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Buc keeps focus on present

Berkeley Prep's future looks good. But Spiros Ferderigos gives it a chance to advance far this season.

By EMILY NIPPS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 4, 2003

TAMPA -- Berkeley Prep coach Bobby Reinhart keeps hearing about the Buccaneers' potential, about how great they're going to be. And he can't stand it. He can only hope his players don't believe the hype of the 2003-04 season.

"I'm trying to keep the guys from buying into that," Reinhart said. "I don't want them thinking this is a warmup year."

In fact, Reinhart is so determined to keep the Buccaneers, who start no seniors, from feeling like there's always next season, the players have T-shirts with the team motto: "Passion+

Urgency = Lakeland."

The urgency, at least on a game-by-game basis, seems to be evident in the way the Buccaneers (20-8) have played during the playoffs.

In the Class 2A region quarterfinal against Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, Berkeley Prep junior Spiros Ferderigos, the team's best player and county's top scorer, fouled out with two minutes left. With their coach biting his nails on the sideline, the Buccaneers took turns holding the lead with the Cougars until Derek Hatcher made a layup with six seconds left to win 61-60.

They barely avoided an end to the season, and they're trying not to forget that.

"I know none of the teammates look to the future," Ferderigos said. "I mean, we know we're going to be pretty good next year. But we're trying to focus on right now."

Ferderigos is a good example of what Reinhart means by "passion." Though upon meeting the quiet teenager, it takes a moment or two to see it.

The 6-foot guard shows most of his emotion on the court, usually in the form of 30 to 35 points a game. He is averaging 25.1 points this season.

"He just loves the game, and it's infectious to the rest of the guys," Reinhart said.

Ferderigos admits he's more of a silent leader, though he has been known to pump a fist or two as the season has heated up.

His teammates, such as Hatcher and 6-6 Mason Conrad, have found their voices as they have gained confidence in their playoff prospects and play key roles that allow Ferderigos to do his thing.

Tonight, the Buccaneers need to drum up all the passion they have as they host Daytona Beach Father Lopez (20-11) in the region semifinal. The Green Wave has a height advantage and likely will play a close game.

The Buccaneers aren't worried about tonight's opponent nor the next. If Reinhart's formula comes together, though, the Buccaneers are certain they'll find themselves in Lakeland.

That's this season, not the next.

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