North Crowley High School
Fort Worth, TX
Head Coach: Tommy Brakel
Asst. Coaches: Chris Culpepper, Donny Ott, David Watson, Billy McLaughlin
Athletic Trainers: Clayton Gill & Toni Trojacek
Video: Derrick Bryant
Colors: Royal & White
Enrollment: Approx. 2,445
Classification: District 4-5A
The excitement around this years’ Panther team is as high as always. The Panthers return 8 letterman off of last season’s 31-6 Regional Semi-Finalists Squad. The Panthers are geared up and set to make a run at another 5A State Championship. Head Coach Tommy Brakel, has said that this year’s team is a little different than his teams of recent years. “Even though we have many returning lettermen, we do not have a ton of “Big Game” experience. This year’s squad will have to gain that experience along the way. The team chemistry has been great this fall and the guys understand that it is their turn to carry on the tradition of North Crowley Basketball. All of these young men have been around the program for a while now and they know what the expectations are surrounding the NCHS Men’s Basketball Program.”
The 2007-2008 Panthers were a combined 38-1 and not only were they the Texas 5A State Champions, they were also the Consensus Public School National Champions. In 2008-2009, the Panthers finished the season 33-6 and fell just short of another state birth after losing in the Region 1 Semifinals to Cedar Hill. They reloaded for the 2009-2010 campaign with some young inexperienced players, but didn’t miss a beat as they went 33-5 and again made it back to the regional tournament. In 2010-2011 the Panthers finished 31-6 and once again made a run to the 5A Region 1 Tournament, marking their 5th appearance in the tournament in 6 years, only to fall 6 points short to eventual state champion Flower Mound Marcus. This season, the Panthers return seniors Taylor Luster, Braxton Reeves, Calvin Ward, Jalen President & Quinton Moncrief who all played an important role in last season’s success. They also return junior lettermen Torrence Neal, Norrense Odiase & Jalen McCloud. The Panthers might also see help from a very successful “farm system” that saw it’s sub-varsity teams combine to go 61-11 last season.
The Panthers are also in the process of defending a couple of streaks in which they are very proud. The Panthers are defending a 46 game home winning streak dating back to 2006 (in 1999, the Panthers started a 65 game home winning streak that covered 6 years without a home defeat). The Panthers have a 129-7 all time record at home. The 2011-2012 Panthers are also out to defend a district winning streak of 58 consecutive wins that dates back to 2007. Other team streaks include 13 straight season with 20+ wins, 13 straight seasons in the TABC State Rankings, 13 straight seasons in the playoffs, 5 straight district championships and 4 straight regional tournament appearances.
Head Coach Tommy Brakel has a wife Debra, daughter Ashley (14), and son TJ (10). He graduated from Sul Ross State University in 1993 where he played his college basketball and was voted a two time NAIA All-American. In 2004, he was inducted into the Sul Ross Sports Hall of Honor. Coach Brakel has been the head coach all 13 years that North Crowley High School has been open. He came to North Crowley after a short 4 year stint coaching sub-varsity teams at Crowley High School where his teams went a combined 163-9. During the last 13 years, his Panthers have compiled a 387-73 record, 13 straight playoff appearances, 13 straight years with 20+ wins, and 13 straight years of being state ranked. He highlighted his coaching career with a magical 2007-2008 season that saw his Panthers accumulate a 38-1 overall record, win the Texas 5A State Championship and Consensus Public School National Championship on the school’s 10th anniversary. He has been voted his district’s Coach of the Year on 8 different occasions and in 2007-2008 was the 5A Coach of the Year for the State of Texas. In the summer of 2010, Brakel was asked to coach the USA National Team, which consisted of top high school players from around the nation, in the Nike Global Games against teams from around the world. There have been 10 district championships, 10 invitational tournament championships, and a 66 game (6 ½ years) home winning streak along the way. With all of the team accolades, the individual accolades of Brakel’s players were sure to follow. The Panthers have had 10 All-State selections, 13 Academic All-State players, and 51 student athletes sign letters of intent to play basketball at the collegiate level. The 2 most notable players of the 51 were bookends to Coach Brakel’s 1st decade at North Crowley. Keith Langford was a sophomore in 1998 when North Crowley 1st opened its’ doors. He was 1st Team All-State his senior year, played in 2 NCAA Final Fours while at the University of Kansas, in 2008 played for the San Antonio Spurs and is currently playing in the Soviet Union’s A League. Willie Warren, was a graduate of the Class of 2008. He was named Mr. Basketball for the State of Texas, McDonald’s All-American, Parade All-American, Jordan Brand All-American, the MVP of the 2007-2008 5A State Tournament, won Big 12 Freshman of the Year in his first season at the University of Oklahoma & was a 2nd round draft pick of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers in the summer of 2010.