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Preps

Times preseason Pinellas boys basketball team

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published November 28, 2004

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR

AARON HOLMES, St. Petersburg Catholic

CLASS/POS.: Junior guard

SIZE: 6 feet 5

LAST SEASON: Led Pinellas County at 20.8 points a game and ranked among the leaders in every other category while guiding Barons to state runner-up finish.

PROS: Holmes was the county Player of the Year, and not just because he led Pinellas in scoring. A silky smooth guard who can play every position, Holmes was a strong rebounder, distributed the ball well and played defense very well.

CONS: Shooting was sometime streaky, and without Travis Karto, will Holmes have some of the freedom he had last season? Look for junk defenses, and though his scoring will increase by necessity, will he still make his teammates better?

THE SKINNY: If Holmes gets the attention we expect him to from opposing defenses, he could lead the county in assists. If teammates don't make the shots, he could lead the county in scoring.

MARQUIS FORD, St. Petersburg

CLASS/POS.: Senior guard

SIZE: 6-1

LAST SEASON: His seven assists a game led the county and he averaged double figures in points.

PROS: Ford is as slick and fast as they come. Most coaches believe he is the truest point guard in the county, as evidenced by his leading in assists last year. He has also improved offensively, now able to stick the short jumper. He is perfect for a up-tempo team, but also plays the halfcourt game well.

CONS: Ford will have to improve his handling in the face of pressure. He has never had much success against the wild trapping of Lakewood, for example, and has a tendency to disappear from games if his shot isn't falling. He could afford to get away with that in the past because Ricky Pena was there, but this year the Green Devils need Ford to be there all the time.

THE SKINNY: Confident kid who will be responsible for running the show. With Pena gone, look for Ford to increase his offensive output and become more of a weapon.

LEWIS LAMPLEY, Adm. Farragut

CLASS/POS.: Senior guard

SIZE: 6-3

LAST SEASON: Led the Blue Jackets in assists as Admiral Farragut won the Class 2A title.

PROS: Heralded since his days as a Boca Ciega freshman, Lampley has the size to be the ideal point guard. His quickness and long frame make him a bear for opposing players, and Aaron Holmes said he was the toughest player to score on. Lampley is a born leader and already has helped direct three teams to the state final four.

CONS: Not as consistent a shooter as he could be, but pretty good nonetheless. This will be his first prep season without backcourt mate and brother Tommy, who graduated after last season. Does he try to do too much without him?

THE SKINNY: He's as slick a guard as there is in the county, and might be the best true point guard. He handles the ball, plays great defense and can score. What's not to like?

SEAN MORRISON, Lakewood

CLASS/POS.: Senior forward

SIZE: 6-4

LAST SEASON: Morrison, who plays every position for Lakewood, led the Spartans in scoring (16 ppg) and rebounding (8) as they won districts and made it to the region final.

PROS: Exceptional leaper is the kind of scrappy player that may not look smooth doing what he does, but at the end of the night has 15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Morrison can rebound with the best of them, and his leadership is immeasurable to coach Dan Wright.

CONS: There are a lot of people who want to know - has Morrison really gotten any better than he was as a freshman? He's about the same size and plays the same way, still struggling with free throws and lacking a consistent outside shot. He needs a breakthrough year to prove he can be an effective college player.

THE SKINNY: There are better shooters, slicker passers and bigger forces, but it's hard not to like Morrison's game, as he fills more roles on his team than anyone else in the county.

TREVOR FERGUSON, Oldsmar Chr.

CLASS/POS.: Senior forward

SIZE: 6-5

LAST SEASON: Ferguson was averaging more than 26 points a game to lead the county when he broke his wrists in a game. He was second in rebounding at the time as well.

PROS: Ferguson doesn't get as much respect as he deserves because he faces Class A competition. But he has held his own vs. bigger schools, turning in some of his top performances. His coaches are convinced he's the county's best, with a nice outside shot, great driving ability and flashy passing. Could lead the county in scoring if healthy.

CONS: Ferguson doesn't get as much respect as he deserves because he plays against Class A competition. Oh wait, did we say that? Oldsmar Christian has a tougher schedule now so Ferguson will get his chances. He also has to bounce back from the broken wrists.

THE SKINNY: Perfect for a wide-open offense that likes to run and gun. He was spectacular at times last year, and say what you will about the competition, the kid has game.

MARIO TELFAIR, Lakewood

CLASS/POS.: Senior forward

SIZE: 6-5

LAST SEASON: Third-team all-county selection, teamed with Morrison and Coryon Ross to score about 75 percent of Spartan points.

PROS: Great frame for a small forward. Long and lanky, Telfair can play outside or inside. He is most effective closer to the basket, where he uses his quickness well, but has a nice little shot from outside. One of the few Spartans that shoot free throws well consistently. A good defender, he's the perfect guy to trap in Lakewood's scheme.

CONS: For his build, better range would make Telfair more attractive to college scouts. His unorthodox shooting style throws some people off. And he needs to be stronger when going for the boards.

THE SKINNY: The way he runs the floor, finishes and cleans up after his teammates makes Telfair the kind of player you'll definitely notice. He might be the top slashing forward in the county.

CRUZ DANIELS, Clearwater

CLASS/POS.: Senior center

SIZE: 6-10

LAST SEASON: First-team all-county pick set a school record with 172 blocks and nearly averaged a double double (points and rebounds).

PROS: His arm span has scared many a player from taking the ball to the hoop. He showed a tremendous ability to block shots while avoiding fouls last season and should be even better now. He also has a surprisingly soft touch from the baseline, so his game is far from just rebounds and dunks. He was the only Tornado to show up in the state semifinals last year.

CONS: He is tall and skinny and movable by bigger men, though he did outplay Marreese Speights in the playoffs. Acquiring a mean streak would probably make him a better player, or at least more feared.

THE SKINNY: Most potential in this group. With some work on his body and mind, he could emerge as an unstoppable force. His shot blocking is magnificent.

[Last modified November 28, 2004, 00:52:06]


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