Written by Corbett Smith
Quartet of ineligible players on Prime Prep JV roster in opening game billed as ‘exhibition’
GRAND PRAIRIE — Two state champs and two regional finalists took the court for a season-opening boys basketball tripleheader Monday night at South Grand Prairie’s gym. But the big news wasn’t what happened on the court, it was who showed up on the roster.
In its first game of the season, Prime Prep Academy took the floor in its inaugural game with its full roster — including four players ruled ineligible by either the UIL’s state executive committee or the District 11-3A district executive committee.
Perhaps in an effort to quell any criticism, Prime Prep was announced as “JV Prime Prep playing in an exhibition” against Houston’s Trent International prep school, clearly printing “Jr. Varsity” on its roster.
But it was hardly a JV team.
Prime Prep star junior Emmanuel Mudiay, TCU pledge Karvair Shepherd and LSU pledge Jordan Mickey were all announced among the team’s starting five.
The UIL has been clear that Prime Prep can play its ineligible players at the sub-varsity level. What’s unclear, though, is how the UIL would view the charter school playing a JV-only schedule during its preseason, then switching to a varsity schedule with a roster of eligible players when district play begins.
Prime Prep’s first game wasn’t the overwhelming show most expected. Despite Prime Prep having a double-digit lead most of the first half, Trent International tied the score in the third quarter.
Trent guard DaRon Curry hit a layup in the final 10 seconds to send the game to overtime tied at 74, but Prime Prep pulled away to win, 85-77. Mudiay finished with 17 points, and freshman Terrance Ferguson led all scorers with 24 points.
South Grand Prairie 70, Kimball 58: South Grand Prairie used two 3-pointers by Virginia Tech-bound Ben Emelogu to spark an 18-8 run at the start of the second half, taking a lead it would not relinquish.
Emelogu, SGP’s only returning starter from last year’s 5A Region I finalist, scored 26 points, 15 in the second half.
“We made some adjustments, and our kids came out and, the most important thing, they stayed poised,” SGP coach Brandon Bennett said.
D’Angelo Allen’s putback dunk in the first half of Kimball’s loss was a perfect microcosm of the defending 4A state champ’s performance, full of bluster and blemishes. Allen made a great read to follow a teammate’s miss, slamming home the tip and mugging for a few cameramen standing under the basket.
The next time down the court, however, Allen turned the ball over near midcourt, resulting in a three-point play by SGP guard Mark Howell. Howell scored 20.
Kimball star Keith Frazier scored 23 points, but only four after halftime.
South Oak Cliff 85, Lincoln 68: Every South Oak Cliff player scored in its season opener, jumping out to a five-point first-quarter lead and not looking back. Lazae Seaton and James Harrison scored 14 each for South Oak Cliff, which beat eventual 4A champ Kimball twice in district play last year, only to lose to Kimball in the 4A Region II final.
Lincoln was without its two stars — junior twins Erick and Derrick Neal. Both Neals are key football players for Lincoln, which will play South Oak Cliff in this week’s bi-district round of the 4A Division II playoffs.
Follow Corbett Smith on Twitter at @corbettsmithDMN.