The Times-Register

December 9, 2013

Young duo manning PG for Bobcats

NISD Boys Basketball With Keyunta Watkins having graduated, the team turns to a junior and a sophomore to spark the offense.

If you were wondering who was replacing Keyunta Watkins as Byron Nelson’s point guard, head coach Scott Curran has two answers.

He’s using both Kadeem Ellington and Jeremiah Taylor. There’s definitely youth involved here, because Ellington is a junior and Taylor is a sophomore. The two have had their share of growing pains as Byron Nelson has started the season at 4-4.

Fortunately, Nelson scheduled smartly because it avoided the weekend weather and played in the Georgetown tournament, going 3-1. The one loss was a bit odd. Nelson was tied with San Antonio going into the fourth quarter before Churchill hit three three-point baskets to pull away and win by 12.

“Definitely, this weekend, we took some steps in the right direction,” Curran said. “We played some quality competition. People forget we graduated nine guys [from last year’s Class 4A Region I finalist team] and have a completely new team.”

The Bobcats are still a little bit of a work in progress. There are going to be times when the team makes mistakes, but Curran believes Georgetown was a turning point.

As for Ellington and Taylor, there are times when both will be on the floor and times where only one will. Curran said he’s not worried about having to choose one before the District 5-4A season begins Dec. 17 against Wichita Falls Rider.

“They’re doing a great job,” Curran said. “There’s a learning curve. Depending on the match-up we’ll play them. We can put them on the floor together and be comfortable with it.”

Still the same Emmanuel

Junior 6-7 forward Emmanuel Nzekwesi continues to take his game to a higher level. Division I college programs have fallen in love with him because they know he can move around the basket. There are offers from the likes of Weber State, North Texas and Sam Houston.

But that attention is probably going to pick up as long Nzekwesi continues to grow his game. He’s averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds. There isn’t one coach in all of Texas who wouldn’t take that kind of production.

“He’s just improved tremendously,” Curran said. “He’s worked real hard at being a better teammate and just his approach to the game. He’s very coachable.”

The Bobcats were scheduled to continue their season against Keller Timber Creek on Tuesday before moving on the Granbury tournament, which starts Thursday.

Northwest update

The Texans (7-2) had an impressive victory over White Settlement Brewer (60-39) but missed all four of their games in the Mansfield tournament that was canceled because of the ice storm.

Head coach Mike Hatch was working the phones over the weekend and picked up two more non-district games. The Texans will play Plano John Paul at home on Wednesday and then Grand Prairie on Dec. 31 at home.

“It’s crazy this time of year, because with district play starting soon (Dec. 17 against Haltom) you really want to get an idea of your five guys and your bench,” Hatch said. “You really want to play good people because you could tell if we were really ready to play or if we had more work to do.”

Senior point guard Josh Tatum could evolve as the best point guard Hatch has ever coached. Tatum is averaging 12.5 points and 5.9 assists. His assists to turnover ratio is 2-and-a-half-to-1.

“And it should get better,” Hatch said.

The Texans play at McKinney Boyd on Friday.

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