JM maintains advantage with top talent

Coach Ty White: ‘This will be by far the toughest schedule we’ve ever played’

Fred Jeter | 12/7/2023, 6 p.m.
John Marshall High has dominated area and state basketball for years. Expect more of the same in the coming months.
Three current John Marshall High basketball players, from left, Damon “Redd” Thompson Jr., Dominique Bailey and Latrelle Allmond; two former John Marshall players Dennis Parker Jr., who is at N.C. Sate University and Jason Rivera-Torres, who is at Vanderbilt University.

John Marshall High has dominated area and state basketball for years. Expect more of the same in the coming months.

The Justices are loaded, as usual, under veteran Coach Ty White.

“We’ve got a chance for a good season,” Coach White said, stating the obvious. “This can be a pretty good group.”

Coach White agrees the potential is there for a 2023 encore but says “this will be by far the toughest schedule we’ve ever played … not much wiggle room.”

Background: JM is 117-17 since 2018, with state crowns in 2018, 2020, 2022 and last year when the North Siders were 28-0 and nationally ranked No. 1 by MaxPreps. There was no 2021 season due to COVID-19.

In the latest MaxPreps poll, JM was ranked No. 4 nationally, among public and private schools combined, until a Dec. 1 loss to Charlotte powerhouse Myers Park, 64-58, at Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Now the Justices have some catching up to do.

Alumni report: From last year’s juggernaut, Dennis Parker and Jason Rivera-Torres are now freshman contributors at North Carolina State and Vanderbilt, respectively.

Former Justices Roosevelt Wheeler and Jason Nelson (from Class of ’22) are playing at VCU.

Returning cast: Senior guards Damon “Redd” Thompson Jr. and Dominique Bailey are back, along with 6-foot-8 Latrell Allmond, who opened eyes as a ninth-grader. The scouting service Rivals rates Allmond as the seventh best player in the nation for his grade level and power forward position.

Thompson averaged 14.5 points, Allmond 14.2 and Bailey 9 a season. Thompson already has committed to James Madison while Bailey is headed to Chowan, N.C., a strong Division II program. Allmond is being recruited by top-tier programs including North Carolina State, Florida State, Georgetown and VCU.

After missing last season due to an injury, 6-foot-4 Ashaun Moore is healthy and expects a strong senior season. Moore had 17 points in the opening 84-47 win at Hopewell.

There’s height aplenty with 6-foot-8 senior Makeyon Hill and 6-foot-6 junior Desmond Rose returning.

New arrivals: As is often the case at JM, some talented fresh faces are in the mix.

Look out this season for 6-foot-9 junior Marcus Jackson, who was a starter on Baltimore’s Edmonson High squad last year. The team won the Maryland state crown.

Another touted newcomer is 6-foot-1 junior Aiden Argabright, who a made All-Interstate Athletic Conference last year as a sophomore at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes in Alexandria.

Already rolling: JM opened last week with a resounding 84-47 win at Hopewell. Thompson hit four of four 3-balls and scored 19. All 11 Justices saw action. The whippet-quick Thompson excels in all areas and is being touted by Coach White “as our best player, the best in the state and among the best in the country.”

Getting their “Fil”: JM burst onto the national scene last year by winning the high-profile Chick-Fil-A tournament at River Bluff High in Lexington, S.C. Thompson was MVP.

This year’s event will feature six of the Top 25 teams in the ESPN rankings. JM will be matched with Lancaster High, S.C., in round one. Lancaster was 27-4 a year ago.

Traditionally, a championship team’s toughest games come at the end of the season. Not so with the Justices who feast on early season exams.

JM hasn’t lost to a local team since Feb. 4, 2017, when it fell to L.C. Bird.