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2019 EYBL Team Preview: Houston Hoops (TX)

By D1 Circuit Staff, 04/18/19, 4:30PM EDT

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Team Breakdown:

Houston Hoops (TX) had an impressive 2018 campaign, finishing the season with a 12-4 record behind star guards Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky commit), De'Vion Harmon (Oklahoma commit) and Chris Harris (Undecided). The Hoops will turn over a completely new roster in 2019, and head coach Tim Schumacher has a solid amount of talent to work with. The Hoops will enter the circuit with nine players on their roster and all nine are set to contribute. Led by three nationally-ranked recruits and a couple of underclassmen, the Hoops figure to be a major contender in Division B.

The Star(s)

Houston has a number of players that could turn into a star, but the prospect with the most national recognition is LJ Cryer. A 6-foot-1 guard hailing from Morton Ranch (TX), Cryer figures to be the go-to scorer for Schumacher. Cryer has skills capable of making defenders look silly, and his quickness, athleticism, and overall craftiness allow him to get wherever he wants on the court. Cryer was named to the TABC All-State Team after averaging a blistering 27.5 points and 5.8 assists per game during the 2018-19 high school season.  Not only was he productive, he was super efficient; Cryer shot 54 percent from the floor, 37 percent from behind-the-arc and 80 percent from the line. Cryer, who recently had an in-home visit with local power Baylor, dominated the Spring Icebreaker for the Hoops in late March and looked to have solid team chemistry with the rest of the unit. 

The Backcourt

The Hoops had a three-headed backcourt monster last year in Maxey, Harmon, and Harris, and they'll reload with another crop of talented, albeit more underrated guards alongside Cryer.

Sophomore Langston Love is a budding star, and the 6-foot-5 guard should make a big impact on this rotation. Love was named to the 6A UIL All-Tournament Team after a strong 2018-19 high school season for Steele (TX). A big-time playmaker capable of taking over a game offensively, Love is coming off high school season averages of 23.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals. His defense is evolving, and if he can continue to hone that aspect of his game, he will be one of the best two-way sophomore guards on the circuit. Fellow 6-foot-5 prospect Tramon Mark is also set to make noise with a big role in the Hoop's rotation. Mark (247 No. 167), who verbally committed to Houston on April 17th, is a high-major prospect with good size and a nose for the ball. Mark was the Great Houston Area Player of the Year, and he will be looking to parlay that individual success into an even stronger spring and summer.

Diminutive junior guard Braelon Bush will be a major spark-plug off the bench for Schumacher. The high-energy 5-foot-8 guard is a proven winner, evidenced by his back-to-back state titles at Silsbee (TX). Isaiah LeBlanc and Antwon Norman round out the backcourt rotation for the Hoops, and they are both intriguing prospects. The 6-foot-3 LeBlanc is an effective scorer and playmaker at the high school level and is a consistent shot-maker. The junior isn't the most explosive athlete, but he is adept at making plays with his craftiness and ability to survey the floor. Norman is a terrific ball-handler and table-setter for his teammates, and the athletic 6-foot guard is coming off a stellar season for Yates (TX) in which he was named 4-A Region 3 Tournament Most Valuable Player.

The Frontcourt

The Hoops have a bevy of guards in the stable, so they'll deploy a 'small' lineup by EYBL standards. Three forwards will contribute in the frontcourt, led by 6-foot-8 forwards Nate Martin and Reueben Fatheree. Martin, a junior forward from Cypress Creek (TX), will be relied upon for defense and rebounding, and also offers the ability to effectively run the floor in transition. Fatheree (247 Football No. 84) is a 4-star recruit on the gridiron, and at 300 pounds, he will be one of the biggest players on the circuit.  Like Martin, Fatheree will need to do damage on the boards while providing a productive, reliable defensive presence on the interior. Expect Mark, Love and LeBlanc to all see time at the small forward position when the Hoops decide to go small.

Expectations

Houston Hoops is a staple at Peach Jam, and head coach Tim Schumacher should have enough juice in his rotation to make a run at Division B. With their two tallest players listed at 6-foot-8, the Hoops will be one of the smaller teams on the circuit. This is a problem they will need to find the solution for quickly, as their schedule is loaded with competition from high-major big men. The Hoops play smart, disciplined basketball under Schumacher, and they should be plenty capable defensively. With a guard-heavy lineup, the Hoops will look to play fast and free, a style-of-play that should fit their personnel.

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Houston Hoops (TX)

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