by Zach DiSchiano
There is no question about the level of talent this state has to offer on the offensive side of the ball, but Texas has an immense amount of skill on the defensive side, too. Today, we take a look at the players who pride themselves in creating turnovers and denying shots. Here are the top-10 lockdown defenders in the state of Texas, regardless of class:
10. Oliver Powell – 2016 6’8 Power Forward, Garland (Rowlett) No. 28 in Texas Top 100 class of 2016
A strong presence on the interior, Powell swatted away an impressive 2.5 blocks per game as a junior last year, and he displayed his defensive versatility with more than a steal per contest to his credit. He is a tough rebounder, too, nearly averaging a double-double and that’s why schools like Kansas State, SMU and Rice are after him.
9. Walter Prevost – 2017 6’8 Power Forward, Houston (Nimitz) No. 18 in Texas Top 100 class of 2017
Prevost is one of the more underrated players of his class, especially on the defensive side. He is an excellent rim protector with a knack for getting in the way of anyone trying to penetrate the lane. He has five offers already and will continue to reel them in next season.
8. Schnider Herard – 2016 6’10 Center, Plano (Prestonwood Christian) No. 10 in Texas Top 100 class of 2016
Standing 6’10 with a 7’1 wingspan, Herard is one of those guys who is not going to average a lot of blocked shots per game simply because no one bothers trying. Still, he averaged 1.7 swats per contest, but his presence on the inside alone is more valuable than his actual statistics.
7. De’Aaron Fox – 2016 6’3 Point Guard, Katy (Cypress Lakes) No. 2 in Texas Top 100 class of 2016
Whichever program lands Fox will get a huge boost on both ends of the floor. Our No. 2 overall prospect is a scrappy defender with a knack for coming up with turnovers, and his 2.7 steals per game only tell a portion of what he can do on that end of the court.
6. Jarred Vanderbilt – 2017 6’9 Power Forward, Houston (Victory Prep) No. 2 in Texas Top 100 class of 2017
He’s the state’s No. 2 2017 prospect for a reason. Not only can he dominate on the offensive side of the ball, but he is hands down among the nation’s best all-around defenders. His 6’9 frame allows him to contest and turn away shots with ease, but
Vanderbilt is quietly a top-notch thief as well. He averaged 2.2 steals per game during his freshman and sophomore seasons and will only add to that in 2015-2016. Opposing teams already want nothing to do with Vanderbilt when he has the rock in his hands, but he is just as lethal on the other end of the court, too. What a nightmare.
5. Denzale Henderson – 2016 6’10 Center, Humble (Pro-Vision Academy) No. 34 in Texas Top 100 class of 2016
Can stats seem inflated at the high school level? Yes. Is 5.2 blocks per game still impressive? You bet. Henderson was a shot-blocking machine during his junior campaign, and we can only expect to see more from the 6’10 big man as a senior. He holds offers from Texas Tech and Incarnate Word, and his stock should continue to rise as we get back into the school year.
4. Victor Bailey – 2017 6’3 Shooting Guard, Round Rock (McNeil) No. 10 in Texas Top 100 class of 2017
One of the top athletes in the state, Bailey is everywhere all at once. His high school coach told us he runs a 4.3 40-yard dash, and that kind of speed definitely kills. Guards can’t go by him, and passing lanes are always in question when Bailey can get from point A to point B in the blink of an eye.
3. Marques Bolden – 2016 6’11 Center, DeSoto (DeSoto) No. 1 in Texas Top 100 class of 2016
The top prospect in the class of 2016 is a brick wall down low. He averaged 3.2 blocks per game at the EYBL this summer, and well over two blocks per game for DeSoto last season. He’s 6’11 and athletic, with excellent defensive awareness. What else do you need to know?
2. Tristan Clark – 2017 – 6’8 Center, Converse (Judson) No. 8 in Texas Top 100 class of 2017
If you’re thinking about driving into the lane for a layup or finger roll, you might as well turn around now. Clark batted away an insane 4.1 shots per game, completely denying anyone with intentions of scoring in the paint. And those 4.1 blocks were only the ones he got a piece of. Clark influenced a large portion of the shots in a a big way, easily lowering opposing field percentages by unprecedented numbers. He’s top-10 in our class of 2017, and he should keep climbing once he improves a little more on the offensive side.
1. Jarrett Allen – 2016 – 6’10 Center, Austin (St. Stephen’s) No. 3 in Texas Top 100 class of 2016
One of the greatest players to ever come out of Austin, Allen fills up the stat sheet in every category. But defensively, he is an absolute animal. His blocks per game averages are video game-esque (4.1 last season, 4.5 against U.I.L. schools) and he is a force on the boards with 13.3 per contest. Most experts are predicting Allen will stay in Austin and play for Texas, and if so, Coach Smart will certainly appreciate his defensive abilities.
Alex Hobbs – 2016 6’3 Shooting Guard, LaPorte (LaPorte)
Nate Morris – 2016 6’9 Power Forward, Lancaster (Lancaster)
Deandre Williams – 2016 6’8 Power Forward, Houston (Klein Forest)
Alex Holcombe – 2016 6’8 Center, Missouri City (Fort Bend Marshall)
J.J. Caldwell – 2016 5’11 Point Guard, Cypress (Woods)
Mark Crowe – 2016 6’5 Small Forward, Dallas (Wilson)
Jeremy Peck – 2016 6’8 Power Forward, Houston (St. Thomas’ Episcopal School)