Texas high school basketball players have spread out across the nation with more and more frequency in recent years as the country’s elite teams snatch up the Lone Star State’s top talent. Three recent examples are playing for Kentucky in the NCAA Final Four at AT&T Stadium on Saturday. Here’s a look at the Wildcats’ Texas trio and a Final Four coach with deep Dallas ties:
(Kentucky forward, Fr.)
He won three TAPPS state titles at Plano Prestonwood. As a senior he averaged 32.5 points and 22.5 rebounds. His mother, Carolyn Kyles, played at UT Arlington in 1984-85. He chose Kentucky over Kansas, Texas and Florida. An All-American, he had a nation-leading 24 double-doubles.
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He said it: “Our class isn’t going to be judged until you see how we play in college. And our goal is to win it, go undefeated, whatever we want to do. Once we do that, then you can judge our class. But right now, we’re just great recruits.” — Randle, after committing to Kentucky on March 20, 2013.
(Kentucky guard, Fr.)
He averaged 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in leading Fort Bend Travis High School to the Class 5A state title a year ago. He’s one minute older than his twin brother and teammate (right). He averaged 14 points a game while making all 38 starts. He chose Kentucky over Maryland, SMU, Baylor, Kansas and Arizona.
He said it: “We’ve been playing together our whole lives and we’ve been successful so far, so we might as well keep doing the same thing we’ve been doing.” — Aaron, before the twins committed to Kentucky on Oct. 4, 2012.
(Kentucky guard, Fr.)
He was the top point guard recruit in the country, helping brother Aaron lead Travis High School to the Class 5A state title. He’s averaged 11 points a game while starting in 37 of 38 games.
He said it: “I think coach [John] Calipari presented a challenge for us. He just told us from Day One it was going to be hard and tough and he was going to push us every day. And that’s what we really wanted to hear. We just want to become better players. We liked coach Calipari’s fire to win and we want to win a national championship.” — Andrew, when he committed to Kentucky.
The Huskies’ second-year coach was born in Dallas before moving at 5 with his mother to Los Angeles after his parents divorced. He continued to visit his father who remained in Dallas during his childhood. He also played for the Dallas Mavericks in his NBA rookie season in 1997.
He said it: “I’m very fond of Dallas. I’ve got some great friends down there and pretty much my whole family down there. I’ve got a lot of ticket requests so I have to get that taken care of.” — Ollie, talking about his connections to Dallas, where he was born in 1972.