World news – The NCAA tournament reflects the improved basketball experience in Texas


UH freshman Tramon Mark is a great example of the current group of Texas high school players who have stayed loyal to their community.

It’s getting lost amid the romance of football, but 2021 offered one Another clear reminder: Texas is a basketball state.

Houston, Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, North Texas, Texas Southern and Abilene Christian make up the top seven men’s teams of the Lone Star State at this year’s NCAA tournament. Three years ago, Texas had the same number to set its record.

At one point this season, the state had four of the top 10 teams in the Associated Press men’s poll: Baylor in second place, Texas No. # 5, Houston # 6, and Texas Tech # 10.

Baylor is # 1 for the first time. Number 2 in Houston has been the best for the school since the Phi Slama Jama era in the 1980s. Texas Southern, which shares Third Ward with UH, has had its fifth tournament seat since 2014. UT won its first Big 12 tournament title. North Texas won its first Conference USA tournament crown.

More local flair during March Madness: A total of 35 players from high schools in the Houston area are represented in 18 teams on this year’s field.

The prep and grassroots basketball communities of the state. The talent has always been here. It may not always have been properly exposed, but it’s now more in the social media age than ever.

The AAU racetrack and Texas High School basketball programs, for example, are hip-mounted, much like other states. Clear Lake High School coach Tom Penders Jr., whose father is college basketball Hall of Fame inductee and former UH and UT coach Tom Penders Sr., feels positivity and like-mindedness between companies in Texas. Penders Jr. also pays tribute to the state’s head coaches, notably Scott Drew of Baylor, Kelvin Sampson of Houston, Shaka Smart of Texas, and Chris Beard of Texas Tech, the last of whom is McCullough High School (The Woodlands) / p> What these coaches mean reflects what their players are producing. They’re recruiting a different kind of in-state player these days and that fits their philosophy perfectly.

« Your focus now is on gritty, brave players, » said Penders Jr. « Just think about it. Instead of the pampered superstar, I think this really helped make Texas such a special basketball state that they have turned their back on stylish players who all want big headlines. Instead, they have the tough kids who are loyal to their community like Tramon Mark in Houston (Greg Brown), Texas. These are children who could have attended any preparatory school across the country. They could have gone to Miami to go to high school, but they made a choice to stay loyal to their community. « 

The senior three-star recruit is under contract with UH and has helped kick off the beginnings of Shadow Creek High School’s program, which has been successful and through this year’s 22-3 mark and regional quarter-finals of the class.

According to David President, Shadow Creek trainer, government programs have done a good job of finding talent outside of their own boundaries and could keep the recruiting base close to home if necessary. </ "I think it's a tribute to the development of children," said the president. "There are a lot of great programs, summer programs, people who just give back to play and develop children, and children who spend the time doing it to develop their craft, which has now given them the opportunity to be part of one of those programs. "We always had the talent. But I think now you really start to see it and it especially shows at the national level. Reiterating the idea of ​​the extra work the players have done, Penders Jr. said, “You would be surprised to see what some of these kids are doing to be successful.” He refers to how Often times, players have additional coaches and coaches, each on the same side being key.

Erven « Big E » Davis, founder of the AAU basketball organization Dallas Showtyme, prefers players to join one at times Take a break, but the mentality is too strong to thwart it.

The school and AAU seasons often merge, and players waste little to no time between the two. The multi-faceted AAU scene is no more As restrictive as it used to be. There is seldom a moment in the year when players aren’t challenged. In Texas it wasn’t always that way.

Huffman Hargraves coach Scott Barrett, who is about to take his team to the state title game in Class 4A led and late 90s Having played at TCU for years says staying home has never been more appealing to players.

Barrett recalls a time when two Texas NCAA tournaments were standard. Barrett was on the TCU team in 1998, one of the school’s last two NCAA seasons. The Horned Frogs’ game against Florida State this year followed Bryce Drew’s Summer-Beater to help Valparaiso piss off Ole Miss in the first round.

What many of this year’s college players are about to find out, there is nothing Better than the magic of the tournament.

« When you’re a college team, winning the NCAA tournament is a big deal, » said Barrett. « How many teams don’t even sniff it? Even a lot of college teams that host the national invitational tournament are a big deal to them. But to win the NCAA, it’s the top of the world. »

Adam Coleman stepped up joined the Houston Chronicle in April 2016 to cover Rice University and college sports.

Previously, he worked for the Big Spring Herald and Houston Community Newspapers, and also worked as a freelance writer for Houston high school and college sports.

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