MAGAZINE 2015 | BASKETBALL ISSUE ARKANSAS
THEN & NOW AND
MALIK MONk is next
THE STATE OF ARKANSAS HAS SOME OF THE BEST HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL RECRUITS IN THE N NATION.
FIRST CLASS TALENT
LETTERMAN CREED In the world today, there are believers and nonbelievers. Supporters and Critics…Optimist and Naysayers…Where you stand is your choice…But one thing remains true, NEVER underestimate the heart of a Letterman... A legion of men and women who have given everything they had for the Letter. No matter the challenge or opposition, they never quit. “The Ultimate Sacrifice.” Blood, Sweat, Tears, and even pushing through the midnight hours all for one goal…Greatness! They set aside others opinions and doubt by conquering every obstacle thrown in their path, realigning their defining moments… embracing the struggle and having the determination to RISE above…when it’s clutch time…The definition of a true Letterman. Characterized by their Passion, Vision, Purpose, Desire, Performance, and Ultimately Success. You ask…how can I become a Letterman? It’s simple...through faith, discipline, hard-work, and Sacrifice!
Southern Home Healthcare Inc 710 Windover Rd Jonesboro, AR 72401 870-932-0990 firstname.lastname@example.org
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fast break WITH trandon L. MOY -Editor in Chief We are honored to release our Inaugural Letterman Magazine Dual Basketball Issue featuring top talent from Arkansas and Louisiana. Over the past four years Letterman Magazine has continued to push the boundaries and deliver a top-notch product. I am proud to announce our expansion into Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Missouri this upcoming year. Letterman Magazine primarily focuses on “Academics, Sports, and Character.” We have commitment to be a platform for high school athletes and provide a marketplace that will be beneficial for the magazine, the school’s athletic program, and the student-athlete. In addition to sports, we will host a number of events designed to promote goodwill, education, employment, and community beautification. I sincerely appreciate the support and look forward to many more years to come. Without God, family, friends, and community support none of this would be possible. Let’s make history! Words of Wisdom: Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? Trandon L. Moy Letterman Magazine Owner/Founder
Academics, Sports, Character
Editor in Chief: Trandon L. Moy & Antonio L. Moy Director of Communications Justin Evans Director of Marketing-Public Relations Lavell Warren Graphic Designer Jon Buckner Co-Editor Jerrie W. Moy Chief Photographer Cole Fennel James Lovell Leslie McFalls Lawrence McNeal Phillip Poston Contributing Writers Evin Dimeril Ryan Higgins Daron Hood Nicholas Mason Shaunsia Moy Trandon L. Moy Derek Oxford Tommy Tabler Rudyard West On the Cover Malik Monk Photo by Cole Fennel 479.287.4224 www.colefennelphotography.com Micaela Wilson Photo by Lawrence McNeal 318.334.0320 QTI Photography Antonio L. Moy NELA-CEO
Q & A with
Q: Who inspired you to play basketball? A: My mom Q: When were you first able to dunk the ball? A: 7th grade summer Q: Who did you model your game after? A: Malik Monk Q: If you could play any other sport, what would it be? A: Football Q: What is your favorite book? A: Twilight Q: What is your favorite movie? A: He Got Game Q: What is your go-to song to listen to before a game? A: Any Chicago Rappers songs Q: What player has been hardest for you to guard? A: Every team guards me hard so there isn’t any particular player Q: What is your go-to move during a game? A: I work on my counters so whenever a defender plays good defense on one move I go with another. Q: Where is the toughest place to play in the 7A West? A: Any away game, but Fayetteville is the hardest. Q: If you could switch places with anyone for a day, who would it be? A: Floyd “Money” Mayweather Q: Favorite restaurant in Bentonville? A: Shoguns Q: Twitter or Instagram? A: Instagram Q: What country would you most like to visit that you haven’t? A: I’ll like to visit the Island Fiji. Q: Favorite subject in school? A: Algebra Q: Who is your favorite NBA team? A: Oklahoma City Thunder Q: Kobe or LeBron? A: Lebron Q: PS4 or Xbox? A: Xbox
Christyn Williams The Next Phenom
The 2018 recruiting class is several years down the road, but the top players are already being discovered. Christyn Williams is drawing the attention of major college basketball programs through her skills on the court. Christyn is a determined young woman and knows exactly what needs to be done to accomplish the goals she has set. Christyn and her teammates at Central Arkansas Christian should have an excellent season. Williams set the bar high last season, after she averaged 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 steals per game. It would not be wise to doubt Williams on her ability to surpass those numbers. The defensive intensity is an impressive facet of Christyn’s game that continues to improve the more she plays. With schools such as Tennessee, UCONN, Baylor, and Arkansas already evaluating and making scholarship offers, the recruiting process will be an interesting one to observe with Williams. Williams being featured in Letterman Magazine is just the most recent honor for this talented young woman. Williams was a first team 4A All State member last season and is the number 3 player in the class of 2018, according to ESPN. Christyn is a wise young lady and knows what kind of pressure that is on her. Christyn’s thoughts on the recruiting process are interesting, “I know I have a lot of people looking at me…it’s no pressure. I am just going to play ball its simple.” Central Arkansas Christian has reached the state playoffs 16 straight times and has also won the state title three times. Clearly, Central Arkansas Christian is familiar with putting winning products on and off the basketball court. Williams represents that description well, excelling on the court and in the classroom. With Williams’ work ethic the sky is the limit as far as potential goes. Basketball fans in Arkansas have time to see Williams play, but my advice is get to the gym early, you will be competing with college coaches for a place to sit and watch the next great phenom play.
SIGHTS SET ON A STATE TITLE The Russellville Lady Cyclones are going to have an interesting 2015-16 basketball season. Russellville welcomes a new women’s head basketball coach in the form of former Fort Smith Southside head coach Sherry White. White is an experienced basketball coach and Russellville is a good place to be in terms of potential and talent. The Lady Cyclones have one of the state’s most dynamic players in Shameka Ealy. Ealy is 6’1” and uses her size to her advantage on the basketball court. Ealy has no problem shooting the deep three and can impact a game with her long range shooting. Shameka’s game continues to improve from a defensively and will be a solid aspect of her game on the next level at Missouri State. Russellville will be opening a new basketball arena this fall and the Lady Cyclones are determined to make it one of the most difficult places to play in Arkansas. With Ealy committed to Missouri State the pressure will be on for her to perform well this season, which shouldn’t be a problem. Russellville has always been a very competitive program no matter what sport people are talking about and the girls basketball program is no exception. Fans should expect to see a talented team that will compete and bring a great deal of intensity to the arena every night. The basketball talent in the state of Arkansas is on the rise and Shameka Ealy is just one example of what the state has to offer. Get out to watch Shameka and the Lady Cyclones play this season because it could be awhile before you see a young woman this talented again. It’s going to be an exciting year and watching a talent like Ealy is a true pleasure to people that follow basketball.
Arkansas Overall how cool would it be to see the best basketball players from northwest arkansas play against the best talent from central arkansas?
Arkansas Basketball LR Mills, Parkview, Southwest, Benton, CAC, PA, El Dorado, Maumelle, Baptist Prep, Russellville. Is Lawson Korita the best shooter in the state? Payton Willis, Clifford Brandon, Austin Reaves. Just to mention a few could that could make a case for being the best shooter in Arkansas.
Which Big are you starting a team with? #22 Eric Curry 2016 #23 Connor Vanover 2018 #10 Daniel Gafford 2017
Christyn Williams and Shameka Ealy. Two of the top girls in Arkansas.
#25 Jake Scoggins 2016 Eric Curry gives you a face up forward that can do a variety of things on the offensive and defensive end. Connor Vanover gives you a stretch 5 that can pull the opposing center away from the the basket and help create easier scoring opportunities for slashers. Daniel Gafford can play the center or power forward position. It is difficult to match his intensity on the glass and running the floor. Jake Scoggins is a multi-dimensional forward that still has his best days ahead of him. Smart player that will always be in the right spot.
Who is the best 2-way player in Arkansas? Darius Hall, Avery Benson, Trey Lenox and Ryan Pippins are some guys that come to mind.
When Shawn Williams is hot, he can score as well as anyone in the country. When I think of guys that can flat out score the basketball, these are some of the guys that come to mind, Malik Monk, Tyrik Dixon, Andre Jones.
l Boys State Champions By Nick Mason
7A. Bentonville vs. Fayetteville Bentonville wins Tough to bet against Malik Monk. These teams will be very familiar with each other and this will be a close game. These teams will split in conference, but Bentonville will win the game that counts. 6A. Parkview vs. Jonesboro Parkview wins Heads=Parkview and size. Tails= Jonesboro and depth. Flipping a coin would be your best bet in trying to determine the winner of this game.
5A. Maumelle vs. Valley View Valley View wins 5a is a deep classification and about 5 or 6
teams can make a case for being the favorite to win. Valley View shocks the state and wins a championship this year.
2A. Earle vs. EPC Earle wins
4A. Monticello vs. Baptist Prep (Arkansas Baptist) Baptist Prep wins
These 2 teams will finish 1st and 2nd in their conference and state tournament. The stage may be too big for EPC and Earle has experience.
Baptist Prep will have just too much size and that zone will eat people alive. Better guard play will help this team to a state championship.
1A. Emerson vs. Bay Emerson wins
3A. Episcopal vs. Cedar Ridge Cedar Ridge wins Iâ€™ve been told by multiple people that Austin Reaves is the best Point Guard in the state. I think he is out to make a point this season and the best way to do that is to win a state championship.
They were so close to the taste of victory last year and they will be good again this season. Look for their style to allow them to get through the playoffs and win a state title.
The Breakfast Club Basketball and Brotherhood
uring the past few years, the state of Arkansas has produced incredible talent on the basketball court. It has been just over twenty years since Arkansas was at the center of the basketball universe with Nolan Richardson’s 1994 Arkansas Razorbacks winning the National Championship. The groundwork has now been put into place for the next generation of talented players to come out of Arkansas. What most people think of when they hear the name “The Breakfast Club” is the movie from the 1980’s about a group of kids who spend time in detention, facing a disciplinarian principal. However, the group of kids this article will cover is in no way, shape, or form in trouble for anything. In fact, this group of student-athletes may be one of the most talented ever assembled. The background of the Breakfast Club is somewhat unique; because of how it started and just how quickly the group has expanded. According to Marcus Monk, “The club started out with three members last year.” The group is a fraternity, or perhaps a brotherhood, and basketball gives these young men an avenue of ways to improve themselves both on and off the basketball court. Most fraternities have rules and the Breakfast Club is no exception.”
The Breakfast Club meets two to three times a week at 6:30 in the morning. The discipline it takes to do this is impressive since very few adults leave the house before 7 in the morning these days. What is discussed in the group, which includes: Malik Monk, Tyler Robinson, Asa Hutchinson, Jordan Hemphill, Cornelius Pratt, Gabe Hornsby, Alex Jackson and Max Chambers, stays in the group. Basketball is part of what this is about. However, the conversations that take place are also a huge part of of the club that stay private and do not leave the walls of the gym. The Breakfast Club is not a private organization anyone that plays high school basketball can attend. Basketball drills that take place are largely individual work that focuses on improving weaknesses in the individuals game. Running the floor, working on ball handling, and shooting drills are a large part of what takes place at 6:30 in the morning on meeting days. Every member of the group improves by taking part in the fraternity and having the discipline to wake up early and follow a set schedule. The Breakfast Club puts in work on the court, but the young men are also given homework by Marcus Monk. Questions are asked during the practice sessions and every member has to give an answer
to some tough questions. For example, “What is the definition of leadership?” And while, at first glance, the questions may seem sports-related, there’s more to it than that. The questions help develop the bond and helps strengthen the brotherhood that the practices and time on the court are developing. These sports-related questions are also real-world questions and relationship questions designed to not only make the individual a better athlete, but also a better member of society in a world off the basketball court. It’s not very often that a group of elite players such as this comes together to improve on the abilities they have. Individual egos often times get in the way but that is not the case here. People like to give young athletes bad rap sometimes, but honestly the work ethic these young men possess is better than the work ethic of most adults. Every young man in the Breakfast Club has all the potential in the world. Many fans are looking to forward to watching the players that make up the Breakfast Club this season. Whatever these young men choose to do in the world later on, whether it be basketball, or something else, they will never forget the experiences at the Breakfast Club and the lessons they learned.
ith any sport, whether it be football, basketball, or baseball, you will hear people talking about character and what having great teammates will do for a team. A recent example of this would be the Kansas City Royals. Only die hard Royalsâ€™ fans can likely name 6 players on that roster, simply because they are not players you hear about every day. High school basketball is much the same way and we are going to take a look at a young woman who shines not only on the court but off of it as well. At the photo shoot for the Letterman Magazine basketball issue, Kayanne Reid had the opportunity to talk about team chemistry. Kayanne cares about keeping the team spirits high and having great chemistry in good and bad times. It is easy to be positive when things are going good, but it is a little tougher when your back is against the wall. Reid makes sure she has a positive attitude no matter the circumstance. Kayanne is a leader on and off the court. Kayanne attends Get Connected Church which has provided her with the opportunity to enhance her leadership skills within the community. Reid knows that putting in the work on and off the court will be beneficial to the team and the community. The Bentonville Lady Tigers are going to be an interesting team to watch this season. The goal is to win the 7A West Conference and make the state tournament. Those are not the key goals though, the most important objectives are to improve individually and as a team every day. It is clear that Kayanne is taking those goals to heart and over the next few years people will get to see those goals in action from Kayanne and the Bentonville Lady Tigers.
Character Counts Kayanne Reid Bentonville Lady Tigers
l Dorado, Arkansas, has always been known for football prospects that it has turned out through the years. The 2017 basketball recruiting class is changing the reputation of El Dorado. The change has come in the form of 6’9” power forward Daniel Gafford. Gafford is a part of a number of recruiting classes that have Arkansas producing some of the best talent the state has seen over the past 20 years. College basketball coaches have started to take notice of just how talented a player Gafford is. To many recruiting services Gafford is ranked as the number 11 center prospect in the 2017 class. Gafford has drawn scholarship offers from Florida, Arkansas, and Kansas. He is an early 2017 commit to Arkansas and should be a key piece of the Arkansas recruiting class for the 2017 season. More importantly, scouts and fans will have another couple of seasons to observe Gafford. Gafford’s play at El Dorado during his sophomore year is what has drawn scouts to El Dorado. He averaged 13.4 points, 14.4 rebounds, and 6 blocks per game during his 2014 sophomore campaign. Gafford is only going to improve over the next two seasons and could turn into a dominant low post threat. Gafford’s time with the Arkansas Wings AAU team has put the young man on the national scene. Gafford performed well at the Nike Peach Jam in June and numerous coaches and scouts were impressed by his play. If Gafford continues to build on the progress he has made the past few seasons, he should have a terrific basketball career. I expect Gafford to be a success on and off the court. He is an intelligent individual that will accomplish a great deal in sports and life in general. The sky is the limit for this 2017 prospect and the 2015-16 season should be an excellent one.
Daniel Gafford : The Next Big Thing
letterman magazine Player on the Rise
USA Olympic Player
7-foot-3, 225 pounds
uring the past year, basketball observers have become quite familiar with Eric Curry. Curry is a 6’9” power forward out of Southwest Christian Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas. Curry is a talented young man with a lot of potential. Curry has caught the eyes of many college basketball scouts and is currently a Minnesota Golden Gopher commit. The future looks bright for Curry and we will discuss that and what the present holds for this talented student-athlete. Curry has numerous scholarship offers from schools such as; Arkansas, Iowa State, Minnesota, and SMU. Eric is currently a Minnesota commit and is focused on closing out his senior year on a win-
ning note. The addition of Curry to the Minnesota lineup gives the Golden Gophers a Top Ten recruiting class for the 2016 season. Curry will give Richard Pitino a threat in the low post that will keep the rest of the Big 10 honest. Eric has worked on improving his game during the summer and he expects to have an excellent final season before heading off to Minnesota. Last season, Curry and Southwest Christian Academy finished with a 28-7 record. They are looking to build upon and expand that success this season. In addition, Eric hopes to become
more consistent and versatile with the development of a deeper jump shot. Eric is a young man that cares about team chemistry and understands the importance of developing a bond with his teammates. He wants the team to succeed; and in the process realizes that the team’s success will ultimately make him an stronger player and person. Eric and his mother Andrea, care about the team and are wonderful people to talk with concerning not only basketball, but life outside of basketball as well. Without a doubt Eric is going to be a success on the basketball court, but more importantly off the court. Eric understands what must be done to be successful. He understands the level of commitment that is required and has the work ethic to get the job done. I recommend that folks get out to Southwest Christian Academy early and often to watch Eric play in person. Having followed Eric during the off-season, I can honestly say he is going to be an amazing player in the college ranks. Look for him to be well-known in the college basketball world within the next two years. Eric presents more evidence that Arkansas high school basketball is producing some of the most talented athletes in the country. Enjoy the basketball season, it should be a great one!
Eric Curry: The Next Great Little Rock Post Player
Payton Willis Leading the Fayetteville Bulldogs in the Tough 7-A West
and Fort Smith Northside. Fayetteville fell to North Little Rock in the state playoffs although, by most accounts, it was a successful season to basketball observers in Arkansas.
Coach Adams and the Purple Dogs had an excellent run last season. However, it did not end in a state championship which is the ultimate goal. Last season, the Purple Dogs had impressive victories over Bentonville, Springdale Har-Ber,
The 2015-2016 season is going to be a tough one for whoever gains control of the 7-A West. Should that team be the Fayetteville Purple Dogs, there is going to be some fantastic high school basketball played very soon. The potential match-ups are interesting to consider when you see BentonvilleFayetteville on the schedule twice. Payton Willis and Malik Monk will have the spotlight those nights. Willis has the skills to be a solid player in the SEC. Willis is (6â€™4â€? 190 pounds) and can play either the point or shooting guard position. Payton is a good ball handler and has one of the better three point jumpers in the state. Simply
he 7-A West is one of the toughest conferences in the state whether we are talking basketball or football. The Fayetteville Bulldogs face several other high octane basketball powerhouses during conference play. Fayetteville head coach Kyle Adams has a tremendous roster returning for the 2015-2016 basketball season. The roster includes quality players such as: Payton Willis, Drake Wymer, and Caleb Finney. The entire team is loaded from top to bottom and this should be a sensational year for the Purple Dogs.
put, Willis is a solid player and will fit into the Vanderbilt basketball program well next season. Willis and the Purple Dogs will be tested early this season. Fayetteville will be opening the season with North Little Rock which should draw plenty of excitement from around the state. With a schedule that also includes Conway, Bentonville, Springdale Har-Ber twice, and Fort Smith Northside. The Non-Conference slate should help prepare Fayetteville for the Conference schedule, and neither will be easy to deal with. Fayetteville will have to play tenacious defense and be able to put the ball in the basket. If Coach Adams can keep everyone injury-free, the sky is the limit with this team in terms of potential. Fayetteville fans should get over to the gym and catch this talented team this season.
Log into ArkansasVarsity.com for the most comprehensive basketball and football recruiting news, game reports, player profiles and feature articles, and more. ArkansasVarsity.com is part of the Rivals.com and Yahoo! Sports family of websites, and has been the source for prep sports and recruiting in the Natural state since 2005.
Matt Thomas & Matt Wilson Aiming to Keep the Cardinals
Flying High T
he Farmington Cardinals are a team that is expecting big things for the 2015-2016 basketball season. Coach Beau Thompson is returning some excellent players for the upcoming season. The Cardinals are in a tough conference, but as they proved last year, they have plenty of weapons and will be a difficult team to face this season. Farmington calls the 5A west conference home. The Cardinals will have to contend with powerhouses Maumelle, Morrilton, and Little Rock Christian during the course of the basketball season. The 5A West has several players that are 6’9” and over and that could cause some problems for the Cardinals. Head coach Beau Thompson knows that the conference will be challenging, but feels that the teams Non-Conference schedule will prepare the Cardinals. The Non-Conference slate for the Cardinals includes games
against Springdale Bulldogs and Rogers Mounties. The weapons catching the eyes of most observers for the Cardinals are in the forms of Matt Wilson and Matt Thomas. According to Marcus Monk and Nick Mason of the Raw Report, “Both Thomas and Wilson play off of each other very well when on the court.” Each player has good ball handling skills and an impressive jumper. Both Thomas and Wilson focus on defense and believe it can take them to the next level. Coach Thompson has helped prepare both players to take advantage of the mismatches that opposing teams will present during the course of the game. Thomas and Wilson each have good range, and Farmington is going to rely on their scoring ability. Last season, the Cardinals started the year with a 9-1 record. Farmington then entered conference play and struggled to some extent but eventually
got it going as the season progressed. The Cardinals are prepared for this year and have the weapons and talent to have an excellent season. The Cardinals will have to play good defense, but this could be a team that makes a push for a conference championship this season. The Cardinals have some tough games that will challenge both the players and the coaches but this should be a team that is in playoff contention when the season winds down. If the defense comes along, and Thomas and Wilson continue to put up the points and cause problems for the opposition, Farmington could have a special season. Farmington fans should plan to pack the gym; it is not every year a team this talented rolls around.
he Springdale Har-ber Wildcats have become one of the most consistent basketball teams in the state. Coach Scott Bowlin has led the Wildcats to several playoff appearances in recent years and is looking to take this yearsâ€™ team to a state championship. The Wildcats have a talented group returning for the 2015 season. Avery Benson and J.P. Brandon return for another and they will be aided by transfers Tyler Garrett and Justin Smith for the upcoming season. Last season, the Har-ber Wildcats had an impressive showing, finishing with a 19-8 record. However, the Wildcats are in the same conference as Bentonville and Fayetteville, so they will have work to do in order to win the 7A West Conference. The Wildcats have J.P. Brandon occupying the low post and, to many basketball observers, he is
the best post player in the 7A West. Avery Benson has no problem making the opposing team pay for spending too much time concentrating on Brandon. Benson is drawing the attention of several college scouts. He already has an offer from University of Arkansas-Little Rock and is looking to bring in a few more during the course of the season. Benson is an accurate shooter and has the ability to get hot from 3-point-land and stay that way through the course of the game. Benson is continuously looking to improve upon his game. Avery has spent time during the offseason improving his ball handling and working on his shooting. Heading into the start of the season, every team is anxious to demonstrate they have improved since last season. Har-ber is ready to avenge last seasonâ€™s
loss to North Little Rock in the state playoffs. The Wildcats will get help from Tyler Garrett and Justin Smith. Both Smith and Garrett transferred from Springdale High School during the offseason and should provide a boost to the Wildcats. The 2015 season has all the makings of being a big one for Har-ber and Avery Benson. The Wildcats will open with North Little Rock on November 14 and it should be an excellent game. Fayetteville and Bentonville each appear on the schedule twice and those match-ups will be key in determining playoff positions at the end of the season. Har-ber has plenty of work and some tough games ahead but this should be an excellent season for the Wildcats.
versatile AVERY BENSON
Har-ber Wildcats Focused on a State Title Run
Mitchell Smith M itchell Smith has been the face of the Van Buren basketball program for the last three years, and that’s unlikely to change during his senior year. As a gangly 6-foot-8 freshman, Smith helped lead the Pointers to the 7A state tournament, and has done so as a sophomore and a junior as well. It’s a far cry from his childhood, when basketball was just something you did until baseball season started in the spring. “I grew a lot one summer and so my dad got me in the gym more,” Smith said. “And then I just fell in love with it from there. My dad is probably my biggest influence, along with my sister.” Smith loves being a Pointer, especially playing for longtime coach Randy Loyd. “It’s great, the community really comes out and supports us every night,” Smith said. “And playing for Coach Loyd has really changed my life. He’s a great coach. He puts in the hours with us to make us better each and every day. Being with him for four years has made us close, and he’s the type of person who will jump you in practice but will be the first person to help you if you need it.” Loyd, who also doubles as Van Buren’s athletic director, knew between Smith’s sophomore and junior year that he had the ability to play major college basketball. “I knew he had the skill level to do it,” Loyd said. “I saw the improvement he was making from working hard every day. In the four years I’ve had him, he hasn’t taken a day off practice. He brings it every day.”
Van Buren has produced a number of talented post players since Loyd took over the program in 1994, including Billy Pharis, who played at Arkansas and is still playing overseas, as well as Hooper Vint, who is playing at Texas El-Paso. Loyd said Smith ranks at the top. “For big men, he is the most skilled player I’ve ever coached,” Loyd said. “Mitchell has a bright future ahead of him if he continues to work hard.” Winning a state championship would be music to Smith’s ears, but he is primarily focused on becoming the best player he can be. “I want to get stronger in the weight room, and work on my new skills that I’m establishing for playing at the collegiate level,” Smith said. Earlier this school year, Smith orally committed to Missouri and their second-year coach Kim Anderson. “Just the atmosphere in being in Columbia was great, and talking with Coach Anderson and other members of the staff made me feel very wanted,” Smith said. “I liked hearing that I could come in my first year and make an impact, that was very important to me. It all just depends on how hard I work.” Loyd said that Missouri is getting a special young man and a great player in Smith. “His strengths are knowledge of the game, his work ethic and being very skilled for his size,” Loyd said. “He needs to get bigger and stronger and that will happen once he arrives at Missouri.”
The Arkadelphia Bulldogs is a community of loyal leaders who desire to empower young men and women on their joumey to adulthood. We strive to provide a positive environment for at risk youth and give them an outlet to be themselves and express their challenges openly. As a community we teach our youth how to initiate and maintain healthy relationships with their peers, parents and teachers during their teenage years, and ultimately throughout life. With informed and educated decision making skills, effective communication skills and conflict resolution, our youth will be well equipped to be change agents throughout the community. The Arkadelphia Bulldogs are very passionate and excited about growing each and every young person one step at a time.
What We Do The Arkaclelphia Bulldogs mentoring approach gives young men and women a variety of role models who show up consistently, tell the truth about real struggles as men and women, praise them and their gifts support them when they make mistakes, and encourage them to become successful individuals within the community. We are dedicated to providing this opportunity to every young person in need.
Itâ€™s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. -Frederick Douglass
TOP 10 arkansas teams
bentonville, parkview, jonesboro, fayetteville, maumelle, el dorado, mills, hot springs, valley view, north little rock Bentonville Head Coach: Jason McMahan. 2015: Arkansas 7a State Finalist. Key Players: Malik Monk, Tyler Robinson. Key Question: What other guys will step up to help Malik Monk this season? 2016 Prediction: 7a State champions. Parkview Head Coach: Al Flanagan. 2014: Whataburger Basketball Champions. Key Players: Khalil Garland, Ethan Henderson, Ryan Pippins. Key Question: Will they have enough offense to beat the top teams in the state? 2016 Prediction: 6a State Champions. Jonesboro Head Coach: Wes Swift. 2015: Arkansas 6a State Finalist. Key Players: Marcus Hunter, Jayvon Landon, Ben Harvey, Kobe Wilson, Jonathan Adams. Key Question: WIll coach Swift be able to keep 9 guys happy? 2016 Prediction: 6a State RunnerUp. Fayetteville Head Coach: Kyle Adams. 201415 record of 23-6. Beat Bentonville twice in conference. Key Players: Payton Willis, Josh Bretthit.
Key Question: Will they stay focused against other teams the way they focus on Bentonville? 2016 Prediction: 7a State RunnerUp. Maumelle Head Coach: Michael Shook. 2015 Arkansas 5a State Finalist. Key Players: Shawn Williams, Tremont Robinson. Key Question: With Shawn Williams transferring back, how will that change chemistry? 2016 Prediction: 5a State RunnerUp. El Dorado Head Coach: Gary Simmons. 2015 2nd place in 6a South and 2nd round of the 6a State Tournament. Key Players: Daniel Gafford, Czar Perry. Key Question: Will they be able to get Gafford enough touches? 2016 Prediction: 20+ wins, 3rd round of the playoffs. Mills Head Coach: Raymond Cooper. 2015 second round of the 5a State Tournament. Key Players: Darius Hall, Quan Marshall, Jeremiah Toney. Key Question: Will they be able to make
enough shots in the playoffs? 2016 Prediction 5a Central Conference Champions. Hot Springs Head Coach: Rodney Echols. 2015 third round of the 5a State Tournament. Key Players: Trey Lenox, Kajuan Christon, Exavian Christon, Paris Harris. Key Question: How healthy is Trey Lenox? 2016 Prediction 5a South Conference Champions. Valley View Head Coach: Jason Manchester. 2015 5a East Champions. Key Players: Matt Owens, Alexander Gorton, Adam Horn. Key Question: Will they be able to get enough stops in the playoffs? 2016 Prediction 5a State Champions. North Little Rock Head Coach: Johnny Rice. 2015 Arkansas 7a State Champions. Key Players: Adrian Moore, Morris Talbert, Deion Dobbins. Key Question: Who will emerge as the leader? 2016 Prediction 7a/6a East 2nd place. 2nd round of 7a State Tournament.
Pre-season All-NWA Basketball Teams 1st Team
Sleeper of the year Jordan Hemphill Bentonville
Newcomer of the year Tyler Garrett Har-Ber
PG. Payton Willis Fayetteville Sr. Combo guard with deep range. Could play PG or SG at the next level. SG. Malik Monk Bentonville Sr. Possesses a unique combination of athleticism and playmaking skill. SF. Avery Benson Har-Ber Jr. Athletic wing with improving offensive game. PF. JP Brandon Har-Ber Sr. Bouncy forward that has started to make jumpers. C. Mitchell Smith Van Buren Sr. Skilled big that will compete for minutes next season at Missouri.
PG. Tevin Brewer Northside Jr. Undersized winner who can score the basketball. SG. Lexus Hobbs Heritage Sr. Power wing with extreme athletic ability. SF. Matt Thomas Farmington Jr. Point forward that can pass and shoot. PF. Tyler Robinson Bentonville Sr. Good feel and a solid all around game. C. SK Shittu Rogers Providence Jr. Super shot blocker who can run and rebound.
PG. Spencer Brown Fayetteville Sr. Glue type of guard that defends and makes winning plays. SG. Milacio Freeland Rogers Sr. Small combo guard that can make shots. SF. Westin Church Pea Ridge Jr. Physical wing who defends and rebounds. PF. Josh Breathitt Fayetteville Sr Stretch forward with a nice touch. C. Kyle Snavely Siloam Springs Sr. Strong big who has improved each year.
Pre-season All-state Basketball Teams 1st Team
Sleeper of the year Brandon Clifford Paragould Sr.
Newcomer of the year Kobi WIlson Jonesboro So.
PG. Payton Willis Fayetteville Sr. Combo guard with deep range. Could play PG or SG at the next level. SG. Malik Monk Bentonville Sr. Possesses a unique combination of athleticism and playmaking skill. SF. Khalil Garland Parkview Jr. Best hands in the state. Big guard that can play both wing spots. PF. Eric Curry Southwest Christian Sr. Multidimensional forward that makes winning plays. C. Daniel Gafford El Dorado Jr. Find me another big in the state that plays as hard as this kidâ€ŚIâ€™ll wait.
PG. Austin Reaves Cedar Ridge Sr. Highly skilled with the ball in his hands. Might be the best passer in the state. SG. Shawn Williams Maumelle Sr. Compact scorer that has a more than reliable jumper. SF. Andre Jones Malvern Sr. This kid can dominate with his strength, skill and competitiveness. PF. Ethan Henderson Parkview So. Bouncy forward with a ton of potential C. Mitchell Smith Van Buren Sr. Skilled big that will compete for minutes next season at Missouri.
PG. Tyrik Dixon Southwest Christian Sr. Dynamic point guard that can score. SG. Lawson Korita Pulaski Academy Sr. Smart wing that can shoot the basketball. SF. Darius Hall Mills University Jr. UPSIDE!!!!! Forward that can run and defend. PF. Salisu Yahaya Jonesboro Jr. Athletic forward with an improving offensive game. C. Connor Vanover Baptist Prep So. Could a 7 footer be the best shooter in the state?
n a crisp October Saturday morning, the 6’7” Ronnie Brewer, Jr. stands above the mass of humanity around him at the southwest corner of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Smiling, the 30-year-old local basketball legend greets one group of fans after another as they head into the stadium to see the Hogs play Auburn. Every minute, it seems, someone new approaches with hands outstretched. Brewer is every bit in his element. This is the community and the alma mater he feels help propel him to the success he achieved in the last decade: an honorable mention All-American honor to cap a stellar
then & now three-year run as a Razorback, a 2006 NBA Draft selection at No. 14 overall and then an eight-year run in the League that Brewer is still training hard to continue. As of late October, Brewer had not played in the NBA since a short stint with the Bulls in spring 2014. Still, he’s stayed plenty busy. Brewer runs an annual local youth basketball camp and he and his father Ron - also a former Razorback basketball legend - check in with the current Razorback basketball team and staff almost every day. He returned to the classroom and finished his bachelor’s degree last May.
And he’s been giving back. Through his non-profit foundation, Ronnie Brewer donated $100,000 to the Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girls Club in Fayetteville he says was vital to his early years. Brewer credits that club, now located west of Interstate 49 and the UA campus, with helping him find a home as a young child after moving to Fayetteville from Portland where Ron had played for the Trailblazers. “I’d say at least 60% of the of the people I know in Fayetteville to this day have some kind of connection” to that club, Ronnie says. Through basketball, sure, but also through other activities like art, flag football and soccer.
To honor Brewer’s contribution, the club named the court of a recently opened gym and teen life center building after him. The court entrance showcases his name and a cartoon logo of Brewer depicting him in midcrossover. When Brewer first saw the honor, “it made very excited” he recalls. “It made me feel really proud that even when I’m not around on this earth that that legacy can still be here.” The Ronnie Brewer Foundation has been a family affair since it started more than seven years ago. Brewer’s parents help run it along with his sister, Candice Graham. Over the years, they have given away turkeys, toys, coats, backpacks, air conditioners, toys and more to families in need across northwest Arkansas. Many current and former Razorback basketball players have volunteered at events run by Brewer’s foundation. During his summer basketball camp, for example, Anton Beard, Keaton Miles and Moses Kingsley all helped. Others such as Kikko Haydar and Fred Gulley, who like Brewer had starred at Fayetteville High School, would “volunteer their time with different things I had going on, just to show they supported me and they supported what I was doing in the community.”
Ronnie’s mother Carolyn Brewer, who grew up in the poor town of Ogden outside of Texarkana, says she stressed generosity. “I tried to teach my children ‘Whatever you have, share it, because God gives back to you.” Carolyn also emphasized finishing college. Her son put off finishing his degree in sports journalism since he left a season early for the pros. But he’d made a promise to finish it, and used his off year as a chance to finally do it. “The reason why I came back is I couldn’t look my daughter in the eye - or my mom and dad, nieces and nephews and people around - and tell them honestly ‘Hey, it’s important to go back to school. It’s important to focus in school’ when I didn’t have a degree of my own.” Back in school Brewer found himself in a unique position: He took classes in a journalism department to which he had donated $50,000 for a scholarship fund years earlier. “I know a lot of people in Arkansas who’d die to come to the [University] of Arkansas, and sometimes they can’t or when do they do they’re struggling” financially, he says. “It’s major if you can help somebody else just a little bit.” So, did that donation mean Brewer expected to get an “A” in all his classes?
“Yeah, that’s what a lot of my professors kind of joked about,” he says, chuckling. “They were like ‘Oh, you donated that because you knew you were going to come back, since you made a promise to your mom, and you didn’t want us to be too harsh on you.’” “I was like ‘No, honestly, I didn’t even know when I was going to come back.” As of late October, Brewer was still back in Fayetteville, still mentoring basketball players while helping lay the financial foundation for the next phase of his life. He says he’s partnered with astute businessmen friends in the area to make “low risk” investments to ensure the millions he made in the NBA don’t disappear. At this point he’s still too invested in his playing career, which may resume in the NBA, the NBDL (NBA’s minor league) or abroad, to know exactly how he’ll use his wealth, his degree and vast personal network down the line. But it’s a fair bet whatever the future holds for Ronnie Brewer, it will involve his beloved alma mater and the northwest Arkansas community at large. Brewer was recently signed by the NBDL Santa Cruz team.
Springdale Invitational Saturday November 14th 5:00pm Start Time Fayetteville vs. North Little Rock Springdale Har-ber vs. Hot Springs On expectations for the season Fayetteville Purple Bulldogs 2014-2015 Record: 23-6 2015 7A State Semi-Finalist Quotes from head coach Kyle Adams On having a rematch of last year’s 7A State Semis with North Little Rock “The fact that they are back-to-back-to-back state champions, I think it’s three in a row now for them, Coach Rice has taken that program to a whole new level now. With the level of athletes he has and what we have coming back it should create a great atmosphere for this game just like last year’s.” On Peyton Willis “He is a great young man first of all. He is verbally committed to go to Vanderbilt next year. He has worked so hard on his game. He has grown a lot and is about 6’4” now. His athleticism has increased and is shooting the ball very well. For our team, everything starts with him.” On Josh Breathitt “He’s a stretch four or five. He really came on last year and ended up being all conference. He can step out and knock down the three. We are excited about his senior year.” On Spencer Brown “He started out at point guard for us last year. His leadership at practice so far has been outstanding.” On Demaunte Youngblood “He’s very athletic. He can be a lock down defender that we are looking for from him.” On Tyler Roth “He’s a one or two combo guard that shoots the ball well. He’s a great defender and I love his tenacity. He works extremely hard.” On John Barnes “John is one of the better shooters we have.” On playing in the Springdale Invitational “This is a great thing for Northwest Arkansas high school basketball. A lot of times, this area has kind of been overlooked for it’s basketball ability. Granted there has been some great teams in Central Arkansas... it’s nice to have something like
this in Northwest Arkansas so people can see the type of athletes and the level of basketball that is being played here. This tournament is a huge deal for not only Arkansas high school basketball but for Northwest Arkansas high school basketball.” North Little Rock Charging Wildcats 2014-2015 Record: 24-6 2015 7A State Champions Head coach Johnny Rice’s quotes on openings the season versus Fayetteville “Opening against Fayetteville is probably not how most team would want to open up with, but we want to play the best out there. They will be picked as a the favorite to win it all and deservedly so.” On returning Adrian Moore and Morris Talbert “They are our two returning starters and will have to lead us for us to be the best we can be.” On new key players “Juniors Jarvis Ricks, Deion Dobbins and Gentrell Taylor will be big parts of our success this year after having some varsity experience last year.”
On Exavian Christon “He was out leading scorer at 18 points a game last season as a sophomore. He is an elite scorer, while playing the two and the three for us. He is a key component in what we do. Our main emphasis is to get him the ball. He’s a very athletic kid that with his skill set the sky is the limit for the kid. His stock is really going to rise.” On Paris Harris “He is a stretch four for us. He attacks the rim and plays really well around the basket. He could really be a sleeper for us this year.” On playing in the Springdale Invitation “It’s great for getting these basketball players seen and notarized. It’s a great chance for them to play in front of college coaches. It’s going to help take high school basketball to the next level as far as recruitment and getting those kids playing in front of large crowds. It really helps a program like us here at Hot Springs. Playing games like this really help us get ready for conference. Springdale Har-ber Wildcats 2014-15 Record: 21-8
On playing in the Springdale Invitational
Quotes from head coach Scott Bowlin
“The Springdale Invitational will give our guys a state tournament atmosphere and we will really get to see what we are made of. A lot of questions that we have about ourselves will get answered there.”
On Avery Benson
Hot Springs Trojans 2014-15 Record: 23-6 2015 5A South Conference Champions 2015 5A State Semi Finalist Quotes from head coach Rodney Echols On his 2015-16 Squad “We return four starters. I can play 12 kids… I’m expecting us to make the playoffs… We’ve got a three headed monster is Trey Lenox, Kajaun Christon and Exavian Christon… We have some talent here at Hot Springs.
“He’s getting a lot of mid-major to high-major D-1 interest right now. He is a high energy guy. He will be one of our better defenders. We are going to make him one of our guys this year that puts the ball in the basket. He needs to average 15-18 points a game for us this year. He has a nice jumper and 37 dunks last year as a sophomore.” On JP Brandon “I think he is the post player going into the year in our league. He’s a two year starter. He has really improved his ball handling and perimeter shooting.” On Josh Benford “He could be surprise for everyone this year. He’s 6’5” and long. He’s really improved his game from last year. He could be that ‘X’ factor for us.”
On Trey Lenox “He’s a 6-3 combo guard that really knows them game and has a high basketball IQ. I’m excited about his senior year after being a three year starter. He’s an all-conference and all-state basketball player. I’m really looking forward to him taking his game to another level. He’s a guy that averaged 15 points a game for us last year.” On Kajuan Christon “He is another three year start for us. He averaged 13 points last season. He is a light’s out shooter. He is our defensive leader and he is this older brother of Exavian Christon.”
On hosting the Springdale Invitational “We are very excited about the opportunity. We are starting my third year here at Har-Ber and we are trying to get our basketball program up to the likes of the North Little Rocks and the Fayettevilles. We want every year to start the basketball season with Har-Ber’s name in the same sentence as those programs. It allows our kids to be seen and all the kids in the tournament to have the chance to be recruited.”
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November 17th 5:00pm
20’s. He has put on about 15 lbs and is quicker and more explosive. By the end of the season he should be recognized as one of the elite scoringpoint guards in our area.”
Farmington High School
On playing in the showcase
Farmington Girls vs Bentonville Girls
“We are excited to not only play in this event but to showcase our new facility to the general public. Springdale is a big, athletic opponent that plays a similar style to many of the teams that we play in central Arkansas in our 5A conference. They will be a great early test for us to see what we need to work on moving forward to conference season.”
Farmington Super Tuesday
Rogers Providence vs. LR Mills Farmington Boys vs. Springdale High School Boys Farmington Boys Quotes from the Head Coach on last season “Started the season 10-1 last year and then run into uncharted territory in a new classification. Finished 4-10 in conference play for a 14-13 total record. We only had two games in conference play that were decided by six points or more. We were able to defeat Maumelle (5A state runner-up), Morrilton (5A state tourn qualifier), Clarksville (5A state qualifier), Subiaco Academy (4A State runner up), and Huntsville who at one time was 23-1 with us as their only loss.” On returning players “We return two starters (Matt Thomas and Matt Wilson), whom accounted for about 70% of our total offense. We feel that we a bigger, deeper, and more athletic this year. But, we have to replace the toughness that we lost with the graduation of Skylar Barnes who is now playing at The University of the Ozarks at Clarksville. Matt Thomas is a 6’4 SR guard who should leave Farmington as its all-time leading scorer. In his two seasons of varsity action he has averaged a combined 17.5 pts per game. He has improved his 3 pt shot and his strength around the basket over the off-season. He is a match-up nightmare because he can score from the post, from mid-range off the dribble, and from the 3 point line as well. Junior point guard Matt Wilson has exploded as a force to be dealt with over the summer. Last year as a sophomore he showed glimpses with a 31 point outing at Alma and 3 conference games where he was in the
Farmington Girls Last year synopsis: Record: 24-5. 5A West Conference champs, lost by 3 to Hot Springs in the 5A State Final Four (been to Final Four three out of the last four years) Quotes from Head Coach Brad Johnson on his top returning players “Trish O’Connell is a senior 5’7’’ guard. She is a returning All 5A West Conference guard. Currently, she is being recruited by Southern Arkansas, Bethel College, and Midland University. She is one of the top defenders in the 5A West, moving from SG to PG for her senior season. She has good straight line burst off the bounce and excels in transition.” “Tori Hanley is a senior 5’9’’ guard. She has good size, strength, athleticism with the ability to play inside and out. She shoots well from the perimeter, but plays well with her back to the basket on the interior.” On playing in the tournament “We have an overall very inexperienced team but we are excited to continue our tradition of playing in big events, against bigger schools, in front of a large crowd. This will be an early state tournament level opponent, in a state tournament type atmosphere which we think will help prepare us for the rigors of 5A West Conference play. Playing in this event will be a tremendous opportunity to showcase our community and highlight our new
arena, which we are extremely proud of.” Springdale Boys Last season: Overall record was 12-16. Finished 6th in the 7A West and had a 1st round playoff win over West Memphis and a 2nd round defeat to Bentonville. Quotes from Head Coach Jeremy Price on his returning players “Senior Kyler Mahar is a 6’5” guard/small forward, great shooter that will help spread the floor for our guards. He’s a team captain who has a great work ethic and understanding of the game. Kyler is passionate competitors who will most likely lead the team in all the categories that don’t get printed in the newspaper the next day- charges, loose balls, block outs, extra passes. He’s a great teammate. He will continue his basketball career at Blue Mountain College (NAIA) located in Blue Mountain, MS” “Ishine McFarland- Is a 6’5” post/power forward who can score. Ishine has a great feel for the game. He has a great touch around the basket and and he sees the floor very well. He can play with his back to the basket &he can face up. He will help us the most playing inside but he has the ability to step out on the floor and knock down shots. At rhis time Ishine is undecided on where he will attend college.” On playing in the showcase “Our program is very excited to have the opportunity to play in this event. Our student athletes are eager to showcase their talents in an exciting environment.” Bentonville Grils They are led by head coach Tom Halbmaier and senior Madison Brittan, who committed to Ouachita Baptist University earlier in the fall.
November 28th 5:00pm Start Hickman (MO) vs.Putnam City West (OK) Mustang (OK) vs Bentonville (AR) Bentonville High School,
think we have the most difficult schedule in the history of the state of Arkansas in non-conference games” On playing Mustang
On expectations for the season
“I know that community very well. That’s actually where I began my teaching and coaching career, was at Mustang. I know last year they were Oklahoma State champs in the largest classification and they have a lot of good players back. They play crazy fast, just like us.”
“I think we have a chance at having a special season. We have a group that will be competitive with anybody nationally. Our schedule is very difficult. I have had a lot of people tell me they
“He’s down to picking his final six schools, Kentucky, Kansas, Arkansas, Oregon, North Carolina and Florida State. He’s got a lot more
Bentonville, AR 2015 Arkansas 7A State Finalist Quotes from Head Coach Jason McMahan
On Malik Monk
offers than that, but those are his final six he has narrowed it down to. My biggest thing about him is that he continues to improve. In practice, I can already tell he is a way better player than last year. He’s leading his teammates and helping them believe in themselves. He’s making a lot of unbelievable passes and seeing some special point guard type play out of him. On Tyler Robinson “He’s a senior and a three year starter for us. He’s a 6’5” wing/forward type player for us. He has interest from Harding, UA-Fort Smith, John Brown, Ouachita (Baptist), Henderson State. He’s a crucial player for us, because we don’t have a lot of size. Tyler is our strongest player and our best
defensive rebounder. He’s crucial in these national type games, because everyone has size.”
of the coaches on the way he can continue to be solid and progress.”
On Jordan Hemphill
“He started last year as a sophomore for us. He’s a 6’4” point guard. I think he’s really going to be the one that explodes this year and everyone is shocked by it. He’s one of the best players in our league, because he’s so well rounded. I think he’s going to start to see offers fall in place for him this year as we play our schedule.”
“He’s our 6’8” kid and getting D-1 looks from Missouri, Southern Illinois, and Arkansas. He’s getting football looks from Missouri and Purdue.”
On Aaron Estrada “He’s a dual sport, football/basketball guy. He’s the starting free safety. He’s a starting guard for us. Aaron is a super smart basketball player that has unmatched toughness. We’ve seen him be able to play at the highest levels and biggest atmospheres as a sophomore. So we know he is really going to have an amazing year this year.”
Shaheem Hicks “He’s probably one of our overall better players. He’s only 5’11” but he plays bigger. He’s quick and gets the open shot. He can drive to the bucket and has a great motor.” On playing in the tourney
good summer. Kejuan has a chance to play some mid-major ball. He almost was state tournament MVP, that’s how valuable he was to us last year.” Bryce Roberts “He’s a 6’6” tight end on the football team, and is a post guy for us. He’s going to have an opportunity to play division one football.” DeAryus Colbert “He’s got several strong D-2 offers and has a strong chance to be a starting guard.” On playing in the tournament “We really excited. It’s a part of a really tough schedule we have put together. This is a great chance to help put Mustang on the map. Jacoby and those guys got play against Malik Monk this summer. We have tremendous respect for his game. Just to have the chance to come down and have our kids compete on that level is super important.”
“When we went to all these national tournaments we realized we have the capability of putting on one of these national tournaments for the people of Northwest Arkansas. They can some see all this top tier talent play in our gym. We are excited to build on last year’s tournament and pushing the date back a week is really going to help that.”
“Hickman is one of the biggest schools in the state of Missouri and has rich tradition in basketball. Through almost 100 years as a basketball program we over 1,900 wins and less than 700 losses. We’re second in most state appearances in the state of Missouri with 28. We’re proud of that tradition. We know heading down to Arkansas we will face some top talent. It’s going to be a great tournament. We played in it last year. We were very impressed with the way the tournament was ran and the competition that was there. And with Jimmy Whitt being down there in Arkansas and with what Mike Anderson has done, it will be fun to go down and represent the state of Missouri.”
Hickman High School
Mustang High School
2014-15 Record 15-12
2014-15 Record: 28-0
Quotes from Head coach David Johnson
2015 6A Oklahoma State Champs
On expectations for the 2015-16 season
Finished 2015 Nationally Ranked
“I really like what we have as far as size and depth. This is the most size and depth I’ve ever had while at Hickman. We have perimeter guys who can get it down low to our bigs, but also make plays on the outside.”
Max Preps computer poll #2
On Chase Thomas
“He was our leading scorer last year. He averaged 17 and eight. He also lead them team in steals and was second in assists. He was all-state first-team. He made the Oklahoma Super Five. He’s a four star on ESPN.com. Most outlets have him as the number one player in the state of Oklahoma.”
On Jarrod Jackson
Curtis Haywood II
“This is something that needs to happen more. It brings excitement to this region. To be able to get Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma teams together and start the seasons together is great. It will be great experience for our up and coming guys as well. It’s an opportunity to get those guys some exposure. Also, a great opportunity to showcase our team and all our players.”
On hosting the “MPMG Roundball Classic”
“He’s our point guard. He’s an all-district kid. He had a really great summer. He was a top 150 future all-star over the summer.” On Ju’Dante Sutton “He’s a transfer that’s getting looks from Morehead State and Southern Illinois. He’s a lefty. A really great all-around player that can shoot, rebound, pass, and defend. I’m really looking for big things from him.”
USA Today #20 Excellent 25 poll #14 Jacoby Long
“He’s a 6’4” swing man with a lot of interest from Western Kentucky, Bowling Green, and Illinois State. He had a really good summer for us as well.”
On Calvin Hubbard
“He’s a returning starter for us. He’s a 6’6” forward/center. Probably one of the best bigs you will see in regards to post moves. He’s got great post moves and then can face up and hit the 15foot jumper.”
“He’s 6’8”, long and super athletic. He has interest from Wichita State, Illinois State, and LoyolaChicago. I think he’s eventually going to have a shot a playing high-major ball.
On Grant Beasley
“He will be our point guard this year after being our sixth man last year. He had a great year for us, especially in the state tournament. He had a really
“He’s a 6’1” senior combo guard. He had a very solid summer for us. He’s opened a lot of eyes
Putnam City West High School 2014-2015 Record: 24-3 2015 State Semi-Finalist On Marquis Johnson “He’s one of the top point guards in the state. He’s a four year starter now. He can do it all. He’s just undersized at 5’9”. He’s getting interest from Northern Arizona, UTEP, and Sam Houston State. On Nick Robinson “He’s a three year starter and a 6’4” wing player. He plays football as well. Big contributor to our success. Tulsa offered him last year. Oklahoma is taking a look at him as well.” On Issac Liggins “He’s a 6’4” power forward. He’s been starting off and on all throughout his career.” “Over the summer he actually got rated as the number three player in his class in the state of Oklahoma. He’s a 6’1” combo guard.” On playing in the tournament
Mxxdprints by Gabriel Cuillier “Contemporary projects in Film, Photography and Design” www.mxxdprints.com
December 11th 5:00pm EPC vs Har-Ber 6:30pm Memphis Arlington vs Bentonville 8:00pm Valley View vs. CPA December 12th 2:00pm Arkansas Baptist vs Har-Ber 3:30pm EPC vs. Senath Hornsville 5:00pm Pulaski Academy vs Bartlett High 6:30pm Memphis Southwind vs Jonesboro Team Previews Valley View Head Coach Jason Manchester Players to Watch Alexander Gorton – Averaged 23 ppg and 4.5 rebounds last season. Adam Horn – Averaged 17 ppg and 10 rebounds a game last season. Matt Owens – The team’s sharpshooter that averaged 12 ppg last season. Valley View is the other ½ of the “home” teams in this event .It is expected they will have a great supporting crowd for their opening night game on Friday.
“Nathan Hoover is one of the best pure shooters in the state. He is a relentless hustler and his great work ethic separates him from other players. Nathan has offers from the University of Mississippi, Wofford University, University of Tulsa, and Texas-Pan American.” “Demonte Person is one of the top point guards in the city of Memphis. He is a great floor leader who can shoot, handle the ball well versus pressure, and sees the floor very well. Demonte has offers from North Dakota, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Texas – El Paso and Murray State.” Memphis Arlington is a newer school that was started in 2004 and has an enrollment of 2,400. --Senath Hornsville vs. East Poinsett County-The main story line in this game is the battle of two young a raising high school coaches. Senath is coached by former basketball standout and son of former Arkansas State University coach Dickey Nutt. East Poinsett Country is coached by former Arkansas Razorback graduate assistant McKenzie Pierce. This could be the start of a strong rivalry between these two coaches. Senath is just north of Blytheville across the Missouri border. East Poinsett County has won four state basketball titles since 1995.
Missouri State Arkansas Baptist Head Coach Brian Ross Players to Watch The Eagles have the twin towers known as the Vanover brothers. Brandon is a 6’11” senior while his brother, Connor, is a 7’3” sophomore. Connor made the first cut of the USA Basketball under 16 tryouts this year. Springdale Har-Ber Head Coach Scott Bowlin Players to watch Zane King – 6’6” forward JP Brandon – 6’7” forward
Coach Bowlin is back in Northeast Arkansas, which is familiar territory for him. As head coach at Green County Tech he saw a lot of success. Now after getting Har-Ber back into the playoffs last season, he looks to improve on the foundation that was built. He thinks this team could be even better because of returning players like JP Brandon. They will go as far as standout wing Avery Benson can take them.
Player to Watch
Lawson Korita – Much of the Bruins’ success this season will depend on how well Korita plays this season. He is a 6’3” guard with good range that plays on the Wings AAU team with Malik Monk.
Southwind high school is the alma mater for former University of Tennessee star and current Memphis Grizzlies player Jarnell Stokes.
Pulaski Academy is the alma mater for current Razorback basketball player Dusty Hannahs.
Players to Watch Malik Monk – The #6 recruiting in the class of 2016, according to ESPN.com. He has offers from Kansas, Kentucky, Florida and Arkansas, just to name a few. Tyler Robinson – He is a returning three year starter, who was a part of the 2014 State Semifinalist and 2015 State Runner-ups. The Tigers are the 2015 7A state runner-ups and reigning back-to-back 7A West Champions. Memphis Arlington Head Coach Don Deaton Last season: Finished second in the region. Advanced to the State Sectionals where they lost to eventual state champion Hamilton High School. Ended the season with a record of 21-10. Players to watch Quotes from the head coach
Bartlett High School Head Coach Dion Real Players to Watch Zay Young – 6’4 SR Wing Great shooter that can put the ball on the floor. Rebounds well for his size also. We will use him a variety of ways due to him being a match-up problem for other teams. No offers Has interest from UT-Martin, Clayton State (GA-D2), Henderson State (AR-D2), Union University (TN-D2) Jefferson Walker – 6’0 FR Combo Very high motor, quick first step and shoots the ball well enough, strong and finishes around the rim very well, No offers – Has gained interest and letters from Memphis, Ole Miss, UT-Martin,
Jonesboro Players to watch Marcus Hunter – 6’1” senior combo guard Jayvon Landon – 6’8” senior forward Jonathan Adams – 6’3” junior guard Kobe Wilson – 6’0” sophomore point guard Desi Sills – 6’0” sophomore guard Coach Swift has been at the helm of this Jonesboro program and has made it to four state title games. Desi Sills was the MVP of an AAU tournament earlier this summer. Jonathan Adams is one of the better athletes in the state, who has also attracted interest from schools for football. CPA Head Coach Drew Maddux
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Little Rock Event
Little Rock Hall High Warriors
12:00pm Hall vs. Episcopal
Quotes from the head coach
1:30pm Morrilton vs. Pulaski Academy
Conference Runner-up to Parkview
“We finished 20-9 last season. We lost in the quarter finals of the state tournament to Jonesboro. We are led by Dayton Artis. He is a 4 year starter. He plays lead guard and is a prolific scorer. No offers at this point. Isaac Beal is a 6-7 junior. He is long and athletic. His strengths include shot blocking and rebounding. Exposure events allow student athletes a chance to compete against teams that we wouldn’t normally play. It also gives a state tournament feel early in the season.”
Elite 8 of State Tournament
Little Rock Christian Warriors
Quotes from the head coach
Quote from the head coach.
“Our top two players are 6’2 Junior Guard Czar Perry and 6’10 Junior Center Daniel Gafford. As sophomores they helped lead us to a Conference Runner-up finish winning 21 games. Perry averaged 19 ppg and 2.7 steals pg. Czar was selected to the All-State team as well as All Conference and a member of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette Super Sophomore Team. Daniel Gafford was also selected to All State and All Conference. Daniel averaged 13.8 ppg, 14.2 Rebounds pg, and 6 blocks. He set a school record for Rebounds and Blocks. “
“Last year we had a very young team. We started up to four sophomores and we return the leading scorer in the conference, Isaiah Harper. Isaiah is a 6-2 athletic wing who averaged over 20 ppg in conference. He was all state and as a junior last year. We have also added 6-9 sophomore Kalin Bennett. Kalin can really run the floor and block shots. This is his first year with us. We will start a 9th grader at point guard, Justice Hill. Justice has been selected to the CP3 invite the last two years and he was recently selected to play in the Pangos All American camp.”
“Daniel has verbally committed to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Czar has not committed but has been in contact with Missouri, UALR, Northwestern State University, Louisiana Tech, and University of Arkansas.”
Morrilton Devil Dogs
“It is a blessing to be included in this event for this year. We were able to compete in the Hoops Challenge in 2015 and got our players exposure and competition that helped prepare us for the conference season. It is an incredible opportunity for our players and program to compete in this event and show off the players and students we have at El Dorado High School.”
Quotes from the head coach
3:00pm Monticello vs. Hot Springs 4:30pm LR Christian vs. El Dorado 6:00pm Pine Bluff vs. Jonesboro High School 7:30pm Benton vs. Arkansas Baptist El Dorado Wildcats Record 2014-15 21-7
Finished the season 19-9, three of the loses were to either state champs or state runners up, four to state tournament teams in their respective classes (3-5A-West). “This year’s team will return the starting pg Chave Zackery from last year that was 2nd in scoring and led us in assist and rebounds last year. He’s been a pass first pg in the past because he was surrounded by shooters; he’ll have to be that guy to score this year. He’s currently being recruited by Delta State, Brown Mackie, and a few other
schools have shown interest. The second guy will be a toss-up, graduated four seniors that played 85% of the minutes last year. Senior Keshon White and Juniors Quan Richardson and Juwan Moore are returners and starters at some point that played big minutes in big games last year to try and fill the void. The fourth guy, Keiondre Jefferson didn’t play last year, he is a guy that were hoping can come in and be an immediate impact. He played for the Wings this summer and had a great summer. That was his season. He’s currently being recruited by UCA and receiving mailing from a few other schools.” “It’s a great venue for our fans and kids to be a part of. We have the opportunity to be a part of an elite level event with some of the biggest names in Arkansas High School Basketball. We’re trying to build the Devil Dog program to have those same level players year in year out, so what better way than to compete against them. It also gives our fans a chance to see us play against elite level players and they deserve that.” Hot Springs Trojans 2014-15 Record: 23-6 2015 5A South Conference Champions 2015 5A State Semi Finalist Quotes from head coach Rodney Echols On his 2015-16 Squad “We return four starters. I can play 12 kids… I’m expecting us to make the playoffs… We’ve got a three headed monster is Trey Lenox, Kajaun Christon and Exavian Christon… We have some talent here at Hot Springs. On Trey Lenox “He’s a 6-3 combo guard that really knows them game and has a high basketball IQ. I’m excited about his senior year after being a three year starter. He’s an all-conference and all-state basketball player. I’m really looking forward to
him taking his game to another level. He’s a guy that averaged 15 points a game for us last year.” On Kajuan Christon “He is another three year start for us. He averaged 13 points last season. He is a light’s out shooter. He is our defensive leader and he is this older brother of Exavian Christon.” On Exavian Christon “He was out leading scorer at 18 points a game last season as a sophomore. He is an elite scorer, while playing the two and the three for us. He is a key component in what we do. Our main emphasis is to get him the ball. He’s a very athletic kid that with his skill set the sky is the limit for the kid. His stock is really going to rise.” On Paris Harris “He is a stretch four for us. He attacks the rim and plays really well around the basket. He could really be a sleeper for us this year.” Monticello Billies Last season: 27-1; Class AAAA Champion. Quotes from head coach Wayne Sherrer about his top to players and playing in the Little Rock tournament “We have DJ Franklin a 6-4 guard that averaged 14 ppg on a balanced team last year. He is a long and rangy athlete that is very skilled. He is a three year starter and MVP OF Class AAAA State tournament.” “Also we have Tyree Nolan, a 5-7 point guard. He scored 17 points in the state championship game. He is a great athlete and a tremendous defender. He is a three year starter for us.” “It is always great to play against the best. It allows us to showcase our program while giving us an honest evaluation of where we are and how far we need to go to make a legitimate post season run.” Benton Panthers Recap last season. Overall record 16-11 Lost in 1st round of state
Head coaches thoughts about his top two players.
Brandon Vanover All Conference
Clay Anderson- All state PG from last season. Great basketball IQ and ball handler. Much improved shooter from last season.
Dylan Hogan All Conference
Jake Scoggins-Will Sign with Arkansas State this Nov. 6’8 forward. Runs the floor great. Has guard skills. Great player but even better person! Potential is extremely high for Jake. 6’8 can score inside out- really knows how to stretch the floor. Jonesboro Golden Hurricane Quote from the head coach “As you know, sometimes NEA teams can get overlooked a little when it comes to being recognized for team and individual honors. As far as playing Pine Bluff, we expect a very competitive game from a talented and well-coached team. We believe playing high quality opponents help bring your team together and prepare you for a run in the state tournament.” “Hard to say who our top players are... This could be one of our deeper teams. Until some of our younger guys get some games under their belts, we’ll probably rely on returning starters, Marcus Hunter (6-1, Sr, G) and Jayvon Landon (6-8, Sr, F).” Arkansas Baptist Eagles Head coach Brian Ross’ thoughts on last year and his team this year. Last Year: After a 2-5 start to the season, the Eagles went on a 17 game winning streak and finished 25-8 overall. We won the conference championship with a 14-0 record, District Tournament Champs, and won 2 state tournament games before falling to eventual champ Monticello in the semifinals in a close game. Awards: Connor Vanover All state, Top 5 players in 4A, Top 5 Underclassmen in Arkansas, Team USA U16 team member and gold medal winner in the FIBA Americas Championship this summer Chad McGonigal All State Cory McGonigal All State Tournament
“This year: We return our top 7 players from last year and have a solid group of newcomers that will provide depth. Connor Vanover is a 7’3 sophomore who led our team in points, rebounds, blocks, 3 pointers made, and 3 point percentage last year. He has offers from Arkansas, Alabama, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt and is receiving interest from several other schools including Virginia, North Carolina, Kansas, and Iowa, among others. His experience winning a gold medal with Team USA in Argentina this past summer really helped his confidence and we expect him to have an outstanding sophomore season. “Brandon Vanover is a 7’0 Senior who had a great junior season and has shown great in the offseason. He’s the best back to basket low post scorer and passer that I’ve seen in high school basketball. He now has added a 3 point shot to his repertoire on offense and will help stretch defenses this season. Colleges recruiting him are University of the Ozarks, Lyon College, and Millsaps College. “Cory and Chad McGonigal are twin senior guards who are both receiving interest from Hendrix, Millsaps, and Lyon. They each averaged double figures last year with Chad receiving all-State honors and Cory making the All State Tournament team. “Newcomer Issac McBride will make an immediate impact as a freshman. He will provide an instant impact on the offensive end after averaging 21 points per game as an 8th grader in the Jr High season last year. “Playing in these showcase games and hosting the December showcase is great for our program first because it provides great competition for our team to play against. We want to play the hardest possible schedule so that we are prepared for conference and state tournament games later in the year. The showcase events are also fun for the kids, provide great media exposure for our program, and allow our kids to play in front of college coaches on a regular basis.”
KAREEM REID “i feel blessed to be back”
or nearly as long as New York native Kareem Reid can recall, basketball has led to new boroughs, new cities and new horizons. Without it, a teenage Reid likely never would have met a Razorback named Scotty Thurman at a summer basketball camp in Michigan, never would have heard about the charms of Fayetteville, Ark. and certainly never would have ended up as the greatest passer in program history. From 1996 to 1999, Reid totaled 748 assists, more than any Razorback before or since. The 5’10” point guard also helped lead the Hogs to a Sweet Sixteen appearance and totaled 251 steals, the third-most in program history. Now, after 14 years playing in the pros, Reid returned to Fayetteville this summer to pursue a different dream carved from the same game. At 40 years old, Reid is back as a full-time student at the University of Arkansas completing his education studies degree. It’s something he’d long put off but Thurman now part of the UA athletic department staff and a liaison for former athletes looking to reenroll - urged him to finish. Reid, who commutes from Springdale, often ducks into the new Razorback basketball facility to scrimmage with the players and
chat with the coaches and staff. He picks Thurman’s mind on the in’s and out’s of NCAA compliance as he pursues his dual goals of being a trainer and assistant high school basketball coach. To that end, Reid is already making headway. Since August, he says he’s volunteer coached sixth through eighth graders at St. Joseph Catholic Church and at Christmas break plans to host a “Kareem Reid Skills & Drills” camp. Reid has bigger plans, such as an Arkansan prep basketball all-star game set for April, down the line. He adds: “I want to bring some of that East Coast flavor to Arkansas.”
From this, the “The Best Kept Secret” emerged. That’s the alias by which Reid was best known on the New York City playgrounds where he became a legend during summers between pro ball stints in Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, upstate New York and France. Reid retired in 2013 and started helping his brother run a non-profit basketball program called Nova Suns, but he began yearning for a change of pace from New York’s crime and “hustle and bustle.” With encouragement from the likes of Thurman and friend Pat Bradley, he decided the time was right for a return to northwest Arkansas.
The marinading began in the late 1980s, when Reid, a Bronx native, teamed up with future NBA point guards Rafer Alston, of Queens, and Coney Island native Stephon Marbury. Together the trio tore up the amateur scene, indoors and out, with courtside announcers christening each precocious talent with nicknames that would last a lifetime: Marbury became “Starbury”; Alston was deemed “Skip 2 My Lou.” Reid, older but less well known, also started making an impression on the announcers. “They’d be like ‘Who’s that guy?’ After a while, they decided they had to name me something.”
Reid plans to graduate next summer. By then, he will have also passed a coaching certification test and should be set for next phase of his career. His goal then will be buying a Fayetteville home so that he can again live with the rest of his family. Currently, his fiancee and two elementary age stepdaughers live in Little Rock, he says. Basketball took Reid across the nation and the world countless times. Since college, he hasn’t lived in a single spot for more than two years. Now, his playing days over, he’s ready for the game he loves to anchor him to one place. “I feel blessed to be back.”
#1 CLAY MALONE
#1 XZAVIER REED
#22 DES BARNES
Sr. Guard averaged Jr. Combo guard Jr Guard/Forward 13 points and 9 averaged 20 points, averaged 11 points rebounds last season. 3 assists and 3 and 6 rebounds last One of the better rebounds last season. season. shooters in NEA. One of the most One of the more difficult guards to versatile defenders in defend in NEA. NEA.
#1 KOBE WILSON
#3 DESI SILLS
Jonesboro Guard 2018
Jonesboro Guard 2018
Players from Jonesboro and Valley View come together as they represent the 2 best teams in NEA. Jason Manchester and Wes Swift both are thinking about holding up a championship trophy at the end of the year. Valley View will have a more difficult road to the 5A state championship game. Maumelle, Hot Springs, Mills and others will make the 5A classification the most difficult to win. The players listed for Blazers have to be great for the entire season. 6A isnâ€™t as deep as 5A, but when the Hurricanes make it to the championship Iâ€™m sure Parkview will be waiting on them. On paper, Parkview might have the most talented team in the state. Will NEA bring home multiple state basketball championships?
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IT WASN’T ALWAYS THIS WAY Today, in Arkansas prep basketball circles, the words “Arkansas Wings” are synonymous with “winner.” It’s an inevitable association, considering the 12 national championships and multiple NBA players the prestigious AAU program and its 22 total teams have produced over the decades. Two Wings alumni - Derek Fisher and Corliss Williamson - even squared off against each other in an NBA Finals. It wasn’t always this way, though. Indeed, in 1980, Wings founder Ron Crawford didn’t even know Amateur Athletic Union basketball existed at the youth levels while coaching a Boys Club basketball team in Benton. Until that time, rules restricted Arkansans in grades 7 through 12 from participating in school sports while playing out-of-season sports off campus. Around 1980, though, this rule was relaxed and Searcybased Carder Buick became one of Arkansas’ first AAU programs to benefit. Its 13-year-olds team played Crawford’s Boys Club team and “beat us by 50,” as Crawford recalls. “Now, I don’t like to get beat and I sure don’t like to get beat by 50.” So Crawford learned more about AAU. He liked what he heard. He especially loved finding out the AAU had national tournaments for different age groups and that “you could take a bunch of kids from Arkansas and go compete for a national title. That got me fired up.” Basketball had inspired Crawford since his early days in Kennett, a southern Missouri Delta town also home to country star Sheryl Crow. Crawford, though, was young for his grade and couldn’t make the school teams he wanted. At 18 years old, he moved to St. Louis and started operating milling machines for McDonnell Aircraft manufacturer.
He also began organizing his own basketball squad, but he dreamed of playing for the company’s prestigious “Wings” basketball team, named after the “Wings Assembly Section,” Crawford recalls. That team played in various leagues including a men’s AAU league. After four years of constant practice and solo training, Crawford finally broke through and made the team. What he felt he missed as a teenager, he was finally getting as an adult. “All my youth experiences that I hadn’t had, I got crammed into four or five years.” To this day, he wants his program’s players to enjoy experiences as teenagers he never could. Crawford began working more often with young people after he became a power tools salesman and was recruited to start a new company in Little Rock, which had been part of his territory. After moving to Saline County in 1971, he taught Sunday School and was later the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chaplain at Bryant High School, he recalls. Through it all, he appreciated how much better behaved Arkansas kids were than their inner city St. Louis counterparts. A safer and more polite culture had originally compelled him and his wife Linda to move to Arkansas. A slower pace and better schools for his children, Linda and Keith, were also pluses. Crawford credits his family’s support and God’s blessing for the success of his 41-yearold business Southland Metals, Inc. and the Wings program it has helped finance. He adds when it comes to the Wings’ success, good behavior and good grades are more important than high talent. “I’ve sent players home not for doing drugs or beating up somebody, but for missing curfew or being selfish or not being good teammates,”
Crawford says. He adds he very proud of the roughly 400-500 college scholarships Wings players have received since 1980. But learning what you don’t know is also important, as Crawford firsthand found out after that 50-point loss when he was putting together his first Wings team. He called the office of Eddie Sutton, then the Razorbacks’ head basketball coach. “They gave me down to [assistant] Pat Foster, and I told Coach Foster my dilemma, that I didn’t know anything about basketball and could I come up and work for a camp? So Pat let me come work one of Eddie Sutton’s camps and I learned a lot that week from them. “I was up there learning and when I realized how little I knew, I began to study - and to make sure every team I’ve ever coached on, that I had somebody better than me on the bench whenever possible,” Crawford says. That lineage of coaches started with Steve Schall, a Razorback in the 1970s, and has continued through Charles Baker, a former Division I assistant college basketball coach, who was at the helm of the 2015 Wings Elite team which played in the prestigious Nike EYBL tournament. That team included Fayetteville High senior Payton Willis, Van Buren High senior Mitchell Smith and Bentonville High senior Malik Monk. They were able to train in a Springdale gym the Wings own as a result of the program’s statewide spread. The Wings began a northwest Arkansas satellite about five years ago. Birthed from the sting of a 50-point loss, the Wings have soared high and far.
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All-NELA Team 1st Team PG-Micheal Williams, Rayville Jr. A playmaker who plays stingy defense. SG-Cephux Gix, Ouachita Jr. Undersized athletic scorer with unlimited range. SF-Saxton Becker, West Ouachita Sr. Excellent 3-point shooter with an all-around game. PF-Jay Head, Ouachita Jr. Bouncy stretch forward with a nice mid-range touch. C-Larry Owens, Carroll Jr. Physical low post scorer that can rebound. 2nd Team PG-CJ Jones, Wossman Jr. Good ball handler that can pass and shoot. SG-Câ€™Anthony Murphy Rayville Sr. Slasher and glue type defender that has exceptional speed.
SF-Jay Gill Ouachita Sr. Solid all-around game has improved each year. PF-Jameon Green Carroll Sr. Stretch forward with deep shooting range. C-Dennis Collins West Monroe Jr. Skilled big that uses his body in the paint. 3rd Team PG-Anthony Ceaser, Wossman Jr. Undersized combo guard that can flat out score. SG-Deshun Roberts Neville Sr. Athletic, quick first step/pure scorer. SF-Zach Smith, Wossman Jr. Wiry forward who can defend and shoot PF-Bobby Newton Neville Jr. Undersized tweener who plays bigger than his size. Good defender and low post scorer. C-J.W. Jones, Rayville Sr. Use body to box out for rebounds plays his
role, underrated defender. Freshman Phenoms-Class of â€˜19: Neville: Jatarrius Turpin. Athletic, explosive scorer, fierce defense, with a phenomenal basketball I.Q. Plays years above his age. Ouachita: Myron Washington Jr., 6-foot-6, 170 pound monster in the paint. He has the size and skill of a college prospect at such an early age. Sleeper of the Year: Richwood sophomore Joseph Smith. Nice 3-point shot. Fearless player that makes others around him better. Players to Watch: West Monroe: PG-Jimmy Orange and SF-Trey Coleman Carroll: SG-Jarell Gundy Richwood: PF-Jaewon Williams
CARROLL BULLDOGS 2014-15 Record: 16-11
Lost to John Curtis in 2nd round of playoffs Head Coach: Jesse Burnette
Carroll High School Head Coach Jesse Burnette is a living legend in Northeast Louisiana. With four state championships bulleted on his resume (Delta High School 1995 and Carroll High School 2002, 2011 and 2013), the Bulldogs look to make another championship run this season. Even more impressive Coach Burnette led Delta in 1980, 1982, 1993 and 1997 to the big dance. The Bulldogs also finished State Runner-up in 2010. Coach Burnette has been the head man at several basketball programs around the state including West Ouachita, Sterlington, and River Oaks as an Assistant Coach under friend and former teammate Roger Stockton. Stockton is regarded as one of the best coaches in the high school game. Carroll has produced some talented big men over the years. Who can forget players such as Benoit Benjamin (Creighton University) No. 3 NBA Draft Pick in 1985, Maurice Bell (University of Louisiana at Monroe), Terrance Henry (Ole Miss), Jason Jeter (Alabama A&M), and Theo Tarver (Gerogia Tech). It should be no surprise that there’s a new kid on the
block turning heads and destroying rims by the name of Larry Owens 6-foot-8, 240 pound man child.
Owens is one of the most physical players in the state with an array of low post moves and monstrous dunks. Owens averaged 18 points per game and 12 rebounds per game last season. To be honest Owens could leave his imprint on Carroll as one the best ever. Early on in his career Owens has already received recognition, All-Northeast Honorable Mention as a freshman and 2nd Team All-State in 201415. Evaluating and ranking kids early in the game becomes a bit more difficult as you’re still getting to know them, their games, but it’s obvious that players like Owens stand out from the rest. The Bulldogs will return 13 out of 15 players this season and are poised to make a run for the LHSAA Boys Class 3A State Championship. Players to Watch: •Senior Jameon Green at 6-foot-5 is one of the tallest small forwards in the area. Green is a threat from the 3-point mark. •Jarrell Gundy: A “Super Sophomore” guard who can light up the score board quick. Good shooter/slasher.
•Kendarrius Cherry: Senior guard who has showed flashes over the years. Very long and athletic with good ball handling skills and strong floor presence. Carroll will get a couple of guards from the football team in Jerry Brown and Marcus Bruce. Coach Burnette has all the pieces to add another ring to his collection. Carroll Lady Bulldogs 2015-15 Record: 5-20 No playoff appearance last season Head Coach: Patrick Sumbler
The Lady Bulldogs key player is Steveniqua Wilson, 2014-15 All-Northeast Honorable Mention. Wilson is flat out scorer. She can carry the Lady Bulldogs when needed with her aggressive demeanor on the court. The Lady Bulldogs lost a couple seniors and sophomore guard Judnissa Straughter, who is now at Wossman. The Lady Bulldogs are a young team and lack depth. The Lady Bulldogs have produced some of the best talent in Northeast Louisiana. Players such as Elaine Powell, Chelsea Newton, Kiara Johnson, and “The Twins” Elexar Tugler and Alexar Tugler. The Lady Bulldogs hope to get back to their winning ways and should be much improved from last season.
EVERY HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PLAYER HAS THE DREAM OF PLAYING IN COLLEGE
There are two more weeks left in the month of October which means basketball season is quickly approaching. Some of the smaller schools who do not have football will be starting sooner than the bigger schools who have football and have to wait until the beginning of November to get started with their season.This is a unbelievable time for the staff at National Scouting Report: Basketball and our prospects as we both get ready for the start of the upcoming season. Many of our NSR prospects who have either committed or verbal are looking forward to their last year of their High School basketball season as well as our juniors, sophomores, and freshman’s getting excited about the up coming year and their recruiting process.
The recruiting process is one of the most exciting events that a student athlete will be apart of and it could also be one of the most stressful time for a athlete as well. One of the big things that you as an athlete and a parent need to realize is if you are not talking to college coaches, you are not being recruited. The first thing you need to know about the recruiting process is becoming identified and recognized. Once the athlete is identified and recognized by a college staff and the coaches reach out to them, then they are in
the recruiting process. The next phase is the evaluation phase of the process. Coaches have to actually determine if the athlete is indeed a college caliber kid. Then the comparison phase comes when the athlete is being compared between other athletes at their respective position. If the athlete can survive the first three phases of the recruiting process then the athlete will move to the offer phase and this is where the school offers a non-binding pledge to provide financial assistance to an athlete. The keys to the recruiting process is that the offers are nonbinding and can be pulled at the discretion of the institution, and that not all offers are full rides, and most importantly if you are not talking with college coaches you are not being recruited. There is a significant amount of effort and communication that is required to get to the point where a student athlete gets to sign an National Letter of Intent. The old statement, “If I am good enough, they will find me”will have you behind with regards to the recruiting process, and it could potentially, leave you out. Some tips on choosing a school to live your dream of getting a college education and playing college basketball is simple. You
have to find the school that will be the right fit for you. The key things that you need to look at while searching for a school is.. Does this school have the degree field that I want to get my degree in? How do I fit in with the players that are on the team now and how’s my relation with the coaching staff. You also want to look at how far you are willing to travel from home? Will I get the playing time that I am wanting to get at this university. These are some of the things that you will need to consider while trying to decide on what school you would like to attend college. What we do at National Scouting Report is we are in the gyms evaluating student athletes, talking to college coaches everyday and helping athletes live their dreams of playing college basketball. Take control of your dream. Get identified and recognized. Get scouted and evaluated by professional scouts that understand the basketball recruiting process. If you believe that you have the ability, grades, and are willing to put in the effort to master your game contact National Scouting Report at www.nsr-inc.com/basketball
Chelsea Newton Lady Bulldog Legend
Q: Where are you from? A: I grew up in Monroe, Louisiana. Cypress Point had a lot of athletes at the time. That was where I first picked up a basketball, so I was able to go out in the neighborhood and play against the boys. Q: What are some challenges you faced? A: The biggest thing as far as challenges is finding a competitive league amongst girls, everyone goes to the rec leagues. But you really donâ€™t have anywhere where you could go to build your skill set, but I was very fortunate to be apart of an AAU team that was nationally recognized (The Monroe Magic). So for me it was a blessing for me to be seen on a National level and get the notoriety and recognition to be recruited on a national level. I was blessed to be apart of that team coming out of Monroe. I think on that team we had 3 WNBA players, so we were loaded with talent. Q: Give me a brief rundown of your high school career at Carroll High School? A: I pretty much started all four years for Carroll. Freshman year, kind of was a rough
year because you are just coming in. When I first got there I didn’t really know what to do. Also, you always want to be that player that everyone looks to and depends on to make stuff happen, especially when you’re playing with older players. For instance, there were people there like April Cooper and Dewana Franklin. It was a bunch of girls on the team that were really good. So coming in as a freshman you just have to learn how to blend in and still be able to be you. Play together with your team and make sure everyone else is successful. Freshman year was pretty good, sophomore year was actually a really good year. That year we actually went to the Sweet 16, so for me it was my most memorable year. I remember the most competitive game was us playing Bastrop at the Sweet 16. It was so packed that people were trying to crawl through the bathroom windows just to get in! After that we loss to Capital, for the next three years Seimone Augustus was my nemesis that I could never get pass (Laughs). But thank God I got past her in college and the pros, so I’m cool on that. But as far as my personal career in high school every year was a better year. Q: How does it feel to be one of the few people to have their jersey retired at Carroll? A: It feels great, I know at the time there was a lot of backlash from it. You know people asking “What made me the special one?” I’m grateful, especially to Coach Madison because she pushed for that. Had it not been for her that it probably would not have happened. Do I feel like I deserve it? Yes I do. Do I feel like Elaine Powell deserves it? Yes she does, and I’m sure there are many other athletes that deserve it also. But I can only speak about people I know in the present, so I was very grateful and blessed. It’s something that every time you walk in the gym and see your name and jersey hanging up, it’s a great feeling to be honored in that fashion. Q: What were some of your major transitions that you had to adjust moving from high school basketball to college ball? A: Well, as you know I went to the extreme college(Rutgers). Vivian Stringer was the coach, who is a Hall of Famer in every fashion. You know high school is high school. You’re out there playing on pure talent. You go to school, go to practice and that’s it. If you want to do something extra it’s cool. But when you get to college every second, every minute is accounted for. For me it was my physical condition that was my biggest hurdle that I had to get over. It’s just really getting to that level of
great conditioning. Level of competition is easily distributed across the board, so you’re not that stand out player anymore. Also the strenuous hours were another big thing. You’re practicing three to maybe four hours a day. Pretty much everything you do is surrounded by basketball and you don’t really have time for anything. Q: As far as recruiting, what are some of the things you would tell young people to pay attention to when they are picking a college or being recruited by a college? A: First, I would say relationships, like someone showing their colors when they are recruiting you. Be able to have an open relationship and an open dialog with a coach. To me that’s one of the number one things I try to get across to kids. You need to be able to relate to someone that is recruiting you. Second, I would say academics, and by academics I mean (What are your interest? What do you need/want?) make sure they have that. I’m not just talking about a major, I’m talking about if you know you need support in certain areas. Make sure the school can provide you the support that you need (tutors, family, etc.) to be successful. Also I think you should look at the history of the program to see how they treat their athletes, and what their athletes have gone on to do after they complete their four years. Everybody pays attention to wins
and losses for four years and that’s it. They don’t really pay attention to what really matters which is the next four years of your life. So you need to do research on the people that have graduated and left, those are the people who you need to talk to. Not just the basketball players currently there, but the people that have moved on to see if this is a place to become a better person. All of the other stuff it doesn’t matter because you can get that at any other school. Q: Can you briefly describe your college career and how it led to the WNBA? A: Freshman year I was thrown into the fire right away, I started half/half that season. It was a pretty bad season, but yet we were the number one recruiting class in the country. We also had loss a lot of key people that year. I played pretty well for a freshman. I broke my finger and had to sit out for a month, but within that month of me sitting out I think that’s when I really learned what I needed to do when I came back. I was a much better basketball player after being able to sit back and watch. Sophomore year was a pretty alright year, got into the gym that summer worked like crazy got in really good shape. Once the season started I was doubling average and pretty much started every game. Junior year rolls around I get into the best shape of my life, that year I was ready! My coach saw how hard I was working and the shape I was in and decided to call everyone who she could so I could play on someone’s USA basketball team. The last workout of the summer I was doing a push jerk, a normal workout something that I do all the time. Brought the weight down and my shoulder split out of place (tore my shoulder). So going into my Junior year I had to sit out the first three months. I had to have surgery and it seems my shot never really came back from that, and I think that’s why I became the great defender that I am. I learned how to play good defense, we went to the tournament that year and had a decent season. After my junior year my shoulder still wasn’t healed, ended up having to have to more surgeries (Which would put me at 3 now). Going into my senior year I’m pretty much healthy and start all games, we had a great season. We beat pretty much every team you could imagine, we ended up top 5 in the country. Won the Big East, I won Big East Defensive Player of the Year. We made it to the Elite 8 that year, but got eliminated by a team we had previously beaten that season. After the season I had no intentions of going to the WNBA, I wanted to go to Temple
for business school and get a MBA in Athletic Administration. A couple weeks later I get a call asking me to come to draft camp in New York, and I’m like “okay” not a really big deal for me. I get there and enjoyed myself, great experience. Draft day comes, my mother was in town and we were at IHOP eating and hanging out. So when I get home as I’m walking in the front door I get a call, and its Sacramento and they say “You’ve been picked, would you like to be a part of our team?” I’m like “oh, ok” cool. So, I get out to Sacramento and there were about six rookies. First thought in my head was I know all of us can’t make it, so time goes by and I make the first and second cuts and I thought to myself “Man I think I might make this team.” At the time it was Ruthie Bolton Holifield who was an Olympian and it basically came down to me and her, but last day of training camp Ruthie retires. So I got the opportunity and made the team, the season begins and I start every single game for Sacramento. I go on to make the all rookie team, and also won the WNBA title all within my rookie year(my mind was blown). Then I went on to play in Israel and Poland, and then I got picked up in the expansion draft by the Chicago (played there for a year). Chicago was cool and a great
experience, but my home and heart was in Sacramento. They traded back for me and I finished up my last three years there. Q: Who was a female basketball player who you looked up to when you were younger? A: Well, it was hard not to be at Carroll and not know who Elaine Powell was. You get to see someone like her go on and play college basketball at LSU, then she went on to have a successful basketball career across seas and in the WNBA. So to see someone like her go on to do great things like that and to know she is from Monroe it’s like “man I want to be doing that to.” Elaine and I grew into a relationship and we also both played together in Chicago (which was crazy, two girls both from Monroe and Carroll playing on the same team). She was just an inspiration on the court and gave us someone to look up to. Q: What is the importance of your teammates on a high school and college level? A: I’m a very big person when it comes to teammates, I know I can’t do what I do if I don’t have a squad next to me. And they are not behind me, they are next to me. You can’t bring the ball up by yourself, you can’t pass to yourself, and you can’t do everything by yourself. A lot of those individual stats that people are worried about, they can’t do
that by themselves. You need to win games, they are really important especially for their emotional support. You need that bond, you need to learn how to work with people and build relationships. Whether you want to believe it or not you’re going to be on teams for the rest of you life, so being on a good team is half the battle. Q: Once you reach a certain level of success, can you explain how important it is to give back to the community and being a mentor to kids who look up to you? A: I always say that if you’re in a position to do it, there is nothing more gratifying than to help someone get to the next level and open their eyes to things that are there. I always say Carroll has some of the best talent in the world, and they just haven’t seen anything past Carroll. People look at me and ask me what high school did I go to in Monroe and I’m proud to say “I went to Carroll”. So I feel that those of us that have and can do things to help these kids get out of these situations is important. They want to, but they just don’t know how and it’s our job to teach them how. So I just think it’s really important to help people see that there is life and other places to see outside of where you live.
3914 DESIARD ST. MONROE, LA 71203
The Letterman Magazine Player on the Rise Curtessia Dean
by Shaunsia Moy Determination is a quality that makes you continue to try to achieve something that is difficult. It requires you to pick a goal, fix your eye on it, and firmly advance towards that goal with an unflinching purpose and willpower. I remember the summer after my high school graduation. I had graduated in the top 5% of my class and secured a great scholarship at my school of choice. I put in my early notice for my senior year job and was beginning to look at plane tickets to New York City. A month before I was scheduled to leave, I had received a call from financial aid about a loan the did not going through, and even worse, the guidelines for that loan had changed and I no longer fit the criteria. Thrown for a complete curveball, I felt the ground shift underneath my feet as my perfectly crafted to-do list had completely reprioritized itself before my eyes. Stuck without a way to fully pay for tuition, my fear of having my dream of going to college in NYC delayed weighed heavily on my mind, but I refused to wallow in sadness or anger, and I
did not succumb to idleness either. I continued to pack up my childhood room, open a FedEx account, keep my eye on upcoming plane tickets, print out my list of books I needed, and even inform my professors and roommates of my delayed, but not denied, plans of arriving to school in the fall, all while trying my hardest to rectify my financial aid. The first day of school had arrived and I was still at home, and my hopes of starting school that year had started to lessen, but miraculously, that very afternoon, I had gotten a call informing me that my loan had gone through. The next morning, I contacted my school, shipped out my boxes, and bought my plane ticket with the money I had saved up, all in one day. By the end of the week, I was at the airport terminal, minutes away from boarding my plane to NYC to begin a four year journey that would lead to a bright future, one that would now be possible due to my unrelenting determination. A lot of people in this world are talented, but
will never use that talent as a tool to achieve a successful career in life, leaving them with untapped potential. Many people in the U.S. attend college and graduate every year, but as we all know, education alone does not guarantee one a successful occupation. The key to success is not elusive, nor is it only offered to the privileged of the world. It is something that we all have access to. It is determination, because without a strong will to achieve your dreams, that is all they will ever be. Even before I knew I would be able to attend college in the fall, I looked up the syllabus for the first week for all of my classes and started my journals and began to read my first required book. On the flight to NYC, I was on the last chapter, and by the time I started class that Monday, I was more than prepared to put my best foot forward, which would not have been possible if I had given up or waited for help and not pushed on in my preparation despite the roadblocks thrown in front of me.
Rayville has produced some elite basketball talent over the years. Names such as Hershell West, Jarvis Brown, and Elvin Hayes 6-foot-9, 238 pound Center/Power Forward, who was the first overall pick in the 1968 NBA Draft come to mind. Several other names will be added to this list in the near future. One being a very talented young lady representing the Northeastern part of Louisiana. In 2013, the Rayville Lady Hornets defeated the Baker Lady Buffs (71-38) and claimed the LHSAA Girls Class 3A state championship before a packed house at the University of Louisiana-Monroe’s Fant Ewing Coliseum. The Lady Hornets hope to return to glory this season led by one of the most sought after female players in the nation, Micaela Wilson.
After finishing a successful off-season if there is such a thing with her AAU team, DFW T-Jack Elite, Micaela is ready to start the regular season. “My goal is to win a championship
this year and work on my game,” Micaela said. She has been focusing on improving her ball handling and speed.
Micaela daily about school choices...Micaela is looking at schools that fit her best,” Tammy said.
Micaela enters her junior season ranked as the 6th-best player in the country according to ESPN and 3rd-best at her position in the Class of 2017. Her ranking moved up to No. 6 from No. 10 after a very successful spring season. Her versatility, consistent mid-range game production, and her ability to drive/finish in traffic creates a nightmare for many opposing teams.
The Lady Hornets look to make some noise this year and compete for a state title. When it comes to character Micaela is a class-act. She is humble and works hard to achieve greatness. Fans must remember studentathletes need down time to experience life and wind down. Micaela enjoys riding four wheelers, playing pool, and eating her favorite food hot wings.
After speaking with Micaela’s mother Tammy Wilson, the word is out and college coaches are taking notice. “The mail box barely closes... it’s full of letters from colleges, 40 to 50 pieces every day,” Tammy said. Louisiana Tech, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Georgia, Louisville, Florida State, Miami, and South Carolina are just a few that are interested in her skills and abilities. “Her dad and I talk to
While discussing her success and achievements she is somewhat soft spoken, but on the court she is aggressive and a true definition of a baller. Micaela represents the green and gold like non-other and many fans in Rayville are excited about the upcoming basketball season. The Rayville community should definitely come out and support the Lady Hornets and catch some great basketball.
2014-15 Record 30-5 Lost to H. L. Higgins in the Quarter finals Head Coach: Jeremy Madison
Ouachita has been churning out great players and coaches for many years now. Coach Jeremy Madison a former Ouachita Lion point guard, and assistant coach under Coach Casey Jones, will take the head seat at the table for the Lions this season. It’s difficult to mention the Ouachita Lion boys’ basketball program without discussing Junior guard Cephus Gix. Gix averaged 20 points per game last season and received numerous accolades. Take a look at what Cephus Gix has accomplished. 201415 2nd Team All-State, Two-time 5A All-District team, and Two-time All-Northeast Louisiana. Gix was also named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Don Redden Memorial Classic as a freshman. Gix is a great outside/inside scorer and has the ability to take over a game at any time. He is one of the best scorers ever in Northeast Louisiana. Players to Watch: •Jay Head, Jay Gill, and Zach Hannibal. •Zach Hannibal: Senior guard, son of Roderick Hannibal, who was a member of the 1985 Louisiana Tech basketball team with Karl Malone. Ouachita Lady Lions 2014-15 Record 17-14 Lost in the 2nd round of playoffs to West Monroe Head Coach: Amber Obaze-Ford Coach Obaze-Ford takes over for John Merritt this season. Coach Obaze-Ford a former 4 year starter for the Louisiana Tech Lady Bulldogs (2000-2004), is a proven winner that can coach players to the next level. Many remember her as a lockdown defender for the Lady Techsters in the early 2000’s, during the later days of Lady Techster legend Leon Barmore’s career. Coach Obaze-Ford was awarded Sunbelt Conference Freshman of the Year, and made it to the NCAA Tournament four times. Three Sweet Sixteen appearances and one Elite 8 appearance during her career as a Lady Techster. Coach Obaze-Ford brings great coaching and winning experience to Ouachita. Her Overall record at Rayville was 65-29 and she led the Lady Hornets to a 3A State Championship Title in 2013. Look for the Lady Lions to stir up some trouble for many teams this season. Players to Watch: •Keturah Bingham: Senior power forward is a three year starter for the Lady Lions. When healthy, Bingham is a matchup nightmare for most post players. She has size and strength and the ability to average a double-double on any given night. •Brandi Washington: Junior guard •DeeDee Walker: Sophomore guard
2014-15 Record 31-3 Lost to John Curtis in Semi-Finals of LHSAA 3A State Playoffs Head Coach: Damon West
The Rayville Hornets accomplished a lot last season finishing with an impressive record of (31-3). Unfortunately, the Hornets were not able to quench their thirst of a state title after losing to John Curtis in a thrilling Class 3A Semi-final game at the Boys Top 28 State Tournament at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Coach Damon West hopes to get the Hornets back on track this season and fill up his trophy case. Coach West was named Northeast Louisiana Coach of the Year last season and has an impressive group of players coming back. The Hornets will be anchored by Micheal Williams (Junior guard) and C’Anthony Murphy (Senior guard) who makeup one of the most experienced backcourts in Louisiana. In 2014-15, Murphy received All-State Honorable Mention honors, while both Williams and Murphy were selected 2-3A All-District and All-Northeast Louisiana. Without a question Williams and Murphy are talented duo that can do it all on the court. The Hornets play aggressive and have plenty of athletes. Senior guards Khamad Naylor and Natron Kendricks will suit up after football season. Rayville steps down to 2A and will have at least five players that played on the Semi-finals team back in the rotation. Players to Watch: •J.W. Jones: 6-foot-5 post player forward/center. •D ‘Montreal Wilson: Junior guard with great potential. Rayville Lady Hornets 2014-15 Record: 11-16 Lost to Marksville in the first round of the playoffs 49-48 Head Coach: Jokeirra Sneed Coach Jokeirra Sneed is a former Lady Techster who is no stranger to winning. Coach Sneed was a great low post scorer/rebounder throughout her college years. Coach Sneed’s first season with the Lady Hornets should be a memorable one with one of the best players in the country on her roster, Micaela Wilson. Wilson is long armed and jumps extremely high. She can defend the post and the perimeter. Wilson has a good motor and high skill set. She is an excellent mid-range shooter that can rebound and block shots. She is female version of Carmelo Anthony. With a good supporting cast this season, the Lady Hornets will be a dangerous team in 2A. Losing Coach Obaze-Ford will bring about opportunities for the Lady Hornets this season, but many of the players are coming from a great winning feeder program at the junior high led by Coach Tammy Wilson. Players to Watch: Emoni Baker: Junior guard, good shooter who can score in bunches. Nikita Lyons: Senior forward/center with good low post game and aggressive rebounder.
2014-15 Record 18-14
No playoff appearance last season
Players to Watch:
Head Coach: Derek Lopez
•Seniors: Clay Blackston, Will Wallace, and senior T.R. Masters.
Coach Derek Lopez will take over for the Ouachita Chiefs this season. Coach Lopez was an Assistant at Ouachita under Casey Jones and previously led Jennings High School from 2012-2013. West Ouachita’s key player is District 2-4A Most Valuable Player Saxton Becker. Becker averaged 21 points per game last season for the Chiefs and received Honorable Mention for LSWA Class 4A AllState team. In 2014, Becker also received AllNortheast Louisiana and All-District honors. West Ouachita was one point away from making the playoffs last season. Coach Lopez returns a team filled with experience, sound structure, and a stingy defense. The Chiefs are very dangerous and will be a force in District
West Ouachita Lady Chiefs 2014-15 Record: 24-9 Lost to Ellender in 2nd round of playoffs Head Coach: Jimbo Murphy Coach Jimbo Murphy was named the Northeast Louisiana Coach of the Year last season. Coach Murphy won over 20 games for two consecutive years. District 2-4A Co-Most Valuable Player (MVP) Senior Trinity Griffin, is a key component to the Lady Chiefs success. At 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, Griffin can post under the basket while having the athleticism to step outside for a 10-foot jump shot. She is a good
defender and her potential is endless. Trinity was LSWA All-State Honorable Mention after averaging 15 points per game,10 rebounds per game, and 3 blocked shots per game. Griffin’s final tally in the playoffs last season against Ellender boasted an impressive 20 points, 20 rebounds. Trinity Griffin is a University of Louisiana at Monroe basketball commit and her potential is endless. Griffin continues to work hard on and off the court to maximize her talents. Trinity is the daughter of Leonard Griffin former Grambling State University defensive end who played eight years with the Kansas City Chiefs. Coach Murphy and the lady chiefs should continue to be a force in District 2-4A. Players to watch: •Senior guards Anna Wigley and Sierra Gasca.
wossman wildcats 2014-15 Record: 8-14 Head Coach: Casey Jones Coach Casey Jones returns to Wossman after 28 years as the Wildcats new boys’ bas-ketball coach. Coach Jones is a proven winner and a great fit for his Alma mater. Take a glance at Coach Jones Career Record of 406-109 and it speaks for itself. Jones is well respected and a NELA legend in his own right. To put it simply he is a pillar of the community and continues to do what he does best… win. Jones overall career record is (406-109), Ouachita: 2001-2010 & 2011-2015 (386-99), Longview: 2010-2011 (20-10). Some of Coach Jones accomplishments in-clude, 2006 LSWA 4A Coach of the Year, 2006 4A State Runner-up, 2009 5A State Championship, 2013 5A State Runner-up, and 11 District Championships. Wossman will be much improved under Jones who assembled an All-Star coaching staff in Adrian Wilson, Jontae Turpin, and K.D. Turpin. Adrian Wilson, a former Woss-man Wildcat point guard won two State Championships in four years as an assistant coach at Carroll High School. Jontae a former Neville All-State point guard went on to play at the University
of Louisiana at Monroe and will bring his veteran leadership to the team, while K.D. Turpin a former Neville All-District point guard has significant bas-ketball knowledge and experience. Coach Jones and the Wildcats should expect an unwavering amount of support from the Wossman fan base this season. Coach Jones and staff primary focus is to main-tain a high standard of excellence in the classroom, on the court, and in the communi-ty. Players to Watch: •CJ Jones: Junior point guard will become the go to player for the Wildcats. CJ was All-Northeast Louisiana and All-District at Ouachita last season. CJ Jones is a complete point guard who can defend, score, and pass. •Anthony Ceaser: Senior guard transfer from Carroll will play a key role for the Wildcats. •Zach Smith: Junior guard/forward transfer from Rayville is very talented. Both Ceaser and Smith are All-District players who will contribute immediately. Wossman Lady Wildcats 2014-15 Record 18-8
Lost in 2nd round of playoffs to #1 seed Warren Easton Head Coach: Matthew Reed The Wossman Lady Wildcats return one of the most talented players in Northeast Louisiana Curtessia Dean. As a freshman Dean averaged 18 points and 14 rebounds per game and picked up All-District 2-4A recognition. Dean can play all five positions and at times resembles a female version of Lebron James. No stage is too big for Dean, which was evident when she matched up against one of the top recruits in the country Rayville’s Micaela Wilson. Curtessia Dean scored 33 points, 15 rebounds while hold-ing Wilson to only 9 points, 7 rebounds. Dean and the Lady Wildcats should make a deep playoff run this season. Players to Watch: •Amber Eldridge: Senior forward/center plays well in the low post and can step out and knock down a 15-footer. •Kaderielle Turpin: Senior guard that plays excellent defense and has a great basketball IQ.
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2015 High School Basketball Issue featuring top players from Arkansas and Northeast Louisiana.