Allstate Sugar Bowl Tournament: Karr Looks To Recapture Magic

Posted by: Ken Trahan--Executive Producer in Prep Sports

COUGARS ADD MORE TALENT TO ROSTER 

Karr head basketball coach Tauras Howard understands what it takes to win. He was part of the tremendous success of legendary coach Bill Robinson at Edna Karr, when Robinson fashioned three state championships. In 1993, Robinson led the Cougars to the 3A title game before the Cougars won it all in 1994 when Howard was a star player. Karr won state again in 1996 and in 2007 as well.

In fact, Howard was the Most Outstanding Player when Karr beat McCall 68-60 for the 3A state championship in 1994. Now, Howard is looking to experience the same success as a coach.

Even without its football players, Karr opened the season with four consecutive wins. The Cougars have already faced very tough competition in Riverside, St. Augustine, Holy Cross and Helen Cox. Before playing in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Classic, the Cougars will have faced powerful John Curtis as well.

The Cougars hope their early season success carries over into the 4th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic January 2-4 at the Alario Center in Westwego, sponsored by SportsNola.com.

Vincent Phillips, Tyree Thompson, junior guard Darren Hulbert, senior guard Darius Dannel (5'7), senior forward Don Jones (6'4) and senior forward Chris Hunt (6'3) have carried the load early on. With the Karr football team reaching the 4A state championship game for a fourth straight year, Howard had to wait on getting some key players added to his talented roster.

The addition of football players Glenn Irons (5'11 Sr.), senior Quanta Moore (6'2), senior Anthony Jones (6'6), sophomore Raekwon Bush (6'3) and sophomore Diamante Woolridge (5'7) and junio Tyrin Ferguson (6'2) will certainly help.

"Dannel, Hulbert, Don Jones and Hunt have been the best players early on for us," Howard said. "They have done an excellent job for us thus far. We are looking forward to seeing the football players mesh with them to make us a formidable bunch."

Having spent virtually his entire life around Edna Karr, Howard is humbled by the opportunity he has.

"I'm living a dream to have the success we had when we were in high school under Coach Robinson, one of the best coaches ever in this state," Howard said. "I'm excited. Every time I come to the gym, sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if it is real. I try to focus on what Coach Robinson and Coach Roch (Weilbaecher) instilled in us. I'm just trying not to mess it up. I point to the banners regularly and explain the great tradition to them. I tell them they are playing for the guys that came before them. They understand it."

The Cougars reached the 4A state playoffs last season, nearly pulling off a huge upset before falling 72-69 at third-seed Alexandria in the first round.

"We proved we could play with a highly regarded team," Howard said. "This year, we are hungrier and more focused. I think we want to see just how good we can be. We hope that we start peaking late in district play and make a run in the playoffs. It takes hard work to be good."

Howard was excited to get the call to participate in the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic.

"I know the Sugar Bowl puts on a big-time tournament and there are some real good teams in it," Howard said. "This will help us narrow in on what we have to improve upon with the competition we are facing. Being close to home is great. I think the Alario Center is a real good place to play high school games. It is more of a college-type atmosphere, like the atmosphere at the Top 28 tournament."

With his talent-infused roster, Karr could make waves in the tournament.

"We may not be at our best quite yet in early January but we will be better," Howard said. "We better be because we know the other 13 teams will be very good."