Yates, Morton Ranch, Dickinson carrying banner for H-Town hoops
No.1 Jack Yates Lions
Here come the Lions. The Yates Lions fell in the state semis last year to Dallas Faith Family and are highly motivated. Coach Greg Wise's team went 12-0 in district and 23-5 overall, however, the Lions don't play for district titles – they play for state titles (four since 2009). This could be the most exciting team in the state as Wise's up-tempo style is matched with some elite athletes. New to the program are homeschool juniors Chuks Isitua and Allen Udemadu. You can't miss them as they are both 6-foot-9, 220 pounds. Gerald Doakes has moved in from Jacksonville, Ark to join the Lions' den. The point guard has several SEC offers. Showing these newbies the Yates' way is Rubin Jones, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard committed to North Texas. The Lions will likely put 100 points on half of their opponents and be a high-wire act of alley-oops coupled with a relentless full-court press. If the move-ins live up to the hype, Yates could be fitting for state rings – their first since 2014.
No. 2 Morton Ranch Mavericks
Seven Lakes passed the torch to Tompkins, who has passed the baton to the Morton Ranch Mavs as THE team in the Katy ISD. Like Tompkins, who reached the state title game in 2017, Morton Ranch is thought to be the team in Houston with the best chance to reach the UIL state tournament. Why? Coach Khris Turner has two of the most dynamic players in the state in post Eddie Lampkin (TCU-commit) and guard LJ Cryer (Baylor-commit). Morton Ranch ran the table in District 19-6A a year ago and reached the third round of the playoffs, before falling to Fort Bend Elkins. While basketball can be a two-man game, the Mavs have other important pieces that will play important roles in 2019. Adrian Caldwell will help on the glass at small forward, while Ernest Ellis III and Westley Sellers will round out the backcourt. Working in their benefit is the fact that all five are seniors with a ton of big-game experience. This could be the Year of the Maverick.
No. 3 Dickinson Gators
Dickinson has owned District 24-6A. The past four seasons, the Gators have claimed the district's top spot and have become a powerhouse. The downfall of Dickinson during this stretch has been the inability to turn a successful regular season into an equally successful postseason run. Dickinson went 21-9 last year before being knocked out in the second round. This year should be the year for that run. University of Houston-commit Tramon Mark will lead the group. Mark, a TABC All-State selection, averaged 25.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Helping him will be Deuce Guidry (16.4 points, 4.7 assists), Jabari Miller (8.9 point, 5.4 rebounds) and Xzavion Bordelon (7.2 points, 4.3 rebounds). The X-factor may be Marcus Williams, a Northern Colorado-commit, who didn't play last season. Dickinson coach Jason Wilson enters year six in the swamp with a 103-51 mark. Other players to watch include Keith Cooper and Canon Boone, who are returning lettermen.
No. 4 Summer Creek Bulldogs
Summer Creek took Houston by storm last year. The Bulldogs ended an impressive five-year run by rivals Atascocita as district champions. Kenneth Coleman (100-31) took over last season and guided Summer Creek to a 26-7 mark, going 16-0 in District 21-6A play. Coleman led Port Arthur Memorial to a Class 5A State Championship in 2018. It was the first district crown for Summer Creek since moving up to 6A. The Bulldogs return four starters from last year, making them a legit contender. Reigning District MVP Javon Jackson led the team with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists per game last year. Jackson was also a TABC All-Region selection. A key addition will be Dylan Miles, who moves over from Humble. Other key returners include Dylen Scales, Jaylon Johnson, Karter Dutton and Reyce Allen. Summer Creek reached the second round of the playoffs but should be projected to go further in 2020.
No. 5 Shadow Creek Sharks
Under the direction of coach David President, the Sharks' basketball program has followed the trend of success at Shadow Creek High School. The south Houston school has become a Class 5A power in football and basketball since opening four years ago. The Sharks went 14-1 in district play and reached the second round of the playoffs in 2019 for the second year in a row. How do they take the next step? While all-state guard Tyron Henry heads to the University of Hartford, it's now Will Young's team. The smooth lefty is a Class of 2021 national recruit for his ability to get the ball in the basket. He will be flanked by shooting guard Ramon Walker. Don't sleep on 2022-star Shawn Jones and Zy'Tarious White, who both could make a huge impact on this edition of the Sharks' squad.