NEIGHBORHOOD HIGH SCHOOL ROUNDUP
Youngsters power The Village School
By JEFF JENKINS CHRONICLE CORRESPONDENT
Feb. 5, 2010, 2:08PM
Shaq has taken his high-flying act to Houston — well sort of.
Shaquille O'Neal, one of the best centers in NBA history, hasn't left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Houston Rockets. But his younger namesake is already wreaking havoc on basketball courts across the area. Shaquille Cleare, a 6-foot-9, 270-pound sophomore, reminds many of the 7-1 O'Neal. Cleare, a sophomore at The Village School, is averaging 21 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks per game for the Vikings, a rising second-year program. “Shaquille Is already, in my opinion, the best big man in Texas,” said Don Harvey, head boys basketball coach at The Village School, a private school in west Houston. “He's only a 10th-grader, but he's already being recruited by a bunch of colleges. He's a dominant force in the middle.” Among the colleges trying to lure Cleare, a native of The Bahamas, to their respective campuses are Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M and Wake Forest. And, if Cleare continues to perform like he did in last week's 67-60 loss to highly touted Humble Christian Life (23 points, 16 rebounds, two blocks), the list is sure to grow. Cleare's play inside the paint is just one reason why The Village School, which plays an independent schedule but is headed to TAPPS next season, is becoming widely respected on the local hoops scene. The Vikings, 13-6 overall, have notched victories over more-established programs such as Beaumont Kelly, John Cooper, St. John's and St. Pius. “We've faced most of the top private schools in Houston and have been very competitive,” Harvey said. “We're a young team with all freshmen and sophomores. By the time these sophomores are seniors, we'll be a team to be reckoned with.” More on story @