By JEFF JENKINS and JEREMY RAKESCHRONICLE CORRESPONDENTS
Nov. 12, 2010, 12:15PM
Basketball is just part of the plan to put The Village School on the map.
So far, the Vikings are doing their part to raise the college prep school's profile.
A year ago, the Village School's boys basketball team posted a winning record (14-8), and head coach Don Harvey believes it's only the beginning.
"We don't have any seniors. We're a junior-laden team," Harvey said. "We're improving, but we still have a long way to go."
To hasten the maturation process, Harvey beefed up the schedule. The Village School already has participated in the University of St. Thomas' Charlie Thomas Classic and the St. Thomas Basketball Classic. The Vikings also plan to enter the Houston Jamboree and the Houston ISD Tournament.
"In the past, we've played mostly small private schools, but we're taking on the bigger ones, including a few public schools," Harvey said.
Harvey is seeking exposure for several of his players, including a few who are considered top college prospects.
The biggest star — literally and figuratively - is junior center Shaquille Cleare. Like his namesake NBA great Shaquille O'Neal, Cleare is huge - 6-foot-9 and 280 pounds, to be exact - but he's surprisingly mobile.
"A lot of big guys don't have great skills, but Shaquille is the exception," Harvey said of Cleare. "He's dominant in the low post, but he can the dribble the ball, shoot and play defense. He moves well for his size."