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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Seahawks pack local-heavy roster

Lamar State men’s basketball preview

Lamar State guard Jamyus Jones, of Port Arthur, walks off the court during a fast break drill at Tuesday’s practice. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

From left, Darrell Jones of Nederland, Jamyus Jones of Port Arthur, Devin Ellis of Beaumont and Darion Chatman of Port Arthur work on passing and shooting drills during Tuesday’s practice. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Lamar State College Port Arthur may not have an issue with depth on its men’s basketball team this season.

And with seven players from Jefferson County, including a trio of recent state champions from just up Ninth Avenue, the Seahawks may not have a problem filling seats during the season.

“There’s a lot of familiarity in Southeast Texas, and we’ve known that since I’ve been here,” said Lance Madison, who’s going into his seventh season as head coach. “We’re fortunate to go out and recruit and get some guys who stay local and have a little pride in the program. I think the community has a little ownership in the program once you get some local guys. We’re happy to have them. They’ve been some big additions for our roster, and we’re looking pretty good in the preseason. Hopefully, we’ll continue to get better.”

Lamar State, coming off its first losing season under Madison at 15-17 (7-12 in Region XIV), has bolstered its roster up to 20 players with only four of them returning — Port Arthur native and Kelly graduate Tevin Baker, Beaumont products Devin Ellis and Justice Vaughn and Houston’s Alex Williams. Four sophomores, including Nederland’s Jase Miguez and Silsbee’s Tra Grubbs, and five freshmen from the 2017-18 team (including leading scorer Rodney Brown) have moved on.


“My assistant coach, Casey Apetrei, did a good job recruiting,” Madison said. “We thought it’d be good if we had more on our roster, compete every day in practice and make the guys better. Just in case we have injuries or adversity, we’ve got enough depth to really be successful.”

The Seahawks will redshirt five guys, Madison said. He declined to indicate the number of scholarships he has, but he said some players are walking on.

“The depth would make the team more intense because we have a lot more people on the bench to make the games more pumped up in the locker room,” Baker said. “If a guy gets tired, we always have a sub. It’s not too many guys who are going to have a whole lot of minutes on this team, that’s what great about this depth chart.”

Darion Chatman, Thailan Wesley and Jamyus Jones are among the new faces trying to break into the rotation.

More than six months have passed since the three Memorial graduates won a state championship in San Antonio. Now, they’re three of 13 guards listed on the Seahawks’ roster.

Chatman, the vocal 5A state tournament MVP, is playing more of the shooting guard role at Lamar State than he did at Memorial. The preseason slate Lamar State took on last week, with games at NAIA schools Wiley College and LSU-Alexandria (where current Seahawk frontcourt guys Nathan Bailey and Javante Walker transferred from), helped him and the newcomers become more acclimated to the college-game speed.

“I like the team,” he said. “We’re doing real good so far. We’ve got a lot of potential to get to the championship this year.”

The Seahawks are learning to play hard on every possession and compete defensively, according to Madison. They won 4 of 13 games that were decided by five or fewer points, having suffered back-to-back losses against Blinn College and San Jacinto College, the latter of which folded its program after last season.

Lamar State has a buzzer-beating win against Navarro College (65-62 on Ethan White’s winning three-pointer) in last March’s Region XIV tournament first round it can draw from.

“We didn’t go too far, but we went far enough to have the experience that every point counts and every possession counts,” Baker said.

Lamar State will hold its intrasquad scrimmage that’s free and open to the public at 6 p.m. Thursday.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews


Lamar State men’s basketball roster breakdown

  • Returnees (all sophomores): Tevin Baker, guard, Port Arthur (Kelly); Devin Ellis, forward, Beaumont (Central); Justice Vaughn, guard, Beaumont (Ozen); Alex Williams, guard, Houston (Cypress Creek)
  • Incoming sophomores: Nathan Bailey, forward, New Orleans (LSU-Alexandria); Darrell Jones, guard, Nederland (John Brown University); Colin Just, forward, Magnolia (West High); Charles Miller, center, Sugar Land (Kempner); Javante Walker, center, St. Martinville, La. (LSU-Alexandria)
  • Incoming freshmen: Byron Arceneaux, guard, Beaumont (Central); Braylon Chaisson, guard, Carencro, La.; Darion Chatman, guard, Port Arthur (Memorial); Jaden Edward, center, Lafayette, La.; Jamyus Jones, guard, Port Arthur (Memorial); Tyran Jones, guard, Ville Platte, La.; Terrance Minor, guard, Richmond (Bush); Terrence Smith, guard, New Orleans (Crescent City); Chris Thomas, forward, Vivian, La. (North Caddo); Devaughn Thomas, guard, Lafayette (Comeaux); Thailan Wesley, guard, Port Arthur (Memorial)



  • November: 1, Home vs. Up Tempo Basketball (prep school team), 7 p.m.; Texas East-West Challenge at Lewisville — 3, vs. Howard College, 10 a.m.; 4, vs. Clarendon College, 10 a.m.; 6, at LSU-Eunice, 8 p.m.; 10, Home vs. Houston Gladiators (junior-college all-star team), 4 p.m.; 13, at Baton Rouge CC, 6 p.m.; 15, Home, Jarvis Christian College, 6 p.m.; 17, Home vs. Lone Star College-Kingwood, 3 p.m.; 20, Home vs. North American University, 7 p.m.; 28, at Tyler Junior College, 7 p.m.
  • December: 1, Home vs. Bossier Parish CC, 4 p.m.; 5, at Panola Colege, 7 p.m.; Seahawks New Year’s Classic — 30, Home vs. Victoria College, 4 p.m.; 31, Home vs. Lone Star College-Tomball, 4 p.m.
  • January: 4, Home vs. Trinity Valley CC, 7 p.m.; 7, at Kilgore College, 7 p.m.; 9, Home vs. Paris JC, 7 p.m.; 12, Home vs. Navarro College, 4 p.m.; 16, at Lee College, 7 p.m.; 23, Home vs. Blinn College, 7 p.m.; 26, Home vs. Angelina College, 4 p.m.; 29, Home vs. Lone Star College-Cy Fair, 7 p.m.
  • February: 2, at Coastal Bend College, 4 p.m.; 7, at Jacksonville College, 7 p.m.; 9, Home vs. Lone Star College-Tomball, 4 p.m.; 13, Home vs. Lee College, 7 p.m.; 16, at Blinn College, 4 p.m.; 23, at Angelina College, 4 p.m.; 27, Home vs. Coastal Bend College, 7 p.m.
  • March: 2, Home vs. Jacksonville College, 4 p.m.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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