High School Basketball

Holiday tournament slate gives peek into postseason; plus rankings

Klein Forest is climbing the rankings. Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday break, there were some premier high school hoops tourneys including the VYPE Tourney, the annual RCS Sports “Hoopsgiving” and Nelson Brand Sports held its annual Texas Jamboree.

THE HOOPSGIVING

Cy Falls vs San Antonio Wagner

A rematch of the 2017 state championship game. Cy Falls came out looking to prove once again that they are still the team that they were a year ago. The Golden Eagles pulled off an impressive 72-60 victory and there were moments in the game were they simply dominated.

Katy Tompkins vs Austin Westlake

Very few times are will there be so much talent on the floor in a single public high school game. Westlake featured Brock Cunningham (UT), Keonte Kennedy (Xavier), Matthew Mayer (Baylor) and Will Baker (2019 ESPN #15), which brought the Tompkins five-game win string to a haltering stop. Tompkins once again struggled to find a rhythm and ability to put the ball in the whole.

Concordia Lutheran vs Silsbee

This match was one of the most anticipated games of the day — your typical public/private school rivalry. Concordia (17-0) at the time, while Silsbee was yet to play their first game. The talented Lutheran squad made big shot after big shot, but the defending 5A state champs weren’t going away as easily as some had predicted. In the end, the Crusaders walked away with an 87-79 win.

TEXAS JAMBOREE

Morton Ranch vs Dallas Lancaster

A match between a couple of tough 2020 guards LJ Cryer from Morton Ranch and Mike Myles of Lancaster. Lancaster pulled out a 72-60 win because of a strong defensive game plan for Cryer. Big-man Eddie Lampkin played strong finishing with 13 pts and 9 rebs.

Episcopal vs Lamar

The Episcopal Knights pulled off a great win against a talented Lamer squad. DJ Edgar along with Adam Kanafani led the young and talented Knights against a well-seasoned Lamar team. Episcopal has started its season 5-1, while Lamar has suffered back-to-back losses.

Dekaney vs FB Bush

Bush had no answer for Dekaney’s Malcolm Epps, who has been playing at an extremely high level for the Wildcats. Epp’s production helped lead his team to a 53-47 victory. Dekaney is on a mission to prove that they are the area’s top team and will look to win the KISD Conoco Phillips Classic later this week.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL REGULAR SEASON RANKINGS

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 27TH

Rank

Team (Record)

Comment
1 Cy Falls Rolling Opponents Early On
2 Dekaney Epps brings Toughness
3 Sam Houston Davis Runs the Show
4 Eisenhower Twin Power Activate
5 Yates Still Power Program in HTown
6 Tompkins Still Finding Rotation
7 Klein Forest Short Bench; Fun Style of Play
8 Bush Will Come Together
9 Clear Lake Could be Surprise come Playoffs
10 Dickinson Taking Lumps Early
11 Hightower Could They be Kings of Fort Bend
12 Shadow Creek Great Balance; Great Shooters
13 Lamar Tough Preseason Sked
14 Ridge Point Athletic and Playing Well
15 College Park Played well in Illinois
16 Cy Creek Eagles Could be Tough Down South
17 Morton Ranch Young Guns Starting to Roll
18 Katy Not Just a Football School
19 Cy Ranch Solid Squad in CFISD
20 Travis Looked Good at VYPE Tourney

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TOP LANDING SPOTS FOR 3 TEXANS

3 players the Texans must trade before the deadline

Trading Mercilus would be a big win from a cap perspective. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Strapped for cash and no picks within the first two rounds of the upcoming draft, the Houston Texans should consider having a fire sales ahead of the NFL trade deadline. With the team going nowhere and the uncertainty of the future, J.J. Watt has dominated the rumor mill with the Texans doing the unthinkable of departing from their franchise star.

But despite sitting at 1-6 on the season, the idea of trading Watt has become less probable following Aaron Wilson's appearance on Locked On Texans. During the interview, Wilson — Texans beat reporter for the Houston Chronicle — said it would be hard for ownership to sell the idea of moving on from Watt seven months after the untimely departure of DeAndre Hopkins.

So with the Texans holding on to their future Hall of Famer, that should not hinder the organization from exploring trade options with the other 52 men on the roster not named Deshaun Watson.

The Texans are in desperate need of a rebuild to repair the destruction caused by former head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien. Houston has several tradeable assets on their roster — some of which a contender may overcompensate for in hopes of obtaining the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February.

To get a jumpstart on what could be a two-year rebuilding project, here are three players the Texans should consider moving ahead of the Nov. 3 trade deadline.

Whitney Mercilus

If the Texans elect not to move on from Watt, the organization should have a 180 approach to Whitney Mercilus. The 30-year-old outside linebacker is scheduled to make a projected $35.5 million over the next three seasons, and his on-field production does not match the big payday coming from the Texans.

Prior to his massive $54 million contract extension awarded last December, Mercilus was on a roll in 2019. He recorded 7.5 sacks — five coming within the first four weeks of the season — to go along with 48 total tackles and four forced fumbles. Seven weeks into the 2020 season, Mercilus is nowhere close to matching his 2019 output with only 3.0 sacks, 14 total tackles and no forced fumbles.

But despite his decline as of late, multiple teams around the league can use Mercilus' services to enhance their pass rush. The Green Bay Packers and the Tennessee Titans are two championship-contending teams who desperately need to upgrade their front seven in their attempt to represent their respective conference in Super Bowl LV. The Packers are dead last in quarterback pressures, and Jadeveon Clowney is far from the disruptive force the Titans expected.

Mercilus' arrival to any of the two teams may not be a bona fide game-changer, but an upgrade nevertheless. Perhaps a change of scenery could be the key to unlocking the Mercilus who logged a career-best 12 sacks in 2015.

The Seahawks could also use the talents of Mercilus to enhance their linebacking corps, but their recent trade to acquire DT Carlos Dunlay could leave Seattle short on their trade offer to Houston.

Best trade partner: Titans

Duke Johnson

The Houston Texans' run game has been nonexistent throughout the season, and it's time for the organization to experiment with a younger prospect — preferably Scottie Phillips — during the second half of the season.

While it would be nice if the Texans could find a trade partner for David Johnson, no team would be willing to take on the near $8 million base salary he is due next season for his lack of production. Which leaves the better half of the Johnson Brothers up for grabs in Duke Johnson.

Duke has experienced a significant decrease in his touches when compared to last season and could be more beneficial to a playoff team seeking help in their backfield.

The Chicago Bears are the one team where Duke's talents could be beneficial and properly utilized. Chicago lost their Pro-Bowl running back Tarik Cohen for the season due to a torn ACL and has since struggled in the run game. David Montgomery has done a moderate job filling in for the injured Cohen, but the second-year halfback has yet to prove himself as an every-down back.

Duke's skill set as a pass-catcher coming out of the backfield is the most suitable attribute he would be able to provide to the Bears. Cohen is one of the most dynamic dual-threat halfbacks, and Duke would be able to give the Bears' offense a sense of normalcy in his absence.

The New England Patriots may explore the market to enhance their backfield. But one can imagine that Bill Belichick is more interested in adding a receiver in an attempt to salvage the remainder of their season.

Best trade partner: Bears

Will Fuller

Next to Watt, Will Fuller has been the second most discussed Texan in the rumor mill. Fuller could survive the trade deadline and become a foundational piece to the Texans' rebuilding project, but Houston may not be willing to tie long-term money into the Notre Dame product given his injury history.

Several teams around the league have their eyes set on a potential deal for Fuller, but none more so the Packers.

Green Bay is seeking a receiver who they can pair alongside Pro-Bowler Davante Adams. A potential deal for Fuller would give the Packers a quality second-tear receiver, while reprising his role as a team's No. 2 option — similar to his early days playing alongside Hopkins.

Fuller would also be a tremendous upgrade to the Patriots. New England does not have any quality receivers on their roster, and their depth has become more vulnerable after the team placed Julian Edelman on IR following knee surgery.

While the Patriots are in dire need to add a receiver, Belichick may hesitate from giving up too many assets — especially draft picks — that could be valuable to their own rebuilding process should the Cam Newton experiment fail. While on pace for a career-year, the Texans should look to cash-in on Fuller while his trade stock is at an all-time high.

Best trade partner: Packers

Coty M. Davis is a reporter for ESPN 97.5 Houston/SportsMap covering the Houston Texans. He is also the co-host of Locked On Texans, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network. Follow Coty on Twitter @CotyDavis_24.

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