Congratulations to Evans on a huge win in Region 3-AAAA this past week versus Richmond Academy. The Musketeers were 14-1 and ranked fourth or second in the state, depending on the poll you prefer.
The Knights are off to the best start in school history at 14-1 (before Friday's game versus Lakeside) and appear capable of winning a region crown and making a nice run in the state tournament.
The Knights get great coaching from Kevin Kenny and his staff, and top scorers Anthony Williams and Tony Davis have played huge rolls for the Knights. There is no doubt that the play of point guard Troy Belton has been big, and the steady defense and capable scoring of Brandon McCladdie has been an important ingredient to the team's success.
However, when you are handing out kudos for this year's team you should not forget about 6-foot-9 junior Jaleel Roberts. Last season, Roberts was somewhat of an oddity for the team. It was like, "Wow, look at that tall kid. He must be really bad to be on the bench with his height," or, "Look how skinny he is. If the fans do the wave, the wind might knock him over."
Roberts slowly is changing people's opinions. He is leading the CSRA and is among the state's leaders in blocked shots at seven per game. He is doing a good job on the defensive glass, and his game has improved by leaps and bounds during the past 10-12 months.
I'll be the first to admit he still is a work in progress, and he still has a long way to go, but he is putting in the work to get better.
It can be really tough for extremely tall kids, especially those who grow in height long before their bodies are ready to follow suit in terms of weight. People just assume they should dominate because they are tall. When the youngsters do not immediately put 20 points and 10 boards on the books, people are quick to sling insults.
Every time I mentioned his name to anyone they nearly laughed in my face. They seemed dumbfounded that I even knew who he was.
The fact is, that Roberts has something college coaches covet and you can't teach: he is within a few inches of 7 feet tall.
He also has a body that could easily handle 35 or 40 more pounds of bulk. He could get even bigger.
For all those people scoffing at the prospect of Roberts playing major college hoops, you might want to hold off.
He might have a ton of work ahead of him, but Roberts could just prove all the doubters wrong, and he seems to be well on his way this year.
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