Size, the most intimidating word in basketball. Not quickness, not shooting, not defense, but size. MacArthur has never had the ability to intimidate teams by simply walking off of the bus, no, they’ve had to astound people with their work ethic and talent.
Last year was a rare exception as MacArthur’s starters average height was 74.5 inches tall (almost 6’3) which was still second in the district to Reagan’s monstrous lineup that averaged at 6’3.
Now flip the script, this year Mac is expected to have a starting lineup that’s average height is exactly 6’. Predicted to be in the bottom two, heightwise, in the district, the team has had to make extreme changes to their playstyle from last season as Senior guard Kyle Murphy explains.
“[Expect a] Faster pace, looking for more transition buckets, and a lot of three point shooting,” Murphy said.
As the team essentially starts four guards, the expectations are to get up and down the court and set a tempo that other teams can not match. Last year’s team averaged 58.9 ppg and only attempted 11.9 three pointers, expect both of those numbers to rise significantly.
Now that we understand how the team will play, these are the players that have to make it all work.
Senior guard Kyle Murphy will attempt to lead the team after making 1st team all region and all district last season with the stat line of 15.2 ppg and 3.9 apg. He’s a marksman three point shooter with incredible ball handling abilities.
Senior forward/guard Kevin Luckey made 2nd team all district last year while averaging 9 ppg and 4.1 rpg, his true value comes in his hustle and defense, he is also a very solid three point shooter(notice the trend).
Senior guard Josh Rodgers is a excellent defender and is very smooth with the ball, he is key to this team’s up tempo style. Josh will be even more threatening if he shoots the three at a decent percentage as he has shown exceptional improvement from last year in his shooting.
The remaining players are comprised of shooters/scorers JT Sovado(11), Tristan Gonzales(12), Nate Levine(10), and Michael Lomas(11), backup guards Andrew Ybarra(12) and D’angelo Stevens(10), big men Collins Boudreaux(12) and Ron Clark(11), and the X factor in my opinion, sophomore Marshawn Sparks who has the potential to elevate Mac a few spots in the district.
The last time that the MacArthur basketball program did not make the playoffs, this year’s seniors were in 4th grade. At the helm for the Brahmas over the past 8 seasons has been Head Coach Mark Murphy, who time and time again pushes his players to the limit and does not allow any individual attitudes to over take the team.
Mac has been the steady rock in the district under Murphy, making the playoffs 7 straight seasons. The next highest streak in NEISD is Madison at 3 years. If that does not put into perspective how consistent they’ve been, only 3 other schools in the city have a playoff streak of more than 5, Wagner(8), Judson(9), and East Central(9).
Here’s the truth, six teams in this district have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs(sorry Lee), and it’s all in the air as of now. However, this year’s basketball team has the potential to run teams to death and shoot the lights out of the building on occasion. The key to sustained winning for them is playing exceptional defense and getting rebounds with this smaller lineup. If they can put it all together for 12 games, with two of the top seven players in the district, this team could be similar to the Golden State Warriors strictly based off of their pace, shooting and defense. No, I’m not saying they’re going to win the district, but their styles are compatible.
Yes there will be bad shooting nights, yes they will have games where they turn it over 20+ times, however, there will not be a single game where they get outworked which can not be said about all teams. And although size is the most intimidating word in basketball, it is also the most overrated.