• October 20, 2014

Former Heights star O’Neale flourishing at Baylor

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Posted: Friday, March 14, 2014 4:30 am

Random musings as softball and baseball players wonder, “what vacation?”

• Catching up with Harker Heights head coach Celneque Bobbitt to talk hoops at any level is always a treat.

And talking Baylor hoops this past Sunday with Bobbitt was no exception.

The fact that Bobbitt keeps a close eye on the Bears — who start former Knight Royce O’Neale and fellow Killeen High product Cory Jefferson — isn’t the most interesting part of this story.

O’Neale and Jefferson also closely followed the Knights this past season as I spotted both at two Lady Knight basketball games and once at the Knights’ playoff-opening win against Cedar Hill.

Bobbitt returned the favor when he watched Jefferson score a team-high 21 points in his final home game at Baylor, a win against Iowa State.

O’Neale had just one field goal in that game, but that hasn’t stopped Bobbitt from seeing what everyone else is seeing right now, which is that the former Heights standout is a versatile contributor for the rising Bears.

O’Neale can lead the team in scoring, as he did in wins against West Virginia and Texas Tech, or he can lead it in rebounding, as he did against Tech.

The University of Denver transfer has also been one of the Bears’ leaders in assists as the Bears have won eight of nine, including the West Virginia game, in which O’Neale scored a career-high 22 points on perfect 8 of 8 shooting.

Killeen has its Division-I stars in Jefferson and Houston post TaShawn Thomas.

Heights may have the next local star in O’Neale, with more potentially to come as Josh (Sam Houston State) and Cameron DeLaney (University of Denver) and Roderick Taylor (Louisiana Monroe) enter D-I programs next year.

• On the girls side, Heights already has one of the local stars playing at the next level in JaQuan Jackson.

The 2013 8-5A Co-Offensive Player of the Year was named to the Conference USA All-Freshmen team after her inaugural season with Louisiana Tech.

It was no coincidene that the scoring machine led all C-USA freshmen in scoring with 11.1 points per game, and she even added 3.4 rebounds per game from her guard position.

Jackson was historically effective from downtown this past season as her 46 3-pointers were the second-most ever by a Lady Techster.

After Heights finished second to last in her senior season — one that was ravaged by injuries — it may have been easy to forget how dynamic Jackson is with the ball in her hands.

Jackson, however, gave us a reminder this past season and was honored accordingly.

• Finally, be on the lookout again this Sunday for the boys All-Area basketball teams.

Once again, Heights will be well-represented after winning a district title and advancing as far as the program ever has in the playoffs this season.

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