No longer just a football state

Texas has the reputation of being a football state, but the class of 2013 in hoops is going to challenge that notion.

The state of Texas has always been known as a football state. Annually the state produces some of the top gridiron talent, but what is truly underrated is how many great basketball players come from Texas. No year has that ever been more evident than in the 2013 class.

When looking at the rankings, the numbers are stunning. Three of the top five players in the country are from Texas, but it doesn't stop there as six of the top 20 players in the nation call the Longhorn State home.

No other state has more than two of the top 20 players in the country. Add in that Texas has two more top 100 one prospects for a total of eight, and it is pretty clear that it is an absolutely loaded class in the Longhorn State.

One of the best players is Duke bound shooting guard Matt Jones. The DeSoto High School standout is one of the premier shooters in the country. Between playing high school ball with DeSoto and AAU for the Texas Titans, Jones says it is fun to go against the best on a daily basis.

"It is a little weird, but it is also really fun," said Jones. "There are so many great players here that it can just be kind of weird to face off with all of them, but you know it makes you better and we all have a good time competing."

The father, and AAU coach, of two of the best in the state is Aaron Harrison Sr. Harrison Sr. coaches his sons Andrew and Aaron for the Houston Defenders. A native of the Capitol Region, Harrison Sr. says the class his sons have been going against definitely matches up well against any in the country.

"The 2013 class, those are the kids we have played forever, and I know there hasn't been a lot of groups of kids down here like them, but I just know this group, and I know this group is very talented," said Harrison Sr.

A high school coach who sees it all the time is Ray Forsett of Arlington Grace Prep. Forsett is the coach of two top 100 kids in the class, Jordan Mickey and Karviar Shepherd, and he says this group overall is special throughout the state.

"It's just great for the area and Texas in general," said Forsett. "It is great to have so much talent in the state of Texas. With Julius Randle, the Harrison twins, Keith Frazier, and those guys to see the work they are putting in and get noticed."

He continued, "It is going to be tough on the voters to see who they will vote on for McDonald's from this region. Keith Frazier is working hard, I know my guys are as well, and it will be fun to see who gets his just do."

With so much talent, Texas might be losing its reputation of being a football state, and for Jones and the basketball junkies around the state that would be just fine.

"We are all working real hard and want to show that the best athletes in the state do play basketball and that Texas does produce great basketball players," said Jones. "I mean I definitely think basketball is better than football, and now I think you are seeing a lot more great athletes focusing on basketball here."

Forsett echoed those sentiments.

"I just think guys are just working harder now to show that this isn't just a football state," said Forsett. "We always hear about how Texas is for football and all the basketball players are on the West Coast or the East Coast, so our guys now have something to prove. The state of Texas has some great basketball players as well as football players."

One thing that is interesting is the talent is almost evenly split between Dallas and Houston. The two major markets are each producing elite level players at a high level.

When asked if there is a rivalry between the two cities, Forsett said, "They are all friends at the end of the day, but when the ball goes up that Houston and Dallas rivalry does come out. You want to beat them so you have the last laugh and some bragging rights. It is a friendly rivalry for sure."

Jones also admitted that there is a little something extra on the line when facing a team from the Houston area.

"We try to say there isn't, but deep down there is a rivalry with them," said Jones. "Whenever I go down there to Houston I try to prove that we have the best basketball in Dallas and that the best players come from there. Now we are all friends, but there is a little something more there."

While there is no doubt Texas will always been known for its prowess on the football field, things are looking special on the basketball floor for the foreseeable future.

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