Another week, another Starting 5. The DFW area continues to provide us with special performances and big wins. A few new faces in this edition.
Micah Peavy exploded for 38 points in a win last week, 24 of them came in the first quarter. Peavy has been a key cog for the #1 team in the state for 6A.
Donald Gholdstone has been very good for Grand Prairie this year. He had a big time performance last week scoring 30 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in a win last week over state ranked Mansfield Lakeridge.
Jakevan continued his dominate play last week for state #1 ranked 4A team Hutch. He totaled 60 points and 23 rebounds in 2 wins last week.
Jairus has been tremendous all season long for Desoto. The unsigned senior had games of 23 and 20 points in 2 wins last week for his team. He's filling the stat sheets with points and rebounds as well.
Isaiah was huge in 2 wins for Lonestar last week. The Northern Arizona commit scored 30 in a win and was big time down the stretch in a win vs rival Frisco Wakeland.
After a short Christmas break we are back at it with our Starting Five highlighting big performances from this past week. There was no shortage of competitive games and individual performances.
Chris Harris Jr. led his team to a big district win over a young and talented Wylie HS team. The Texas A&M signee was just too much for the young Wylie Pirates hitting five triples en route to a game high 23 points and 7 rebounds.
Tyrese Maxey played a superb all around game in a 64-44 win over district foe Wylie HS. He finished with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. The University of Kentucky signee scored and facilitated at a high level.
Keyonte is the first freshman to make the Starting 5 this year and he's earned it. The freshman phenom has been one of the better scorers regardless of class this season. He scored 31 points to lead his Lewisville team to a victory over Flower Mound Marcus.
Andrew was phenomenal in a win against Bishop Lynch last week. He scored 25 points, made 5 triples and pulled down 8 rebounds. Andrew picked up an offer from San Diego in that game and on Friday he accomplished the 1,000 points milestone at St. Mark's.
Jahmius Ramsey has been on a tear the last month and his Duncanville team has benefitted from it. Ramsey has helped lead his team to a #1 state ranking. He scored 23 points in a big district win over JJ Pearce. Ramsey seems to have it clicking at the right time as does Duncanville HS.
Jakevan Leftridge has been on absolute tear leading his Hutch team to a #1 state ranking in class 4A. The unsigned senior does everything his team needs him to do in order to win. Lately they've needed scoring and he has done that in a big way. Leftridge scored 50 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 6 steals vs. Roosevelt last week and had 33 points and 12 rebounds in his last game.
Leftridge is a prospect who continues to get better and has seen his recruitment spike after some big time performances. Schools from the Southland and WAC conferences are ramping up their involvement with the DISD star. I expect Leftridge to continue his production and for him to become a major priority for schools headed into the late signing period.
Garland Lakeview Centennial has had their fair share of prospects come out of the program. Players like Chris Jones and Philadelphia 76ers Zhaire Smith are a few who come to mind. The latest big time prospect is 2020 6'8 F Donte Houston. Donte isn't a secret anymore as his consistent production this year has attracted college coaches to see him.
Donte plays with a relentless motor, toughness and big time athleticism around the rim. While his athleticism is a huge part of his game it isn't the only thing he can do. The 6'8 forward has also shown the ability to knock down the three ball as well. Donte will definitely be a prospect coaches should track headed into the April evaluation period.
The St. Mark's vs. Bishop Lynch matchup wasn't short on prospects at all. Some of the best players in the city in their respected classes were on the floor last night. St. Mark's ended up getting the win behind outstanding performances from 2020 wing Andrew Laczkowski and 2021 wing Harrison Ingram as well as 2022 G Colin Smith and 2022 G Noah Shelby. Bishop Lynch was led by fast rising 2021 PG Imo Essien who played an outstanding game from start to finish and 2019 unsigned senior Zach Muller.
Imo was tremendous in defeat for Bishop Lynch. He is a guard that doesn't get sped up and is always in control of the game. He finished with 22 points scoring from all three levels and got his teammates involved with his facilitating.
Zach was productive as always last night for Bishop Lynch. The unsigned senior rebounded, scored from 17 feet and in and showed his athleticism with a big time baseline dunk. Zach really understands how to play, D2 schools should be recruiting this prospect feverishly.
Andrew got it done in a major way last night. He scored at will and led his team with 25 points and 8 rebounds. Andrew connected on 5 three's and shot it well in the midrange. His team won and he picked up his first offer from the University of San Diego.
Harrison Ingram had a workman like performance in this one. The top 25 national prospect finished with 22 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. He was just too much to handle for anyone Bishop Lynch put on him.
I wasn't sure what to expect for the inaugural Stars and Stripes event held by Rhossi Carron and Ted Wheeler of Basketball University. Whatever my expectations were they were exceeded tremendously. From the time you walked into the gym at Houston Christian the music was blasting from the speakers, the Eastbay Experience was on hand with all kind of things to do for all fans of any age and there was basketball being played with several Top 100 type talent on the floor.
2020 Top 150 prospect Jon was active from the tip for iSchool Entrepreneurial Academy in a matchup against Top 10 2021 6'10 Jerrell Colbert and Texas Christian. He really crashed the glass and finished well around the basket. He handled passes in traffic and finished above the rim. Jon finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks.
2020 Top 150 prospect Quevian struggled to find his shot early but he used his versatility as a player to impact the game. He rebounded, handled the ball and made some nice passes to Jon Aku for easy looks. When the game got tight Quevian started getting to the basket for scoring opportunities. He finished with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.
Jahari Long was big in a win over Universal Academy. The Top 150 prospect showed why he is so highly regarded nationally. Long has good size for the PG position, excellent vision, burst and a tremendous floater that he finishes consistently once in the lane. He picked the defense apart last night finding teammates for easy baskets. You can tell he really enjoys passing the ball and he's really good at it. Jahari finished with 10 points and 7 assists in the win.
Jaquan didn't get many touches within the offense last night but he didn't let it affect him. He just went to the glass for rebounds and created his own scoring opportunities. Jaquan is one of the best rebounders in the state due to his toughness, athleticism, length and motor. He played with some finesse as well hitting a couple of nice jump hooks in the lane. While he didn't connect from deep last night he has shown the confidence and ability to knock down jumpers. Jaquan finished with 9 points and 13 rebounds in the game.
Arthur always shows flashes of brilliance when you watch him play, last night was more of the same. He rebounded, made jumpers, attacked the basket of the bounce and played excellent defense for stretches. Kaluma is so versatile as a basketball player offensively and defensively. At times he has the tendency to over handle the ball and that results in turnovers. I think he'll be ale to shake that as he matures over the next few years. There just aren't many prospects in the 2021 class with his combination of size and skill. Kaluma finished with 11 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and 3 steals.
Lancaster shooting guard Marco Foster has had some of the best shooting performances in the state over the last two seasons. He may have arguably had the best one last season when he made 7 three's against Oak Hill in a game. Foster's name must be mentioned when talking about some of the best shooters in the state of Texas.
This season Marco seems to be more consistent with his play and doing more than just making shots. He's handling the ball more and making plays for his teammates while still knocking down three's at a high percentage. The play of Foster this season along with his backcourt mates Wade Taylor IV and Mike Miles has led Lancaster to a 10-1 record. These three guards are playing like the best backcourt in Texas and show no signs of slowing down. If Foster can continue with his consistent play, look for Lancaster to make a long playoff run that may end with them cutting down the nets in San Antonio.
I decided to check out the Lake Highlands vs McKinney game last night after I finished watching Bishop Lynch play Greenhill. I had no plans of going to 2 games last night but I'm sure glad I did. I walked into a gym that was electric from the tip due to the shot making display put on by 2019 unsigned senior guard Byron Schoby from McKinney. The 5'9 PG hit shots from all over the floor. I'm not comparing Schoby to Steph Curry by any means but it was like watching Steph while he's in the zone. Schoby drained 35 foot three's with ease, made step backs, flashed slick ball handling and even got his teammates some easy looks. Schoby had 40 points at halftime and finished with 51 in the 90-78 win for his team. This young man is a scoring machine and is averaging 30+per game this season. Schoby can definitely help some college program next year.
In defeat 2020 Lake Highlands guard Preston Lawrence played well. He drilled three's, took charges and also made some nice passes to his teammates. Preston has been steady with his scoring this year but what sticks out is his ability to make winning plays. He's a good team defender, passer, can really shoot the three and plays with athleticism. He finished with 24 points in the game.
Paul Graham has coached a lot of basketball over the last 30 years. He's been at Washington St., Oklahoma St., and SMU during his tenure as a collegiate coach. The last few years he's been at Skyline HS in Dallas ISD and has coached players like Marcus Garrett (Kansas) and Jase Townsend (Denver). Graham knows what talent is and how to develop it. Skyline has a special talent on the roster this year in 2021 6'9 F Ed'Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes has a chance to be the most talented player Graham has had during his time at Skyline.
Rhodes is a 6'9 forward who runs the floor well, handles the ball, shoots it well out to 17 feet, rebounds, block shots and can pass. There isn't a lot of things he can't do. On Saturday he finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds 3 assists, 4 blocks and 2 steals. His upside is through the roof but he is also productive in games now because of his length and skillset. DISD has had some very talented bigs come through there in players like Tony Battie, Maceo Baston, Darrell Arthur, Anthony Randolph and many more. Rhodes has a chance to be next in that long line, it's completely up to him to reach his potential but he has a tremendous coach and mentor in Paul Graham to help get him there.
I got a chance to head out to Forney for the Winter Classic and catch a rematch between Wylie HS and The Colony on Saturday. The game got away from The Colony after Wylie blitzed them out of the gate. What I came away with was that The Colony has two very good unsigned seniors and the youth movement happening in Wylie is serious.
Bryce Okpoh was good from start to finish in this game. He hit the glass, finished above the rim and showed tremendous touch on midrange jumpers. The unsigned senior shot 6/7 in the midrange and had 4 thunderous dunks en route to a 20 point and double digit rebound night for The Colony. Okpoh is a tremendous defender with plus athleticism who has added the midrange jumper to his game. He will be a good late get for some collegiate program.
Garren Davis scored from all three levels in this game. What really stood out was his ability to shoot the three and his range. Davis shot 4/5 from three and a couple of those were from way behind the line. Garren has a strong body, athleticism and a beautiful jump shot. The unsigned senior is a prospect coaches should be flocking to see during the holiday tournament season. He finished with 17 points in the game.
Elijah Taylor began the first half really initiating the offense and setting up easy baskets for guys like Drew Lutcher and John Achebe. In the third quarter he took over the game with his scoring. He scored 10 points in the quarter and finished with 19 for the game. Known as a terrific on-ball defender he showed he can run a team and really score as well. He's extended his range out to the three point line and showed off a nice stroke connecting on 2/4 three point attempts while also getting into the lane at will.
Drew Lutcher started out hot for Wylie. The 6'6 sophomore showed off a beautiful stroke from three connecting on his first three attempts. He has a high release and nice follow through that makes you think every time he shoots the ball it's going in. He rebounded well and looks to have added some muscle since the last time I've seen him. He finished with 13 points in the game.
John Achebe was a grown man in this one. He blocked shots, rebounded, finished everything around the rim and played with unmatched energy. He did everything you could ask from a senior leading a young team. The unsigned senior was named MVP of the tournament after finishing with 20 points and double digit rebounds. John is a collegiate basketball player at some level.