Traveling Team: Houston Hoops

Hal Pastner isn't one to shy away from the hype and the Houston Hoops boss feels that this year's club just may rank among his best ever.

Hal Pastner had a team a few years back that featured Emeka Okafor, T.J. Ford, Lawrence Roberts, Carlos Hurt and Marcus Spears. Last year's club had a pair of McDonald's All-Americans in Daniel Gibson and Jawaan McClellan. Believe it or not, he feels that this team may be his most talented.

That's because this year's edition of the Houston Hoops is loaded all the way down the roster.

``This may be the best team we've had in the 20 years since I've been doing this," Pastner said. "We're just so deep. We have nine or 10 major Division 1 players and we'll bring guys off the bench that are as good as the starters."

The Hoops will start a backcourt that features a pair of point guards – Arizona-bound 5-10, 175-pound sophomore Nic Wise and 6-foot floor leader David Devezin.

``Nic is back to his old self after recovering from mono," Pastner said. "There's nobody in the country that can handle the ball like him. It's like watching a yo-yo. David is really unheralded and can break down almost anyone in the country. "

The starting frontcourt will likely include athletic 6-6 ½ wing Rashad Woods, who along with teammate Chris Rocquemore, a 6-9, 220-pound sophomore, de-committed from Baylor after making an early commitment.

Woods and Rocquemore will be joined by hard-working 6-6 ½ combo forward Fendi Onobun, a lefty who is looking at Arizona, UCLA, Stanford and Texas.

Guys like 6-9 ½, 260-pound Jeremy Barr, 6-8, 240-pound power forward Martellus Bennett, who may play both football and basketball at the next level, and 6-6 Kountze High junior wing Ashton Hall – as well as 6-6 junior Jermichael Finley – will all see extensive action coming off the bench.

``We're real good and the difference from last year is that we have much more size this year," Woods said. "We're good at every position and you just can't double off any of us because everyone on the team can hurt you."

The Hoops have already started things off with a pair of tournament titles locally, but they'll get a good test this weekend at the Las Vegas Easter Classic.

Houston Hoops (Houston, Texas)

Coaches: Terrul Henderson, Austin Pastner, Byron Gibson

Affiliation: Nike

Top Prospect: WG Rashad Woods (6-6 1/2, 205, JR)

Projected Starters: PG Nic Wise (5-10, 175, SOPH); PG David Devezin (6-0, 170, JR); BF Fendi Onobun (6-6 1/2, 220, JR); C Chris Rocquemore (6-9 1/2, 220, SOPH)

Others: BF Martellus Bennett (6-8, 240, JR); C Jeremy Barr (6-9, 260, JR); WF Ashton Hall (6-6, 205, JR); WF Jermichael Finley (6-5, 210, JR); PG Wendell Preadom (6-3, JR); G Cameron James (6-0, 180, JR); F Tyler Rodriguez (6-7, 200, JR)

Opening Tourney: Las Vegas Easter Classic – April 9-11

Famous Alum: Emeka Okafor; Rashard Lewis

CAT TRACKS' ANALYSIS: Of course their is the natural tie from the Hoops to the Cats because of Josh and Hal Pastner. The Cats are in on a number of Hoops players for both football and basketball. Wise has already committed, while Onobun has visited. Rocquemore and Woods are being evaluated, while Finley and Bennett have been offered the chance to be two-sport stars for the Wildcats.

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