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On October 1st, basketball practices opened up all across the state of Oklahoma. Scrimmages opened up and for some of the smaller schools, they’ve started playing regular season games! We’re taking an in-depth look at some of the top teams in the state with our team previews. Keep it locked into Prep Hoops Oklahoma as we’ll have new preview content dropping on the site every single day!
In this preview, we take a look at Class 5A contender Carl Albert.
Last season was a roller coaster year for perennial power house Carl Albert but it was supposed to be a roller coaster year. The Titans were rebuilding and turning the page to the next chapter of what they hoped was continued success in Class 5A. And despite the rebuild and several bumps along the way, this is a team that found their way back to the 5A state tournament and would even come one game shy of playing for a state championship. After losing to Southeast in the area round, the Titans would rally to beat Lawton MacArthur and then handled Collinsville in the first round of the state tourney. Ultimately, they would lose to Del City in the semifinals and come up just shy of playing for yet another state title.
When you look back at last season for the Titans, you have to say that it was a successful one. And in the big picture, let’s face it, Class 5A was a two-team race all season long between Del City and Memorial. Nobody was getting in front of either of those teams as they barreled towards a collision in the state title game. Carl Albert knows all about that because they’ve been in that same position. They hope to be in that position again this season. And with nearly their entire starting lineup returning, there are plenty of reasons to think that the Titans are no longer rebuilding, they’ve reloaded and are ready to contend once again for the state championship.
The Titans return four of their five starters from last season and will look to be one of the top teams in Class 5A once again. And while last season featured a two-team race with Del City and eventual champion Memorial, this season is more wide open. Both of those teams will once again be in the mix but then you have to strongly consider Collinsville, Nathan Hale, Southeast and others that are going to be some of the top teams in the class.
The Titans will test themselves once again with a tough early schedule. That features tournaments in Mustang as well as Bartlesville early on in the season. The Titans will be leaning on the experience that’s returning from last year’s semifinal team and overall talent to contend with the other teams in the class. Another potential issue isn’t one that’s new to a program like Carl Albert. Football. The Titan football team is once again one of the best in the state and there are some key pieces on that football team that the basketball team has to wait for. But as we said, that’s nothing new to Carl Albert and head coach Jay Price. The Titans are definitely a team to watch this year in Class 5A.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Whenever you talk about prospects in any sport, it’s easy to fall into the stock market comparisons. And we’re doing it again here with Carl Albert junior. Buy. Stock. Immediately. At this time last year, Mott was an intriguing player to watch because he was long, had some bounce but there was a lot of his game that was still raw. Fast forward to the start of this season, and Mott looks like a junior in college, not in high school. He’s clearly hit the weight room hard in the last year and has filled out his 6’7 frame. And throughout the offseason, Mott absolutely dominated the paint in every outing he went into. We are very intrigued about what this season will bring for the Carl Albert junior. The upside is off the charts.
For me personally, the player that I’m most familiar with is senior guard. After watching him multiple times in person throughout the spring and summer, I know what I’m going to get with England on the court and a lot of it is going to be very good for the Titans. Last year, England averaged just over 15 points per game and we think that is right around where he will be this season. England can fill it up and he has the potential to average 20+ points per game but we don’t think that’s the best case scenario for the team. England showed this offseason that not only can he fill it up, he can run the point and get others involved. And he has some very talented players around him. This Titan team is going to be scary if the scoring is balanced out.
Another returning starter that averaged in double figures last season is junior guard. Averaging just over 12 points per game, the Titans are expecting Hopkins to take the next step as he goes into his junior season. Like Mott, there is a lot of potential there in Hopkins as an overall prospect for the next level and we think that he’s just scratching the surface on what he can be. His athleticism and explosive playmaking ability just jumps off the charts when you watch him in person. But as he continues to grow the other elements of his game like shooting and overall defense, he’s going to be an absolute handful for opponents. The 1-2 punch of England and Hopkins in the backcourt is already going to be a headache.
MORE NAMES TO KNOW
Reed Dequasie – 2023 Guard
Ta’Shawn James – 2023 Guard