VYPE Houston Region
VYPE's No. 1 Team in H-Town -- The Jack Yates Lions
November 10, 2011By Matt Malatesta of VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Houston
The Jack Yates Lions
THE BEST TICKET IN TOWN
By Matt Malatesta
Last Year: 25-5; 14-0 in District
Fell to La Marque in Playoffs
The 2010 Jack Yates basketball team will go down in history as one of the most celebrated Houston-area high school teams in history, winning the Class 4A state championship and being ranked No. 1 in country by season’s end.
While coach Greg Wise doesn’t like to compare his past and present teams, he could be building another dynasty at the inner city.
“We’ve got a great mix of size, athleticism and youth that we haven’t had here,” he said. “I’m super excited about where our program will go over the next three years, starting with this season. This team has the potential to be special, because they are working so hard and not complaining about what he put them through at practice. They are taking the coaching and they remind me of our team two years ago.”
The cornerstone of Yates’ success is pressure and depth and the Lions will continue their program’s blueprint in 2011-12.
“Our depth is top-notch,” he said. “We will have nine guys who will regularly play and our size this year will enable us to do a lot of different pressures on defense.”
Protecting the basket will be Moe Letcher-Ellis, who was forced to play junior varsity last year after transferring from Cypress Springs High School.
“He’s been through a lot and is focused on having a break-out senior year,” Wise said. “He accepted what he had to do a year ago and has a great attitude. He can run the floor, rebound and block shots with his size. He has developed his shot to go along with that.”
With Letcher-Ellis cleaning the backboard, it allows for Damyeon Dotson (6-foot-5) and Clyde Santee (6-foot-7) to get out on the wings and attack the basket. Both averaged over 15 points-per-game a year ago and will the go-to guys this season.
“Those guys have upped their games and want their shot at a state ring,” Wise said. “They are the leaders of this team and will need to step up big in that department. That’s the piece that is missing a little bit. Two years ago we had Darius Gardner, who led that team, but we need someone to take that role this year.”
While he won’t be looked on to provide locker room leadership, sophomore Melvin Swift (6-foot-7) will be one of the most electrifying hoopers in H-Town. Swift averaged over 10 points last year as a freshman.
“He could literally be the most athletic kid I’ve had in this program and everyone knows that that is saying a lot,” Wise said. “What sets him apart is his size, coupled with his ability to get up and down and off the floor.”
Running the Yates offense this year and for the next four years could be freshman JoJo Anderson, who has impressed this offseason with his court savvy.