High School Hype: Khadeem Lattin
Khadeem Lattin is a college scout’s dream. When asked what sets him apart from other prospects, he is quick to rattle off a scouting report of himself.
"I'm 6-foot-9. I'm an athlete. I'm intense and I love to play up and down,” Lattin said. “I love to lead breaks, block shots, and my greatest talents are on defense."
Lattin’s tall frame and athleticism fall into line with his family's rich basketball roots. His mother, Monica Lamb-Powell, was a key member of the Houston Comets championship teams of the late 90s after a long career playing overseas. His paternal grandfather is former Texas Western Center and NCAA Champion David Lattin. “Big Daddy” was an NBA first-round pick, who helped in breaking the long standing racial barriers in college basketball as a member of the first team to win a championship with a lineup consisting of only African-American players.
A 17-year old junior, Lattin is not just relying on his hoops heritage. He trains several days a week under the watchful eye of a staple on the Houston and High School basketball circuit ... John Lucas. As Lucas puts it, he employs the technique of tough love when training Lattin.
"Khadeem and I, we've had plenty of battles because here in the lab it's more about mental toughness as well as about basketball preparation,” Lucas said. “I know we know the basketball, but the mental mindset ... I really believe he has the chance to be a lottery pick when he is done."
That is the ultimate goal for Lattin, but getting there will not be easy. This is where Lucas comes in. The relationship between coach and player is one that has grown over the years, just as Lattin’s basketball potential has grown. While the two may have their disagreements, Lattin understands the large role his coach plays in his development and values every second that they spend together.
"Coach Lucas is probably the best thing that’s happened to me, basketball-wise,” Lattin said. “He knows so much, and he's so well connected. He has so much to teach me, and he wants to teach me."
The workouts and teaching were put on hold for a year, however, as Lattin surprised many colleges and recruiting services with his decision to spend his sophomore year abroad, attending the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain. For Lattin, it was a decision that has helped him off the court, as much as on it.
"My mom and I just figured all the cons and pros, and we figured the pros outweighed the cons. More than anything, I grew up as a person, and at the end of the day, basketball is only going to last so long so I have to be a great person,” Lattin said. “And it helped me so much in making better decisions in life and on the court. My game has grown the most in my ability to see the court. I have better court vision now because when I was overseas I had to play a lot more of the 3 position.”
Schools are taking notice. Lattin now has scholarship offers from programs in the Big East, Big 12, SEC and Pac 12. After falling off the radar of recruiting services during his year hiatus, he is regaining his reputation as a game-changing prospect. Lattin’s goal before he graduates high school is to become an All-American ... something his coach thinks is possible.
As Lucas put it, "His athleticism is off the charts. His skill level is still evolving and his mindset is still evolving. But he's got a chance to get there."