Boys basketball gains momentum
Posted on 01/10/2016
Cornelius Mitchell wants to restore Aldine ISD's name in Houston's high school basketball landscape."We're not just playing for us," the Aldine Davis boys coach said. "We're playing for the respect of our entire district. Sometimes people forget that Aldine used to be pretty good."We still have good talent in Aldine. We're trying to be the team that kind of puts us back on the map."In just three seasons, the Falcons are well on their way to doing that.There are a few area powers nestled in the latest Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 6A state rankings. Atascocita is No. 1 in the state and in the nation in some circles. Sam Houston's resurgence continues at No. 5.But at No. 10, Aldine Davis dropped a few spots after losing its first games of the season. The Falcons (16-2) are in their third varsity season and could be playoff contenders.This season is a continuation of last year for Aldine Davis, which made the regional quarterfinals with wins over Cy-Fair and Cinco Ranch before falling to Sam Houston.HS SPORTSDistrict 15-6A lives up to reputation in basketballHigh school basketball: 10 games to watchHigh school football all-stars: 10 to watchAll-American RB Porter lauds his Katy predecessorsTompkins tries to join soccer elite in 19-6A"We're a brand-new school so we have the same kids," said Mitchell, who started the program after stops at Haltom and Austin Travis. "Each year, they just keep getting better. After we lost that quarterfinal game, our goal was to come back even better this year. We've just had a great start."The significance of that playoff run doesn't just pertain to the new school. It was important for Aldine ISD basketball.By comparison, Aldine hasn't been to the regional quarterfinals since 2007. Eisenhower hasn't been since 2004. Nimitz last went in 2003. MacArthur's last trip that deep into the postseason was in 1994.Davis hasn't done much losing in three seasons. Even the first year was a playoff season at 11-16 overall. The Falcons won 23 games last year."Whenever you have new kids and you don't have a tradition, sometimes you can trick kids," Mitchell said. "We were just lucky enough that we told our kids that we were going to be good and we were going to be good right away, and our kids didn't know any better. That's all they knew."Aldine Davis is led by Royce Hamm, a 6-8 junior forward who holds scholarship offers from Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Rice and Texas.Mitchell said Hamm's impact on both ends of the floor makes him special."We were playing a team earlier in the season where he blocked a shot on one end and ran the floor and he catches an alley-oop dunk on the other end," Mitchell said. "That's a game-changing play."Senior point guard Chovallian Kibble is the court general and has the mileage of a three-year starter.Mitchell loves the spark guard Marvin Rodgers brings off the bench, too.Aldine Davis won its first 16 games, including first-place finishes at the Aldine ISD and Montgomery tournaments. The Falcons lost for the first time last week, falling to Cedar Hill, the No. 8 team in 6A, and Episcopal, ranked eighth among large private schools.With District 18-6A play approaching, Mitchell expects the Falcons to go through a gantlet, simply because a ranking is attached to the team's name.That bodes well for the team. Mitchell knows getting out of the region is no small task, and what the Falcons see in district play could help in the long run."In the end, that's going to be what we need to give us that drive and that push to be able to survive in the playoffs," Mitchell said. "Houston's tough. On any given night, you can get beat. So you need some close games. You need some scares."