Led by proud coaches, Dallas-based men’s basketball teams ‘set up for the city’

Oak Cliff Faith Family boys’ basketball coach Brandon Thomas – and two of his assistant coaches – are Kimball graduates. The three played on the Kimball basketball teams that won the state title in 1996 and 1997 and now coach in the same city limits as their alma mater.

So, naturally, Thomas considers himself a Kimball fan.

Most of the time, at least.

“If there’s a program I’m shooting for, except when they’re playing us,” Thomas said. “And we lead 15 at half time and they come back and beat us like they did this year, it’s Kimball.”

So put aside the almost annual team meeting, and Thomas shoots for Kimball. Nick Smith, Kimball’s head coach since 2014, feels the same way about Faith Family, which is not an ISD school in Dallas but is based in Oak Cliff.

Madison coach Damien Mobley said that kind of mutual love — sometimes sidelined for competition — is normal in Dallas.

“It’s very proud, and not just among the players,” Mobley said. “That extends to the coaches. It’s usually us against each other, but when the playoffs start and we leave for the state, it’s usually Dallas basketball and D-FW basketball against everyone in the game. ‘State. We support each other.

When the South Oak Cliff football team won the 5A-II state championship a month ago and became the first Dallas ISD title winner since 1958, the rallying cry was not subtle. South Oak Cliff was doing it for Dallas.

The city responded.

That’s why 42,275 fans packed AT&T Stadium in Arlington to watch South Oak Cliff win over Liberty Hill. That’s why the team held a parade in their neighborhood on December 21, and another in downtown Dallas is scheduled for January 22.

Ask the basketball coaches around town and they’ll tell you that kind of pride is nothing new on the hardwood.

“He’s always been there,” Mobley said.

Justin F. Kimball High School Tray Clayton (10) jumps for the ball early in the game at Ellis Davis Field House in Dallas on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. Justin F. Kimball High School won the game against Sunset High School 89 -32 .(Personal photographer)

While state football championships have dwindled within Dallas city limits over the past several decades, men’s basketball teams have carried the torch. Since 2014, four Dallas teams have won state titles: Madison (3A) in 2019 and 2017; Faith Family (4A) in 2019; Lincoln (4A) in 2016 and Kimball (5A) in 2014. Kimball was a 2021 5A state finalist, while Carter (4A) was a 2018 state finalist and Wilmer-Hutchins was a 2019 4A regional finalist.

And as of Monday, four of those teams are well positioned in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state rankings. Kimball (16-6) is ranked third in 5A, while 21-4 Faith Family (first) and 18-7 Carter (fourth) are in the top five in 4A. Madison (22-7) is the highest ranked team in 3A.

“It’s a slogan we like to take with us,” Mobley said. “Put on for the city. It’s really very proud for us. We are the only 3A public school [in Dallas]. So when we go to the playoffs, it’s like us against the state.

So what has made Dallas high school basketball successful over the years? It depends on who you ask.

Smith credits City’s deep talent and high standard of coaching.

“There was a time when there were people outside of our city who thought the coaches downtown weren’t good coaches,” Smith said. “That’s just not true.”

Thomas said it was because the best players stayed in Dallas. His Faith Family team, which includes three nominees for the McDonald’s All American game (seniors TJ Caldwell, Isaiah Jones and Brandon Walker), is a representation of this. The same goes for Kimball senior Arterio Morris, a five-star signing from Texas who stayed in Dallas despite plenty of opportunities to play at prep schools in Texas and across the country.

“It’s a place where you can grow, you can play against other very, very talented players,” Thomas said. “You don’t have to go anywhere. You don’t have to leave.

Wilmer-Hutchins head coach TJ Billups looks at the makeup of the athletes themselves.

“There are tough kids in Dallas,” Billups said. “Not to take away from the other kids around, but there are some tough kids in Dallas.”

It is possible – and likely – that each is correct. But as Smith, a Louisiana native who moved to Texas in 1998, said, there’s something about Dallas that makes the city worth playing for.

“Guess what?” said Smith. “We can play for something that really, really means something. We can always come back, and we can get into a Kimball, we can get into a South Oak Cliff, a Faith Family, a Carter, you can get into a Lincoln, you can get into a WT White, and you can see your picture on a wall. You can have something that, as a Dallas ISD product, lets you say, “I was a part of it.” »

Smith said Kimball’s 1996 and 1997 teams will be honored at UIL state championship games in March.

And if what Mobley said is true and a Dallas-based team plays in San Antonio, chances are the rest of the city’s coaches will be there to figure it all out.

“There’s a ton of pride,” Thomas said.

A decade of success in Dallas

school Championship years
Madison 2019, 2017
family of faith 2019
lincoln 2016
Kimball 2014, 2012, 2011
Triple A Academy 2013
Plano High School Head Coach Dean Christian writes a play during a break from...

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