Keller Citizen

TLN: Recruiting ramps up for boys basketball standouts

Keller Indians guard R.J. Nembhard (22) is among the nation’s top 100 recruits.
Keller Indians guard R.J. Nembhard (22) is among the nation’s top 100 recruits. Star-Telegram Archive

The high school boys basketball season is over for teams in Northeast Tarrant County. But it’s only the transition time into the second season.

This area has two outstanding 2017 recruits in Richland guard C.J. Roberts and Keller guard R.J. Nembhard. Both are about to move into their AAU select team seasons. Some of those teams already began play this past weekend. Others are starting soon.

It’s going to be a pretty important time for each regarding where they want to play in college. This is the time for each to keep working on their games and to be as prepared as possible. April will present two evaluation weekends for college coaches – April 15-17 and April 22-24.

There are national tournaments spread throughout the country including the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Division I coaches are permitted to watch recruits. However, the coaches cannot talk to the prospects.

Obviously, players like Roberts and Nembhard have long been known in recruiting circles. Depending on your recruiting service of choice, each is ranked as one of the top 100 players in the country. They are holding multiple offers.

Let’s start with Roberts (6-0, 175) and his list: Baylor, Illinois, Kansas State, LSU, Purdue, SMU, TCU, USC and Virginia Tech.

Then there is Nembhard (6-4, 180) and his list: Baylor, California, Creighton, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.

For what it’s worth, both Nembhard and Roberts attended SMU’s home finale on March 3 against Connecticut. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, except that they had a window on their schedules to attend the game. The two have seen other college programs play. Nembhard attended a game at Oklahoma earlier in the season.

What’s refreshing is that these two have brought some well-needed recruiting attention and visibility to an area that doesn’t really have much of a history. There was Euless Trinity’s Myles Turner a couple of years ago, but not much since then.

Between Nembhard and Roberts, this reminds me of 2013 when Carroll QB Kenny Hill and Colleyville Heritage QB Cody Thomas were going through their recruitment. They were both national recruits and received more than their share of attention.

Of course, basketball recruiting is a little different than football. The talk surrounding the recruits isn’t as mainstream as football is. But then again, football is the most popular sport in the United States.

This will be a fun summer and spring to track Roberts and Nembhard. Each has a great first step to take the ball to the goal and finish. Like any young recruit, the jumper – mid-range and 3-pointer – is promising. More reps will be needed. They will serve as each other’s ally. As they say, these two can ball.

But don’t look for commitment decisions to come for these two anytime soon.

For either, it could come in the fall before the early signing period that is in November. It could also get pushed back until the last signing period that will be in April of next year. There will be lengthy lulls that will cause you to forget that this is going on.

But when they make these decisions, it will be two of the biggest recruiting news days this area has ever known.

A championship

Just a note of congratulations to former Richland and Carroll girls coach Ken Burroughs, who led Argyle Liberty Christian to the TAPPS 5A championship. Liberty Christian defeated Prestonwood last Saturday, 48-43, at Mansfield Timberview. It’s the second consecutive championship for Burroughs program and the fourth overall. Liberty won titles in 2007 and 2008.

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