High-SchoolTexas: Basketball

Texas final hoops rankings: FM Marcus, Kimball repeat as champs

March, 13, 2012
After games on Sunday, March 11

Call it deja vu, call it partying like it's 2011 – heck, you could even call it a comeback. Whatever the case, Marcus and Kimball emerged as champs once again in the 5A and 4A ranks, respectively, this past weekend.

For Marcus, it meant holding off the twin duo of Aaron and Andrew Harrison. No easy task, but also not a tall order for the Marauders' own duo in McDonald's All-American Marcus Smart, who played stifling defense, and Phil Forte, who knocked down eight critical free throws to secure the 56-52 win. The Marauders sit fifth in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings.

For Kimball, it mean coming back against a Yates team known for its high-scoring offense and championship success in 2009 and 2010. But behind a late rally and Torrey Henry's go-ahead three-pointer, the Knights proved that the title was theirs to keep.

That will do it for an eventful Texas hoops scene in the public and private-school ranks. Here are the final rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Marcus (Flower Mound) 39-2 (1)
Phil Forte drained eight free throws down the stretch to finish with 24 points and MVP honors as the Marauders repeated as Class 5A champs with a 56-52 win against Fort Bend Travis.

2. Prestonwood Christian (Plano) 27-4 (2)
Super junior Julius Randle led the Lions to the TAPPS Class 5A crown.

3. Grace Prep (Arlington) 27-4 (3)
Repeated as TAPPS Class 4A champs with win against No. 6 Westbury Christian in the title game.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas basketball rankings.
After games on Sunday, March 4.

After jockeying for position in the POWERADE FAB 50 and splitting their two regular-season meetings (and sharing a nickname in the "Lions"), Grace Prep and Prestonwood Christian both were able to end the season on a good note.

Julius Randle scored 26 points to help Prestonwood Christian capture the TAPPS Class 5A crown, its second in three years. Meanwhile, Grace Prep got big games from Jordan Mickey (21 points), Emmanuel Mudiay (20 points) and Isaiah Austin (12 points, 10 rebounds) to win their second straight Class 4A title.

On the UIL scene, the final four for Class 4A and 5A are set and many of the usual suspects are involved. In 5A, there's defending champ Marcus, which survived an upset bid by South Grand Prairie, thanks to a last-second block by Marcus Smart. The victory keeps alive a potential matchup with the Harrison twins and Fort Bend Travis in the final.

In 4A, Kimball and Yates, the defending champs from the last two years, enter the final four on different sides of the bracket. Yates continues to rack up 100+ point-games while Kimball has momentum after beating a South Oak Cliff team that it lost to twice this season.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Marcus (Flower Mound) 37-2 (1)
Marcus Smart scored 19 points and blocked a potential game-tying shot in the Marauders 39-38 win against South Grand Prairie. The defending Class 5A champs will face Naaman Forest in Friday's semifinals.

2. Prestonwood Christian (Plano) 27-4 (2)
Julius Randle tallied 26 points and 10 boards to lead the Lions past John Paul II in the TAPPS Class 5A final.

3. Grace Prep (Arlington) 27-4 (3)
Grace Prep easily beat Westbury Christian behind Jordan Mickey's 21 points, Emmanuel Mudiay's 20 points and Isaiah Austin's double-double (12 points, 10 boards) to win a second straight TAPPS Class 4A crown.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas basketball rankings.

Texas Week 12 hoops rankings: State playoffs heating up

February, 28, 2012
After games on Sunday, Feb. 26.

The Texas basketball playoffs are quite the marathon, making for salivating matchups and surprising upsets. This week could bring both.

Marcus, the No. 5 team in the POWERADE FAB 50, appears poised to defend its crown, but in doing so, the Marauders face a potential Class 5A regional semifinal matchup against No. 7 North Crowley if they can hold off Timberview on Tuesday. Likewise, red-hot Fort Bend Travis will be tested when it faces newly ranked Northshore on Tuesday in the Class 5A quarterfinals.

On the private-school scene, Grace Prep and Westbury Christian appear to be on a crash course in the TAPPS Class 4A final this Saturday should they both win their semifinal matchups as expected.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Marcus (Flower Mound) 34-2 (1)
The Marauders jumped out to an 18-0 lead and Phil Forte finished with 16 points to lead them past Duncanville and into the Class 5A regional quarterfinals for a contest against Timberview on Tuesday.

2. Prestonwood Christian (Plano) 25-4 (2)
Freshman Mickey Mitchell dropped 29 points to go with Julius Randle's 20 in the Lions' 83-64 win against Central Catholic to advance to the TAPPS Class 5A semifinals, where they will face St. Thomas (Houston).

3. Grace Prep (Arlington) 25-4 (3)
Grace Prep bounced Concordia from the TAPPS 4A playoffs with a 77-52 win. Next the Lions will face San Antonio Christian in the semis and should they win, will likely take on fellow POWERADE FAB 50 squad Westbury Christian in the final.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas hoops rankings.

Texas Week 11 hoops rankings: Grace Prep falls again

February, 21, 2012
After games on Sunday, Feb. 19

There's no worse time to drop a few games than right before the postseason. Momentum and matchups always prove key come playoff time. But then again, there's probably no better time to get a few losses out of your system than right before the postseason. Watching film from those defeats can help teams work out the kinks in time for when the games really count.

So with Grace Prep losing its second game in three weeks, the Lions can pick their approach to fixing things now that the TAPPS 4A playoffs underway. Either way, they must bring their 'A' game, especially should they win their next two games and face fellow POWERADE FAB 50 squad Westbury Christian in the finals.

Other teams in Texas have plenty of momentum entering this week's playoffs. Top-ranked Marcus ran the table in District 8-5A play. Prestonwood Christian has won eight straight since falling to FAB 50 No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) last month. Fort Bend Travis became the first Fort Bend ISD boys team to go undefeated in district play since 2008-09. Others like North Crowley (15 in a row) and Yates (13 in a row) are also riding high.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Marcus (Flower Mound) 32-2 (1)
Marauders secured a perfect record in District 8-5A play by downing Flower Mound behind Phil Forte's 14 points. Their march to a second straight 5A title begins this week.

2. Prestonwood Christian (Plano) 24-4 (2)
Zach Peters dropped 23 points to push the Lions past Houston Christian in the area round of the TAPPS 5A playoffs. Lions are the favorite after finishing second last year.

3. Grace Prep (Arlington) 24-4 (3)
Grace Prep lost for the second time in three weeks, this time to Kimball. But the Lions were able to avenge an earlier loss to Trinity Christian before entering the TAPPS 4A playoffs. Next up: Tomball Concordia in Saturday's regional playoff game.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas hoops rankings.

Texas Week 10 hoops rankings: Three new teams enter FAB 50

February, 14, 2012
After games on Sunday, Feb. 12

It was a big week on the national stage for Texas hoops stars and programs. Here's a quick rundown:

-Four local players in Isaiah Austin, Cameron Ridley, Marcus Smart and Rasheed Sulaimon earned spots on the McDonald's All-American team.
-Julius Randle dropped 46 points in a blowout win against Bishop Lynch. The super junior scored 50 points earlier this season.
-Three Texas teams entered the POWERADE FAB 50, as South Grand Prairie, Richland and Churchill made their debut riding lengthy win streaks.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Marcus (Flower Mound) 31-2 (1)
Marauders downed Hebron before beating Plano East behind 15 points from McDonald's All-American Marcus Smart.

2. Prestonwood Christian (Plano) 22-4 (2)
Julius Randle went bananas with 46 points in a rout of Bishop Lynch.

3. Grace Prep (Arlington) 22-3 (3)
Lions ended the regular season with a victory against Faith Christian, a nice recovery from their loss to No. 9 Trinity Christian. Next up: the TAPPS playoffs.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas basketball rankings.

Texas Week 9 hoops rankings: Marcus retakes top spot

February, 7, 2012
After games on Sunday, Feb. 5

With 11 straight wins and one of their two losses coming against the nation's second-best team in Findlay Prep (Nev.), some could have argued that Marcus was the top-ranked squad in Texas. On the heels of Grace Prep's stunning, last-second loss to Trinity Christian, that debate has been settled — for now.

The Marauders are once again Texas' top team after improving to 11-0 in District 8-5A with wins against Allen and Lewisville. Marcus Smart continued his consistent play with 15 points in the victory against Lewisville. As a result, the Marauders are now fifth in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings.

Meanwhile, Trinity Christian moves into the rankings after knocking off Grace Prep behind Parker Wentz's 31 points. The Lions could make their own argument to be the state's No. 1 team if they manage to knock off Findlay Prep on Friday.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Marcus (Flower Mound) 29-2 (2)
The Marauders retake the top spot and remain undefeated in District 8-5A play after beating Allen and Lewisville.

2. Prestonwood Christian (Plano) 21-4 (3)
Zach Peters was a beast this past week, netting 30 points in a win against Nolan and 16 in a victory over Liberty Christian. Lions will finish the regular season with games against Bishop Lynch and Bishop Dunne.

3. Grace Prep (Arlington) 19-3 (1)
Lions were bounced by Trinity Christian, a team they beat by 13 points earlier this season.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas hoops rankings

UIL Realignment breakdown

February, 3, 2012

For those whose heads are still spinning from the Thursday's UIL realignment, our friends at ESPN Dallas have got you covered with this video breaking down some of the major news.


After games on Sunday, Jan. 29

Opponents have been in double trouble this season when they face off against Fort Bend Travis. Twin junior guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison have created problems on both ends of the floor, with Aaron taking care of the scoring (team-high 18.2 ppg) and Andrew doing a little of both (11.8 ppg, 5.7 apg) for the Tigers.

With eight straight wins, including a victory against No. 8 Bush to complete the season sweep, the Tigers have earned a spot in the latest POWERADE FAB 50 rankings at No. 44.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Grace Prep (Arlington) 17-2 (1)
Lions have had their way of late, easily beating Fort Worth Christian and Pantego Christian. Jordan Mickey had 19 points in the win against FWC.

2. Marcus (Flower Mound) 27-2 (2)
The Marauders showed their mettle in a win against a strong Plano West squad. Phil Forte led the way with 22 points while Marcus Smart added 14. Next up: road games against Allen and Lewisville.

3. Prestonwood Christian (Plano) 19-4 (3)
Mickey Mitchell and Julius Randle were dominant in wins against Trinity Christian and John Paul II. Mitchell dropped 24 points against Trinity while Randle had 21 in each contest.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas hoops rankings.

Texas Week 7 Hoops Rankings: Kimball falls in district play

January, 24, 2012
After games on Sunday, Jan. 22

The past week proved good to all of the top 10 teams, with the exception of Kimball. Despite getting 34 points from star Keith Frazier, the Knights fell to South Oak Cliff, 69-66, in a critical District 11-4A matchup.

Nationally, by virtue of Findlay Preps's (Nev.) rise to No. 2 after two victories against ranked teams, Grace Prep is now third in the latest POWERADE FAB 50.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Grace Prep (Arlington) 15-2 (1)
Lions easily beat Faith Christian by the score of 93-26. Next up: Pantego Christian on Friday to begin a string of three games in five days.

2. Marcus (Flower Mound) 25-2 (2)
Phil Forte had 25 points and Marcus Smart dropped 20 to lead Marauders to win against Flower Mound and push win streak to eight games.

3. Prestonwood Christian (Plano) 18-4 (3)
Bounced back from loss to Oak Hill by beating Bishop Dunne last Friday. Next up: John Paul II on Tuesday.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas hoops rankings.

Week 6 Texas hoops rankings: Grace Prep moves to No. 2 in nation

January, 18, 2012
After games on Monday, Jan. 16

Ever since losing to Prestonwood Christian in the City of Palms final, Grace Prep has been on a mission to prove it still belongs among the nation's elite. The Lions have won their last five games by an average of 39 points, punctuating their current streak with a 60-42 win against Thurgood Marshall (Ohio) on Monday. With their only other loss coming against new No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Va.), the Lions now sit in the second spot in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings.

Also surging is Richland. The Rebels knocked off Marcus en route to the Whataburger title last month and after a New Year's Eve lost to Coleyville Heritage, have won four straight.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Grace Prep (Arlington) 14-2 (1)
Lions are now second in the POWERADE FAB 50 after downing Thurgood Marshall (Ohio) behind Isaiah Austin's 15 points and 11 boards.

2. Marcus (Flower Mound) 23-2 (2)
The Marauders are 4-0 in District 8-5A play after downing Lewisville behind Marcus Smart's 15 points. Next up: Flower Mound on Saturday before a big test against Plano West on Tuesday.

3. Prestonwood Christian 17-4 (3)
Lions had won five straight before falling by 30 points to new national No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) at the Hoophall Classic in Massachusetts.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas hoops rankings.

Scorers aplenty in Texas All-State hoops stock watch

January, 11, 2012
The new year isn't even two weeks old, but some ballers in Texas have put together what could be their best performances of the year. Check out who in this week's All-State Stock Watch.

You know the drill — each week, we'll take a look back at our Texas preseason All-State basketball team and update you on how some of those players are faring this year. There will be a Prime-Time Player (PTP), an Other Top Player (OTP) and an Under the Radar (UTR) player who is making his case as one of the state's top ballers.

PTP: Julius Randle, Prestonwood Christian, Junior
Let's just say 2012 has been good to Randle. Last week, the star junior was featured on the cover of the latest ESPNHS magazine (shameless plug, I know). Then, on Tuesday, Randle went bananas in a game against Fort Worth Nolan, dropping 50 points to lead his team to a 94-63 win. The nation's third-ranked junior can only hope this good fortune carries over to Saturday, when the Lions face POWERADE FAB 50 No. 2 Oak Hill Academy at the HoopHall Classic.

OTP: Justise Winslow, St. John's, Sophomore
He was the talk of the Internet at the end of 2011 for this sick dunk (no clue why he was thrown out for saluting), and he's continued his tear in the new year. Through three games in 2012, Winslow is averaging 25.7 points per game and the Mavericks are 3-0 to push their record to 14-8.

UTR: A.J. Moutry, McKinney, Senior
Moutry shouldn't be surprised if he sees constant double and triple teams in his next game. That's what happens when you put together two performances like he has in the past week. On Friday, the senior guard scored 54 points, including nine 3-pointers and the go-ahead basket in a double-overtime win against Richardson Pearce. Then on Tuesday, he tallied 42 points, including 10 in overtime, to push the Lions to a comeback victory over Wylie East. Next up: a Friday contest versus 15-2 Highland Park. Get your popcorn ready.

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Marcus re-enters top 10 in POWERADE FAB 50

January, 10, 2012
After games on Sunday, Jan. 8

The new year brought the same results for the Marcus basketball team. The Marauders opened Region 1, District 8 play with two wins against Plano and Allen, pushing them back into the top 10 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Prestonwood Christian looked just as impressive, shaking off a 1-2 showing at the Beach Ball Classic with a close in against No. 4 Westbury Christian. Both teams remain ranked nationally, as the Lions sit at No. 19 and Westbury Christian comes in at No. 33. Prestonwood Christian stands to move up even more should it be able to knock off national No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) during Saturday's action at the HoopHall Classic.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Grace Prep (Arlington) 12-2 (1)
Lions cruised to wins against Pantego Christian and Fort Worth Christian as they prepare to face undefeated Trinity Christian on Friday.

2. Marcus (Flower Mound) 21-2 (2)
Marauders re-enter top 10 of POWERADE FAB 50 with wins against Plano and Allen.

3. Prestonwood Christian (Plano) 14-3 (3)
Lions squeaked by No. 4 Westbury Christian, notching a quality win in preparation for contest against national No. 2 Oak Hill Academy on Saturday at HoopHall Classic.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas basketball rankings

Grace Prep moves to No. 1 in Week 4 Texas hoops rankings

January, 3, 2012
After games ending Jan. 2

The holiday tournament season proved nice for some and not so cheerful for others. Ultimately though, it was the team that take some time off that benefited the most.

After finishing second at the City of Palms and playing an early schedule that included three nationally ranked opponents, Grace Prep moved up to the state's top spot and the No. 3 spot in the POWERADE FAB 50 during an idle week. This happened by virtue of Marcus' loss to Richland in the Whataburger Tournament and Prestonwood Christian's 1-2 showing at the Beach Ball Classic.

Kimball and A&M Consolidated debuted in the rankings after winning the crown at the DISD/Coca-Cola Tournament and Westlake Holiday Classic, respectively.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Grace Prep (Arlington) 10-2 (3)
Idle Lions move into top spot by virtue of losses by Marcus and Prestonwood Christian and wins against two national top 10 teams.

2. Marcus (Flower Mound) 19-2 (1)
Marauders fell short of winning their third straight Whataburger Tournament title, losing 58-55 to eventual champ Richland.

3. Prestonwood Christian 11-3 (2)
After winning City of Palms, Lions stumbled to a 1-2 showing at the Beach Ball Classic in South Carolina.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas hoops rankings.

Prestonwood Christian rises up in Week 3 Texas hoops rankings

December, 27, 2011
After games ending Dec. 26.

Fresh off a loss against Grace Prep, Prestonwood Christian certainly had its work cut out for it entering the prestigious City of Palms tournament. But the Lions were the ones doin' work in Florida, beating Shabazz Muhammad and Bishop Gorman (Nev.) and California power Riverside before settling the score against Grace Prep in the final.

Julius Randle was up to his usual exploits, but the Lions got big contributions from Kansas commit Zach Peters and freshman Mickey Mitchell, who dropped 19 points and eight assists in the championship. That all equals the No. 2 spot in Texas and No. 5 slot in the POWERADE FAB 50, just behind Marcus on both lists.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Marcus 16-1 (1)
Marauders jumped to No. 4 in the POWERADE FAB 50 after beating No. 7 Montrose Christian and Plano West. Next up: Whataburger Tournament this week.

2. Prestonwood Christian 10-1 (6)
Lions rebounded from defeat against Grace Prep in a big way, winning the City of Palms Classic while avenging the loss to Grace Prep in the title game.

3. Grace Prep 10-2 (2)
Two losses have been to nationally ranked teams in Oak Hill Academy (Va.) and Prestonwood Christian. Ten wins have included triumphs against Prestonwood Christian, Mater Dei (Calif.) and Montverde (Fla.).

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas basketball rankings.

Five Days of List-Mas: Five Best NBA Players from Texas

December, 15, 2011

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: The five best NBA players ever to come out of Texas.

Isaiah Austin, Cameron Ridley and Marcus Smart are all standout basketball recruits who are headed to D-I colleges — and possibly beyond. Texas has a long history of sending top high school players to the NBA. But who's been the best? Here's our list of the five best players from the Lone Star State to play in the NBA.

5. Chris Bosh
Credentials: He may be on the most-hated team in the league right now, but Chris Bosh is a Texas legend. It all began at Lincoln High, where he led his school to a 40-0 record and the state and national titles. He went on to play one year at Georgia Tech before being drafted fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in 2003. He starred in Canada for seven seasons before joining the newest Big 3 with LeBron and D-Wade in Miami last season.

4. Clyde Drexler
Credentials: Clyde the Glide's roots stretch back to Sterling High before he went on to form the Phi Slamma Jamma at Houston with Akeem Olajuwon. Drexler was then drafted by the Portland Trailblazers in 1983 where he starred for 11 seasons before being traded to the Rockets. Back in Houston and reunited with Olajuwon, Drexler won his only NBA title in 1995. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004 after averaging 20.4 points per game.

3. Deron Williams
Credentials: Deemed by many as the NBA's best point guard today, Williams began playing at The Colony as a teenager before enrolling at Illinois. After leading his school to the 2005 NCAA title game, Williams was drafted third overall by the Utah Jazz in 2005. In six seasons there, he averaged 17.2 points and 9.2 assists before being traded last year to the New Jersey Nets. He now stands as one of the most coveted free agents for this coming summer.

2. Dennis Rodman
Credentials: Perhaps the greatest rebounder of all time and easily one of the most controversial players ever, Rodman's humble beginnings stem from his at South Oak Cliff, but he didn't play much basketball. It wasn't until his days at Southeastern Oklahoma State University that he caught on, averaging 24.4 points and 17.8 rebounds. The Pistons drafted him 27th in 1986 and he caught on as part of the infamous "Bad Boys." He won two titles in Detroit before being traded to the Spurs and then joining the Bulls where he won three more rings alongside Jordan and Pippen. Rodman, who averaged 13.1 boards for his career, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

1. Shaquille O'Neal
Credentials: Before he started making nicknames for himself and breaking backboards, Big Shaq at Cole High. He then went on to dominate at LSU for three years, averaging 21.6 points and 13.5 rebounds. The Orlando Magic selected him first in the 1992 NBA Draft and he was named Rookie of the Year. After four seasons, he signed with the Lakers, where he joined with Kobe Bryant to win three titles and a league MVP. Shaq was then traded to the Miami Heat and won another title, this time alongside Dwyane Wade. The Big Aristotle retired this past summer and is a surefire Hall of Famer.

Tomorrow: Wild Card! Check back tomorrow to find out what our list is.

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter@brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.