Breaking the Ice...
It was a quick turnaround heading to Houston to catch a glimpse of Jim Hicks' Spring Ice Breaker. There was just enough time to catch the Houston Hoops, Texas PRO and a few others before having to head back to Dallas. Here is our QUICK RECAP...
Texas PRO's power forward/post, Jarrett Allen is the TexasHoops.com No. 11 ranked prospect in the 2016 class, and he was impressive. The 6-foot-9 Allen is a shot-blocker and rebounder on the defensive side of the ball, and when it came to his offensive game, he wasn't shy to throw the ball down over defenders. This could have been an early indication for Allen to slide himself into the top 10 in the June rankings if he keeps up his play.
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Sticking with the theme of bigs, Urban DFW has 6-foot-10 Rickey Brice (Arlington Pantego) is in the middle once again for Urban's director Jazzy Harwell. Now, Brice has the body/frame of a high major big, and with his ability to block shots, and score over his shoulders, Brice will get those looks from college programs.
Sneed stepping up his game...
Robert Sneed (Pearland) of Prep Star Elite was playing at a high level this weekend cutting up defenses. He kept his opponents off balanced while hitting jumpers and draining threes. He did a great job of handling the ball on the perimeter and getting to the bucket. Sneed is a rangy player that has a lot of tools and upside.
Hoop it up...
The Houston Hoops had rock star status this weekend taking the floor with plenty of size and scorers. Inside was 6-foot-7 Paul Thomas, 6-foot-7 Dorian Chatman, and 6-foot-8 Samir Sehic.
Thomas has a chance to emerge as a prospect that can help teams at the high level with his skill from the perimeter. Thomas can hit the 17-footer with a smooth touch, and when he doesn't have the ball, he will get on the glass. He is also a nice passer and defender. Chatman can be a bruiser inside with his big strong body. He is more of a defensive minded player right now, but when he is around the basket, he makes it count. Finally, Sehic is as consistent as ever, with his high level of play getting to loose balls, scoring around the rim and playing hard-nose defense.
New Mexico received a verbal commitment from Jordan Hunter (Beaumont Ozen) back in the fall, and the Lobos got themselves a player. Can't say enough about his ability to score off the dribble or catch and shoot. He has a quick trigger and is very fast from end to end. Hunter maybe 5-foot-10, but he is a steal for the Mountain West level.
Blaze of Glory...
A couple of Young Guns at the guard position that performed well were Doc Nelson (Houston Elite), and CJ Roberts (Texas PRO). Nelson has a year of varsity ball under his belt while attending Houston Episcopal, and Roberts had to spend a year on the JV at Richland HS. Now both these two look to be neck and neck with their style of play and abilities. Both can hit the open shots, both have great court vision and both are good passers. Time will tell who comes out ahead, and more coming on these two later.
Another Young Gun was Houston Hoops' Jared Vanderbilt. The 6-foot-8 power forward is starting to get some bulk to his frame. Vanderbilt is a superstar in the making with his ability to run the floor and throw it down in traffic. He has a ton of skill on the perimeter and has a good feel for the game.
Two more 2017's are Isaiah Jasey (Killeen Ellison) and Walter Prevost (Houston Christian). These two also suit up for Texas PRO and have different styles of play. Jasey has a frame that will only get better with time, but he is a strong looking post player that can step out. Prevost is an athletic interior player that runs the floor and scores in transition.
Keep an eye out for Houston Elite's Ross Thompson (Houston Christian). The 6-foot-2 shooter can get hot from behind the arc and score in bunches. He needs to move more without the ball, but his size for a two-guard makes him very intriguing.
Play like a PRO...
Texas PRO had handfuls of prospect on their 2015 and 2016 squad. The guard play of the 2015 group is anchored by wing CJ Simmons (Pearland Dawson) and Galen Robinson (Westbury Christian). Simmons was awesome in the open court scoring off the bounce with a nice mid-range stroke. He has really nice body control in mid-air to knockdown his looks. Robinson has put on some much needed strength and has a strong body a a point guard that loves taking the ball to the hole. Robinson wants to play physical on both ends of the court.
Versatile forward Justin Whitfield (Klein Forest) played with confidence as he found his stroke early from 15-feet away, and also took advantage of open looks from behind the three-point line.
Soon enough the TX D1 Nation will be sporting their Adidas gear with their two prized players from the South Central area of the state. Jordan Murphy (No.4 ranked player in the state/ SA Brennan) and Rashard Odomes (No.11/ Coppereas Cove) showed that they are the perfect candidates to wear the stripes as they both showed onlookers what they do best. Murphy was smooth on the offensive end by heading up the court in traffic and finishing in the lane. Murphy has such a soft touch and uses the glass for bank shots. He is also one of the best defenders in the state (at the top with E'torrion Wilridge) When he has both sides of the ball rolling, Murphy is as talented as any other player in the 2015 class.
His counterpart on the TX D1 Ambassadors is Odomes who one thing really well, slash to the basket. People may say that the one hole that he has in his game is his perimeter scoring, but who cares when he can't be stopped headed to the bucket. He makes the most impossible shots seem easy when he is in traffic.
Still trucking along was Tony Allen who is coming off a nice tournament in Austin a week ago. He was handling the ball more as a point guard, but looked more comfortable away from the ball and shooting within rhythm. As we get deeper into the spring, we will see how Allen develops into a full-time floor leader.