OTR All-Preseason Top Performers Teams
As preseason Fall hoops comes to a close and the school season officially starting. We were able to get our eyes on a lot of teams and a lot of players this Fall. There has been loads of furniture moving, as we’ve seen a lot of players transfer in hopes of finding a better situation for their basketball future. As we still maneuver these unprecedented, pandemic ridden times- the show must go on.
After watching so much preseason basketball, we decided to do some All-Preseason teams. These have nothing to do with our predictions of the regular season! These are simply based of fall games we’ve seen from OTR Shootout I & II, Ball So Hard Preseason Jam, RCS Sports Super 16, GASO Fall Classic, VYPE, All-N-One events, and other Fall League events. Some teams took advantage of playing in events and playing opportunities and some didn’t. In these circumstances, production winning and consistency are big factors in our opinion. Here are what we feel were the top & steady performers of this preseason:
All-Preseason 1st Team:
Amaree Abram, 2022 Summer Creek
We all were excited to what Abram would look like after limited summer play and big time transfer into Summer Creek HS. He did not disappoint. Every game I saw Amaree’s jumper was clicking. He’s gotten stronger and more solid physically. Still crafty. Saw a lot of mid range pullups and looking like he’s attempting to be more of a 3 level scorer. It was pretty much a seamless transition with his new set of teammates. Even with Summer Creek’s play style he never seemed to be rushed, always did what he wanted to do. Wasn’t lazy in the press either. A big time player, who will help take Summer Creek into likely a deep playoff run.
Kemo Millender, 2022 Clear Brook
I knew Kemo was a top guard in the city, but I didn’t know much about Clear Brook’s team and how competitive they were. Kemo is the leader and the engine of the team. He sets the tone and establishes the grit and tenacity for the whole squad to follow. This preseason Clear Brook competed at a very high level and won lots of games. Millender had games where scored 20+; multiple assists; always defends at an elite level; and never seemed to get tired. Even in big matchups he showed up, and was consistent all preseason. Expect a huge junior campaign from Kemo, the Milly Boys, and Clear Brook.
Jordan Fitch, 2021 Lake Creek
After losing a main piece of their team, it was interesting how Lake Creek would bounce back. After watching Jordan Fitch all preseason I would say that they are going to bounce back really well. I knew Fitch was a shooter (and he definitely did that in preseason play), but after seeing him a lot more I recognized that he’s a basketball player. He communicates with his teammates; he directs and executes offense; he playmakes and creates opportunities for the team; and does a lot more of the little things that may go unnoticed. He always plays with a chip on his shoulder, and not scared of any competition. He produced and led his team to several solid wins in preseason. The way Fitch, and Lake Creek plays they will always play tight games and give themselves a chance to win this year.
Gaston Elie, 2021 Spring Memorial
We saw Gaston Elie really raise his level of play and hit his groove at the right time. The biggest thing we noticed was how much more he was effecting and impacting the game. Insanely high IQ and feel. Another kid who is never rushed on the floor, and knows how to counter the opposing team at any moment. In an intricate offense like Memorial runs, Elie was still able to find ways to take on the scoring role and put the ball basket operating well in ball screen situations getting to his mid range pullups. As a point guard he always facilitates and playmakes well. Big guard, fundamentally solid, and does whatever that is needed that game for his team to come out with a win. He’s improved his game, and gained a ton more confidence. Definitely a kid who will continue to get better, and will be a college coaches’ delight once he gets on campus.
Ashton Smith, 2021 Legacy School of Sport Sciences
I don’t know any player around capable of handling Ashton Smith. Dunks on dunks on dunks. Abuses the rim. When he plays he looks like a man amongst boys. His physical presence, activity level, and aerial threat are unmatched and impossible to battle with for an entire game. The great thing about Ashton is that he doesn’t need the ball to dominate the game with his impact. Blocking shots. Then running the floor like a beast. Offensive rebounding and tip dunks. Pick and roll nightmare as a lob threat. Big time momentum changer. These are qualities that allow him to impact without even having the ball on the low block. He resembles a shorter Deandre Jordan, or Robert Williams type player. Battles insanely hard in the paint. As long as his focus is always there, and he stays locked in not picking up silly technical fouls—he is really tough to deal with. Legacy is lucky to have a player of his specialty.
All Preseason 2nd Team:
Dok Muordar, 2022 Premier Academy
Dok is gonna be Dok. He’s going to block and shot, let you know about it, sprint and beat you down the floor, dunk you, then come back and block your shot again. That’s just what he’s going to do. The most impressing thing from this preseason, again was just his endurance and nonstop movement. Most of the time Dok plays entire games, and not once do I ever really see him walk. He alters every shot defensively. He also understands positioning and spacing. Good feel, good hands, and uses his entire wingspan to cause trouble in the rebounds column. Super consistent and is good at what he does. He may be done growing in height, but his game is still growing. And that’s scary.
Jaylen Wysinger, 2021 Cy Creek
We said that if you’re Jaylen Wysinger, with all the tools and abilities you have, we should always notice you on the floor and it should never be moments where you’re just floating up and down the floor. From the looks of it he heard us and made his presence felt on every possession. The jumper has been consistently cash. He was getting to the basket and FINISHING. Like putting people on posters finishing! Using his shifty bouncy handle to create space and playmake. He produced, and did it in big time matchups. They seemed to be winning or be in a close game with just about every opponent they faced. If Cy Creek can make sure they figure out a way to close games and put wins in the W column, “J5” will be the main reason the team will take that next step towards elite.
Noah Kon, 2021 Houston Christian
Quiet as kept, Noah has had an extremely solid outing this preseason. He plays with purpose, and you can feel it by the way moves on the floor. Never can say he doesn’t play hard. One of the better defensive guards in the city, any matchup against him you know you can’t come lacking or he will make you pay if you’re not careful. As their best player, he still leads and does all of the small things. Taking charges, defensive positioning, communicating. He gets downhill in a hurry, and he’s been steadily improving at reading the defense and stopping and pulling up. As well as knowing when he can be a rim attacker and get contact for fouls. His energy is there, he’s looking more polished and comfortable each game, and his jumper is falling. His game fits the culture at Houston Christian, and they will definitely need his consistency to stay a top team in Houston.
DJ Richards, 2021 Cy Creek
The self-proclaimed sheriff. Richards came off a hot summer and is loaded with confidence. Eager to show everyone how dynamic he can be. DJ really doesn’t miss shots, and definitely not open ones. His touch and shooting is tops in the city. His game is very efficient. He even has the ability to do a little bit off the bounce. He’s going to null you to sleep, and try to read the defense and make a counter that gets back to his strongest weapon- his shot. Keeps it simple with the handle. Richards is actually a lot smarter and high of a IQ basketball player than we may notice and give him credit for, since he has such a jaunty personality. Knows spots, positioning, and actually has really great anticipation skills. A perfect combination of a backcourt at Cy Creek, they will go as far as DJ helps take them.
Johnathan Massie, 2021 Legacy School of Sport Sciences
I think “John John” came off a bit of flux summer. Where he was good, but then also finding his way to get in the mix of the Cooz team just made it tough to get in a consistent good rhythm. However, in the preseason he showed how much he truly is needed. Not just in his production, but moreso how powerful his reliability and leadership is to the Legacy team. Massie is a do-it-all type player. He’s a 6’5 lengthy, gritty, active defender. He crashes the defensive glass and can start the break; he crashes the offensive glass for extra possessions. He can play the role of a primary ballhandler and execute pick and roll at a highly effective rate. He will knockdown open threes as well as shoot the pullup. Such a versatile piece, it is mandatory that he plays well every night for Legacy to win. And from the looks of preseason he rose to the occasion, and continues to push the envelope as a main component to their team.
All Preseason Honorable Mention:
Seth Jones, 2022 Dickinson
First time seeing Seth Jones as a new transfer, and he arguably could have had the best 2 games of anyone in all preseason play. Out of the gates he put up a 30 ball on 9 threes, then backdoored the next game and hit a game winner on a 30 foot snag-out-of-the-air-turnaround-mouth-BUCKET. Game, blouses. It was incredible. Didn’t get to see Dickinson play many more games in preseason, otherwise had he been playing like that he could’ve easily been a 1st team selection. Seth Jones may have the best hesi move in the city. His feel and how he’s able to maneuver through pick and roll actions and reads is actually very next level. He will stop and shoot the three, and he will also get to the spot and raise on a pull up. We know he’s a bucket, but truthfully if you move with him and you’re open he will for sure find you as well. Dickinson definitely had a drop off from last year, but the coaches are going to let Seth Jones rock out. Jones and the Dickinson Gators are going to be a very fun front row seat for a lot of people.
Shawn Jones, 2022 Shadow Creek
The biggest and most obvious thing that we see that has grown in Shawn’s game is his leadership and communication. With the caliber team Shadow Creek excelling in that role will be imperative. Shawn has a very versatile game and he has the ability to play contrasting styles. He’s a solid ballhandler that is smart and can make decisions and playmake for others. He’s the most dangerous when he’s using his length on defense to cause deflections and turnovers and start the fastbreak. Once he’s in transition there’s nothing you can do- too much athleticism, too many weapons around him, and too high IQ. He’s continuing to improve his jumpshot so he can consistently knock down threes. He can be a triple double type player. Lots of new pieces at Shadow Creek, as a top returner when Shawn keeps his motor high he gives them a crazy dynamic—now with his leadership and steady production Jones wants to help Shadow Creek win a state title.
Dylan Glover, 2022 Bryan
Hot off the press, strap loaded. We knew Glover was a very solid player with great feel, plays with efficiency, and keeps it simple yet effective. However, in a couple games he was on flamethrower mode. Quick release and shooting with supreme confidence. What I noticed most about Dylan’s preseason play was how well he was playing the role of primary ballhandler and decision maker; essentially the point guard. He’s smart and he is a vocal leader. Always makes sure to encourage and empower his teammates as well as keeping them locked in and focused. His hesi pullup was clicking, he evaded traffic and finished well at the rim. Bryan has solid pieces, but Dylan will be required to provide a lot from the guard position. Every night he will be tested to battle through and keep his team in it for 4 quarters.
Zaire Hayes, 2021 Manvel
Hayes is another kid is who continuously improving and building more and more confidence. He gets quick and hot buckets. A great mid range pull up. Has an underrated handle that he uses to create space and get his shot off. Fearless competitor when he gets out there. Zaire wants to prove he belongs more in the conversation. Manvel has so many weapons that anybody can pop off on you at any time. So sometimes Hayes has to be patient and still contribute to winning the right way. But when it’s his turn best believe you’ll feel it. Scored the ball well in preseason, and most importantly made winning plays. Manvel had some elite preseason matchups. And more often than not Zaire Hayes was the one who fires the team and gets them going.
Mason McBride, 2021 Manvel
When you look at McBride he has all the tools and he passes the eye test. The thing for Mason has always been to use his abilities to really impact winning and make his presence felt on the floor. I think he was able to accomplish that and build some momentum for himself into the season. Laid back on the floor, but has a sneaky handle. Uses his body well, and then once he gets into the paint if there’s no contest… watch out because we saw several big time dunks. At 6’4 with really long arms and good hands good anticipation, McBride really showed the capability to be a lockdown defender. And he rebounds really well and can push the pace start the break as a primary ballhandler. Manvel is believed to be one of the city’s top teams, they have a lot of firepower. If Mason constantly looks to exert himself and be the dynamic versatile player he’s capable of being, he and Manvel can make a big time run in the playoffs.