by Shelby Hodges, lead intern
This past weekend at the Rumble at the Rock tournament many young players improved their stock on the court. Here are five kids to watch during the rest of the summer season.
Zach Lord: 2017, Austin Rain, Liberty Hill High School
This big man has the perfect build for the post position. At 6’9 he is dominant in the paint and finishes strong when confronted by defenders. He logged a lot of minutes this weekend with the Austin Rain and showed that he has been improving his ability to run the floor. He also shot well from around the perimeter and at the free throw line. Currently he ranks around the 50th best player in the state and with more experience he could smooth out the few awkward kinks that come with being his size. But he has already received interest from Rice, Texas Tech and Boise State.
Tyreke Causey: 2018, CYBA Killa Beez Varsity, Del Valle High School
Causey is a scrappy young player who could easily grow to be a great point guard. This weekend he ran the position well, making smart passes and reading the court for open plays. H is also extremely athletic, using his jumping ability to pull down more rebounds than a small guard like him should. He can run the court quickly, getting in front on defense or on a fast break, and finishes with finesse of the drive. The soon to be sophomore is somewhat small for a varsity program but that could easily change within the next season or two.
Fred Cooper: 2016, Houston Nets Varsity, Reagan High School
As a shorter senior guard at 6’0, Cooper uses his 200 lbs. of strength to his advantage. At the tournament he made powerful drives to the basket and could easily create space to get a shot off. This is a great skill for him because he can shoot lights out, especially from beyond the arc. He is also a very fast player and has great defensive skills in the half court, making a few key steals throughout the weekend. Cooper is a dual athlete, focusing on football where he plays running back and corner, but if he wanted to pursue basketball he could easily contribute to a college program.
Willie Rhines: 2020, CCYA Tigers, Kelly Lane Middle School
This youngster hasn’t even played a high school game yet but should be on the radar to rise quickly. Rhines will be an eighth grader this upcoming year and is very tall and lean kid. For his height he handles the ball smoothly, usually playing the two or three guard position. He also proved this weekend that he is a great spot-up shooter from mid-range, to out past the three-point line. His team played up an age group at the tournament so he got good exposure to what JV or varsity competition will feel like. Although he still needs to work on rebounding and using his size to drive inside, he definitely has the raw talent to become a strong player.
De’Andre Cole: 2019, Houston Nets JV, Nimitz High School
Another notable freshman, Cole, could move up as a skilled power forward. This weekend he showed off an impressive fade away jumper that was hard for opponents to defend. While being great on offense he also proved to be a defensive key in the half court, breaking up passes easily with his long arms and out rebounding teams on both ends. He is a very calm player that did not show frustration during tense moments but also went 100% during every possession for his team. As a freshman it will be interesting to see what he can improve on.