Private & Parochial Schools
VYPE's Private School Preseason Top 10 -- Presented by POWERADE
November 8, 2012By Matt Malatesta of VYPE MAGAZINE - TAPPS Houston
VYPE's Top 10 PRIVATES
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1. Episcopal Knights
2. The Village School Vikings
3. St. John's School Mavericks
4. Kinkaid Falcons
5. Trent International Phoenix
6. St. Pius X Panthers
7. HCYA Warriors
8. The Woodlands Christian Academy Warriors
9. RCHA Pride
10. Westbury Christian Wildcats
Others to Watch... Houston Christian, Concordia Lutheran, SATCH, John Cooper School
Over the past several seasons there have been some epic private school battles with some high-caliber college talent. Westbury Christian has been a major player, along with The Woodlands Christian Academy, St. Thomas, St. John's, Kinkaid and Episcopal to name a few. Throw in the Texas home school league and Houston-area hoops is represented at every level of basketball.
No. 1 Episcopal Knights
After falling in the Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC) semis last season to eventual champ St. John's School, Episcopal is the city's top non-public school entering 2012-13. Strake Jesuit coach Wayne Jones has taken over as the Knights' head coach, which will put the Bellaire school on another level. Jones has had tremendous success developing talent (see Rasheed Sulaimon, Joey Brooks and Tim Frazier) while racking up playoff wins.
"Episcopal has a strong history in basketball, and the school is growing in numbers," Jones said. "We will start a little slow learning the new system, but we will be prepared for the playoffs. We have a very challenging pre-district schedule to get us ready."
Led by one of the city's most prolific scorers Kenny Williams, Episcopal will be hard to defend. Throw in the likes of big-men Brandon Williams and Kendell Ramlal, and the Knights are well-balanced. Jamal Williams will also provide productive minutes, defending and scoring the ball.
No. 2 The Village School Vikings
Coach Don Harvey has had a plethora of talent walk through the halls of The Village School. Super-human Shaquille Cleare graduated and is off to the University of Maryland, but Harvey has a stockpile of talent. Point guard Isiah Taylor is thought to be the best point guard in the city outside of the Andrew Harrison. Dylan Jones is a man among boys against most opponents, standing 6-foot-8, bookended by the 6-foot-6 Josh Butler.
No. 3 St. John's School Mavericks
The St. John's School has won back-to-back SPC Championships under the direction of coach Harold Baber. While Baber runs a successful program, he does have one of the nation's top 2014 prospects in Justice Winslow. The 6-foot-6 forward was named to the 2012 USA U17 World Championship Team last summer and is on every college coach's wish list to sign on the dotted line.
Guards J.T. Trauber and Kory Haywood return to compliment Winslow along with front -court players Wes Wallace and Risher Randall.
No. 4 The Kinkaid School Falcons
Some of the top young talent has landed at The Kinkaid School, which is led by coach Scott Zimmerman. Kinkaid was one game away from a SPC Championship but was knocked off by St. John's School in the finals. Nothing like a team with a chip on their shoulder.
Leading Kinkaid into the 2012-13 season are a trio of juniors. Mavin Saunders and Jeff Roberson, both at 6-foot-6, will be mid-major Division I college players in two years, but they have some unfinished business at Kinkaid. Joined by guard Stephen O'Suji and post Bryson King, Kinkaid will be in the mix for the hardware. The talent is in place, now it's all about the execution. Larry Wilkins III will also be counted on for depth.
No. 5 Trent InternationalE Phoenix
It's hard to describe Trent InternationalE. They aren't affiliated with a private school league, but it's more of a basketball academy. However, they play local and national events and have produced some nice college players. How long can they keep everyone together is key?
For now, Trent has some nice pieces in Kaylin Doster at guard and big-man Justin Hollins, who stands 6-foot-8.The headliner, however, is Arkansas State-commit Xavier Dupree, who is also a 6-foot-8 post. The Phoenix might be the best team that no one has a chance to see play, but their talent is legit.
No. 6 St. Pius X Panthers
The Panthers of St. Pius led by coach Henry Sims will be a player on the large private school level. Sims has a core of talented players but will need some younger guys to step up and play big in 2012-13. In the post returns John Paul Udenenwu, who will provide the muscle under the basket. John Wiley is a versatile talent, while Jordan Jackson and Cameron Coleman will be counted on in crunch time. They don't have a load of experience, by Sims will get the Panthers prepared for the postseason.
No. 7 HCYA Warriors
HCYA has won six of the last seven Home School Basketball National Championships. Pretty impressive stuff and it's no wonder the Warriors are the preseason favs in this classification. Maravich Award Winner and Sullivan Award Winner Justin Jackson returns for his junior season. Jackson is a top five national recruit with every big-time program coveting his 6-foot-7 skills.
Jackson also has a little help with the return of 2012 all-American T.J. Rhodes and all-region player Richard Carmona, who has transferred from SATCH.
No. 8 The Woodlands Christian Academy Warriors
There is no arguing the numbers. Four TAPPS championships in five years? That is a big-time record, but now TWCA will need to rebuild their program while maintaining their previous success. Gone is coach Reid Gettys, who went back to the business sector, as is point guard Todd Eaglin, who graduated.
Enter new coach Stephen Mawire, and senior James Bento to save the day. Bento, a 6-foot-5 post, came up big in the Warriors' state championship game scoring 10 consecutive points. Also back with significant experience is. Justin Jeggle.
No. 9 Redemption Christian Homeschool Academy Pride
Can't teach height, and RCHA has one of the most talented big-men in the city of Houston. Back from overseas is Khadeem Lattin, a 6-foot-9 post, who will be a gem in the 2014 recruiting class. Lattin is the son of former WNBA player Monica Lamb, and is a nifty inside presence. The inside-out game will be run by senior guard Edward Chung, who will also play in college at some level.
No. 10 Westbury Christian Wildcats
Gone is guard Anthony Collins, who had an amazing season at South Florida a year ago. Gone is L.J. Rose to Baylor. Players come and go at Westbury Christian, but athletic director Russell Carr has a program in place that has produced championships. The Wildcats will be young this season, but coming off another state final appearance, the expectations remain high.