Lastrap Leaving Legacy at TWCA
Bakari Lastrap. Great basketball name, right?
The point guard has had an interesting basketball path, going from the home school leagues with SATCH to the elite-level AAU circuits to the nurturing -- yet challenging -- The Woodlands Christian Academy.
"I've been playing since the second grade," Lastrap said. "About the sixth grade I thought, "hey, I'm pretty good at this game.'"
It became his life at that time, and under the tutelage of basketball trainer Ben Perkins, he flourished.
"He developed me from an average player to a good player over the years," he said of Perkins. "He taught me the little things and my confidence just began to grow. Ben has been more than a basketball coach, though. He's been my mentor and an important figure in my life. I couldn't thank him enough."
After learning the ropes with Perkins and SATCH, a local home-school team, Lastrap took the next step in his journey.
"Going into my sophomore year I was ready for a new challenge from being in home school," he said. "I was academically ready for high school. The Woodlands Christian Academy's academics are phenomenal and I love the community. It's been a great fit for me."
Lastrap made a huge mark in year one, helping lead the Warriors to a TAPPS 4A state title as a sophomore.
"That was great," he said. "Then we went to the state title game again last year. Sure, I'd love to win another one as a senior, but I also want to leave a legacy at TWCA in a good way – on and off the court. I want the younger guys to look at me as an example as to how to carry yourself as a TWCA basketball player."
The 6-foot guard describes himself as a "selfless playmaker, who is sneaky athletic."
"Bakari is one of the most under-recruited guys in the state of Texas," Ray Meach, VYPE basketball analyst said. "He can really pass the ball and has defensive capability. He has Power 5 athleticism."
He is currently receiving interest from Florida International, UC-Riverside, Cal State-Fullerton and Georgia State.
Lastrap finished his AAU career with the Houston Defenders, playing on the Under Armour circuit this summer.
"It really raised my level of play," he said. "We travelled all over the place. The best guards I ran into were some from Baltimore. Here in Houston, Sahvir Wheeler (Georgia) and JJ Caldwell (former Texas A&M) gave me fits growing up."
Lastrap loves to watch LeBron James, but he sees his game more in "shifty guards like Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier."
"I can get to my spot and hit the mid-range as well as the open three (pointer)," he said. "People think I'm a pass-first guy, but I can score."
With Lastrap leading the way, coach Tanner Field likes his chances in 2019-20 as a TAPPS state favorite.
"He's the best young man I've ever coached," Field said. "He's an extremely strong and focused athlete. His off the court intangibles are amazing, and he's focuses on the right things. In world of distracted players off the court, Bakari stands out above all the rest."