College Sports

December 13, 2013

Metroplex Dream Team: Arlington the goal for area hoop stars

Former DFW high school stars look to finish season at AT&T Stadium.

The Metroplex is known for its football talent, but basketball players from the area are starring on the college stage this season.

Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart led Flower Mound Marcus to two consecutive state championships and hopes to lead the Cowboys to their first Final Four in a decade.

Ole Miss sharpshooter Marshall Henderson, a Hurst L.D. Bell product, made headlines in March when he led the Rebels to an upset victory over Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

And Plano Prestonwood’s Julius Randle has become a double-double machine as a freshman at Kentucky.

With AT&T Stadium hosting the Final Four, all of them hope to come back to their hometowns at the end of the season. They highlight our Metroplex Dream Team.

Metroplex Dream Team

G Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State (Flower Mound Marcus): It’s hard to find a more complete player in the country, which is why he’s a candidate for player of the year. He might not have the hype of Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins or Duke’s Jabari Parker, but Smart has established himself as one of the elite players in the country. Smart is a threat to put up a triple-double any game, and plays well beyond his years.

G Marshall Henderson, Mississippi (Hurst L.D. Bell): He might be best known for his on-court antics, whether it’s trash-talking or celebrating a big shot. And his off-court issues with recreational drugs led to a suspension earlier this season as well as for the first two SEC games. But Henderson can play. He leads the Rebels in scoring at 18.8 points per game, highlighted by a 39-point game against Oregon last Sunday.

F Julius Randle, Kentucky (Plano Prestonwood): UT Arlington coach Scott Cross described Randle as “a man child.” Nobody should dispute that; the 6-foot-9, 250-pounder is a force in the paint. Randle is averaging a double-double — 17.8 points and 12 rebounds — and should only get better.

F Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State (Dallas Lincoln): He wasn’t the freshman sensation most expected coming out of high school, but Nash has developed in his time with the Cowboys. The junior forward is doing a nice job in a supporting role by averaging almost 13 points and six rebounds a game.

F Isaiah Austin, Baylor (Arlington Grace Prep): Most thought Austin would be a one-and-done player, but he returned for his sophomore season. Austin got off to a slow start after recovering from shoulder surgery in May but has played better of late. He has improved his shot-blocking ability and should become a bigger part of the offense as his shoulder improves.

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