Wildscapes Workshop

SportzBuzz - February 2018

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D’Shawn Jamison, Anthony Cook, Al’vonte Woodard

HOOK ’EM Lamar Texans standout defensive back Anthony Cook (center) announced his intention to play for the Texas Longhorns before a national TV audience on ESPNU. Also, committing to UT were defensive back D’Shawn Jamison (left) and wide receiver Al’vonte Woodard.

Before a national television audience on ESPNU, all eyes were on Lamar Texans defensive back Anthony Cook as he announced his choice to play college football for The University of Texas. Cook, who is rated among the nation’s top five prospects at this position, had narrowed his finalists to LSU, Ohio State and Texas before selecting the Longhorns in a suspense-filled announcement at his high school gymnasium.

With his family alongside, Cook pulled out a UT cap to unveil his decision as classmates and teammates cheered. “Ever since Texas started recruiting me, UT felt like home,” said Cook. “I even tried to rule them out a couple of times, but UT always came back to the top.”

Cook’s decision was meaningful as well for Lamar teammates D’Shawn Jamison and Al’vonte Woodard, who also officially committed to the Texas Longhorns during the early signing period. Jamison is also rated among the nation’s top defensive backs, while Woodard is among the state’s top receiving prospects. “I felt like my heart was going to jump out when Anthony said he was going to UT,” said Woodard. “We’re going to live our dream of playing college football, and we’ll be doing it together at Texas.”

The Lamar trio joined several of the area’s top football recruits in signing with UT, helping give Texas a recruiting class ranked as high as second best in the country. “A lot of Houston guys are realizing that something special is happening at UT,” said Cook. “I feel like within the next three years we’ll be winning a national championship.”

Adrian Ragland

RAG(LAND)TIME Bellaire point guard Adrian Ragland is a driving force behind the Cardinals’ offensive attack. The junior is also one of the team’s top defenders.

In basketball, the Bellaire Cardinals were off and running to another successful season with victories in eight of their first 12 games. The early-season victories included a third-place finish at the HISD Basketball Tournament, highlighted by a thrilling one-point victory over the highly ranked Yates Lions in second-round play.

“That was a really nice win for us. We’re not a big team by any means, but our kids play hard and fast,” said longtime Cardinals head coach Bruce Glover. “Our guys also communicate really well on the court, and off the court they’re really good in the classroom.”

Leading the Cardinals’ fast-paced attack is junior point guard Adrian Ragland, who Glover calls a team leader and great defender. Junior guard Douglas Young is the team’s leading scorer with an average of 16 points a game, while another junior, Zach Harris, is second in scoring. In addition, 6’5” post player Marcus Cooper leads the team in rebounding, while Louisiana transfer Latrell Alford has been a key addition to the team, says Glover. “We don’t have the heralded type of recruits like we’ve had in the past,” said Glover, “but this group is especially fun to work with on the floor. There aren’t any egos in the lineup.”

Aaron Janecek

GREAT STUFF Memorial Mustangs senior Aaron Janecek provided some slam-jam excitement in the Mustangs’ district victory over Spring Woods. (Photo: Becky Kimes)

The New Year began with great promise for the Memorial Mustangs’ boys basketball team, which owned a 12-9 record through the first half of the season. “Our team has played really well on both ends of the court,” said Mustangs head coach Dave Lay. “It’s also a very unselfish group.”

In non-district, the Mustangs traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, where they went 2-1 at the Cactus Jam Basketball Tournament, highlighted by an impressive victory over a highly touted Lakeside High School team from Washington State.

Also, at the Clear Lake Basketball Tournament, Memorial beat a perennial-powerhouse Clear Lake Falcons team in overtime on the Falcons’ home court. “It really got us believing that we can beat anyone. I think we surprised a lot of people including ourselves with that big victory,” said Lay.

Leading the way for Memorial has been the senior-guard tandem of Kevin Cowell and Connor Gartner. “Both of those guys are solid players who really get after it on the court. They’re kind of like bulldogs with their attacking play.”

Lay also praised the sophomore tandem of Ethan Taylor and Grayson Buehler. “Ethan is an exceptional point guard, while Grayson is a deadly shooter who at 6’5” can play multiple positions.” Lay added that 6’8” senior post player Aaron Janecek, senior guard Colby Mullins and senior Henry Gissel have all been major contributors. “Henry is, pound for pound, the best rebounder we’ve had in this program, while Aaron is a shot blocker who can also hit three pointers, and Colby comes in and give us instant offense.”

Editor’s Note: Todd Freed is the Emmy Award-winning co-host and producer of the KUBE SportsZone, which airs Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. on Channel 57-KUBE. To submit high school sports news for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please email todd@thebuzzmagazines.com.

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