When basketball powerhouses run up the score, does anyone really win? Texas’ Yates High coach Greg Wise says yes

Columnist Rick Reilly from ESPN The Magazine says he’d like to clock him.

Danny Davis of The Austin American-Statesman says his team’s action were classless.

But Yates High coach Greg Wise couldn’t care less what those guys say. His Lions routinely rout lesser teams with a singular purpose — they’re looking for another state basketball crown.

Here’s what Reilly writes about Wise’s blow-’em-out coaching philosophy:

“Coach Wise is the hammerhead who believes it’s his right to toast other basketball teams by 100 points. Sometimes more. He thumped Lee High School this season by 135 points, 170-35. Wise’s team was up at the half, 100-12. And full-court pressed to the very end!

“Wise is to sportsmanship what tsunamis are to beach chairs. So far this season, he’s beaten teams by 135, 115, 99 (twice), 98, 90 and 88 points. Trying to get to 100 points in a crushing of Westbury, his players intentionally fouled to stop the clock.”

Davis says this:

“Routing a bad team doesn’t tell anyone that you’re a good team. It just serves as a reminder that your opponent is a bad team.”

Defending his high-scoring squad, Yates’ Wise is unapologetic:

“We are looking for another state championship, and we can’t get that unless we are continuing to get better and perfect our game,” said Wise, who has also seen his team score 163, 148 and 142 points in a game this season. “We aren’t scoring on other teams out of disrespect.”

Here’s the GHSA basketball “Mercy Rule,” which prevents Yates-like 170-35 blowouts from happening here in Georgia.

“E. MERCY RULE: In accordance with National Federation rule options, the second half of a game may be reduced to six (6) minute quarters, while using normal timing/scoring rules when:

(a) The point differential at halftime is forty (40) points or greater, and the coach of the trailing team wishes to have the “Mercy Rule” imposed.

(b) The point differential at the beginning of the fourth (4th) quarter is thirty (30) points or greater, the “Mercy Rule” will be invoked automatically.”

Texas’ high school sports governing body, the University Interscholastic League (UIL), currently has no boys’ basketball mercy rule.

Tell us: Reilly wants Wise disciplined by the Yates High principal for running up the score. Davis and the Houston Chronicle call for the UIL to implement a Mercy Rule. Does Wise deserve disciplinary action in some form or is he just playing the game at a higher level than his opponents?

46 comments Add your comment

lady liberty

March 11th, 2010
10:32 am

That kind of stuff does not belong in High School sports. High schools have to play who lives in their district (except: Wheeler, Norcross, Milton, Miller Grove, etc…) He probably recruits and cheats but one of these days, it will come back to haunt him.

He does not need to be in charge of molding teenagers. He is an idiot.

[...] EVERYTHING’S BIGGER IN TEXAS — EVEN THE BLOWOUTS Yates High (Houston) coach Greg Wise has a team that’s beaten one foe 170-35 this season and that’s not the only 100-plus point game his Lions have posted. Read all about it HERE, then discuss it. [...]

[...] EVERYTHING’S BIGGER IN TEXAS — EVEN THE BLOWOUTS Yates High (Houston) coach Greg Wise has a team that’s beaten one foe 170-35 this season and that’s not the only 100-plus point game his Lions have posted. Read all about it HERE, then discuss it. [...]

[...] – Read all about it HERE, then discuss it. [...]

[...] Is it a team’s fault when they’re just THAT good? Should the Yates coach face disciplinary action for… winning big? Read all about it HERE, then discuss it. [...]


March 11th, 2010
11:14 am

writing an article based off another, national, article?

you couldn’t find enough going on in the state of georgia? yikes, Mikey.

Get Off the Court if You Can't Handle It

March 11th, 2010
11:16 am

The schools being routed are same size schools and some larger. Yates is a public high school and, UNLIKE Georgia, Texas has strict rules controlling high school transfers. Yates is an inter-city Houston AAAA school and a number of their wins have come against AAAAA competition. They are not necessarily a tall team but they are a running team with endless pressure. The same as Arkansas had under Nolan Richardson years ago…think Nolan called it ‘40 minutes of hell’. This is the high school version. They (along with Wheatly) have played fast paced basketball for years. They constantly run in a fresh five to keep up the pace. FYI. There is no shot-clock in Texas high school basketball so if a team is getting blown-out then just hold on to the $%^&* ball. Teams know what is coming each year are some can’t or refuse to adjust their style of play. Seems Georgians like to whin when they are not able to compete with the big boys.

Metro Coach

March 11th, 2010
11:18 am

GHSA’s Mercy Rule is a bad rule. It is possible to overcome a 30 point lead in 8 minutes, thats only 10 possessions with the 3 point shot. It’s fine if you want to impose it on sub-varsity games, but the varisty kids deserve 32 minutes regardless of the score. I’m not at all in favor of what this moron in Texas is doing, but the differences between that and a 30 point lead are night and day.

Michael Carvell

March 11th, 2010
11:19 am

Tom, thanks for your response. This is a blog, where we talk a lot about issues. If you go to our high school page on ajc.com, we have coverage of the high school basketball semifinals. Thanks.

Yates Current Play-Off Run

March 11th, 2010
11:25 am

Yates is in the final four of the Texas AAAA tournament. They have scored over 100 points in each round to get this far. These scores are against play-off teams in their classification….not some under-manned teams. With the number of schools in Texas winning a state championship carries a lot more prestige than winning state in a state which only has, what? 65 AAAAA schools? Texas puts more schools in each classification’s PLAYOFF bracket than Georgia has total schools. Sit back Georgia and watch the real dogs run.

Have Been on The Losing End

March 11th, 2010
11:39 am

I grew up in east Texas and our high school was a football and baseball school. Basketball was just to fill time between those two sports. In a non-district game each year we played a small high school in our county (Kennard) that was two classifications smaller than us. The only sport team they could field was basketball because of the small student enrollment. Each year they would clean-our-clock. Fast paced, full-court press from opening tip to end, no matter the score. That small school won their classification’s state championship 2 of the 3 years I was in high school. We knew what was coming when we played them and attempted to prepare but it did us no good. They were just that good. Even though they kicked our butts we followed them throughout the playoffs. Their state tournament games were even broadcast over our school’s PA system. If a team beats you that bad you should marvel at their teamwork and not start looking for a rule to help you stay with a better team. Sounds like liberals have invaded the GHSA so all the teams can sit around a campfire, hold hands and sing songs. This is competition dudes. Just like in real life. The weak are eaten by the strong. That is unless you’re a tree-hunging liberal that wants everyone to be equal even if they didn’t earn it.

Jesse Beard

March 11th, 2010
11:42 am

It seems like he’s a coach blessed with a lot of talent. When you are blessed with talent like that you should be thankful. you are not showing your thanks to God when you humiliate other teams the way he does. He is not being truthful about working on perfection, it is a waist of his time and his team time to press a team that can’t break his press. If you are a true educator, teaching the game of basketball is not just coaching your kids. In games where his team was truly superior he missed a great opportunity to help the other coach teach his players.


March 11th, 2010
12:05 pm

What goes around…….COMES around! The coach is as classy as a turd in a champaigne glass! I respect his effort in regards to preparing for playoffs. However, that’s why they get practice time….no need demoralizing teens. He’ll get his….who wouldn’t want to see that day?

Voice of Reason

March 11th, 2010
12:09 pm

Not sure I will be a real voice of reason on this one, but I do know that Yates is trying to break the national record of consecutive 100-point games – they are at 14 now and working to get one more. Also, there is “open” enrollment in Houston, so though the school is in an impoverished area, there has been some recruitment of some of the best players in Houston to form a pretty good team. The starting five has been together for 2 years and are defending state champs, so the recruitment lately has been for their replacements over the next few years. Coach Wise has stated that he wanted this team to be recognized for not JUST winning the state championship, but for also being the #1 team in the country. Looks like if he waltzes through the Texas State Championships, he will get that. The team has no McDonald’s All Americans but does have 3 Division I signers so I am looking on with a lot of interest to see how they do in the Texas State Championships.


March 11th, 2010
12:21 pm

All those kids on Yates team are from third ward where Yates is located. they press all the time. Even when he puts his third string in, how do you tell 3rd stringers not to play hard. That is just their style. Good teams put up a lot of points against them but they also give up a lot. They beat Columbia 88-68, kudos to Columbia for keeping them under 100. They play tough competition every year. So stop em and quit crying. They won the Hawaii Invitational and T-Mobile Classic in Birmingham. They do not have any McDonald’s All Americans and they start 1 player 6′8″ everyone else falls in between 5′11″ and 6′3″. The kid Brandon Peters(Western Kentucky) is the truth. We already know what Joseph Young(Providence) can do.


March 11th, 2010
12:23 pm

Hey, Mike! I’m looking to check out the Houston team in Austin this weekend. I’m on the fence with the coach’s actions. Just like the referees are present to keep the action on the court from getting too violent, the UIL is in charge of making sure the set up provisions on what is and is not allowed before teams engage in competition. Rather than a mercy rule, coaches of the losing team can agree to have their teams concede in the final quarter. Forcing one particular coach to adjust their planning because of a gentleman’s understanding is putting unnecessary pressure on that coach. Blame the rulemakers before you blame a coach.


March 11th, 2010
12:33 pm

UConn women basketball team has won 71 games in a row on the college level; they also previously had a 70 game streak broken before the current 71 game streak. Should team stop showing up to play them. Surly some team out there think they can be beaten.

Same goes for this high school basketball powerhouse, if you donn’t believe you can win then, by showing up the other team has the right to score at will. Anybody remember the Chicago Bulls of old, it was never if they were going to win, it was by how much. They won 6 championships with the greatest competitor in sports Michael Jordan.

I get this is about sportmanship, but the other team has to beat them or at least get their pride up to defend.


March 11th, 2010
12:34 pm

Winning state in TX is much tougher. You have teams from the Houston area, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, so when a coach has his team prepared to play at a high level every game why should he have to play down just because of the competition, they are all high schoolers


March 11th, 2010
12:46 pm

Love how sensitive Michael gets when someone dares to criticize him. Gotta love the thick skin of those AJC writers (who probably won’t have jobs in two months….).


March 11th, 2010
12:57 pm

Hey yall lay off Michael. Mike I was dissapointed during the regular season but you stepped your game in the playoffs. Good job,


March 11th, 2010
1:19 pm

It’s even hard to criticize them for fouling to get to 100 points because they can use that experience when they get into the rare close game that is inevitable.


March 11th, 2010
1:24 pm

Yeah but…….!!
The guy posting up there about Yates playing against same size and larger classification schools and how Texas has so many schools to put in the AAAAA classification failed to mention that the state is so large that the classifications have to be split (A/B, 1/2, etc….). So it’s possible that one team could play for a state title in a different division.
Whatever the case, I can guarantee you….YATES ain’t running up a score on any of the teams from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area (traditional poweres like Dunbar, South Oak Cliff, etc….).

I do agree with the previous poster’s comment about holding onto the ball though….kind of like Princeton…..slow the clock down.

Chief Nock A Homa

March 11th, 2010
1:38 pm

As a high school coach, I will say that it’s his perrogative to do what he wants within the rules of the game…

But, with that said, I have always decried a continued press and subsequent layup action when there’s a huge lead – whether I’ve been on the good side or the bad side of it…

The thought being – what good does it do except to practice layups over and over just to get to a hundred points….

I’d personally prefer to, at that point, work on our half court offensive sets and continue to play tough defense… All teams will always have a need to better perfect that part of their game – regardless of the style of game they run… Especially if they press, like this team apparently does… The half court set up is most likely a weaker portion of their game….

Don’t quit playing hard… Just work on different areas of the game that don’t simply run the score up just to beat someone by a hundred, or score a hundred, etc…

SWD Panther Paw

March 11th, 2010
1:46 pm

Mike, I think I may agree with the Yates coach to a point……..last night the SWD girls were up by 12 points with 1:07 left. The coach took out the starters. FP then went on to score 10 straight point’s now the lead is 2 points with 10 seconds left. She had to put the starters back in and went on to win by 5 points. I know this is a slightly difference scenario and I don’t condone beating team’s by 50 and 60 points. but I can understand the motivation.

An Old HS Sports Fan

March 11th, 2010
1:51 pm

My opinion……he’s letting his team play out his fantasies :) or, trying to downplay his shortcomings.
My office hours are 9-5, Five days a week…..Medicare accepted.


March 11th, 2010
2:01 pm

THIS Yates team would kill any team it face, they play so well together. The coach learned a lesson last year when they were up in a game and he slowed the pace and they ended up losing, he has never got that out of his mind.

Legend of Len Barker

March 11th, 2010
2:05 pm

Sounds like Mr. Wise is quite insecure. Instead of being known as a great all-around coach and mentor, he’d rather be known as the coach who pummels teams unmercifully and scores 100 every night.

It is an insecure man who sees the world in only black and white. Only in winners and losers. There is a difference between always playing hard and running up a score.

So, you can continue to trap and full court press and get easy buckets off a team down by 80? Fantastic! So, what does that prove? Nothing more than that you can continue to trap and full court press and get easy buckets off a team down by 80. Extreme blowout scores don’t improve a team’s abilities. Anyone can kick a dog while it’s down. Extreme blowout scores only serve one purpose and it’s to boost the fragile ego of a coach.

I’m rooting as hard as I can for karma to bite the coach in the rear end. Whether it’s losing in the Texas state tournament or if it’s five years down the road with an 0-20 slate, I’d like him to know all those big wins never feel as good as losing feels bad.

And never think that will never happen to your program. It does. It will.


March 11th, 2010
2:18 pm

As was said above, sooner or later this will comeback to haunt the coach in some form. Not saying that he can’t do what he is doing since the rules allow it. But at some point there is something called sportsmanship. He needs to teach his kids that also.

Basketball Liberals

March 11th, 2010
5:02 pm

Listen to what some of you are saying!! Such bull!! Why not just do away with keeping score in high school basketball games? That way no one loses and everyone feels good about themselves. This is the kind of BS our liberal school administrators/GHSA and teachers are putting in the minds of our kids. And its no wonder our liberal ‘don’t make little Johnny sad’ agenda is sliding our educational system to that of a third-world country. Kids are taught not take responsibility for their actions and its always the fault of someone else. We can thank the country’s school administrators, teachers and current administration for setting an example NOT to follow. Put the ball on the court and let the %^&*() teams play.

For Tx Dawg

March 11th, 2010
5:15 pm

The basketball play-off is not split into two divisions per classification in Texas except for classification single A. However their football play-off does. i.e in football, of the top 3 teams in each of the 32 districts, the school with the largest student population goes into one play-off bracket and the other two go into another. You can see the basketball brackets and results for all classifications via UIL (do an internet search for ‘UIL Texas’). Under Athletics > Spring Sports > Basketball. On the top right side of the screen you can select girls/boyd brackets.

H-Town Chucky

March 11th, 2010
5:53 pm

Greg Wise is one of the best high school coaches around. And apparently none of you have seen the teams in that district play. If they wanted to avoid beating the hell out of every team they would have to shoot halcourt shots all game. You don’t want you team beat silly, then don’t suit em up. Simple as that. You don’t like it, then bring on the Mercy Rule. This whole media thing is dumb. Sportsmanship is shaking your hand after the game not moving outta the way so you can score an easy lay-up. GO YATES……

G. Curry

March 11th, 2010
6:27 pm

Yates is all the rage down in Houston. I saw them blow out Alabama’s 6A champ in Birmingham over the holidays. Their pace is unbelievable! The Lions are taking on a Dallas-area school in the Texas 4A semifinals tonight at UT (9:30 p.m. local time) and if you want to see what Carvell is describing, a live stream will be available if you follow this link:



March 11th, 2010
7:05 pm

If Atlanta’s area high schools could concentrate all its talent in one school and had a top notch coach that new what he was doing they would destroy anyone in the country Yates wouldn’t have a chance The talent that it coming out of Georgia in the past few years has been legendary


March 12th, 2010
8:58 am

I have seen this scenario at least twice I watched Columbia girl and boys take out their starters early in the 4th with 20 point leads. That all most came back to bite them. They had to to return the starters. Also Columbia had a big led on East Hall in the 4th this year. However their fans were still cheering so loud and strong and they were in Columbia’s Gym. I thought that was not necessary. They rallied their team though but Columbia had no choice but to shut them up and go ahead and blow them out. Look folks lets not raise a soft generation that cant take a good ole whupping. Yates deserve to do what they are doing. They work hard to be good. As long as they play the game with class then who are we to stop domination. Shake hands and learn from your loss.


March 12th, 2010
11:17 am

Jroc Yates will beat any team you put together, these kids have been playing together for years. The talent pool in H-town so rich that all the good kids do not go to one school. Have you ever heard of Wheatley, Bellaire, Elsik, Willowridge. There are so many high schools in H-town I would be naming schools all day.

3ward Riley

March 12th, 2010
2:03 pm

I’ve heard the stupid misbegotten accusations about Yates recruiting players. Oakhill Academy or one of them other big name big money private schools recruit players. Yates talent pool is home grown mostly likely courtesy of those involved parents taking the small children to play in a organized basketball league for tots to teens at the South Central YMCA located a block away from the high school.


March 12th, 2010
6:04 pm

I think it shows bad “judgment” and “character” when a coach allows his team to run up the score on a less talented team. I wonder if the play all players “equally” when running up the score. I remember a High School team in Gwinnett that would routinely run up the score and only play 7 players. What are they teaching the students? Oh, I forgot the aren’t!


March 12th, 2010
9:55 pm

You step onto the court with the expectation that you’ll play as well as you can and so will your opponent. You never want your opponent to give you anything. It doesn’t make any difference what the coach thinks, what the fans think, what the media thinks. None of them are on the court. If you score a point its because you earned it, not because someone on the sideline, in the stands, or in another city thousands of miles away gave that point to you.

The parity issues need to be resolved before the season begins.


March 13th, 2010
12:04 am

All yates does g-dub is run and gun and full court press you to death. Mitchell Bakers and Randolf Clay teams use to play the same way they were not busting the clock with 100 points like yates but once in a while they would. Good coaches with kids with a point to prove could do that every game. The trouble is getting teenage kids to play that intense every night. Some how the coaches at yates and there community never let there kids forget who they are and where they come from. They have built that tradition up and don’t want to let it go.If the coach pull the gas pedal off on his players the players would loose there tough edge and would get softer and softer.So keep Busting The Clock Yates

W C Fields

March 13th, 2010
4:11 am

I don’t believe the guy should be disciplined simply because of the failure of the Texas high school to implement a mercy rule. I would not want my own children to learn sportsmanship from him. I’m familiar with the state of Tennessee’s rule which is automatically invoked when the lead reaches 35 in the second half. The clock runs even during timeouts. While I know there is an appeal for fans when their team approaches the century mark but most of those fans don’t want to see it come at the expense of kids who are playing their hearts out but are tremendously outmanned. Even my old high school coach who would have taken every advantage to beat his own son in a game of “HORSE” emptied the bench when his teams had a game in hand in the second half. The idea of calling a timeout with a 99-15 lead in order to increase chances of reaching 100 is repulsive. I hope the guy is on the other end of the deal one day. Unfortunately, he pulls from a talent pool that is deep and longstanding in the Houston area.


March 13th, 2010
2:34 pm

Well said jroc, instead of people complaining about them running up the score they should work harder and try to improve. This nation is getting to soft. If you beat the crap out of a team you are a bad sport, when I played our one of our main goals was to try and score 100 pts. GO YATES!!!!!


March 13th, 2010
6:54 pm

If you are a crybaby then you have no business playing sports because you have to accept defeat by any score.

Jo Bob

March 13th, 2010
7:35 pm

I’m from Texas, and I’m TOTALLY embarrassed by Greg Wise. (I won’t even call him coach….because he is not. He is really a D ick.) Blowing out a team ny over 100 points does NOT make your team better. What makes you better is when you have to STRETCH yourself, and when you are CHALLENGED to do better. It would be like me getting one-punched by Mike Tyson, and then me saying “I made him a better figher since he knocked me out with one punch…” I don’t think so. About the ONLY thing blowing out a team by over 100 points accomplished, is giving you a workout…. not making you better. All I can say to Wise is…. Karma is a biatch… and to remember what happened to Southlake Carroll…… they went from being the baddest football team in Texas, to barely being able to get out of district…… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!


March 13th, 2010
7:58 pm

yates win back to back state championships.. job well done yates.it’s like this those kids play hard they have scouts there to look at the if they dont showcase the talent the golden chance to go to the next level will pass them by .coach is setting the stage to coach at the next level it he chose to.dont falt the coach nor the kids for there hard work paying off.and by the way this is houston texas not some 1school town we have some areas of town where there are 3 to 4 schools in a 5 mile radios.yates 4a state champs oooh i 3rd ward high………….the end

Passionate Ref

March 16th, 2010
10:19 am

I have watched Yates play at least 4 times this year. They are very talented kids who look like they enjoy playing. They are not bullying other teams. They are just playing man to man defense an entire game. If the the other team can’t get the ball up the court under pressure, then they need to go back to the drawing board.

[...] grew up in east Texas and our high school was a football and baseball school. Basketball was just to fill time between those two sports. In a non-district game each year we played a small [...]