Hoops Recruiting: Future Cowboys To Meet

Brian Williams says he won't be talking this week to future Oklahoma State teammate Markel Brown. The two Louisiana high school seniors committed to OSU last summer, signed in November and have kept in touch throughout the 2009-10 basketball season, but they won't be calling or texting the next few days. Their two teams meet in the Louisiana Class 4A state tournament semifinals on Thursday night.

Brown's Peabody Magnet Warhorses (39-0) will face the Williams-led Glen Oaks Panthers (32-5) in a 4A semifinal game scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cajundome on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The winning team advances to Saturday night's championship game.

"I can't wait," Williams said Sunday night about the matchup with his future Cowboy teammate.

Brown is averaging more than 30 points and nearly 8 rebounds a game for the No. 1-ranked Class 4A Warhorses.

Williams is averaging 24 points and 7 rebounds for the fourth-ranked Panthers.

Both players were diplomatic when asked about Thursday night's game.

Brown said, "I heard they are pretty good. It's going to be hard to guard Brian. Throughout the game we'll probably match up a couple times. I just want to wish him good luck."

Williams said, "Just tell him good luck. They have a good team, but I think we can knock them off though."

Peabody, located in Alexandria, La., and Glen Oaks, in Baton Rouge, are traditionally two of the top teams in Louisiana, but they haven't met in three years and it will be the first ever game between the two teams in the playoffs.

Brown was a freshman on Peabody's state championship team three years ago. The Warhorses were 38-0 before losing in the state tournament his sophomore year, and finished 31-4 last season after a loss in the state quarterfinals.

What would a state title – and undefeated season – mean to Brown? "It would mean a lot to me and to our program because there haven't been too many teams in Louisiana or Peabody that have gone undefeated and won a state championship. So, it would be history," he said.

Peabody has won five state titles under longtime head coach Charles Smith but Brown would make history if he can lead the Warhorses to two more victories this week. "It would also mean a lot to me because no one has ever won two (championship) rings in Peabody history," said Brown.

Williams averaged 25.9 points, 13.6 rebounds, 4.1 blocked shots and 3.5 assists a year ago before the Glen Oaks season ended in the 4A state tournament semifinals. His statistics this season haven't been as impressive as last year's but part of that is because he's battled an injury all season.

A stress reaction in the tibia forced him to take nearly a month off – and miss 10 games – before returning to action last month. "It was crazy being on the side watching, and not being able to help my team," said Williams.

"It (still) gives me a little trouble. I still can't do some of the things I'd like to … like running and make my cuts, when I make a move on the defense, that's when it hurts the most," he said.

But Williams has to be on the floor if the Panthers are going to win Glen Oaks head coach Harvey Adger his fifth state title in his 29 years at the school. Just look at what happened during the team's matchup against Istrouma High School this past season.

Glen Oaks defeated Istrouma 59-50 in November during an early season tournament. But with Williams watching from the sideline with his leg injury, Istrouma got revenge with a 65-41 win on Jan. 22. The Panther standout returned late in the season and led his team to a 71-59 victory over Istrouma on Senior Night on Feb. 15.

Although Williams' numbers haven't matched those of his junior year, he's capable of getting hot at a moments notice. In an early season game against East St. John of New Orleans, the Glen Oaks senior finished with 35 points and 16 rebounds in a 69-67 victory.

"I had 17 points in first half and 18 in the second half … everything was flowing. It was like, I have to get the ball because everything was going so well," he said. "And we won the game by two which made it even better because we were playing a good team."

Williams says he doesn't plan on visiting with his future Cowboy teammate prior to Thursday night's game.

"I call him every now and then. We've talked about how the season is going, who beat who and that kind of stuff. I talked to him when the playoffs first started," he says, "but I'm not going to talk to him until after we play him.

"I don't want to talk to him right now," added Williams, who said he will need to have a cast put on his leg for a couple of weeks upon the completion of the basketball season.

Both Williams and Brown will finish their stellar high school careers in a few days and be looking ahead to joining Travis Ford's Cowboys next season. But neither player is thinking about his freshmen year at OSU, and least not this week.

"I'm just focusing on these next two ballgames right now. I'll think about that afterward," said Brown.

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