High School Hoops

VYPE hoops: Rankings after 10 days on the court

The Yates Lions are off to a roaring start to the 2017-2018 season. Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com.

While the football playoffs are in full swing, the basketball tournament season is full of hot games over the Thanksgiving break. There was as appetizer last week as several top-ranked squads were on the courts.

Tompkins won the McDonalds’ Tourney in Pasadena, Texas, while Eisenhower won the Aldine ISD Tourney.

Stay tuned as the VYPE Thanksgiving Classic goes down this weekend, the HoopsGiving Classic on Wednesday night and the Texas Jamboree at Episcopal over the week.

Here’s a quick early-season breakdown.

Cy Falls Eagles — Coach Flores is doing an excellent job at showing trust in his seniors, getting every player engaged and designating roles. The Eagles’ squad look as if they have been playing together though the spring, summer and fall. We all know that there are pros and cons to being in midseason form early on, but only time will tell if that will be an issue for the reigning state champs. A 2-0 start is only the beginning to a very long road to state.

Sam Houston Tigers — Coach Barreras has been fortunate to have a few key pieces enroll who have been missing in the past. This is personally my favorite Tiger team of the Kendric Davis-era. Shooters who can spread the floor, guards that get after it and versatile inside guys who can step outside and make free-throw makes this Sam Houston team a very dangerous team. Taking an early loss to Eisenhower only hurts the record but can build character and hunger that only makes things worse for the next opponent.

Tompkins Falcons — Another year and another head scratching start for one of the most talented rosters in the state. Coach Sanders takes a lot of the pressure of off the players, rightfully so, but in the end, we need to see more consistent production from the cast. CJ Washington has been their most consistent player but with an ACC and BIG12 commit on the roster teammates, evaluators, and onlookers are expecting a lot more from those guys. After a humbling loss to Cy Falls in their season opener Coach Sanders was able to rally the troops to go 5-0 to and capture The McDonalds invitational championship.

Yates — The Lions have well-seasoned seniors to go along with young poised guards. The ability to go deep into their bench and have no drop off in productivity is what makes them dangerous. The Yates press has made national waves in years past but one focal point in this year’s group is not to have any wasted possessions. Coach Wise puts great emphasis into defense and not just because it's fun to watch but because at the end of the game, the team with the most points win.

Dickinson — The Dickinson Gators certainly continue to be a team to keep an eye on throughout the winter to see if the Coach Wilson can get all of his players onto the same page. After only a few games in, the team has already suffered a few internal blows. The Gators have the ability to be a top ten program in the area for the next few years but if they do not get it together soon, they will find themselves on the bottom of the list.

College Park — One of my favorite teams in the 2017-18 season for multiple reasons, but it's disappointing that this team does not know how to win. This roster needs to find balance and make winning plays. The look offs and creating something out of nothing will lead to bad news for all. Everyone in the country knows what Grimes is capable of and the supporting cast should be able to fill in all gaps as they a very talented bunch.

Clear Lake — The Falcons had a powerful statement game in their season opener only to lose their second game to Lamar. Not a knock against Lamar, but at some point teams recognize matchup advantages and expose them. There was a lot of talk about who is the most underrated guard in the city during the Season Opener, but losing a quality head-to-head match up and giving up 40+ points does not help the argument.

Eisenhower & Morton Ranch- Both are playing very well right now but I won't jinx it. Ill hold off my comments until next time.

Rank

Team (Record)

Comment
1 Cy Falls Rolling Opponents Early On
2 Yates Good Inside Out Game so Far
3 Dekaney Peavy’s Looking Solid
4 Eisenhower Won the Aldine Tourney
5 Sam Houston Great Balance with Davis Leading Way
6 Tompkins Won McDonalds’ Tourney in Pasadena
7 Bush Injury in Backcourt Could Hurt
8 Clear Lake Abercrombie, Sanni are Tough
9 Hightower Could They be Kings of Fort Bend
10 Klein Forest New Group Ready to Take Baton
11 Dickinson Athletic at Every Position
12 Morton Ranch Youngsters Living Up to Hype
13 Lamar Bynum Runs the Show
14 Shadow Creek New School Making Noise
15 College Park KU-Signee Grimes is Best in City
16 Dawson Eagles Could be Tough Down South
17 Cy Creek Cougars on Point
18 Klein Collins Montavious!
19 Ridge Point Could Get FB Kids Back as Well
20 Katy Not Just a Football School

 

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Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March. Photo via: NRG Park/Facebook

Football players, coaches and general managers have come and gone, but only one person has been running the business side of the Texans, well, even before they were the Texans. Jamey Rootes has been President of the Houston Texans since 1999, when an NFL team in Houston was still just a gleam in owner Bob McNair's eyes. That's before the team adopted the name "Texans" in 2000, before there was NRG Stadium, which opened as Reliant Stadium in 2000, and before they became serial champs of the AFC South, six titles between 2011-2019.

The precise date was Oct. 6, 1999 when NFL owners voted 29-0 to award the NFL's 32nd and newest franchise to Houston. Not only that, Houston was awarded the 2004 Super Bowl. Rootes, 34 years old with no NFL experience, had his work cut out for him. Before taking the job in Houston, Rootes was team president, general manager and CEO of selling peanuts and popcorn for the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

Major League Soccer, with all due respect, is not nearly a national obsession like the National Football League.

"I wasn't intimidated," Rootes said. "There's a quote that I love, 'Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.' I've always been a purpose-driven person. As for the step up to the NFL, I went from knowing nothing at the start of my time in Columbus to five years later thinking, OK, I've got this sports thing down. Actually, I had a very significant reduction in my responsibilities in Houston. When I was in Columbus, I ran the stadium, I ran the team's business, I was the general manager so I did the talent side of it, too. When I came to Houston, all I had to do was the business, so that was great."

Rootes has captured his remarkable journey from the soccer team at Clemson to grad school at Indiana University to the business world at IBM and Proctor & Gamble to the Clemson Crew, to ultimately being named President of the Houston Texans in his new book, The Winning Game Plan: A Proven Leadership Playbook for Continuous Business Success, available next week.

I've known Rootes from his day one with the Texans, but I still had to ask: everybody knows what the general manager does, and what the head coach does. What exactly does the President of an NFL team worth $3.3 billion do?

"I like to use the parallel of a pharmaceutical company to describe my job. There are two sides to that company. First you put scientists in one building and you leave them alone. They create products, which is what our football team is. The football side has a coach and general manager and all the people who prepare the team to play on Sunday. But getting that product to market is done by the business side, traditional business disciplines. Those are the things that fall to me. Basically, everything between the white lines is run by the football side. Everything outside of those lines, I do," Rootes said.

Between 1999 and 2002, when the Texans played their first game (let the record show the Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboy, 19-10), the team was essentially a massive start-up project. First orders of business for Rootes involved building a new stadium, developing relationships with suppliers, contractors and government officials, preparing for a Super Bowl and, most important, developing a relationship with fans.

Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March, but it's really an accumulation of lessons learned and behind-the-scenes stories about building the Texans from scratch into one of the most admired and valuable franchises in all of sports.

"I've always been a meticulous note-taker. I've kept every presentation I've ever done. I took all of my notes and concepts and put those down on paper," Rootes said. "To be a good leader, you need a wild imagination. You can show me a blank piece of paper, but I don't see it as blank. To me, it's a finished product that hasn't been created yet," Rootes said.

Rootes lays out his leadership strategy in seven chapters: Are You a Manager or a Leader, Get the Right People on Your Team, Build a Winning Culture, Create Raving Fans, a Winning Playbook for Adversity and Success, Your Leadership Playbook and Play to Win.

He learned lesson No. 1 the hard way. A friend once counseled Rootes, "your staff doesn't like the way you're all up in their business, you need to back off." Rootes took that advice to heart.

"It was an epiphany. I wasn't a leader. That's when I truly began thinking about leadership. I say this all the time, I don't do anything. All I do is create an environment where exceptional people can be their very best self. I know what's going on. I'm fully informed. I leave every game day exhausted. I get there early. I do the things I need to do. I kiss babies. I shake hands. I present checks. I entertain clients. I'm dialed in. It absolutely wears me out because I love this organization so much. I am so proud of what we've been able to do for this great city of Houston."

I asked Rootes, as someone who lives for Game Day and a packed NRG Stadium, are you devastated by 2020, the year of COVID-19 and small crowds limited by Centers for Disease Control guidelines?

"I don't look at it that way. I think there's a song by 10,000 Maniacs that said, these are the days that you'll remember. I told my staff, I know you're all going through hell right now, but later on in life, you'll talk about this year. Things that are important are memorable, for the positive and those things that leave a scar. You learn from adversity and you're a better person for enduring it. Victor Frankl said 'We can discover meaning in life in three different ways, by creating a work or doing a deed, experiencing something or encountering someone, and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.' Suffering is part of life. He should know, he survived a Nazi concentration camp," Rootes said.

H-E-B President Scott McClelland wrote the forward to The Winning Game Plan. Rootes dedicates the book to late Texans owner Bob McNair. Rootes' book is a fun read. All I kept thinking was, where was this book when I needed it? And before you buy too much into Rootes as a leader, consider that Rootes admits that he had to ask for wife Melissa's permission before he could accept the Texans job.

Personal note: I believe that a big part of leadership is the ability to keep a promise. Several years ago, I was riding my bicycle with my dog Lilly on a leash. It was the only way I could keep up with her. Well, one time Lilly saw a squirrel and pulled me off my bicycle. I tumbled a few times and rolled next to the curb. When I looked up, there was Jamey Rootes. I told him, "There's no need for you to tell anybody about this." He never said a word.

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