He stands only 5-9. But Justin Northwest boys basketball coach Mike Hatch doesn’t care. Senior forward Tevian Ezell is off to the kind of start the Texans need if they are to return to the playoffs in 2015-2016.
A shooter who is becoming more and more at ease with his role, Ezell has started quickly, averaging 16.3 points through his first three games. That includes a career-high 23 this past Thursday when Northwest defeated White Settlement Brewer, 74-51, at the Northwest ISD Tournament.
The Texans, who were 2-1 through last Thursday, are trying to rebound from a 13-17 season. There’s not going to be a lot of size with this team with the exception of sophomore 6-8 post Darrell Simpson. Northwest is going to have to succeed mostly because of what it does at the perimeter.
“He’s just a gym rat and a really good shooter,” Hatch said of Ezell. “Tevian loves to play the game. And to be honest, he’s one of the best shooters we’ve ever had. He can get to the basket. We were hoping for this. He has the capability of getting 15-20 per night. What I love the most is that he’s not afraid to take the big shot.”
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A slow start to 2014-2015 probably had more to do with Ezell ramping up to the speed of the varsity game and improving on his defense. Hatch has seen the improvement.
Northwest also has freshman 6-0 wing/point guard Avery Anderson contributing immediately. Anderson feeds off his athleticism and is a scorer and pretty reliable passer, Hatch said.
“Avery is going to be a treat to watch,” Hatch said. “He has one of the highest basketball IQs I’ve ever coached. One of the hardest things for freshmen is that when you’re critiquing them, they can take it personally and can’t get over it. But Avery gets that and wants to learn more and more.”
As for Simpson, most understand his future will be playing Division I football. But the work on the court is helping his footwork.
“We have a very inexperienced team,” Hatch aid. “But I compare this group with the team that won the district championship five years ago. They play extremely hard. We expect to make the playoffs.”
Byron Nelson doesn’t change expecations
Northwest Byron Nelson changed its presence at the point and in the post. But head coach Scott Curran hasn’t changed his expectations.
With a program that has made the postseason in its first five seasons, the Bobcats want to use November and December experience to culminate in a sixth consecutive appearance by February.
The Bobcats return three-letter winner from the 20-10 squad that lost a heartbreaker to Allen in the bi-district round, a buzzer beater. Senior forward Jack Nobles (6-6) leads the front court and will have backcourt help in seniors Ryan Wheeler (6-1) and Brandon Dale (6-0)
The Nov. 17 season opener against Flower Mound Marcus was rough, a 62-48 loss. Nelson was off for the rest of the week before it played Argyle Liberty Christian on Monday and Weatherford on Tuesday.
Point guard duties should be shared between senior Bryce Drake (5-8) and junior move-in Alphonso Hawkins (6-1). Drake was the backup last year. Hawkins, who transferred from Killeen Harker Heights, had an impressive debut with 17 points including 13-13 at the foul line.
Thought the Nzekwesi name had come and gone? Nope. While Emmanuel is off to a prep school in order to get to Weber State, younger brother David is carving his own way. The 6-6 sophomore scored five points against Marcus.
“It’s going to take some time,” Curran said. “But there’s a lot to like.”