Trinity Episcopal School (TES)
Conference: Virginia Prep League
2017-18 Record: 26-4
College Coaches in Attendance: Pitt, George Washington, Hartford, William & Mary
A New Look
The Titans will feature a new make-up of their roster this season with the departure of Jason Wade ’18 and Armando Bacot, Jr. ’19. Wade now suits up for the Old Dominion Monarchs, while Bacot, Jr. transferred to IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) in July for his senior season. The two both earned Co-Player of the Year honors within the Prep League last season and made spots on the All-Metro first team; Bacot, Jr. took home the All-Metro Player of the Year award. Wade and Bacot, Jr.’s presence will undoubtedly be missed to some degree but TES still retains a great deal of talent in returners and newcomers.
The two tallest returners on the team, 6’8” Henry Coleman ’20 and 6’11” Burke Smith ’20, will play some of the most important roles on the team. Both of the juniors have made remarkable progress since the conclusion of their sophomore seasons. Coleman makes his presence known as a top recruit immediately after he enters the gym. He truly has become a man amongst boys with a college body and advanced IQ. In addition, his motor and confidence appeared higher than ever. There’s very little he can’t do on the court. After averaging 17 points and eight rebounds last season, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the ESPN 4-star prospect boost his numbers up to 20+ ppg and 10+ rpg.
Smith drew attention in the gym from his assertiveness on the offensive end, something he has noted as a focal point. He did a great job of getting to open areas and calling for the ball. His touch and patience around the rim showed a great deal of improvement. In addition, Smith’s outside shooting remains a reliable weapon to go along with his inside scoring. I can see Smith as another big double-double threat each night for the Titans. Other teams competing in the Prep League will struggle in having an answer to stop him and Coleman when they decide to completely take over.
Two other key veterans for TES come in the form of Mario Jackson ’20 and Michael Lomax ’19. The two, along with Smith, played on the 2016-17 team that won the VISAA Division I state championship. Jackson is another one who has put in work to develop a college-type frame already. His aggressiveness, rebounding, and vision to find others playing as a forward all stood out in the open gym. His athleticism and size at 6’5” can aid in him as a versatile swingman for the Titans. Lomax will take on an important role as a senior leader and defensive anchor for his squad. He collected steals at a rapid rate during 5v5 play and made sure that everybody on his team knew their own assignment. Lomax’s three-point shooting still stands strong; he also showed some nice moves in breaking down his opponent and getting to the rim. His everlasting energy will fuel the Titans all season long. Although he was not at the open gym I attended, Tyler Michael ’19 is another skilled veteran of the 2017 state championship team who will provide experience and leadership as well.
Two transfers for TES stood out during my visit as well. Erik Prosise ‘21 should play a big role as a floor general within the Titans’ offense. He has a string on the ball and can get to different spots on the floor with patience. The 5’11” guard has the ability to create shots for both himself and others; he also can get to the rim with either hand. Prosise’s strength as a guard already stands impressive for a sophomore. Still young, he contains all of the tools to become one of the better combo guards in the Prep League soon. The other newcomer, Kendrick Robinson ’20, has the potential to be both TES’ best athlete and all-around defender. His scoring is still coming along but he did a nice job of getting to the rim and drawing fouls; his vision to find others in transition stands as the most impressive aspect of his offensive game right now. Robinson plays as a 6’4” guard who can defend pretty much anyone who comes across his way. He collected more steals and blocks than anyone during my visit, as well as making opponents pick up their dribble quickly after attempted drives. A lineup with him and Lomax on the floor together at certain points could make up for a DANGEROUS defensive backcourt.
Pushing for Greatness
The competitive energy in the gym persisted throughout the entire two hours. Even with the team’s obvious skills and talents, their maturity arguably impresses the most. The Titans are all business once entering the gym and the players do an admirable job of holding each other accountable. Even with coaches around, the leadership of the upperclassmen took complete control in maintaining the vitality of the workout. TES’ togetherness can serve as a vehicle to aid them in reaching new heights. The players challenge each other to perform their very best at all times; something you may not always see within guys at that age. This special trait will especially show its significance once November arrives.
Head coach Rick Hamlin noted that his squad will once again compete in various invitational tournaments throughout the season. This includes the Times-Dispatch Invitational, Sleepy Thompson Boys Basketball Tournament, and Benedictine Capital City Classic. All three tournaments have a yearly occurrence and wide coverage from different media outlets. Last December, both TES’ boys and girls’ teams took home the hardware for the Times-Dispatch Invitational. No stranger to performing well in tournaments, the Titans will have all eyes on them yet again as they make their way to different hosted gyms.
When any team loses an ESPN top 20 player in Bacot, Jr., they will most likely acknowledge that bigger roles must be filled. Nonetheless, TES returns a plethora of talent in their juniors and seniors. The seniors have experience from winning a state championship during their sophomore years, which will transition into them paving the way for team success. The 2020 class has scary potential for their last two years together. Smith looks ready to blow up on the recruiting radar and Coleman will continue his success from the summer to take over a more dominant role. With other surrounding talent recognizing their own respective roles, one should expect the Titans to continue their reign as one of the more successful private school programs in the 804.
Winter is coming…