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Men have shot at another state title

By TIMES STAFF
Published November 5, 2006


Times staff writer Joe Smith breaks down the Titans' basketball teams:

Men

Skinny: The two-time defending Suncoast Conference champions are setting their sights on another state title (SPC won in 2002). The Titans have the talent, returning six players from last year's state-semifinal squad. SPC will miss 6-foot-8 forward Kenny Williams (Ole Miss), but coach Earnest Crumbley plays all 14 guys in his frenetic, fast-break style.

Catalysts: Tametria Hall and Rashad Nesbitt. The sophomore guards may be one of the quickest backcourts in the state. Hall, a 6-foot-3 sharp-shooter, scores in bunches, often set up by the playmaking Nesbitt (5-9, 150).

X-Factor: Sophomore Calvin Wilson. Wilson (6-6, 200), an All-Suncoast selection as a freshman, can be a double-double machine. But Wilson said free-throw shooting will be key: The Titans shot below 60 percent last season, which likely cost them several games.

Fresh Faces: Jeremy Nance, at 7 feet, 290 pounds, could become a force in the paint. The freshman from Fort Lauderdale came in extremely raw but has polished his post moves in preseason workouts.

Women

Skinny: The Titans will be a run-and-gun team, feeding off their scrappy defense. They're an inexperienced group, and many are still trying to adjust to their roles. Coach William Smith said their season success will depend on their execution late in games.

Catalyst: Sophomore Kelly Westfield. The St. Petersburg High grad, one of the team's top scorers, can play several positions. The 5-foot-10 forward is a strong shooter, but she isn't afraid to mix it up inside.

X-Factor: Shakaira Pitts' knees. The 6-foot-2 sophomore center, having just recovered from an ACL tear in her left knee, is now hampered by tendonitis in her .right one. As a team lacking in size, the Titans will need a healthy Pitts.

Fresh Face: Nadine Nomendoue, a 6-foot sophomore transfer from Cameroon, Africa, should give the Titans some much-needed rebounding help. Nomendoue is sitting out the first semester due to a snag in her transfer paperwork and will likely not play until January.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com or at (727) 893-8129.