Urban ASAK Elite, an organization that is part of Adidas-Sponsored Urban Elite Basketball, has announced the formation of its 17U roster for the 2016 season. Only one to two spots remain on a team that is expected to be among the best in Texas.
“The common trait among the players on this team is that they are coached by some of the best high school coaches in the country,” said Head Coach Mike Murphy, a former star University of Texas basketball player who coached Pflugerville High School in Austin to more than 500 victories. “These players are also winners who will not settle for anything less.”
Six of the players on the team are underclassmen on arguably the two best high school teams in the Austin area: Vista Ridge (29-3) and Westlake (26-3). The other three hail from the Killeen area, which is one of the most talent-rich areas for recruiting purposes in the country.
Representing Vista Ridge are 6-6 twins Brandon and Quinton Taylor, a pair of juniors that have burst onto the scene to become the cornerstone of the Rangers basketball team. Completing the triple threat is 6-2 guard Aaron Gregg, also a junior, who helped Vista Ridge clinch the district title with 20 points in a 62-51 win over Leander High School this season. The Joe Duffield-coached Rangers head into the post-season primed for a run at a state title.
Representing Westlake on the team are 6-7 sophomore forward Brock Cunningham, 6-0 sophomore guard Luke Pluymen, and 6-6 junior forward Alex Neahusan. Cunningham is a walking double-double in points and rebounds, who played for Murphy and Associate Head Coach Craig Carlton last year. Pluymen, who had a season-high 30 points in a win over Anderson High School, is a gifted combo guard. Neahusan has been consistently solid as a starter at post or first guy off the bench for Chaparral Head Coach Robert Lucero’s district championship team.
The Killeen area has been very good to teams coached by Murphy and Carlton over the years, with players like Rashard Odomes (Oklahoma) and Josh and Cameron Delaney (Sam Houston State) competing at the Division I level, and this year is no exception.
First, there’s 5-10 sophomore guard Jelani Shakir of Harker Heights High School, who may well track the Delaneys’ footsteps to the Division I level under the guidance of Head Coach Celneque Bobbit.
Then, there’s 5-11 junior guard Antoine Xavier James, a potent weapon on a 31-2 Killeen Shoemaker High School team, coached by Emund Prichett. Shoemaker has been top 25 in the state this year as well as nationally ranked.
Last, but not least, Ronald Williams Jr., a 6-8 junior forward at Killeen Ellison High School, will bring his superlative game to this year’s squad, just as he has done for Head Coach Alberto Jones at the prep level.
“We can’t wait to be around these young men and watch them come together as a team,” said Coach Carlton. “Fortunately, they all have fine parents and coaches, who have set them on a path to success. Our job is to provide a platform for them to achieve their dreams.”