Traveling Team: Texas Blue Chips

The Texas Blue Chips started the year on the right foot - with a title at the Reebok Pearland Classic. This year's squad has experience, youth and talent.

Last season the Texas Blue Chips were inexperienced. That's no longer the case.

With a handful of guys headed to the prep ranks next year and a sophomore star named Damion James, the Blue Chips could make a valid case for top honors in the Lone Star State before the end of the summer.

James is a 6-8 sophomore wing from Nacogdoches High who is versatile and is already getting big-time looks.

``He's one of the most talented kids I've ever had," Texas Blue Chips boss Mitch Malone said. "The kid can shoot it from NBA range, can get out on the break and finish and also can go into the post. He's athletic and can legitimately play five positions."

New Mexico native Harvey Hale, who plays at Albuquerque Rio Grande High, will start at the shooting guard spot and will play alongside 6-4 senior Dominique Kirk, who recently qualified academically, in the backcourt.

Along with James, it'll be another recent qualifier in Longview's Raymond Hicks and 6-9, 215-pound junior big man Tearon Hill along the frontline.

``Hicks is a monster who finished everything and averages four or five dunks a game," Malone added. "And Kirk is just really solid at the point."

The Blue Chips will also have some depth with junior Jinski Grigsby, a versatile 6-8 forward, and seniors Eric Nunzio, Anthony Reese and Christian Weddborn, a Honduras native who is still working his way back from an injury. Crockett High sophomore wing Tremaine Simmons could be the next superstar to come out of Malone's program.

``We were really young and inexperienced last year," Malone said. "But we're pretty seasoned because we have a lot of kids going to prep school. Experience is our biggest asset."

It's already paid off as the Blue Chips came back from Houston with a title at the Reebok Pearland Classic after a 55-35 victory against the Dallas Mustangs in the title game.

Texas Blue Chips (Dallas, Texas)

Coaches: Mitch Malone

Affiliation: adidas

Top Prospect: WF Damion James (6-8, SOPH)

Projected Starters: BF Raymond Hicks (6-7, SR*); PG Dominique Kirk (6-4, SR*); WG Harvey Hale (6-4, JR); C Tearon Hill (6-9, SOPH)

Others: F Jinski Grigsby (6-8, JR); PG Eric Nunzio (5-9, SR*); WG Anthony Reese (6-3, SR*); BF Christian Weddborn (6-8, SR*); WG Tramaine Simmons (6-5, SOPH); PG David Manning (6-2, JR); PG Terrence Manning (5-7, 180, JR)

Opening Tourney: Reebok Pearland Classic

Famous Alum: Kenyon Martin; Chris Bosh

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