STEELE TEAM ON THE RISE
by WALTER VILLA
Gerald Liddell and Jayden Martinez led the Steele
Knights to 57 wins the past two years. That includes
a 32-3 record last season that stands as the
best mark in school history.
But now, Liddell and Martinez are gone.
Liddell, who at one point was ranked the eighthbest
prospect in the nation before settling in as a
four-star recruit, signed with the Texas Longhorns.
The 6-8 forward averaged 16.0 points and 9.4
rebounds, making All-State as well as earning MVP
honors in District 27-6A.
Martinez, a 6-7 forward who averaged 15.9 points,
signed to play his college ball at New Hampshire,
where he will join another former Steele player,
Kijana Love. But despite the graduation losses of
Liddell and Martinez, Steele coach Lonny Hubbard
– who led the Knights to the regional quarterfinals
last season – doesn’t lack for confidence going
“We won’t look as ominous, and we may not be a
top-10-type team,” Hubbard said, “but I still like
our potential. We’re just going to be younger than
we’ve been in a while.”
The poster player for that youth is 6-3 sophomore
guard Langston Love, who averaged 13.7 points and
5.1 rebounds in 20 games last season. Love, who is
Steele’s only returning starter, missed most of the
last half of last season due to a knee injury. But he’s
now healthy and ready to go.
“He’s going to be really good,” Hubbard said. “I
know (the University of Texas) is looking at him.
He’s a strong kid, very smart. He has a nice jumper
from the outside, but he is physical and will go
inside and get rebounds and put-backs.”
The Knights are very deep at guard, with Love
joined by seniors Christian O’Bannon, Devaughn
Rider and Kwabena Davis. O’Bannon is just 5-7, but
he is a terrific shooter. Rider, who is 5-11, attacks
the rim and is perhaps the most athletic player on
the team, and Davis is starting to get college looks
from Northern Colorado, Hartford and Army.
Hubbard is excited about all three of these guards.
“O’Bannon is a zone killer,” the coach said. “He’s a
straight-up shooter with maybe the purest shot on
the team. He wants to be our point guard, and he is
smart and takes care of the ball. Rider, for his size,
comes up with these monster dunks. I just have to
make him play under control. He’s very quick, and
he’s our wild card because his outside shot is still
“Davis is tough to stay in front. He’s the toughest
guy to guard on our team. He’s long and extremely
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