Rams Ready To Run
“Move with a purpose” That was the order for the day for the Rams. It kind of embodies the philosophy of coach Kei Childress’s tenure at Rancho. In four years he’s taken a perennial bottom dweller and moved them up the standings. However not fast enough for the coach.
” I feel we’re a year behind schedule.” “I think we should have gotten it done last year.”– Kei Childress
While they may not have lived up to the coach’s lofty expectations, they made tremendous strides, and a bit of history, winning a three OT playoff thriller along the way to reaching the 4A Semifinals.
The core of that team is back, and armed with confidence from last year’s experience. The Rams were 13-3 against all 4A opponents last year not named Spring Valley or Mojave, and are the only team from last year’s 4A Final 4 to not go up to 5A. That core is armed with reinforcements, something the coach knew he would need after last year’s semifinal loss.
“One thing I definitely learned from the Mojave game is that depth is key.”– Coach Childress
Depth won’t be a problem for this year’s squad as the Rams go 10 deep. The centerpiece of the team is their center 6’8 senior R’zha Whittle who is one of the state’s top low post scorers. His game has come a long way, however, it’s his mentality that is being challenged by his coach this year.
“What I want to see from him this year is a dominating attitude.– Coach Childress
He is surrounded by backcourt partners whose game couldn’t be more different. Jordan Childress is a pass-first PG who orchestrates the offense like the consummate Floor General. Jakoi Lide is a sharpshooting sniper without a conscience and in the gym range. Lide and Whittle accounted for 43% of the team’s scoring, last year, however, this season expect them to have a lot of help in that department. Caleb Roston is a defensive stopper and transition finisher, while Jailen Childress is a talented scoring guard.
The depth of the Rams isn’t only mathematical, it’s strategic as well. They go two deep at almost every position, including Center where Sophomore Austin Onykekonye, has developed into a quality backup to Whittle. In a similar fashion, wings Rouston, and Jailen Childress have capable replacements in juniors Johbarri Badger, and Ahmad Koroma, while PG’s Lide and Jordan Childress, have senior sharpshooter Richy Rodriguez backing them up. Yes, the Rams are loaded, but are they prepared to be the hunted this year?
“That’s what I’ve been preparing them for, and I think they don’t even know any better. These guys just go out and play, and try to put their best foot forward every night”.– Kei Childress
By my calculations, that would include a total of 20 feet, which is ironically the approximate distance from the bench to mid-court, which is where the State Championship trophy presentation takes place.
Bruce Williams is an NCAA Certified Scout who covers basketball in Nevada.
He is a UNLV Insider for the Runnin Rebel Report.