Posted On: 03/20/18 6:03 PM
Being a former AAU coach, it was hard not envision coaching some of the talented players I saw during the state championships. There were so many great players to choose from. Choosing players from Marsh Madness would give me a selection of the very best the state (especially north Louisiana) has to offer. If I could resurrect Louisiana Excaliber, we would hit the circuit taking on all comers. I would definitely have a “Dream Team” of players that could compete with anyone.
First of all, I will take the best junior in the state. Mylik Wilson from Rayville can flat out score and defend. His offensive ability is off the charts. With Wilson at the two (or three in three guard lineups) scoring options will be available. With his wing span and quickness, he can defend smaller guard as well. This pick is a no-brainer. Mylik would definitely be the first choice as a player on my team.
The point guard would e the next area I would address. For a travel team, I need a point guard who can direct traffic in the open floor, break a defense down with the drive, and make outside shots. Tra’michael Moton (Woodlawn-Shreveport) fits the mold perfectly. He pushes the ball in the open floor and makes smart decisions. “T-Mike” can also drive and finish with the best players around. Moton’s game, paired with the unique skills of Mylik Wilson, will give opposing back courts fits that they would face.
Next, I would need guards that could play with the skill sets Wilson and Moton possess. Emaryeon McDonald (Red River) and Kyron Gibson (Peabody) would be those guards. If I want shooters on the floor to stretch a team’s defense, I am putting McDonald in because his range is great from 28 feet. That will also give Wilson or Moton room to probe the defense with their ball-handling. When we need to lock up defensively, Gibson gets the call. His defensive intensity is infectious. Gibson can also hit an open jumper so there would be no offensive drop off with either of these guards on the floor.
With these outstanding guards, the team would need wings that can get if off the rim, run the floor on the break, or spot up for three. For that, I would add Darius Smith (Peabody), Quatarious Jones (Delhi) and Jakamein Abney (Simsboro). Abney, being the silky lefthander he is, can finish at the rim and shoot the rock from deep. The scoring ability Darius Smith has to handle, drive, spot up, and run the floor is too much for defenses to defend and would make him a match up nightmare. Jones would be the player who can block a shot on one end, run the floor, and catch an alley-oop on the other. His ability to change ends quickly is a guards dream on the break. All of these guys have long arms so they can disrupt offenses with their length defending. These three would add Syracuse-like length to a zone or man-to-man and make scoring difficult.
To round out this team, I would have to recruit some bangers. There would be a need for a physical post presence on offense and defense. These players would also need to be able to defend on the perimeter as well. Not like the wing guys but similar. Thomas Howell (St. Mary’s), Jessie Davis (Red River), Nashun Ellis (Rayville), and Jamarkus Wilson (Rayville) all stand between 6’5″ and 6’8″. These four young men can rebound on both ends and bang with big men as well. Ellis might present the most problems because he can shoot the ball consistently from three at 6’7″. Jessie Davis and Thomas Howell are active as well as athletic. This makes them hard to contain on either end. Matching these four guys intensity at either end will tire a team out and make them even harder to guard. I would take these four guys into battle and believe they would come out on the better end of the stick against their opposition.
Even though this is a “what if” scenario, the skill sets of these players are real. When they play this summer, a team will see all of these traits on the floor. For a recruiter looking at players for their program, they will definitely like what they see in these players. A college that could successfully put these players together would get the best that north Louisiana has to offer.