Everman has a rich tradition in boys basketball, having made the playoffs 12 of the past 13 seasons, but after going 14-0 in district last year, coach Jay Mathieson and his Bulldogs will enter this year without their star player, Ka’Juan Malveau.
The senior guard averaged 21.2 points, 5.7 assists and three rebounds per game last season. He also shot 80 percent from the free-throw line and 41 percent from behind the arc.
Malveau, who committed to play at Texas State, has had shoulder surgery twice in his high school career after his second surgery was in September.
“It’s a six-month recovery and we found out in October that he would miss the season,” Mathieson said. “My reaction was that it’s a big hit to our team, but we have lost our best player in other years and will just have other guys step up.”
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Malveau first had surgery during his sophomore year and missed most of the 2012-13 season. He returned last season and earned District MVP and All-Region.
“He’s irreplaceable, but we know that having surgery now, instead of after the season is the best option for him and his college career,” Mathieson said.
From the moment Malveau was ruled out, everyone supported the young man. Mathieson said he knew the team wouldn’t take it negatively.
“They knew that their roles would increase and be more important now,” Mathieson said.
“It was very difficult to accept, but my teammates, Everman and Texas State coaches, and my family picked me up,” Malveau said. “I plan on learning as much as I can to help make myself and the team better.”
Even though he will be out, Malveau is expected to attend every game this year for the Bulldogs.
“K.J. will be traveling with us and will be on the bench, but we’re still working on what his role will be,” Mathieson said. “We would like him to be a leader and player-coach in practice.”
Mathieson dishes out a different starting lineup every game. He said he hopes a senior-heavy rotation will get the Bulldogs back into the playoffs.
Everman has five other seniors on its roster. Keyuntae Taylor and Savon Burton will play a big part in the offense while Javonta Gatewood and 6-foot-4 forward Jordan Downs are expected to fill the void left from Malveau.
“I think we’ll be OK. The guys play really hard and are coming together in practice,” Malveau said. “We’ll contend for a second consecutive district title.”
The Bulldogs finished last season 26-4 and made it to the regional quarterfinals. They enter the 2014-15 season ranked No. 14 in the Class 5A poll. Everman will begin its season against Fort Worth Arlington Heights in the Tarrant County Showcase on Tuesday and will start District 8-5A play on Dec. 19 against Burleson Centennial.
Players to watch
•G Elijah Christman:
6-4, Sr., Northwest: 15.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg
•G Julius Jackson:
6-1, Sr. Arlington Lamar: 15.0 ppg, 5.0 apg
•G Elbert Lawrence:
6-0, Sr., Grace Prep Academy: 22.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.5 apg
•G Sean Choate:
6-2, Sr., Denton Guyer: 14.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 apg
•G V.J. Hughes:
6-3, Sr., Kennedale: 15.0 ppg (fourth year on varsity)
•G Daniel Eibel:
6-1, Sr., Grapevine: 12.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 spg
•G Tylin Lockett:
6-3, Jr., Southwest Christian: 16.2 ppg, 7.1 apg
•G Clayton Stanley:
6-6, Jr., Southwest Christian: 19.3 ppg, 11.2 rpg
•F Nolan Taylor:
6-5, Jr., Keller: 15.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg
•F Diontae Champion:
6-6, Sr., Arlington Lamar: 12.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg
•F Emmanuel Nzekwesi:
6-7, Sr., Trophy Club Nelson: 19.0 ppg, 11.4 rpg
•P Rickey Brice:
7-0, Sr., Pantego Christian: 15.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg
Area teams in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches preseason poll (2013-14 records):
Class 6A: 2. DeSoto (31-4); 8. South Grand Prairie (23-7); 12. Keller (24-6)
Class 5A: 2. Lancaster (31-5); 3. FW Trimble Tech (25-7); 14. Everman (26-4); 16. FW Dunbar (22-5); 20. FW Arlington Heights (16-12)
Class 4A: 19. Kennedale (38-1)
UIL key dates
Regular season begins