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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Texas boasts great fans, winning coaches

By Mark Tennis
ESPNRISE.com

Shaquille O'Neal
Cole star Shaquille O'Neal went on to success at the college, pro and law enforcement ranks.

It's not football, but basketball still generates more fan interest in Texas than perhaps anywhere else. Some of the recent Class 5A state championship games, for example, have drawn more than 15,000 fans.

In the past 10 years, Texas teams have performed very well against the best from other states. In 2002, Lincoln (Dallas), led by the Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh, was 40-0 and was No. 1 in the nation. In the 2007-08 season, North Crowley of Fort Worth rose to No. 3 in the FAB 50 rankings, and that same season, Yates (Houston) knocked off national powers Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and St. Patrick's (Jersey City, N.J.) on back-to-back nights. A month later, Yates couldn't even advance out of its regional playoffs.

In the coaching ranks, Texas is unmatched in the nation for producing players who have been immensely successful at the high school level. The nation's all-time winningest coach, Robert Hughes from Dunbar of Fort Worth, is from the Lone Star State. Also included among the nation's top coaches are Bill Krueger from Clear Lake of Houston, Clyde Carlisle of Clarksville, John Guice from Midway of Henrietta and Sammie Koudelka of Moulton.

Who's Next?

Known primarily as a football hotbed, Texas is a place where colleges now find impact basketball players and ESPN RISE FAB 50 ranked teams. The 5A bracket features Houston schools such as Strake Jesuit, Kingwood, Cypress Woods, Bellaire and Bush. Dallas-Fort Worth schools include Duncanville, defending champion North Crowley, Cedar Hill, Plano West. Top 4A schools include Yates, Wheatley, Newman Carroll, Carter. Episcopal School of Dallas, led by junior guard Phil Pressey, is the top private school. Eight Texas seniors are ESPNU 100 players. Perry Jones, a 6-10 center, is the top junior.
-- Chris Lawlor

Top all-time Texas players:
Mookie Blaylock (Garland)
Chris Bosh (Lincoln, Dallas)
Clyde Drexler (Sterling, Houston)
T.J. Ford (Willowridge, Sugarland)
Larry Johnson (Skyline, Dallas)
Rashard Lewis (Elsik, Alief)
Alton Lister (Woodrow Wilson, Dallas)
Kenyon Martin (Bryan Adams, Dallas)
Shaquille O'Neal (Cole, San Antonio)
Bo Outlaw (John Jay, San Antonio)
Kendrick Perkins (Ozen, Beaumont)
Dennis Rodman (South Oak Cliff, Dallas)
Dave Stallworth (James Madison, Dallas)
Kurt Thomas (Hillcrest, Dallas)
Terry Teagles (Broaddus)
Spud Webb (Wilmer-Hutchins, Dallas)

Mark Tennis is the deputy sports editor of ESPN RISE.