We haven’t seen a basketball game since early March, thank God for “The Last Dance”, or it would have felt even longer. As we look forward to being able to get back in the gyms soon to watch basketball again, I’ve compiled a way too early list of the top 25 boys basketball teams for the 2020-2021 season.
1. Legacy School of Sports Sciences (24-8)– Maybe the hottest and most talked about school in the state. Five new transfers, 6’8 Ashton Smith (Nimitz), Aaron Scott (Klein Oak), Johnathan Massie (St. Thomas), Brian Myles (Madison), and Kameron Burton (Sam Houston), to go along with PJ Neal, Dutch Rasberry & Ma’Syn Howell makes this a very formidable group.
2. Marian HS (16-7)- Coach Juice Williams also has some new reinforcements, 7’2 Bol Bol, 7’1 Maya Bote, 7′ Dok Muordar, 6’8 David Gai, & 6’6 James Awar, will join holdovers, Sam Curtis Jr, Nickson Bess, and Ethan Yancy. With the tallest & possibly moth athletic roster in the state, look for Marian to be coming for the top spot.
3. Shadow Creek (29-4)– Along with Duncanville, SC might be the best ISD school in the state. Losing only one starter, having the best rising senior in the city, 6’5 Ramon Walker, & studs like 6’2 Zy Mortle, 6’2 Will Young, and 6’5 Shawn Jones, coach David President should feel good about his chances of making a run to state.
4. Hightower (33-5)– Dissapointed is understatement when talking to coach Stephen Woods about their state championship run being halted by Covid19. Unlike their fierce rival Shadow Creek, Hightower only returns one starter, but that starter is the best guy in the city. Bryce Griggs will once again be asked to carry a big load, but Jacory Chatman gives him a seasoned back court mate. Will be interesting to see how far they go, we do know they will be battle tested and ready to compete.
5. Bellaire (29-7)– The Cardinals will go from being the hunter to to the hunted after their regional run last year. Losing Ty Palmer and Jordan Johnson will hurt, but with one of the best back courts in the city, 6’1 Elijah Lawrence & 6’0 Jaylon Calvin, they’ll be in good hands. Look for a jump in production from 6’6 rising sophomore Jacolb Cole.
6. Westbury Christian (26-10)- The city’s top big, Ja’Vier Francis, is back, along with veterans 6’3 Chris Felix, 6’8 Braxton Barry, & 6’0 PG Aaron Williams. Coach Tyler Guidry will have some nice pieces once again at his disposal. This season is a TAPPS championship or bust type of season for the Wildcats.
7. Elkins (20-14)– Really strong group returning for the Knights. First team all district guys, 6’5 Josh Fanuiel, & 6’2 Shane Bell, 2nd teamer PG Jacolbi Harris, and rising sophomore Chris Johnson will give team fits. Coach Albert Thomas will have these guys in shape and ready to go once they top off. Don’t be surprised if they make a deep run in the playoffs.
8.Manvel (20-14)– Losing Myles Lavine & J’Vaun Walker will hurt, but the Mavericks return 80% of their scoting and rebounding from last year’s team. The junior laden squad features, big 6’8 Shaun Walker, 6’4 Mason McBride, 6’2 Zaire Hayes, & 5’9 Azari Woods. Will this be the year they finally get over the hump and win the district crown? Coach Chris Wilson sure hopes so!
9. Concordia Lutheran (27-10)– Returning four starters, led by all city guard RJ Keene, CL should have a chance to eclipse last year’s 27 wins. 6’1 Beaux Brashear & 6’0 Trey Miller will be a year older and better decision & play makers. 6’7 Cedric Cook & 6’10 Adam Stewart will give them the physical presence needed to win a TAPPS state championship.
10. Atascocita (32-6)– Dylan Dawson’s graduation will open the door for rising seniors Tom Hart III and Christian Ashby to play bigger roles. District MVP Kaleb Setwart is back and looking better than ever. A healthy David Martinez will give the back court valuable shooting and play making. Coach David Martinez is one of the best in the business.
11. Westfield (33-4)– Coach Bill Goffney’s team quietly went undefeated in district and made a big time run to the regionals. Losing all region guards Lonzo Rand and Elijah Lee hurt, but the tandem of 6’1 PG Ja’Dyn Chaney and 6’5 Willie Williams have enough talent and experience to have another “ice cold” season.
12. Summer Creek (34-6)– Losing the D Squared back court of Dylen Scales & Dylan Miles will be a tough blow. It’s hard to replace leadership & experience. District offensive MVP Javon Jackson returns along with glue guy 6’5 Reyce Allen, rising juniors Jaylon Johnson, Connor Miller and Karter Dutton will provide shooting. If pg Jaleen Goodman can turn the corner, look out!
13. Stafford (32-9)– Another team that went under the radar, making it all the way to the 4A state championship. Coach David Montano will look for 6’1 all state guard Daylan Presley & 6’3 junior Z’Corrian Haynes to carry the team this year.
14. Cy Creek (24-12)– Texas State signee Nate Martin will be sorely missed. Look for 6’5 shooter Dj Richards to become the leader of this team. 6’4 CG Chas Kelley & 6’3 glue guy Braylon Haynes will be asked to pick up the slack for the departed Martin.
15. Clear Brook (26-11)- This team is loaded with talent. Wouldn’t be surprised if they made a deep playoff run. All district performers, 6’5 sophomore Zyon Little, 6’0 Ke’Mauri Millender, & 5’9 Marcus Millender return and I wouldn’t want to see this group in February.
16. Woodlands Christian (28-6)– Bakari Lastrap & Tucker Nooe are gone, but rising juniors Austin Benigni & Chance Perkins return. 6’0 guard Gio Awasum is transferring from St. Thomas Catholic, & they will also add a few more impact pieces shortly.. Looking to win another TAPPS state championship.
17. Paetow (26-8)– Coach Michael Niemi is coming off a district championship. Big man 6’8 Charles Chukwu leads the charge along with guards Trevor Frank, Jayden Mccullough, & Brian McKnight. Will be an exciting team to watch.
18. Sharpstown (19-11)- 6’8 Josh Farmer is the headliner of this group, but coach Ben Garrett will look to build upon last season’s success with the development of 6’5 Brian Perry. I expect them to last longer than round 1 of the playoffs this year.
19. Clear Falls (20-11)– Coach Blake Joy last season had the gift & curse of having freshmen lead his team. Now that super pg Orlando Horton, Jr & 6’5 Corey Kelly are a year older, look for them to “gift” their coach a district championship.
20. Bush (24-13)– The inside duo of 6’9 senior Brandon Love and 6’9 sophomore Tyler Smith will be one of the better front courts in the city. Ameer Oakley and Jackson Morris will be asked to carry more of the responsibility this season for coach Brandon Gay.
21. St. Thomas Episcopal (20-5)– Jakoby Flores is FINALLY a senior, one of the best shooter in the city will once again terrorize opponents. Point guard Tyler Thomas will be need to be a vocal & defensive leader, 6’8 Alex Vatrachki will impose his will inside, & Bush HS transfer Donovan Johnson will bring added shooting to coach Chris Twine’s squad.
22. Klein Forest (19-11)– Western Michigan pledge Daylan Hamilton departs, but all district guard Marion Williams, & 6’5 sophomore Chandler Williams return. 6’7 Albert Thomas and guard Jalen Collins were honorable all district selections for coach Cary Black, one of the best coaches in the city.
23. Houston Christian (29-10)– The three headed monster of Noah Kon, Kobe Haynes, & Elijah Bernstein will return for their final season for the Mustangs. Coach Ron Crandall, having played in three straight SPC championship games, winning two of them, will look to make it 4/4 this season.
24. Crosby (26-11)- If the Cougars want to repeat the success of lat year, rising juniors PJ Haggerty, and 6’6 Sean Elkinton will have carry them. They are no stranger to success having had a solid showing in the playoffs last year.
25. Beaumont United (33-3)– Replacing Kasen Harrison will be a daunting task for coach David Green. 6’7 junior Terrance Arceneaux & sophomores Traelyn Porchia & Wesley Yates III will all have to step up in a major way to help burden the load.
25. Fulshear (16-17)– Demari Williams is coming off an all state campaign, rising juniors Isaiah Barganier & Sam Akinrele will look to help improve last year’s record and try to capture that district crown. Coach Brett Nixon has a lot of talent, the Chargers will be a team to watch.