The type of double teams Byron Nelson senior forward Emmanuel Nzekwesi is facing this season as opposed to what he saw in 2013-2014 is far different.
First, Nelson is playing at the Class 6A level, so there are more players to choose from at opposing schools. Plus, the fight in the block is a little more physical. And that’s fine. A 6-7 post expects that. The question is how he handles it.
What head coach Scott Curran likes is how well Nzekwesi is handling the attention. It’s been a constant ever since he played his first varsity game.
“He’s really done a good job recognizing the double team,” Curran said. “If it comes early, he’s kicking the ball so other guys can make plays. Guys with the basketball savvy to do that really help themselves when they do things like that. And I expect him to keep doing that as the season keeps going.”
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The Weber State signee has seen his individual point totals become more up and down. He scored 14 Jan. 6 against Justin Northwest and 14 in the Jan. 13 56-31 win against Keller Central. Of course, those sandwiched the 22 he had in the loss to Denton Guyer.
The Bobcats (12-7, 2-2 in District 5-6A) entered an important stretch of their season starting with this past Friday’s game against Keller Fossil Ridge followed by Tuesday’s game at Keller Timber Creek and this coming Friday’s game against Denton Ryan. The Friday and Tuesday games were played before the early press deadline; see www.dfwvarsity.com.
By winning at least two of these games, the Bobcats would have a win over everybody except the two top teams in the district, Denton Guyer and Keller. And the Bobcats lost those games by three and two points respectively.
“What I have found is that this is probably the most resilient team I’ve been around,” Curran said. “They’ve really found their identity. They’re focused and pay attention to details. There’s a good vibe in the gym right now.”
About that vertical
Junior forward Brandon Bowen is arguably one of the best athletes in the Northeast Tarrant County. His future is going to be in football as he holds a handful of Division I offers.
Part of what is attracting those schools to him is his vertical jump. While Bowen said he’s not really been tested, he estimated that it’s about 40 inches. In the vertical test, an athlete takes one step and jumps.
Regardless of the accurate measurement, Curran just sits back and realizes that what Bowen is doing is something no coach can summon. A player either has it or he doesn’t. That’s why Bowen is averaging about six rebounds per game.
“He goes as high as he needs to go,” Curran said. “The way he goes up is phenomenal. That’s a gift. While he’s humble, he gives us great energy.”
Indeed, Bowen had one of his better scoring games of the year against Keller Central when he finished with 12.
The Texans (9-11, 2-2 in 5-6A) got the scoring they needed from junior guard Tavien Ezell when he came up with a career-high 12 points in the win 63-51 win over Denton Ryan.
Ezell was moved into the starting lineup, while Eli Ponce went to the bench as the sixth man. But the move proved pretty valuable. He scored 10.
The Texans entered a very difficult stretch of the season. They played at Keller on Friday and then closed the first half of district this week with games against Keller Fossil Ridge on Tuesday and then at Denton Guyer on Friday.
“Tavien is fearless and will penetrate the floor the way you want,” Hatch said. “He does a good job in the open floor. But we’re going to continue to push the ball and shoot as quick as we can. That’s the way we have to play.”