These days there seems to be a lot smoke and noise coming from the east side of town near 59 and the beltway. And no, it’s not one of chemical plants, it’s the C.E King boys basketball team. Normally this type of smoke during early December is due to the Northshore football team making it’s annual run in the football playoffs, but this year Julius Jackson has the Panther basketball team hotter than a seat belt buckle in the summer. He is building a new culture, adding a “midnight madness” to kick the season off, having video/graphic work before and after each game, and requiring a daily, high level of toughness & competition. Add all of these things plus a brand new gym in tow, a few impact transfers, seniors 6’3 Javon Jackson (Summer Creek), 6’7 Lavar Johnson (Northshore), and super soph, Tyshawn Archie (Legacy School), & the fact they have jumped out to a 7-0 start… they now have my full attention. This an extremely deep team, guards Jaylon Jackson, Bryson Yarbrough give them depth at the position and they apply relentless pressure. They also play in which will turn out to be the best basketball district in the state, with home and away games vs 5th ranked Atascocita and 11th ranked Summer Creek. This week is when we will find out if they are really contenders or pretenders as they take on arguably two of the best teams in the state in Beaumont United, today, and head up I-45 to take on power house Duncanville on Saturday. These next “48 hours” will be tougher than Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte combined. That BU team is loaded and they also come in undefeated on the year with two of the top ranked players in the greater Houston area, #2 in 2022, Terrance Arceneaux, and #3 in 2023, Wesley Yates III. There will be no shortage of fireworks in each game as this C.E King team will be primed for the challenge. I will be in the building tonight for the BU game, and it should be a good one because where there’s smoke, there’s always a fire!