On the scouting side, we've begun to take Houston for granted. While volatility has affected New York and other large cities to a greater extent than was true in the past, a quick turn to the Lone Star State's largest metropolis tends to faithfully uncover elite prospects.
The senior Class of 2014 certainly followed suit. Three natives rank in the national top 10 — Kelly Oubre, Justin Jackson and Justise Winslow — and the trio will advance on Chicago for next month's McDonald's All-American Game.
Oubre is prepping this season at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, but all three wings competed together on the EYBL circuit for the Houston Hoops and signed with prestigious college programs: Oubre to Kansas, Jackson to North Carolina, and Winslow to Duke.
Oubre provides an interesting case and reflects the city's changing demographics due to a natural disaster. Like many New Orleans inhabitants who were forced out by Hurricane Katrina, the Oubre clan moved to Houston in 2005, the day before the storm destroyed the city. Still, a decade is long enough to establish residency, as Oubre has spent half his life in his new home.
The 2013 class produced its share of stars as well. Though at times they've received harsh criticism at Kentucky this season, the Harrison twins hail from the Space City as well and certainly do possess big league talent. In 2012, center Cameron Ridley took his talents from Houston to Texas, while the city also sent Rasheed Sulaimon to Duke.
And by no means are those names inclusive of every high-major prospect to emerge from the city. Perhaps the best ever was Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler, but in truth the city's emergence has gained significant steam since even I began covering recruiting in 2000.
Texas has been heralded football state for ages, but Houston and Dallas, in particular, have provided the state a hoops talent base that's on par with any of the country's other provinces.
Looking ahead, there's no clear cut star in the junior or sophomore class who claims Houston as home. But again, Houston is one of the few cities can be counted upon to produce someone, even if that player currently is toiling in obscurity. At the minimum, don't bet against it.