With the 2021-22 Texas UIL season kicking off, Prep Hoops Network previews several players in Region 3 of the 5A conference for this new season. This article focuses on bigs in the senior class. 6A seniors’ player previews: Region 1…
With the 2021-22 Texas UIL season kicking off, Prep Hoops Network previews several players in Region 3 of the 5A conference for this new season. This article focuses on bigs in the senior class.
– 6’10″ – C – Lockhart – STAT Elite
New is a big and strong center with fantastic footwork and patience when controlling the ball in the paint. He shows great intelligence to counteract his limited athleticism, getting himself in the proper positions and effectively boxing out opponents for strong rebounds and then protecting the ball with outstretched elbows and a wide stance. He’s an elite screener, setting brick wall screens up top for ball handlers and he moves off the ball intelligently with extreme agility, diving to the basket in a timely manner as his guards drive to the paint, and shifting around the court to put himself in great positioning for easy dump offs and dishes from teammates. He is an elite post player, using his strong frame to back down opponents, feeling the defender with his body, and then making a quick one dribble or one step move to create just enough space to hit the post shot. He has an array of post moves at his disposal, hitting spin layups, hook shots extending 12 feet out, quick floaters, and much more. He has a useful midrange game for a big, as well, with the ability to spin out of a backdown and hit the shot or simply provide a catch-and-shoot option, utilizing his unique quick, high release point jump shot. He shows patience and an incredibly soft touch under the basket, protecting the ball among the trees down low, throwing up pump fakes or bumping defenders out of the way with his hips, and then waiting for the right moment to put up a nice and easy layup off the backboard. New worked hard on developing his size and skillset this past offseason, telling Prep Hoops, “I’ve bulked up working out with the football guys and have worked hard to keep my agility. I’ve also been working on consistency in shooting from distance in order to become a dual offensive threat.”
– 6’7″ – PF – Crosby – Houston TTG
Elkinton is a long and athletic big that has guard-like skills and elite speed. He uses his length in the paint well, tossing up accurate sweeping hook shots over defenders, jumping for tip shots in a sea of outstretched arms, and emphatically blocking anything around him in the paint. He has incredible speed and agility for a big man, flying across the court for chase down blocks and closing out on perimeter players in the blink of an eye. He has the ability to handle the ball like a guard, bringing the ball up the court to run the half court offense, leading a fast break, and attacking from the perimeter, taking his defender off the dribble all the way to the hoop and creating a mismatch for opposing bigs attempting to guard him outside of the paint. His scoring ability extends out to the arc, as well, hitting jump shots from midrange and 3-point range with ease off the dribble, creating for himself and pulling up whenever he wants thanks to his towering physique over smaller defenders. He’s an effective playmaker too, seeing the floor well and always willing to make that extra pass, zipping passes across the court as he drives to the paint or making that extra pass as he sits on the perimeter off a pick-and-pop.
– 6’9″ – C – Katy Paetow – Rytes Warriors
Chukwu is an athletic and strong big, quite possibly the strongest big in the country. He controls the paint on both ends of the court with his dominating physique and inside presence. He’s a brick wall in the post, not even budging an inch if an opponent attempts to back him down, and he can block any shot within his vicinity with his long arms and quick leaps. His mobility is impressive for someone of his size with great agility and quick feet, getting up for rebounds and blocks extremely quickly and recovering for a second jump with speed, as well. His strength and size allow him to overpower opponents for rebounds on both ends of the court, but he also boxes out well and relentlessly fights for every ball coming off the rim, dominating the boards even when surrounded by several opponents. His dominating strength is apparent on the offensive end too, where once he gets positioning near the basket, he simply needs the ball in his hands to finish with a demoralizing, powerful and crowd pleasing dunk, almost ripping the rim off the backboard. His combination of mobility, NBA-ready strength, and great hand-eye coordination will translate well to the next level given the right opportunities and surrounded by the right personnel. If he can continue to refine his dominating inside presence and perhaps add more of a post game to use when strength isn’t an option, he could become a dangerous big man in the NBA one day.