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Basketball teams waiting longer than usual for football players

As with everything else in the year 2020, Texas high school basketball is facing unprecedented times.

The uncertainty of the high school football season pushed back start dates for 5A programs this year, and the impact of those decisions are being recognized by area head basketball coaches as their seasons get underway.

The Memorial boys basketball team has as many as six potential players still putting on pads and cleats for Friday night football.

With the Titans one win away from an undefeated football regular season, it could be quite a few more weeks before basketball coach Alden Lewis sees players like quarterback Jah’mar Sanders, defensive back Maleek Jones and running back Adrian Hayward, all of whom are projected to be starters on the court.

“This is different than any year that I have been around for sure,” Lewis said. “It’s a good thing and a bad thing that we have more football players playing basketball this year, especially that are expected to play on the varsity level.”

Lewis said the absence of potential starters allows room for younger players to step up and grow.

“Those guys not being around anytime in the near future does hurt, but it gives other guys the opportunity to step up,” he said. “When those guys do come, it will help. We just have to step up and make due with what we have and give other guys opportunities to prove themselves.”

The Titans basketball team started the season 2-4 with wins over Silsbee and Lumberton.

The Titans aren’t the only team feeling the weight of not having a full roster. The Port Neches-Groves Indians have multiple starters who have not yet turned in their cleats for kicks.

PNG basketball coach Chris Smith said receivers Brady Nail, Grant Pearson and tight end Brooks Barnwell will join the team fulltime once the football season ends.

“We get them some right now, but we won’t get them fulltime until football is over,” Smith said. “We get to get them, which is a blessing over here. We appreciate the time we get with them. We’re just getting those legs ready so when they come back, they will be ready to go. We’re just hoping to be full strength by district.”

The Indians boys basketball team started the season 0-4. They will play at Sabine Pass on Saturday.

The PNG football team has to beat Santa Fe and Barbers Hill has to beat Texas City for the Indians to make the playoffs.

The Nederland Bulldogs, who started their season 5-0, are not expecting any football players to join the team after the season ends, head coach Brian English said.

“There is one player that might come over, but it is just a maybe,” he said. “There is quite an overlap this year. I understand (other coaches’ frustration).”

Football playoffs for 5A schools start Dec. 11.

District play for all three 5A basketball teams begins Dec. 22.