High School: Baylor

Keep an eye on these Big 12 area products

May, 9, 2012

ESPN.com Big 12 blogger David Ubben says Baylor QB Nick Florence of South Garland, Oklahoma State WR Josh Stewart of Denton Guyer and Texas RB Joe Bergeron of North Mesquite are three players to watch in the Big 12 this year.

Eleven area players taken in 2012 draft

April, 28, 2012
Ron Brooks was drafted Saturday as the 124th overall pick by the Buffalo Bills as a cornerback, a position he has played for only three seasons.

Brooks was recruited by LSU out of Irving MacArthur as a wide receiver after spending the majority of his snaps at quarterback in high school.

“He was just a step quicker than anyone else on the field,” MacArthur coach Brian Basil said. “He played quarterback for us his senior year because we wanted the ball touching his hands every snap, but the main thing that separated him at the high school level was his speed and his level of toughness.”

Brooks made the shift over to cornerback his sophomore year at LSU, which Basil believes is proof of his devotion to the game -- one of his many intangibles.

“He understood that whatever it took to get him on the field he would do it,” Basil said. “That’s why when he went to LSU, he was receptive to play defense and on special teams. Those intangibles are what allowed him to make it to this level.”

Brooks played in 53 games at LSU, finishing with 90 tackles and 5.5 sacks. All three interceptions Brooks pulled in were returned for touchdowns.

“For him, I think wherever he had an opportunity to play would be a great fit.” Basil said. “To play at that level is a dream come true and I bet he’s thrilled to death and we’re thrilled for him.”

Redskins pick Plano East/UT linebacker

The Redskins picked up the athlete that “could do it all” for Plano East coach Johnny Ringo.

Keenan Robinson was selected as the 119th overall pick as a linebacker out of Texas, the fourth player to make it to the pro level out of Plano East.

“He was a tremendous leader for us and played both ways,” Ringo said. “He’s just a kid that could do it all. He was a great track athlete and had to give up basketball. He was a tremendous player for us and will be a tremendous representative of Plano East in the NFL.”

Robinson hit Twitter immediately after his selection, affirming his excitement with the team that selected him.

“God is Good… Im right where I needa be,” Robinson tweeted, followed by, “Oo whats up Washington… Im glad to be a Redskin #NoQuestion.”

Robinson started in 39 games for the Longhorns, tallying 317 tackles and 4.4 sacks.

He joins other standouts from the state of Texas in Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III and Richardson Berkner/SMU lineman Josh LeRibeus as a part of the Redskins' draft class.

Other area draftees:

Josh LeRibeus (OG, Richardson Berkner/SMU): Selected 71st overall by the Redskins.

Jamell Fleming (CB, Arlington Seguin/Oklahoma): Selected 80th overall by the Cardinals. First player drafted from Arlington Seguin to be drafted.

Chris Givens (WR, Wylie/Wake Forest): Selected as the first pick of the fourth round, 96th overall, by the Rams.

Taylor Thompson (DE/TE, Prosper/SMU): Selected 145th overall by the Titans.

Cyrus Gray (RB, DeSoto/Texas A&M): Selected 182nd overall by the Chiefs.

James Hanna (TE, Flower Mound/Oklahoma): Selected 186th overall by the Cowboys.

Robert T. Griffin (OG, Euless Trinity/Baylor): Selected 203rd overall by the Jets.

Emmanuel Acho (LB, Dallas St. Mark’s/Texas): Selected 204th overall by the Browns.

Greg McCoy (DB/KR, Dallas Woodrow Wilson/TCU): Selected 220th overall by the Bears.

Smart named ESPNHS first-team All-American

April, 18, 2012
Marcus Smart's basketball-playing days at Flower Mound Marcus are done, but he hasn't stopped earning honors.

The Oklahoma State-bound senior guard was selected to the ESPNHS All-American first team Wednesday.

Smart, who led the Marauders to a second consecutive Class 5A state championship, had previously been named the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year and a McDonald's All-American.

Two area players from private school powers were named to the ESPNHS All-American second team: Plano Prestonwood Christian junior forward Julius Randle and Arlington Grace Prep senior center Isaiah Austin.

Randle helped Prestonwood win the TAPPS 5A state championship to cap a season during which the Lions won the prestigious City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla.

Austin, a Baylor recruit, led Grace Prep to its second straight TAPPS 4A title and joined Smart at the McDonald's All-American game.

Find more on the ESPNHS All-American team.

Arlington Grace Prep star Isaiah Austin fell right into the rhythm of the 2012 McDonald’s All-American game with ease.

In what turned out to be a dunkfest from both squads, Austin flushed several put-back dunks as part of his 10 points and eight rebounds on the night, leading to a 106-102 victory for his West team.

The Baylor commit added two assists and one steal to his final line in 17 minutes of play and looked right at home in the Baylor-esque green and neon yellow West squad uniforms.

Austin came off the bench in the first wave of substitutions in the first half and began his scoring by gathering up a loose ball around the free throw line and hitting a fadeaway jumper.

On the other end of the spectrum was Flower Mound Marcus’ Marcus Smart, who didn’t hit a field goal on the night and finished with one point in 20 minutes.

However, he did have an impact in other areas, pulling down six rebounds and dishing out five assists, including one alley-oop lob to game MVP and No. 2 recruit Shabazz Muhammad out of Las Vegas.

Muhammad, who is still uncommitted, claimed the award with a 21-point, six-rebound performance.

The West squad jumped to a 21-point lead in the second half, but the East rallied to within four points. One last defensive stop, with both Austin and Smart on the bench, held off the East attack to secure the win.

The girls McDonald’s All-American game was won by an East team free throw, 79-78, with 0.3 seconds remaining in the game, a disappointing finish for the three Dallas-area players on the West squad.

However, the West wouldn’t have had a chance at the win if it hadn’t been for Dallas-area home school star Moriah Jefferson.

With just under a minute remaining in the game, Jefferson hit a 3-pointer from the corner to bring the West within two. The West would tie it up on two free throws, but wouldn’t be able to fend off the East in the end.

Jefferson, a UConn commit, finished with 10 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal in 19 minutes. She shot 4-for-11 from the field and 2-for-4 from 3-point range.

Irving MacArthur’s Alexis Jones had a decent showing, showcasing her ability as a distributor in her 21 minutes of playing time with three quality assists in transition. Jones, a Duke commit, netted nine points and grabbed three rebounds while going 4-for-16 and 1-for-5 from behind the arc.

DeSoto’s Jordan Jones (Texas A&M) saw 11 minutes of time on the court and scored three points, grabbed one rebound and dished out three assists.

"It still doesn't feel real," Jones said of playing in the game. "A couple of years ago I was just an average player. It'll all probably hit me in a couple of days when I show everybody all my stuff."

Future Baylor Bear Alexis Prince (Orlando, Fla.) took home the game MVP honors with a 15-point, nine-rebound effort in Chicago.

Chris Hansen of ESPN HoopGurlz contributed to this report.

Five area stars in tonight's McDonald's games

March, 28, 2012
Five area basketball players will be in the national spotlight tonight at the McDonald's All-American games in Chicago.

Flower Mound Marcus' Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) and Arlington Grace Prep's Isaiah Austin (Baylor) are on the West team of the boys game, which tips off at 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPN and ESPN3.com.

Three area players are in the West team of the girls game, which starts at 6 p.m. CT on ESPNU and ESPN3.com: home-schooler Moriah Jefferson (Connecticut) of Glenn Heights, Irving MacArthur's Alexis Jones (Duke) and DeSoto's Jordan Jones (Texas A&M).

ESPN.com's recruiting and high school experts will be holding a live chat during the game.

Area has two finalists for Naismith HS award

February, 13, 2012
Two players from the Dallas-Fort Worth area were named as finalists for Naismith High School Player of the Year awards.

Arlington Grace Prep center Isaiah Austin, a Baylor signee, is one of four finalists for the boys award.

Guard guard Moriah Jefferson, a Connecticut signee from Glenn Heights who is home-schooled, is one of five girls finalists.

Both players were named McDonald's All-Americans last week.

The Naismith awards will be handed out by the Atlanta Tipoff Club at its season-ending banquet March 22 in Atlanta.

Wylie duo among locals headed down to Baylor

February, 1, 2012
Local recruits are flocking to Baylor on national signing day.

As of 9:30 Wednesday morning, the Bears had announced the signing of 20 recruits, eight of them from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The Bears have received signed letters of intent from two Wylie players, DB Terrell Burt and OL Kyle Fuller.

Also headed down I-35 to Waco are Denton Ryan DL Dominique Banks, Richardson Pearce WR Corey Coleman, Hebron WR Kiante' Griffin, Euless Trinity LB Brian Nance, McKinney Boyd DE Jamal Palmer and Garland QB Seth Russell.
Four-star linebacker Brian Nance (Euless, Texas/Trinity) said he will play college football at Baylor during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Nance, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker, chose Baylor out of offers from Arkansas and UCLA. Nance is considered the 15th-best linebacker in the country.

"The [Baylor] coaches act just like our Trinity coaches," Nance said. "They treated me like a family, and the players all respect each other. I like schools like that. I just want to fit in. They have a good recruiting class, and they're an up-and-coming program.

"When I went to the game [against Rice], I was there watching the fans. A lot of people knew me in the stands. Plus, I've seen a couple players I played against in 7-on-7. I just liked everything about it."

Nance added that even though he chose Baylor, he still plans to take visits to Arkansas and UCLA. He flies to Los Angeles the weekend of Jan. 13 and will schedule a visit to Arkansas shortly afterward.

See more commitments made during the game here.
Fifteen players formerly of Metroplex colleges and high schools were drafted this weekend in the 2011 NFL Draft.

TCU led the area colleges in players picked with five, including the Cincinatti Bengals’ 35th overall pick of quarterback Andy Dalton in the second round. Dalton, a Katy, Texas, native, hold’s TCU’s record for most wins, going 42-7 in his four years as the Horned Frogs' starting QB.

Odessa native Marcus Cannon went in the fifth round to New England as the 138th pick in the draft. Just before the draft, Cannon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but he told ESPN Dallas’ Richard Durrett he was thankful to be selected. Cannon, an offensive lineman, was a two-time first team All-Mountain West selection at TCU.

Following Cannon for the Frogs was wide receiver Jeremy Kerley at pick No. 153 to the New York Jets, where he will join former Frogs LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Colman. Kerley was a first-team All-American return specialist and ranks ninth all time at TCU in career receptions. Kerley played his high school career for the Hutto Hippos.

Safety Colin Jones went to the San Fransico 49ers in the sixth round as the 190th pick overall. Jones was second on TCU during his senior season in tackles with 80 and tackles for loss with 11.5. He was a standout running back and four-year letterman at Bridgeport High School.

The Patriots dipped into the Fort Worth talent pool again in the seventh round, taking cornerback Malcom Williams No. 219 overall. Williams was a two-year letterman for the Frogs and played in high school at South Grand Prairie.

SMU sent a receiver to the NFL through the draft for the second straight year with Aldrick Robinson going to the Washington Redskins as the 178th pick overall, in the sixth round. He follows Emmanuel Sanders who went 82nd overall to the Pittsburg Stealers in the 2010 draft. Robinson, a Waxahachie native, set a school record at SMU with 14 touchdowns and finished second with 1,301 receiving yards in 2010.

Linebacker Von Miller formally of DeSoto went second overall to the Denver Broncos after recording 59 tackles and 1 INT in his 2010 season at Texas A&M.

Following Miller in the first round was Colleyville Heritage’s Christian Ponder as the 12th pick overall to the Minnesota Vikings. Ponder threw for 2,044 yards and 20 TDs in 2010 at Florida State.

In the fourth round, former Dallas St. Mark’s and Texas defensive end Sam Acho went to the Arizona Cardinals as the 103rd pick overall. In 2010, Acho made 60 tackles and forced two fumbles.

The Cowboys selected former Cedar Hill cornerback Josh Thomas in the fifth round, 143rd overall. Cedar Hill head coach Joey McGuire told ESPN Dallas’ Tim MacMahon that Thomas will be a very hard worker for the Cowboys.

Ten picks before Waxahachie’s Robinson was selected, offensive lineman Demarcus Love of Dallas Carter was selected by the Vikings in the sixth round.

Former Metroplex players flew off the board in a flurry in the seventh round, beginning with former Southlake Carroll quarterback Greg McElroy, 208th overall to the Jets. Along with winning a national championship at Alabama in 2009, McElroy threw for 2,987 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2010.

At pick 216, defensive back Mikail Baker, formally of Dallas Skyline and Baylor, went to the St. Louis Rams, three picks before South Grand Pairie’s Williams.

Bringing up the end of the draft were two players from the University of Oklahoma who had come from the Metroplex, Jonathan Nelson and Jeremy Beal. Nelson, a cornerback from Mansfield Summit, went to the Rams as the 229th pick. Beal, a defensive end from Carrollton Creekview, went to the Broncos as the 247th pick.

Mesquite LB switches commitment to Baylor

January, 23, 2011
Mesquite linebacker Kyle Boyd who had committed to Iowa State last summer, has switched his pledge to Baylor.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder is a three-star recruit with a scouts grade of 77 from ESPN.com and a position rank of 34th.

In other recruiting news, former South Grand Prairie wide receiver DeWayne Peace has committed to Houston.

Peace graduated from South Grand Prairie in 2009 and went to Arizona. After redshirting as a freshman for the Wildcats, he transferred to his home state and played for Blinn College last year.

Weekend commits: Baylor lands Lincoln LB

July, 19, 2010
Lincoln outside linebacker Devante Davis has committed to Baylor for the Class of 2011. The 6-3, 190-pounder chose the Bears over SMU, Utah, Colorado State, Memphis and East Carolina.

Also this weekend, Tulsa swooped into the Metroplex to get commitments from two players -- Mesquite Horn receiver Jakeem Grant and Mansfield Timberview receiver Chaz Sampson.

Grant (5-7/160), a speedster who is a three-star recruit, caught 34 passes for 470 yards and six TDs as a junior. He also rushed for 223 yards and TDs. Grant chose Tulsa over Colorado State, Iowa State, Wake Forest, New Mexico, Louisiana Tech and Wyoming.

Sampson, who is 6-5, had six catches for 136 yards before breaking his hand three games into his junior season. He opted for Tulsa over UTEP.

Lancaster keeps state track & field titles coming

May, 17, 2010
A third straight Class 4A boys state title is just further evidence that the high school track and field capital of Texas just might be Lancaster.

The Tigers have now won five boys state titles since 2003. The girls team, state runner-up for the second straight year, had a string of eight straight state titles from 2001-2008.

“I’ve got the best track job in the nation,’’ said boys coach Greg Williams. “We’ve truly been blessed. If you look at the girls and boys programs combined, I think we’d be up there close to the top.’’

Williams said he has followed the very successful lead of Lady Tigers’ coach Beverly Humphrey, for whom the campus stadium is named, in getting the program going.

The coach also gives credit to his assistant coaches and to football head coach Andrew Jackson for his emphasis on the track program.

With senior hurdlers Tyler Stephenson and Kendall Hayes leading the way, Lancaster scored 72 points in the 4A state meet Friday in Austin, 34 more than second-place Angleton.

Stephenson, a Baylor football signee, won both hurdle races. Hayes, who has signed a football scholarship with Louisiana Tech, was second in the 110s and fourth in the 300s. Both hope to mix track with football in college.

Freshman Devin Fields, who according to Williams has a future in the hurdles once room opens up next year, got Lancaster started with a win the long jump.

It wasn’t a perfect spring leading up to the state meet for the Tigers by any means. They were nagged by injuries. Williams said it wasn’t until the state meet that the team was fully healthy.

Lancaster also had to overcome a poor first day at the Region II meet.

“We weren’t in good position going to the final day and we knew we had to do a lot better,’’ Williams said. “Everything clicked that last day and it had to for us to have a shot at state.’’

Although Williams is bidding farewell to a strong group of seniors, he said a fourth state title is not out of the question. There’s a core of returning experience on the relays.

Lancaster can count on tradition as an ally, too.

*The Skyline girls won their third straight class 5A team title and their sixth since 2002, on Saturday.

*DeSoto was runner-up in the 5A girls and boys division.

* Richardson was fourth in the 5A boys division.

*Dallas Gateway won the Class A girls team title.

Sims, Jones named Player of Year finalists

March, 3, 2010
Irving MacArthur senior guard Odyssey Sims and Duncanville forward Perry Jones were announced as finalists for McDonald's Morgan Wootten Player of the Year Awards.

Six male and six female finalists were named nationwide Wednesday.

The 5-8 Sims averaged 22.5 points and helped the Lady Cardinals reach the Class 5A Region I championship game. She suffered a torn ACL just 13 seconds into that game, in which MacArthur lost to Cedar Hill, 67-60.

ESPNU's HoopGurlz rates Sims the No. 3 senior prospect in the nation and the top point guard.

The 6-11 Jones found the radar with national scouts with his ability to handle the ball and shoot like a guard. He helped a young Duncanville team reach the area round of the playoffs. ESPNU ranks Jones ninth in the 2010 class nationally.

Sims and Jones has signed with Baylor.

The annual award, named after DeMatha (MD.) High School coaching legend Morgan Wootten, recognizes the nation's top boys and girls high school senior athletes. In addition to their skills on the court, the winners must demonstrate outstanding character, exhibit leadership, and embody the values of being a student-athlete, both in the classroom and in the community. Winners will be announced March 10.

The other finalists:

Male: Harrison Barnes (Ames High School -- Ames, Iowa), Kyrie Irving (St. Patrick High School -- Elizabeth, N.J.), Brandon Knight (Pine Crest School -- Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Jared Sullinger (Northland High School -- Columbus, Ohio), Tristan Thompson (Findlay Prep -- Henderson, Nev.).

Female: Chelsea Gray (St. Mary's High School -- Stockton, Calif.), Bria Hartley (North Babylon High School -- North Babylon, N.Y.), Kaneisha Horn (Ramsay High School -- Birmingham, Ala.), Natasha Howard (Toledo Waite High School -- Toledo, Ohio), Chiney Ogwumike (Cy-Fair High School -- Cypress, Texas).

"These 12 finalists are all incredibly talented young players who understand what it means to give back to their communities," said Wootten, McDonald's All American Games selection committee chairman.

Sims leads Irv. MacArthur to regionals

February, 24, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The odds of beating a team three times in one season improve greatly when Odyssey Sims is involved.

Irving MacArthur’s 5-foot-8 guard and a Baylor signee scored a season-high 40 points in the Lady Cardinals’ 68-57 win over Duncanville in a Class 5A Region I quarterfinal Tuesday night at Lamar High School.

“I seem to have my best games against Duncanville,’’ said Sims, rated the No. 3 senior nationally by ESPNU’s HoopGurlz. She had 36 (previous season high) and 27 points in a pair of District 7-5A wins over Duncanville last month. “They have a great team and it makes me want to play my best.’’

About the only time Sims was stopped in a 21-point first half was when she ran headlong into teammate Monique Jackson on one of her bolts to the basket.

MacArthur sophomore guard Alexis Jones added 20 points, proving once again why the Lady Cardinals have one of the most feared backcourts in the state.

A fast start allowed MacArthur (36-1) to dictate a quicker pace than Duncanville (33-4) might have liked.

MacArthur, No. 22 nationally in ESPN Rise Fab 50 and No. 3 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ 5A state rankings, saw its 14-point halftime lead twice reduced to eight points in the final four minutes. On each occasion, the Lady Cardinals responded with a basket to extend the lead to 10. Sims hit a leaner in the lane with 3:10 remaining, and Karmyn Jackson popped a 15-footer from the corner 90 seconds later.

Senior guards Ashley Roberts (15 points) and Ryah Lacy (14) led Duncanville, No. 33 nationally and No. 4 in the state.

The final score was similar to the first two matchups, 69-56 at MacArthur on Jan. 2 and 67-57 at Duncanville on Jan. 26.

MacArthur advances to the Region I tournament at Fort Worth’s Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center with an 8 p.m. Friday semifinal rematch against defending state champion Mansfield Summit (26-8). Summit defeated North Crowley on Tuesday, 55-54.