ARLINGTON -- Talent, experience, size, depth, chemistry -- Arlington Seguin believes it has all of the ingredients to cook up a run at the state title as the 2012-13 UIL boys basketball season begins.
"We have high expectations this year," Seguin coach Bobby Thigpen said. "At the beginning of the year I told the team we want to win three championships. We want to win the district championship, the regional championship and eventually the state championship -- that's our goal."
Five teams to watch
North Crowley (32-5): A model of consistency, the No. 4 ranked team in Texas opens the season riding a 72-game district winning streak and a 57-game home winning streak. It also has made 14 consecutive playoff appearances and won 30-plus games the past five seasons.
Richland (27-4): No. 14 in the TABC 5A poll, the Rebels are coming off one of the best regular seasons in school history, yet are still smarting from a first-round upset loss to Mansfield Timberview. The return of Leyton Hammonds, Hayden Hunter and Tim Priller makes the Rebels huge favorites in District 4-5A.
FW Trimble Tech (29-5): No. 4 in the TABC 4A poll, the Raiders will be young with five sophomores seeing significant playing time, but deep and talented. Tech also will have a post presence for the first time in years with 6-foot-6 sophomore Spencer Franklin and 6-4 senior Eddie Gaithwright.
Trophy Club Nelson (24-8): No. 12 in TABC 4A poll, the Bobcats return a lot of size, experience and scoring from the District 5-4A championship team a season ago.
Kennedale (23-10): No. 10 in TABC 3A poll, the Wildcats bring back 10 lettermen and decent size. Ty Charles and Aundre Jackson, both 6-foot-4 juniors, each averaged double digits in scoring last season.
Five players to watch
F Leyton Hammonds, 6-8, Sr., Richland: The Oklahoma State commit averaged 14.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in 2011 and is considered one of the top players in the state.
C Damontre McFarland, 6-8, Sr., FW Arlington Heights: A monster in the paint who scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the Yellow Jackets' 56-50 win over Wolfforth Frenship in the regional semifinals last season.
G Alex Robinson, 6-2, Jr., Mansfield Timberview: Considered one of the top point guards in the state, Robinson holds offers from the likes of Baylor, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas A&M and Virginia. Transferred from Kennedale after averaging 18.1 points, 3.9 assists, 3 rebounds and 2.6 steals a season ago.
G Jeremy Senglin, 6-1, Sr., Arlington Bowie: The Weber State commitment has blossomed into one of the top all-around guards in the area and is a streaky shooter who can score in a variety of ways.
G Keyunta Watkins, 5-8, Sr., Trophy Club Nelson: One of the most productive players in the area averaged 23 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game last season en route to District 5-4A MVP honors.
The Cougars, who tip off the regular season at 7:30 tonight at home against Arlington, are not arrogant; they are confident and hungry.
Seguin, ranked No. 6 in the TABC Class 4A preseason state poll, is coming off back-to-back playoff losses in the second round.
Last season's 59-56 area-round loss to Fort Worth Arlington Heights at American Airlines Center was especially tough to stomach.
"That's a real big motivation," said Brandon Parrish, a 6-foot-5 wing committed to TCU. "We know that we're better than the second round. Our expectations are state this year, anything below that and we're not going to be satisfied."
Parrish, who averaged 14.1 points, six rebounds and two assists a game last season, is one of four returning starters from last season's team, which finished 28-6.
The Cougars return a pair of all-district performers in the backcourt in point guard Marcus Frazier (6.7 points, 5 assists, 3 steals) and Chris Boleware (7.2 points, 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals). Forward Greg Wesley (14.2 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks), a 6-foot-7 UNT recruit, is also back.
"We got a huge opportunity, we have a lot of talent with four starters coming back," Wesley said. "We have to stay humble, stay focused, stay dedicated, work hard in practice and listen to our coach."
All four said that the surprise addition of 6-7 power forward, Kimani Jackson, a Louisiana-Lafayette commitment, will help make up for the loss of Kelvin Downs to graduation.
"He brings length, blocks shots on defense, he runs the floor well and he's going to help us in transition because we like to push the ball," Frazier said.
Jackson transferred from Plano West over the summer and said the team, most of whom have played together since elementary school, have welcomed him.
Sixth man Richard Holden is coming off a major knee injury suffered in the first round of the playoffs, but has been cleared to play.
Parrish's younger brother, Josh, is a 6-3 freshman who will also add depth to a team that likes to play an up-tempo, pressing style and will be tested by the likes of Lancaster, Waxahachie and Red Oak in District 15-4A.
"I know there is one or two guys in our district who can hoop a little bit, but we have a team full of hoopers," Holden said.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760
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