A program that continues to be a premier team in the state has been Universal Academy. Terrell Woody is in his 4th year coaching the Eagles as they are primed not only to make a push at a Trinity League Championship but to become one of the best teams in Texas.
There has been some turnover on paper in comparison to the roster of last year to this one but the team has been clicking early on. One of the top available prospects in ‘20 JaQuan Scott will mann the frontcourt as his combination of size, athleticism and promising inside/out game will give defenses fits.
“This is a big year for me and I just want to show that I’m the best player in the state,” Scott said. “I have been hearing most lately from Texas Tech, Texas A&M, St. Johns and a couple others.”
“I feel that JaQuan’s growth has been on his IQ. Being able to make High-low passes, being more comfortable making reads,” Woody said.
Definitely intrigued by the backcourt for Universal. Senior guard Misiel Teklai will be the lead ballhandler and has currently been productive in his outings, showcasing the ability to dictate pace but also show scoring punch.
“I’m just trying to lead. I was getting the reputation of basically being just a scorer but I can lead a team,” Teklai said. “Nothing much is going on in my recruitment but I feel that it’ll jump off with a strong season. I can compete with the best of them.”
“I think Misiel will put people on notice. He does everything ask of him and he’ll have big games in front of a lot of people,” Woody said.”
2020 Kylil Anderson is the 2-Guard for UA and Anderson has been on the TBB radar for a while. Solid positional size, good toughness, motor and has improved as a perimeter threat through the years.
“Definitely need to step my game up this year. I feel I can compete with whoever is out on the floor but I have to show it, Anderson said.
“Kylil is a smart kid. Academically his grades are high and he is a good player. I think wherever he goes in the next level that coach will get a hard worker and winner,” Woody said.
- Kylil has heard from a range of levels from Hardin Simmons, Dallas Baptist & Oral Roberts.
Both Talk about leadership
“As a point guard, I have to be a leader on & off the floor. Make sure the team is ready to play and also get the younger guys up to speed,” Teklai said. “I do feel that I have been someone that has been looked at as a leader. I know it’s important for me to practice & play hard and show the younger guys what’s needed for us to win,” Anderson said.
2023 Ty Cox will be asked to provide strong production for the Eagles. Albeit being a freshman, Cox possesses a high talent level and good IQ. Having now been cleared to participate, we expect Cox to show he’s one of the premier guards in his class once he gets his legs under him.
Another senior guard to take note of is Maurice Johnson. Defends with intensity, solid length & a capable jumpshooter.
Universal Academy have not lacked size in the front court. In their 1st year with Current SMU sophomore Everett Ray, to last year with the frontcourt comprised with JaQuann Scott, 2021 big man Kamryn Waites and big wings like 2021 Arthur Kaluma.
Scott returns and so does Junior Will Shepherd and Sophomore Croix Cox. The the additions of ‘21 “Shaq” Odunewu, senior Deng Allier & ‘22 Terry Kirwan adds strong depth.
We’ve spoken about Scott, but Odunewu’s size stands out from the jump. Holds a big, strong frame but also shows some promising touch in the paint. When he’s locked in, he makes an impact on the floor. Deng Allier is getting into the swing of things since coming back from injury. High energy, active forward that will make impact on the glass.
“Shaq is starting to buy in and I think he can be scary. He never really lifted until he got here and he has gotten stronger, his game has improved but it’s all up to him on how good he wants to be,” Woody said
Kirwan will take some time to get adjusted to speed & physicality of varsity play but has made some strides. Will mix it up in the paint and hunt for offensive rebounds. Relative of current Univ of Minnesota guard Tre Williams and you can see some similarities as far as hunger for the game goes.
“I’m just adjusting to the speed and winning culture but I don’t care what I have to do as long as we win. I’m getting better every day and when I’m out there I just want to make winning plays,” Kirwan said.”
Will Shepherd is a stretch-forward with nice shooting stroke from deep. Mix of size and touch, Shepherd looks to show other facets of his game to ant-up recruitment.”
“Rebounding has been an emphasis for me. If I want to play at the level that I want I need to rebound more and Coach Woody has talked to me about that,” Shepherd said. “I feel I bring a lot to the table, I’m more athletic than given credit and I know how to play. I’ll show that this year.”
“This will be a big year for Will. Not just school but also in summer ball. He is getting some looks but his urgency to rebound and show he can consistently makes shots will go a long way for him,” Woody said.
Croix is a prospect we have also been keeping tabs of for a while. Scores with back to the basket, plays hard and in time we feel he’ll put it all together.
“On the defensive end I need to step it up. I’m not grabbing as many rebounds as I should but I’m excited about the team, we will be real good and I’m ready to do what I can to help us win.
Terrell Woody has led Universal to thirty plus wins each season and this year looks to be another as they are 11-0 starting out. This isn’t his first rodeo as he’s been successful in the grassroots level winning Peach Jam for the 15U Houston Hoops EYBL Team in 2018, has had a stint coaching at USF, so Terrell definitely brings experience to the helm.
“I’m excited about this team. Everybody likes each other, they listen and play hard, Woody said. “I’m enjoying coaching this team and I know a lot of people have counted us out because we lost some guys but I feel that they are a better team than last year and have a chance to be the best team I’ve had in this program.”
Below is the schedule for Universal.
We will continue to keep track of Universal Academy this year and the teams in the Trinity League. Make sure to stay tuned on Texasboysbasketball.com for news and notes.