With the 2021-22 Texas UIL season fast approaching, Prep Hoops Network previews several players in Region 1 of the 5A conference for this next season. This article focuses on bigs in the senior class. 6A seniors’ player previews: Region 1…
With the 2021-22 Texas UIL season fast approaching, Prep Hoops Network previews several players in Region 1 of the 5A conference for this next season. This article focuses on bigs in the senior class.
– 6’7″ – PF – Richland
Walton is a fantastic rim runner with great footspeed, long strides, and strong finishing abilities. He has great positioning in the half court offense and gives his teammates an easy dump off in the paint where he can quickly get the ball high above his head and slam it down securely with two hands. He has somewhat slow but very effective footwork on drives to the basket, hitting smooth euro steps around defenders and using his long arms to hit layups around or over defenders. He has a powerful inside presence but he can step out and hit 3-point shots, as well, providing an important pick-and-pop or catch-and-shoot threat for Richland and spreading the floor for other players to attack the paint. Rounding out his offensive talent, he’s even an effective playmaker. He sees the floor well and makes the right passes at the right times, jumpstarting fast breaks with strong outlet passes, dishing out to 3-point shooters as the defense collapses on him in the paint, and swinging the ball along the perimeter to find a better play. His length, timing and coordination all make him an effective defender, as well. He seems to block shots all over the court, no matter in the paint or on the 3-point line, he has a nose for the ball in passing lanes and is able to snatch the ball midair, and he’s a tough body to get by with quick footwork and a wide defensive stance. Walton took this summer to really expand his game to the perimeter, working “a lot [on] ball handling and shooting and furthering [his] range…mak[ing him] even more dangerous in the offense [his] school runs.”
– 6’6″ – PF – Amarillo – Team Griffin EYBL
Woods is a big man that plays with speed, power and intelligence. He has a nice handle and good footwork that allows him to run the fast break or even operate from the perimeter and get all the way into the paint with ease. Once he’s in the paint he has an array of quick and decisive moves that he can go to and consistently get the basket. He has strong post control, he has a beautiful and quick spin move, and he can simply overpower a player and just dunk right over them. He has a solid midrange game, as well, dribbling into a pullup or hitting the catch-and-shoot efficiently that can extend even beyond the 3-point line. His vision and IQ give him almost guard like passing abilities in the half court, fully aware of the pieces on the floor, and making the right pass at the right time, rarely forcing a bad shot and finding the open man almost every time the defense sends multiple defenders his way. He has the athleticism and aggression to fight for and secure rebounds on both ends of the court and then has the awareness to immediately face up the court on the defensive end and lob pinpoint outlet passes to spark a fast break. His speed and quickness also give him the upper hand on the defensive end, flying into passing lanes and coming away with several steals.
– 6’7″ – PF – Denton Ryan – DC Kings
Lawson has a strong inside-outside presence on the offensive end and a dominating inside presence on the defensive end. He’s a consistent finisher around the rim with a soft touch if contested or a firm two-handed dunk if he has an opening. He’s a reliable post player with good control and footwork, and the ability to hit hook shots, up-and-unders, and turnaround midrange shots with consistency. He’s a good rim runner and trails the lead ball handler to the basket in a timely manner for the easy dump-off and slam. He can also step out and provide a nice 3-point threat either off the catch or off a dribble or two and pullup with consistency. He has long arms and great timing to block shots wherever he is on the court but he’s unique in that he doesn’t overly emphasize his blocks. He simply blocks the shot and keeps the ball in play to secure the defensive rebound himself or knocks it toward a teammate, occasionally even sparking a fast break off a block, giving additional value to his blocked shots in ending the opponent’s offensive possession and creating good offense for his own team. His strong frame also creates a brick wall down low, creating issues for any opposing player trying to get into the paint or back him down. He has good positioning on his rebounding, as well, boxing out effectively, securing the board, and keeping the ball high above his head. Lawson spent this offseason working on his “shooting off the catch and getting better defensively.” He also put a special emphasis on his rebounding coming into his senior season, telling Prep Hoops, “I want to improve on rebounding, that’s my biggest thing, having those second chances are crucial at the end [of the game].”
– 6’10” – C – Amarillo – Team Griffin EYBL
Hornecker plays with great aggression and when you combine that style of play with his size and skillset, you get a formidable big that can be the focal point of an offense and the anchor of a defense. He moves well around the court for his size and shows great footwork down low in the paint. With impressive post control and his aggressive demeanor backing down an opponent, bodying them up under the basket, and rising up with strength, Hornecker is extremely efficient in the paint, dunking with power, laying it in with a soft touch, accurately hitting hook shots with either hand, he can do it all. He is also a knock down shooter from midrange extending all the way out to the 3-point line. He has a high release point added onto his height, making it a very difficult shot to defend, and he hits with great accuracy providing a consistent threat on the pick-and-pop while also applying pressure on the defense as a solid roller to the basket. He shows great awareness and a willingness to move the ball, with the ability to see the next step in a play before it even develops, hitting the open man as soon as the defense collapses on him in the paint or if he simply sees an open man cutting to the basket or roaming the perimeter. His overpowering height and length clearly give him the upper hand when rebounding and defending the rim at the high school level, but he shows impressive footwork, timing, recovery and IQ that would translate well at the next level against opponents closer to his size. He positions himself well around the basket for both rebounding and blocking, times his jumps to perfection and recovers quickly for a second jump if needed, he fights for every extra possession or when securing a defensive rebound, and he always keeps the ball high after a rebound or outstretches his arm straight up when contesting a shot.