Sunday, November 23, 2008

Coach Max's Thanksgiving Sweet Sixteen 5A

Our first rankings of the year are weighted towards San Antonio. The three teams at the top are only a hair apart in quality and depth. Pflugerville is banged up.

Cen Tex/San Antonio/South Texas Top Teams

1. San Antonio Madison

I was dubious about Madison's ability to shoot consistently from the perimeter depsite their depth of talent. I have to give respect though as the Mavs won the prestigious McDonald's Invitational in Houston by beating defending 5A State Champion North Crowley by two, and then beating USA Today's National #1, Duncanville in overtime. 2009 G Cameron Catlett was named Tournament MVP. 2009 P 6'4" Jonathan Landry has committed to Coppin State and 2010 W Steven Baird is getting recruited by darn near everyone in the country.

2. San Antonio Stevens

Stevens has all the pieces to be #1. They won the NISD Tournament behind my projected San Antonio 2009 Player of the Year, Brandon Thompson. Big time player waiting for his test scores, will sign in the Spring. A host of quality 2009's fill out the Falcons roster. Defender supreme Dejon Taylor, W Julian Stallworth and P Aaron Plunkett are all quality guys.

3. Converse Wagner

Lost the season opener to Madison by 1. Deep, athletic crew led by D-1 prospect, 2010 6'3" Jordan Clarkson and 2010 6'5" Andre Roberson

4. Pflugerville

The Panthers find themselves banged up in the early going as both D-1 commits to Lamar University are ailing. 2009 PG Jonathan Garza has a sore hand, while 2009 P 6'8" Shot Blocker Osas Ebomwonyi is still recovering from a broken leg and won't be available to the Panthers until mid to late December. Enough quality guys remain to make them extremely tough including super soph 2011 CG Deion Mitchell who is smooth as silk and 2010 6'4" Demetris Smith who can rebound with the best of them. Showdown with Madison on Thanksgiving Eve will give a real read on this bunch.

5. San Antonio Clark

With Navy commit 2009 PG Jordan Brickman running the show, Clark is tough. 2009 6'6" Chris Blake is a late blooming D-1 prospect as well.

6. Austin Akins

Don't underestimate this "surprise" pick. Look for the young Akins crew to make a lot of noise. Led by young 2011 PG Yolonzo Moore and 2010 F Kevin Mc Farland these are not "your daddy's Eagles". 2nd year Coach David Peavey came back to guide high school kids after a year in the college ranks. He's instilling pride and aggressiveness in a school with no prior basketball pedigree.

7. Bryan

Out of the gate with an impressive win over The Woodlands and an outright shellacking of Pflugerville Hendrickson the Vikes are as always "ready to run". One of the consistently more aggressive teams in the State they are led by 2009 6'5" Terrance Wilbert and freshman sensation 2012 PG 6'1" J. Mychal Reese (the coach's son) who has long been considered the Nation's #1 prospect in the Class of 2012. He christened his HS career with an opening night 30 point effort v. Hendrickson with in the house.

8. Killeen Ellison

Look for the Ellison Eagles to be a thorn in everyone's side under new Coach Alberto Jones. They've got plenty of athletes and a swagger. Tough to beat, especially when you play them in K-Town. Senior leadership from 2009's Zach Mims, Chris Harpe and several talented youngsters.

9. Austin Westlake

Led by 2010 PG 6'2" Cody Doolin who is arguably the best guard in the Austin area, regardless of class the Chaps have a lot of weapons but limited depth. Westlake has as many D-1 prospects as anyone as 2010 Doolin (already offered by San Francisco) 2010 W 6'6" Connor Kemper and 2010 P 6'9" Gus Leeper. The bad news is that none of them are seniors. Westlake may be a year away from a serious run, but new Coach Tres Ellis has a nice group to work with. We'll see how fast they mature.

10. Converse Judson

Coach Wacker has a veteran crew led by his son, 2009 6'8" Chris Wacker who has committed to St. Edward's. Judson has plenty of talent, and with a premium on each possession and keeping the score manageable will be in most games they play. I'll give them more respect as they play somebody. The Del Rio Tournament was mediocre with Judson drubbing everyone.

11. McAllen

This program has quickly become the Pride of the Rio Grande Valley under the guidance of longtime Weslaco Coach Roy Swift. McHi will go as far as the strong back of 2010 F 6'6" J.J. Avila will take them. 2009 G 6'3" Cory Pace will attempt to lead their veteran crew back to the Regional in San Antonio for the 2nd year in a row.

12. Leander

Leander will be shooting for their 1st playoff berth in many a year, with enough talent to win 16-5A outright. 2009 PG 6'3" Joel Smith is a D-1 prospect as is 2011 P 6'5" Mark Nwakamma. 2009 Post A.D. Jones is a load at 6'6" and about 240. The Lions just need to mature and learn how to close out games.

13. San Antonio Taft

Taft got baptized at the tough McDonald's Invitational in Houston this past weekend but the tough comp will only make them better down the road. They'll get backcourt leadership from 2009 Dray Baker and 2011 PG 5'10" Dylan Elias one of the better playmakers in the Cen Tex/South Texas area.

14. San Antonio Lee

Coach Tommy Hines' Volunteers lack a serious post presence, but they've got a hustling crew. 2010 G 6'2' Ryan Pierce brings athleticism and can score in bunches. Any team though that has the top scoring PG in the Class of 2010 in San Antonio will always have a chance to compete and win their share of games. Hines has that kind of leadership in PG Paul Garnica, a special player that is capable of amking all those around him better while still getting his own.

15. Austin Bowie

Players play, but some coaches really do make a difference. Despite losing G Jeremy Green to PAC 10 Stanford Coach Celester Collier will coach 'em up and give the Bulldogs a chance to land a spot in the ultra competitive 25-5A. Look for leadership from 2009 G Urbanus and outside shooting from 2010 Trey Lindsey while big time football prospect 2010 6'4" P Deandre Perry does the dirty work inside.

16. Georgetown

Georgetown has nice size and athleticism with a pair of 6'7" twin towers in 2009 Payton Carrell and 2009 Jaron Vierra. We'll see how fast 2012 G Michael Hardge matures, as it could be the key to them maintaining last year's playoff level.

Others To Watch

Cedar Park

San Antonio Warren

San Antonio Southwest


San Antonio Reagan