. Head Coach GREG GOBER is excited about his team’s chances this year and I concurwholeheartedly. He has a lot of options and the way he pushes buttons, this might very well be the year that the Indians travel to the Alamo Dome in March.
Now we all know that the road to the Alamo Dome runs through Duncanville High, right? Well, the defending 6A champs were in the building and they were looking as if they’re better than ever. Head Coach David Peavy’s 2020-2021 team is still very good and they do exactly what championship teams do to win! They defend at a high clip, they knock down outside shots, they can get to the bucket, and they really play hard on both ends. They have good leadership in Seniors ZHURIC PHELPS, DAMON NICHOLAS and JUAN REYNA. They have a nice mix of youngsters that contribute mightily in 2023’s CJ FORD, RON HOLLAND, and ARIC DEMMINGS. The guys that really caught my LAZY EYE was 6’5” JR DAVION SYKES (coming off a horrific leg injury last year, he was more than solid on both ends) and 6’6” DaCANNON WICKWARE who provides sparks getting to the rim and on the boards for the Panthers. 6’10 Sophomore CAMERON BARNES sat this weekend due to injury, which is a a huge concern because if there was any chink in their armor, it would have been in the rebound department to which Barnes can help fix. The Panthers overall looked like a well oiled machine running through the competition, 91-27 over HOUSTON BELLAIRE (who narrowly lost last year to Dickinson to go to STATE), 91-66 over RICHARDSON, and 83-73 over a very good MCKINNEY squad.
Since we’re on the South side, let me talk about those Lancaster Tigers who went 2-0 behind their usual pressure defense. Head Coach FERRIN DOUGLASS has turned over the keys to 6’0” point guard WADE TAYLOR IV after many years of watching point guard Mike Miles (now attending TCU) run the Tigers show. Taylor didn’t disappoint, knocking down many long range three pointers with ease. His blazing speed burst was still unmatched. I definitely believe that this will be a big year for TAYLOR and this team will go as far as he goes. Don’t misunderstand my last statement because the Tigers do have other guys that can make things happen. 6’4” transferred in SR guard ELIJAH HUGHEY is long and can score in multiple fashion but is at his best when he’s letting them hands go shooting the ball. They have a defensive specialist in 6’4” SR guard JALEN WILLIAMS that does all of the dirty work for the Tigers, especially taking charges. Look for 6.8” JR post KALIN WHITE to be huge on the glass and will be the team’s best rim protector. The Tigers are traditionally tough and scrappy, they will rely a lot on this to have a successful 2020-2021 season that ends in San Antonio, Texas.
Last year’s Cinderella story in 6A, the Wylie Pirates were in attendance and had a very good showing. They knocked off perennial 6A Region I playoff contender North Crowley 55-48 and then smacked another good squad in Arlington Martin 57-40. Head Coach STEPHEN PIERCE was still giddy about last year’s run to the State’s Final Four but is anxiously awaiting the start of this season. The Pirates are young and still trying to figure out who will step up to replace a great nucleus from last year, they are off to a good start and ready to continue making their mark in DFW boys basketball. Keep your eye on the Pirates, I know I am.
IS THE STRUGGLE REAL OR NAH…..
Houston Bellaire are expecting to be one of the heavy favorites in their Region, since narrowly losing to Houston Dickinson last year in the Region Finals. With the Cardinals returning a good nucleus featuring a strong backcourt in SR guards ELIJAH LAWRENCE and JAYLON COLE, along with 6’7” post JACOLB COLE (2023), the expectations are very high for the 2020-2021 season. Although this is just ‘Fall ball’, the Cardinals started out against the defending 6A champs, Duncanville, only to see the Panthers cruise past them 91-27. The Cardinals struggled a bit to get a win in their next two games losing to McKinney 72-57 and Round Rock 72-53.
Richardson split games with the defending champs last year and they’re returning mostly the whole team, so they have have high hopes too. The Eagles struggled badly in both losses to Waxahachie 83-41 and Duncanville 91-66. The two-headed monster in 6’4” CASON WALLACE (2022) and 6’5” RYLAN GRIFFEN (2022) looked a bit tired from the last month of select ball but I know that when the season starts they’ll be their usual dominant selves. The Eagles 6’7” post GANNON PARKER is a guy to keep your lazy eye on this season.
SURPRISE, SURPISE, SURPRISE….
The Lewisville Farmers won both of their games with solid defense and spectacular guard play, in particular SR point guard KYLIN GREEN. He’s fun to watch, plays hard for every possession, gets the job done and is poised to show why college coaches need to pay more attention to him. Coach Brian Miller gets the best out of his player so don’t sleep on them
Irving MacArthur is going to give some people problem this upcoming season, largely behind the 1-2 scoring punch from Seniors MARCUS RIGSBY JR and KENNY HARDY. They won the first game over a very good TACA HOMESCHOOL team 59-50 and then got last second shot from 2022 point guard CJ BOOKER to defeat Mansfield Summit 53-52. Head Coach Tobi Martin is one of the good up and coming coaches that is looking to bring the noise back to Irving, TX.
Mansfield High got impressive wins over Lake Hihlands 61-49 and another one over Wichita Falls Hirschi 77-68 without its star player and starting point guard. 6’4” SR guard DREW CRIPPEN sat out with an injured quad for precautionary reasons, which was huge bexause he does so many things for Coach JASON SPEAKES squad. However, top performer, 6’5” SR post ANDREW IYAMAH was outstanding in the paint on both ends!
Arlington High went 2-0 with wins over Keller Timber Creek 66-63 and Quinlan Ford 89-56. The Colts Head Coach PAUL WILLIAMS is high on this year’s squad and they’re off to a good start. They have a mixture of Seniors with a few Sophomores that are pretty good, in particular, TYLER BURELSON who can score at a high clip.
Woodrow Wilson have a new coach in COREY JOHNSON and a slew of new players but they appear to be in their same winning ways at the GASO. The Wildcats went 2-0 with wins over Quinlan Ford 80-61 and 69-52 over Keller Timber Creek. The Wildcats have good mixture of guys that play very well together, but the story here is going to be how much can they get from afreshmen help? 6’0” pg ISAYAH PANKEY is a player that I am very excited about and he is getting the chance to play right away which can only enhance his future tremendously.
DON’T SLEEP ON THESE TEAMS….
Killeen Ellison went 2-1 in this GASO with some good looking prospects in particular, 2023 guard JAMAYRON KELLER who has been playing very well on the Select Showcase circuit. They had wins against two solid DFW teams, McKinney 77-52 and The Colony 72-53, but lost mightily to Waxahachie 77-55. SR guard TRENDON STEWART provided several offensive surges and his leadership will be key for Ellison’s season.
Richardson Pearce has a nice relatively young squad that played two great games, despite losing both, they turned some heads. They lost 66-63 to Lewisville and then 68-66 to Lancaster, both games were lost in the closing seconds of the game. Coach MARC JOHNSON work his magic with two young pups in 2023 guard DEAN BALO and 2024 6’5” guard LIAM McNEELEY. The Mustangs have a solid post in 6’8” WALKER TIMME who was pretty good inside in both games. They have good pieces that will play their roles and will be tough this year.
North Crowley stuggled to get in the win column but Coach TOMMY BRAKEL’s bunch will put in the necessary work to be the tough out that we are all accustomed to them being. They lost some close call to Wylie 55-48 and 54-46 to Keller largely because they’re trying to figure out who their go-to-guy is. They have very good point guard in RAMON TUCK (2021) who is tough as they come and is play-maker on both ends. Inside the paint, 6’5” post BRYAN THOMAS is very bullish on the boards and gives the Panthers a viable scoring option.
MAJOR APOLOGIES GO OUT TO….
Round Rock went 3-0 with wins over Highland Park#1 (69-65), Midlothian (78-69) and Houston Bellaire (72-53), which were all quality wins. With that said, I hate that I missed the Dragons play, especially my guy, 2022 guard REESE MILLER. Nonetheless, I know this team has to be pretty good and I have to find a way to see them this year. I guess that means a road trip is coming.
Rockwall, unfortunately, I missed their wins over The Colony (58-50) and Highland Park (68-56). I know Coach QUINCY WILLIAMS has a roster that I’m not too familiar with but I know he has some tricks up his sleeve and I can’t wait to see them this upcoming season!
|1) SHAKIRU ODUNEWU||77||2021||6’10||UNIVERSAL ACADEMY||most dominate BIG in league; his much improved post game demoralized opponents; his face-up game was on point too, potent midrange shot with no hesitation;attacks the rim for rebounds; still a little heavy on his feet in transition; decent shot blocker|
|2) LEE DORT||76||2023||6*10||GREENHILL ACADEMY||uses his weight and length to get shot off; decent post moves with finesse and power; good footwork and great hands; great on the glass, keeps the ball high, outstanding outlet passer; hands are active in the paint, decent shot blocker;|
|3) RYLAN GRIFFIN||58||2023||6’6||RICHARDSON HIGH||everything he does translates to the next level, shoots the ball very well off of the bounce, high elevation on his jumpshot,knifes his way to the rim, scores through contact, finishes with either hand; plays above the rim; strong on-ball defender; great attitude|
|4) ANTHONY BLACK||46||2022||6’6||COPPELL HIGH||good ball handler for size; great decision maker; gets to the bucket using his long length with a mixture of speeds;plays above the rim; improved outside shot beyond the arc;good on the glass; good defender|
|5) ELIJAH WILSON||54||2021||6’5||CAROLINA Bball ACADEMY||impressive frame, has no problem getting to the paint; with brute force and speed; tough rebounder that snatches and pushes the ball, good decision maker in transition; has a decent side step jumper and step-back jumper;decent defender; high motor|
|6) DAMON NICHOLAS||51||2021||6’5||DUNCANVILLE HIGH||Undersized blue collar type player in the paint, magnet to the ball when it comes to rebounds and loose balls; offensively, he’s at his best getting to the rack, navigates his way to the rim very well; strong with the ball, finishes with either hand; decent outside shooter|
|7) RYAN AGARWAL||56||2022||6’6||COPPELL HIGH||long and lanky with a nice outside jumper, with range, that once he has it going, he’s hard to defend; has great court awareness and understanding of the game; makes good decisions passing the ball to open teammates;|
|8) JASON THIRDKILL||64||2022||6’7||TACA STORM||extremely athletic, long and lanky; outstanding outside shooter with range; can put the ball on the floor and go by defenders; plays above the rim; with or without the ball in his hands he’s good in transition; effective rebounder; decent shot blocker|
|9) JORDAN WALSH||63||2022||6’7||FAITH FAMILY ACADEMY||very good defender; great snatch and go rebounder; good ball handler and passer, good decision maker with the ball; uses his longs arms effectively to get buckets in the paint; good outside jumper from midrange to behind the arc; MISSED A LOT OF DUNKS|
|10) TRAE CLAYTON||45||2022||6’4||FAITH FAMILY ACADEMY||at his best when he’s knifing his way through traffic to get tough layups or short to midrange jumpers; needs more consistency behind the arc; he scored a lot in this camp largely because of a very quick 1st step; good in-air-body-control, got a lot of and-one’s|
|11) WILL SHEPARD||74||2021||6’9||UNIVERSAL ACADEMY||big man with size and decent weight that’s not afraid to mix it up; good footwork and hands; can pick-pop out very well, decent outside shooter behind the arc; tough on the boards; decent defender in the paint; runs floor very well|
|12) NOAH McDAVID||60||2021||6’6||LAKE HIGHLANDS||somewhat of a surprise in this camp; great getting to the bucket; had some nice dunks in transition; not afraid to do the dirty work; hustles for everything; doesn’t force bad shots, picks his spots very well, had some streaky scoring stretches|
|13) CJ LUSTER||30||2022||6’3||LEADERSHIP PREP||cool and calm scorer that can fill the bucket up; shoots very efficiently; very smooth ball handler; decent on-ball defender; works hard on both ends; good ball handler with good IQ|
|14) JA’KOBE WALTER||47||2023||6’4||MCKINNEY||smooth ball handler that can run your team and get buckets without taking away from his teammates; good midrange pull-up jumper off the dribble; gets to the paint at will; decent downtown shooter; can defend too; great rebounding guard|
|15) TJ CALDWELL||53||2022||6’5||FAITH FAMILY ACADEMY||elite athleticism; played well above the rim; many block shots and backboard pins; he’s great in transition with or without the ball; slasher that gets tough buckets; he gets to his spots; great 1st step; finishes with either hand; NEEDS TO WORK ON SKILL SET|
|16) RON HOLLAND||68||2023||6’7||DUNCANVILLE HIGH||he knocked down some nice outside shot from elbow to behind the arc, but was at his best getting tough inside buckets; he’s a terror on the glass; snatch the board and go guy that can put pressure on defenses in transition; decent defender with long arms|
|17) NOAH SHELBY||17||2022||6’3||GREENHILL ACADEMY||stretched the opposing defense with his outside shooting with serious range; he put the ball on the floor and made tough buckets either hand; did not turn the ball over much; good post entry passer & relocates well; good length, good frame: DEFENSE QUESTIONABLE|
|18) CHRISTIAN WEDDINGTON||40||2022||6’3||FM MARCUS||I loved his athleticism, he uses it very well on both ends; decent shooter, runs floor very well; strong on-ball defender; strong rebounding guard; pushes the ball every time, great in transition but struggled in half court game;fun to watch, high flier|
|19) ROBERT JONES JR||33||2023||6’3||DENTON BRASWELL||prolific scorer when he wants to be, from any phase of the game, kid has the tools; he attacks the paint hard and changes direction easily; goes through contact; not easily phased/rattled;strong finisher; long arms but NEEDS TO WORK ON HIS FRAME|
|20) DREW STEFFE||35||2023||6’3||FRISCO MEMORIAL||great outside shooter from any spot; decent passer; he got buckets religiously through the half court offense and in transition; ok defender that will stay in front of his opponent; good size and frame; his ball handling was suspect in this one, too many turnovers|
|21) BRANDON WALKER||80||2022||6’5||FAITH FAMILY ACADEMY||kid scored from inside an out; can put the ball on the floor and go by opponent and finish with authority; finishes through contact; good midrange jumper; has to learn to play with mates to keep opponents honest; MUST WORK ON HIS FRAME|
|22) LIAM McNEELEY||50||2024||6’5||JJ PEARCE HIGH||great overall game here; skill setting was among the best in the camp; good length with size; play maker on both ends; knocks down open shots; mixes it up in the paint with finesse but tough; nonstop end-end; NEEDS THE WEIGHT ROOM|
|23) FINLEY BIZJACK||37||2023||6’3||BYRON NELSON||shot the ball very well; ball handling was pretty good; showed good speed getting up/down court; showed great poise getting to the bucket and to the elbows to make tough shots; provided a lot of energy; NEEDS TO RUN OFFENSE MORE|
|24) DYLAN GLOVER||29||2022||6’3||BRYAN (TX)||great ball handler that can push it and deliver dimes; can run an offense if needed: great shooter, fundamentally sound with a dash of flare with his step-back jump shots; sets up mates well with his creativity; NEEDS TO PLAY DEFENSE AND WORK ON HIS FRAME|
|25) JUSTIN McBRIDE||71||2023||6’8||SOUTH GARLAND HIGH||was very good in the post offensively, good length, strong with the ball, seemed swift on his feet; light touch on his shots; wasn’t afraid with other bigs, was strong on the boards, made strong outlet passes: would like him to be more aggressive one the defensive end|
|26) KEBAYA TSHIBANGU||65||2021||6’7||JUSTIN NORTHWEST||Long wingspan helped him grab a lot of rebounds with a few put-back buckets; very soft touch inside around the rim on his shots; decent shot blocker which helped alter the shots he didn’t block; ON THE THIN SIDE, NEED ADD WEIGHT/MUSCLE|
|27) DALLAS HOBBS||15||2022||6’0||FAITH FAMILY ACADEMY||blazing speed, extremely skilled, high motor, strong IQ; ; at his best in in the open floor; he pushed it well, made some great passes in transition; good shooter with killer midrange shot; solid defensively; he struggled in half court game, turned it over too much|
|28) ALEX BOSSINAKIS||2021||6’3||FTW CHRISTIAN||high motor with fearless and tough competitor; high basketball IQ that makes plays; good ball handler that looks to score and then distribute to open mates; he is a streaky shooter that had some good stretches; NEEDS TO COMMIT DEFENSIVELY|
|29) COLE REID||73||2022||6’9||WACO MIDWAY||good frame with length; uses his body well in the paint for position, he also shields the ball away from defenders well; he stepped out a lot and knocked down some outside shots especially behind the arc; NEEDS TO WORK ON FOOTWORK, HEAVY FEET|
|30) RJ JOHNSON III||38||2024||6’3||LAKE HIGHLANDS||continues to prove that he is going to be special; against older kids he competed hard and made plays on both ends; killer mentality offensively, he attacks the paint for layups and pull-up jumpers; good ball handler and passer;|
|31) MITCHELL HOLMES||72||2023||6’8||THE OAKRIDGE SCHOOL||raw prospect with high ceiling; on the thin side but has long arms; he has decent hands and footwork; he was great around the basket, seems he was magnetic to the ball when it came to rebounds; loads of potential in this prospect; NEEDS TO ADD MORE MUSCLE|
|32) ALEC ZAMBIE||57||2021||6’6||FTW CHRISTIAN||blue collar worker on both ends; great 50/50 ball guy, he hustles for everything; deceptive speed and very crafty with ball in his hands; a bit undersized for the 4 position, he competes for the boards against bigger opponents; TAKES TOO MANY BAD SHOTS|
|33) TJOHN BROWN||2||2023||5’9||SOUTH GARLAND HIGH||small energetic guard that is tough to deal with on both ends; great ball handler, terrific in transition; had a break-away dunk to show off his athleticism; decent outside shooter; good defender; NEED TO ADD MORE WEIGHT/MUSCLE AND LIMIT TURNOVERS|
|34) WALKER TIMME||69||2021||6’8||JJ PEARCE HIGH||Late bloomer that is showing more consistency from a production stance inside the paint; tough and not afraid to bang inside; he’s great on the boards; good passer; unselfish but knows when to give it up; NEEDS WORK ON HIS FRAME, ADD MUSCLE|
|35) CJ WILIIAMS||59||2022||6’6||NORTH CROWLEY||athletic slim glue guy type of player; sneaky on the boards; always around the ball off of the rim, he gave his team many 2nd and 3rd opportunities; chased down everything; NEEDS TO WORK ON OFFENSIVE SKILLS,, ADD MUSCLE TO FRAME|
|36) JAHSIRE SHERIF||26||2022||5’11||SPRINGFIELD (MA)||was fabulous in the transition game but struggled in half court game; knocked down some open jumpers playing off of the ball; good ball handling skills, very shifty, gets to his spots well but as a pg, he has to set the table up for everyone; MORE EFFORT DEFENSIVELY|
|37) DORIEN GOODMAN||70||2022||5’11||LANCASTER||small pg with a lot of bite; was great in transition, making the right plays;strong ball handler that can hit shots off the dribble; he a lot open three point shots; penetrates the paint with good quickness and mixes speeds up well; NEEDS TO LIMIT TURNOVERS|
|38) KAI JORDAN||31||2022||6’3||UNIVERSAL ACADEMY||good size with solid frame; uses it well on opponents while creating space; he has a good looking outside shot so you can not leave him open; good defender that uses his body well to slow down opposing ball handlers; NEED TO HANDLE THE BALL MORE|
|39) ZANE HICKE||55||2022||6’5||FM MARCUS||energetic wing that gets after every loose ball and rebound: strong will to mix it up, will do what has to be done to win; strong role player, sets strong picks, will roll to the basket and finish tough shots through contact NEEDS TO ADD WEIGHT/MUSCLE|
|40) CAYLON DAVIS||9||2023||6’0||MANSFIELD LAKE RIDGE||small compact guard that hs great on-ball-defensive abilities; good floor general that can knock down open shots; good facilitator; changes direction well and takes care of the ball very well|
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