Posted On: 09/30/18 1:28 PM
September is coming to an end which means that basketball season is right around the corner. Classes B and C have been practicing and every other class will begin in a couple of weeks. With that said, we will begin to preview players and teams throughout many of the north Louisiana districts. Prep Hoops Louisiana will start with previewing district 1-5A and the players to watch in that district.
Joseph Wiggins / 6’5″ / Parkway High School / 2019
This 1-5A forward has moved back to Bossier to play his senior season with the Panthers. Wiggins played this summer with Louisiana Select and saw success playing the post position with Team Millsap. His defense and offense was a big help to their success. However, for Parkway, Wiggins might be asked to do a lot more. The Panthers do not have a ton of experience and will need Wiggins to be the main scoring threat. He will also need to be a dominant shot blocker and the anchor of the defense. Basically put, Joe Wiggins will be the barometer for Parkway’s season. If he can dominate on both ends, Parkway will be competitive in 1-5A. If not, it may be a long season in south Bossier.
Brayden Thompson / 6’5″ / Airline High School / 2020
As a sophomore, Thompson was a key figure in Airline’s undefeated district championship. Brayden often extended offensive possessions for the Vikings by gathering an offensive rebound or tipping it out to one of their guards. This season, Thompson will have to be more of an offensive force. During the Prep Hoops Top 250, Thompson showed the ability to post players on the block and score against anyone regardless of size. He also continued to show his work on the glass by rebounding everything in sight. For Airline to successfully defend their 1-5A title, Brayden will have to continue his upward improvement while being an offensive threat. If he can do that, Viking Drive will see another successful season and possibly a better finish than a first round, playoff bow out.
Christian Caldwell / 6’6″ / Southwood High School / 2020
Caldwell finished last season on a good note. He moved into a starting role and was an integral part of a quarterfinal run by the Southwood Cowboys in class 5A (losing to 5A champion Walker). Christian continued his hot play during the April grassroots season and into the summer with several rim-rocking dunks. Even with his exciting play above the rim, the Cowboys will need him to step his game up even more this season. Caldwell will need to be Southwood’s primary defender against post players and its rim protector. On offense, he will need to take advantage of his athleticism because he will be guarded by slower post players on most occasions. Providing he can play defense at a high level, Christian Caldwell may be one of the better players in district 1-5A.
Tarae “TJ” Robinson / 5’10” / Airline High School / 2019 (pictured above)
This first team 1-5A performer is back for his senior season. Robinson played a lot of grassroots basketball with Louisiana Select and got valuable experience playing point guard and off guard. Playing the off guard helped him prepare for his increased scoring role this season for Airline. Robinson is an important cog to the Vikings team chemistry. When TJ was gone with his travel team during the month of June, Airline struggled offensively and defensively. The Vikings depended on younger players to score and defend and they paid for it with some of their results. Look for Robinson to continue his leadership role as the primary point guard along with an increased scoring role. If those two things are solidified, Robinson will repeat his status as a first team all district player.
Kevin Lemons / 6’0″ / C.E. Byrd High School / 2021
It is hard to believe that four years have passed since the Yellow Jackets were in the 5A semifinals. They have not had an explosive player on the floor since Chad Lott’s departure after that game but they may have one now in sophomore Kevin Lemons. Lemons is capable of playing lead guard but is probably best off the ball. During his grassroots season with the Shreveport Tar Heels, he played like a small point forward. There were several occasions when he would rebound the ball and push it himself. Lemons has the ability to go coast-to-coast and rock the rim with authority. For a Byrd team without a lot of scoring punch, he will have to do that often. The Yellow Jackets are a select school so they will make the playoffs automatically. If they are to move past their opening game, or be competitive in 1-5A, Lemons will have to shoulder the scoring load night in and night out.
Marvin Young / 6’3″ / Captain Shreve High School / 2019
Young will probably be Captain Shreve’s most important guard going into the new season. He is the best play-making guard that Coach Chris Bush has and should be ready to lead during his senior year. During summer play, Young displayed the ability to make players around him better. He often found his teammates in spots where they could hurt defenses. His summer play with Captain Shreve earned him a summer grassroots run with Louisiana Select. With all that said, Marvin is still going to need to prove he can hurt teams with his jumper. Young has a smooth style that lulls defenders to sleep. If he can keep defenders off balance by hitting jumpers and opening up his ability to drive, Young could easily be a first team 1-5A guard.
Kentrell Parker / 6’0″ / Haughton High School / 2020
The Haughton Buccaneers have not had a lot to smile about in recent years but they should be more competitive this year. One reason is the addition on Coach Norman Picou as the head coach. The other reason would be point guard Kentrell Parker. Parker took the helm during play at Haughton’s various team camp trips and displayed that he could be a lead guard. While he is able to score the rock at three levels, Parker is a born floor leader. He makes passes to players in positions to score and knows how to execute his coach’s offense. Kentrell will need to play to the best of his ability every game for the Buccaneers to be successful. If he does, this Haughton team may surprise some schools in 1-5A.
Sadarionne “SD” Ellis / 6’3″ / Southwood High School / 2019
Last season was one to forget for Ellis as he did not find his way in Coach Hamilton’s offense until midway through district. However, this summer, Ellis seemed to gain his swagger back. Ellis shot the ball with the utmost confidence all summer from the perimeter. Whether it is from three point distance or mid-range, SD has a pure stroke that goes down more times than not. His outside scoring allowed him to get to the rim and finish as well. While his scoring will be essential to the Cowboys success, his ball handling and defense may be even more important. Ellis can initiate the offense and handle it well enough to be a point forward-type wing. On the flip side, his athleticism gives him the ability to be an elite defender. If his defense catches up with his offense, SD Ellis will not only be an all 1-5A player. All state might be in his future as well.
District 1-5A has been a tough district to call in recent years. While Southwood has the talent to be the top team in the district, Airline will not relinquish their crown easily. With the new coaches that have enter the district as well, the way to the title will be more interesting to navigate. One thing is for sure, the players listed above will make 1-5A one of the most interesting districts to watch in north Louisiana.