With what may be the best ever field of the “Super 16”, Jim Hicks once again has put together some spicy preseason games that will leave everyone talking until the “Season Opener”, November 10th. Here’s my take on some of the games this Friday & Saturday at Yates.
6:15 Court 1
Sam Houston vs #3 Eisenhower
Interesting to get a chance to see how both of these teams will do this year after losing their emotional leaders. They both return several key starters. 6’4 Sr Guard Chris Green, & 6’1 Torron “TJ” Mingo, are the back court stars for Sam, which each of them shooting over 35% from 3 last year. Senior F Earl Beal and his defense & activity will make the Tigers very formidable. Depth will be the key to how far they advance in the playoffs this year. Ike’s double trouble of Ja’Mare & Ja’Mere Redus (2019), will be looking to build off of last years regional tournament run. 6’4 sophomore Patrick Punch will have to step up and take on more a leadership role for that to happen. Should be a fast paced, intense, trash talking game that will be fun to watch.
Ridgepoint vs #9 Atascocita
Atascocita has everything you need to be successful, good guard play, toughness, experience, good coaching, & versatility. Senior PG Joe Rollins and crew make up with they lack in size with the ability to play fast and hit the outside shot. 2020 G Dylan Dawson should help carry the load offensively. Ridgepoint lost a couple of key players in the back court but 2020 G Isaiah Leblanc and 2021 Zach Gounsolin are primed and ready to make their impact in FBISD. This game will be a shootout, the 1st team to get consecutive stops will probably win this game.
#17 Yates vs #14 Sam Rayburn
This is an intriguing matchup because it features 2 of the areas best juniors in Rubin Jones (Yates) & Jalen White (Sam Rayburn). Both of these guys will be breakout stars for their teams this season. Yates of course will press you as soon as you walk in the gym, & with the game being in their backyard, look for 3rd ward high to be rocking. Rayburn also has one of the elite players in America in 6’7 sophomore Keon Edwards, ranked 14th in the country by various services. This will be his 1st big HS challenge in a hostile environment, interested to see how he handles himself. Contrasting styles of play, plus the atmosphere will make this contest worth watching.
#20 Spring vs #7 Hightower
Spring played really well last weekend in the BallOut Events HS Shootout. They also have a big time back court, seniors Keonte Cornelius and Christyon Eugune, are 2 really good scorers, and both can create for their teammates as well. 6’6 sophomore Wade Authenreith is coming into his own, & he’ll have a chance to see where he really stands when he tangles with Hightower’s leader, 6’6 Sr Mykell Robinson. The University of Denver commit will be counted on as the rock for this talented team. All eyes of course will be on freshman sensation Bryce Griggs. He will have a challenge as Cornelius plans to let him know what time it really is, & “not let a freshman have a big game against him”.
#12 Elkins vs Nimitz
Nimitz will have the Rodney Dangerfield, “We get no respect” mantra all sesason long. Sr Karl Reynolds will be on the football field, but fellow 2019 Andre Washington & Jr Reggie Comeaux will make up for his absence. The Cougars will look to make a statement early in the season vs Elkins. The Knights have Texas commit and #2 ranked Sr Donovan Williams, he’s the GUY, & they will only go how far he can carry them. 2020 Collin Warren takes on the batman role & will be counted on to push the pace for the blue and gold.
#2 Concordia Lutheran vs #15 Spring Woods
Three of the top 7 players in the area in this game, Concordia Lutheran’s #3 6’7 Montavious Murphy(Kansas State), #6 6’2 Pierce Hellums(Sam Houston) & #7 Spring Woods’ 6’4 Jesse Zarzuela(UTEP). Both teams will also feature other key players in their starting lineup that will be looking to boost their stock. 2019’s Darian Gibson, & Nico Hardin for Spring Woods, and 2021 RJ Keene II for Concordia. For sure Zarzuela and Hellums will go at it, & I expect several ooohs & aaahs from the crowd. The experience & fire power will be a bit much for the Tigers.
Milby vs #6 Episcopal
When I did the rankings in late August, I figured their wouldn’t be any more changes or surprise enrollments… Boy was I wrong! Milby got a jolt in talent when 2020 G Gerald Doakes showed up on campus in September. He along with sophomore stud Will Young will form arguably the most spectacular young tandem in the city. Both athletic play makers can score in bunches and at a high level. But Episcopal will be more than prepared as the preseason SPC champion favorites will be stacked! Led by Jr PG Jahari Long, & his talented class, D’Avian Houston, Adam Kanafani, & John Cooper transfer, DJ Nussbaum, I wouldn’t expect anything but an instant classic!
#1 Morton Ranch vs #18 Port Arthur Memorial
The area’s #1 team has been without its 2 biggest stars, Eddie Lampkin & LJ Cryer, but it’s still been business as usual. 2019 Trey Elrod was HUGE last weekend in the BOE HS Shootout, showing he can carry the load if need be. 2020 Adrian Caldwell is the glue guy they needed, & Sr Marcus Stephens has to step up and make his presence known. The defending 5A state champs will look to show everyone that last year was no fluke. 2020’s Kenneth Lofton, Jr & Nate Clover are rebounding machines who will need to be more involved offensively this season. Freshman PG Amare Abrams will be a name to keep an eye out for this year.