Euless Trinity will be making its fifth consecutive playoff appearance when the Trojans begin the state UIL 6A boys basketball tournament against Denton Guyer at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Flower Mound Marcus High School.
Trinity’s top scorers hail from outside the country. Senior guard Jhivvan Jackson, who has signed with UT San Antonio, moved to Dallas from Puerto Rico in 2010 and was born with basketball in his blood: His dad played pro ball in and his grandfather was a national team coach in Latin America.
Senior guard Josh Kashila had a different story.
Angola, in central Africa, was amid a long civil war in 1999, causing many people to leave for the United States.
That same year, nearly 7,500 miles away in Indianapolis, Kashila was born, and shortly after moved back to Angola with his parents, who wanted to start their own business.
It was there Kashila would learn the game of basketball.
“While we were in Angola, I first discovered my love for the game. However, I had no idea at the time what basketball really was,” he said.
When he was 11 years old, he saw his older brothers and friends playing — the basket was a bicycle rim while they played with a rubber ball they had saved up to buy.
“They didn’t let me play because I was young, but I loved watching my brothers and wanted to be just like them,” Kashila said.
While we were in Angola, I first discovered my love for the game. However, I had no idea at the time what basketball really was.
Euless Trinity player Josh Kashila
A few years later, the family decided it was best for Josh to finish his education in America, and Kashila moved in with a cousin he had met just once before.
“I felt an amazing amount of responsibility to make my parents proud by doing well in school and to take care of my little brother,” he said. “Even though this transition to American culture was difficult, it gave me a chance to rediscover my passion for basketball.”
He would attend Harwood Junior High in Euless, and the ninth-grade coach Ryan Jacobs saw potential.
“He gave me my first hands-on experience with basketball,” Kashila said. “He taught me how to play, but also taught me how hard I would have to work if I wanted to succeed.”
Kashila would also get helpful insight from former Trinity standout and current Indiana Pacers standout Myles Turner.
“He taught me to always believe in myself,” Kashila said. “He said ‘don’t let anyone steal your confidence’ and those words helped to change how I saw myself on the court.”
Jackson averages 22.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Kashila is adding 14 points per game.
He said ‘don’t let anyone steal your confidence’ and those words helped to change how I saw myself on the court.
Josh Kashila on NBA standout and former Trinity player Myles Turner
“I could see Josh’s athleticism and understanding of the game,” said. Trinity coach Mark Villines about the first time he saw him. “He started for us late his junior year and had a really good summer.
“He’s dealt with so much adversity, but fought through it without complaining about it. He loves the game, has gone through some growing pains, but to see him succeed, it makes you feel good.”
Teams to watch
North Crowley (25-6): The Panthers have made the playoffs 18 of 19 years and won the 5A state title in 2008. They enter the postseason with a nine-game winning streak and averaging 70 points per game.
Arlington Martin (21-9): The Warriors allow 48.2 points per game and won a share of the District 4-6A title.
Mansfield Timberview (25-7): Ranked No. 8 in Class 5A by the TABC, the Wolves finished second in 10-5A and look to repeat last year’s advance to the regional tournament.
Justin Northwest (28-5): The Texans average 64.8 points per game and won their first district title since 2010.
FW Eastern Hills (18-7): A five-win team last season, the Highlanders enter the playoffs on a 10-game win streak.
Kennedale (23-10): The Wildcats clinched their 11th straight playoff berth and ride an 11-game win streak.
Brock (24-8): The Eagles, with a 12-game winning streak, won a state title in 2015 and have been to the regional tournament five of the past seven years.
Players to watch
RJ Nembhard, Keller, Sr.: Signed to play for Jamie Dixon and TCU, he averages 25.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists for 3-6A champs.
Jhivvan Jackson, Euless Trinity, Sr.: UT San Antonio signee averaging 22 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.
Pedro Castro, White Settlement Brewer, Sr.: 6-foot-7 UT Arlington signee leads Bears with 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.
Tim Johnson, Mansfield Timberview, Sr.: Wolves guard is averaging 18.3 points and 3.2 assists.
Kyler Edwards, Arlington Bowie, Jr.: Scoring 22.2 points per game for the Volunteers.
Tariq Roberts, FW Trimble Tech, Jr.: Averaging 14.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game for 7-5A champs. At least 20 points in four of past six games.
Avery Anderson, Justin Northwest, Soph.: Averaging 20.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for 6-5A champs. Shooting 48 percent from the field.