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Green Devils in transition
With two of its best players graduated, St. Petersburg seeks new leadership.
By CHRIS GIRANDOLA
Published November 19, 2005
St. Petersburg guard Christian Boyle has some big shoes to fill.
The Green Devils lost one of their best guards, if not the best, in school history when Marquis Ford graduated.
"(Ford) was a major piece to our success the last four years," St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell said. "But Christian learned a lot last year playing alongside him and I'm comfortable with him back in that role."
That role is the quarterback of the team, running the offense from the point guard position, something Boyle did for two years at Northside Christian before transferring to St. Petersburg. Ford averaged 13 points and seven assists while earning first-team all-Suncoast honors before taking his skills to Division-I St. Francis (Pa.).
"I'm ready for (the pressure that comes with being the point). I like playing point better anyways," said Boyle, a senior who was on a summer AAU team that placed in the top 25 of the high-profile Vegas Main Event and the final four of the Breakdown Showcase in Miami.
Boyle will team with senior forward Donald Bowens with hopes of duplicating last year's 19-6 record and appearance in the region quarterfinals. Bowens must fill some big shoes as well, replacing Brian Blakely, a 6-6 forward who led the team in rebounding.
The Green Devils lack the height and size of last year, so much of their success will come from Boyle's playmaking abilities.
"Christian has a high basketball IQ," Blackwell said. "He played against some top-notch competition this summer, which will help him direct this team."
Fellow senior Garrett Adulte and junior Troy Brown fill out the backcourt and freshman Shamon Cox (6-foot-3) rounds out the frontcourt with Bowens.