Making Strides

Moving on Up: Tomball Memorial brings its identity to 6A

Moving on Up: Tomball Memorial brings its identity to 6A
Memorial will find out its new district on Feb. 1, 2018 Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com

After five short years of existence, little brother is making the big jump to Class 6A as community growth and expanded enrollment takes Tomball Memorial to new challenges.

Tomball Memorial makes the move as cross-town rival Tomball stays in Class 5A.

Many wonder if the jump to 6A will hinder the identity of a traditional 5A program that Tomball Memorial has enjoyed since its inception in 2012.

“We knew our great community was growing,” Tomball ISD athletic director Vince Sebo said. “You don’t run from that, you embrace the fact that your community is growing to the point of being a 6A program. We’re not intimidated by that. Our coaches will have our athletes ready to compete.”

Recent history has shown that traditional football powers making the jump from 5A to 6A can be either seamless or difficult.

Friendswood made the jump to the biggest classification in 2014 and culminated records of 8-4 (2014) and 8-5, (2015) with a regional semifinal appearance in the 2015 playoffs.

George Ranch struggled mighty with their move up in 2016 after winning a 5A state title in 2015. Going 6-5 and 6-4 respectively, in their past two seasons at the 6A level.

One item that will not change is the rivalry between Tomball and Tomball Memorial.

The “Tomball Bowl” annually brings out a huge contingent of local fans to witness which team will take home the bragging rights for 364 days.

“We most likely will have the game at the beginning of the season,” Sebo said. “Our community looks forward to these games, so we can expect all sports to continue with this rivalry.”

Until the University Interscholastic League officially announces district alignments in February, only speculation can garner where Tomball Memorial lands.

“I’ve never been right yet on guessing where our schools would end up,” Sebo said. “I would say east, west or south for us. If you’re talking about us heading north, there could be a lot of travel involved.

“Moving us to Cy-Fair could make sense if the UIL decides to make that a split division. We’ve been in Houston ISD before, so those all make sense.”

The move up to 6A should not affect the Wildcats’ football program as coach Sam Parker helped build the Spring Lions into a 6A power during his seven years on the sideline.

Parker accumulated a 20-5 record at Spring his final two seasons, leading the Lions to the 6A regional semifinals in 2015.

Official district alignments will be announced by the UIL February 1, 2018.

This article appears in the January Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!

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The NBA Draft takes place this Wednesday and Thursday. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

This year's NBA draft features potential starters and valuable role players more so than no-doubt future stars. That becomes evident when looking at the headlining prospects among big men.

French teenager Alexandre Sarr from France could go No. 1 overall with his length and defensive potential, key reasons why he has thrice topped the AP's NBA mock draft. Meanwhile, Donovan Clingan from two-time reigning national champion UConn also will likely be a high pick as a rim-protecting force.

It's just unclear how quickly any will be ready for a leading role in the league, particularly offensively.

Here's a look at some of the top players in the position:

Alexandre Sarr, France

STRENGTHS: The athleticism, mobility and length offer significant upside at both ends of the court for the 7-footer, whether as a rim protector and versatile defender or as a rim-runner off pick-and-rolls for lobs on offense. Sarr, 19, spent two seasons with the Overtime Elite developmental program for top prospects in the United States, then last season with Perth in the Australian-based National Basketball League as part of its “Next Stars” program. He ranked tied for second there by averaging 1.5 blocks despite averaging just 17.3 minutes.

He finished strong by averaging 10.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.3 assists in his last six games with Perth. He also ranked among the best at the combine with a wingspan of better than 7-4.

CONCERNS: He'll need time to add bulk to a lean 224-pound frame and handle the rigors of an NBA season. Developing more consistent 3-point range (he shot 29% in the NBL last season) will be key to fully realizing his defense-stretching potential.

Donovan Clingan, UConn

STRENGTHS: He is big, strong and surprisingly nimble for his imposing 7-2, 282-pound frame, which made him an interior shot-blocking force in the Huskies' run to college basketball's first repeat men's title in 17 years. He ranked eighth in Division I by averaging 2.5 blocks per game despite playing just 22.6 minutes, then had some massive games in the NCAA Tournament. That included eight blocks and 14 rebounds in the second-round win against Northwestern, followed by 22 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a regional final against Illinois (the Illini were 0 for 19 on Clingan-challenged shots ) and four more swats against Alabama in the Final Four.

The 20-year-old sophomore runs the floor well despite his bulk and is a strong finisher. He also was tied for first at the combine in standing reach (9-7) and was second in wingspan (nearly 7-7).

CONCERNS: It's unclear how well he might handle switches to defend outside the paint in space. While he shot nearly 64% to rank among the national leaders, he has rarely had to produce much outside of the paint. He also shot just 55.8% from the line in two seasons.

Kel'el Ware, Indiana

STRENGTHS: The 20-year-old sophomore has flashed intriguing two-way potential to make himself a first-round prospect, first in a season at Oregon and then last year at Indiana. He averaged 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last season as a starter for the Hoosiers. He made 17 of 40 3-pointers (.425), indicating the potential for growth in terms of pulling defenders outside.

The 7-footer has a nearly 7-5 wingspan and tested well at the NBA combine by ranking second among bigs in the lane agility test (second at 10.97 seconds) and shuttle run (second, 2.91).

CONCERNS: He'll need to add strength to his 230-pound frame and improve at the line, where he shot just 63.4% last year.

Kyle Filipowski, Duke

STRENGTHS: The 6-11, 230-pound sophomore could play either forward or center as a first-round prospect. He was a steady producer by averaging 15.8 points and 8.6 rebounds with the Blue Devils. He also more than doubled his shot-blocking totals last year (54, up from 26 as a freshman) when having to work as Duke's interior anchor after Dereck Lively II's departure for the NBA. He has shown improved mobility and footwork after surgery on his hips before last season, and he has improved as an outside shooter (34.8% from 3 last year, up from 28.2% in 2022-23).

CONCERNS: Filipowski isn't an elite athlete, so he could be vulnerable defensively in space as well as struggle against physical play. He slipped at the foul line last year, shooting just 67.1% after checking in at 76.5% as a freshman.

Others of Note

—ZACH EDEY: The 7-4, 299-pound Purdue center is a two-time Associated Press men’s college basketball player of the year who led the Boilermakers to last year’s NCAA title game as the national scoring leader (25.2) and Division I’s No. 2 rebounder (12.2). He closed his career with 37 points in the title-game loss to UConn. He has a ridiculous wingspan of nearly 7-11 to go with the ability to shoot over any defender. There is uncertainty whether the first-round prospect is athletic enough to handle defensive switches or guarding in space.

—DARON HOLMES II: The 6-9, 236-pound junior from Dayton spent the past two seasons putting up big numbers, averaging 19.3 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 56.7%. He also hit 38.6% of his 3s last year and averaged 2.1 blocks for his college career. The Atlantic 10 co-player of the year and league defensive player of the year could go in the back half of the first round, though he is a bit undersized among bigs.

—YVES MISSI: The 6-11, 229-pound center from Baylor came on as the season went on as a one-and-done prospect with bouncy athleticism, helping him finish at the rim (61.4% shooting) and block shots (1.5). That could make him a pick-and-roll or lob threat in the pros, though the 20-year-old from Cameroon will have to expand his offense beyond those crowd-charging dunks and improve at the line (61.6%).

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