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Six-foot-2 rising senior James Didden, Tampa Catholic's lone returning starter, will be counted on heavily to pick up the scoring slack
By Bryan Burns, Times Correspondent
Published June 23, 2007
Tampa Catholic lost much of its offensive firepower off a squad that went 15-10 and averaged 65 points a game last season. Gone are the Crusaders' top three scorers from last season - E.J. Ciaccio (17.2 points per game), Joey Lauteria (14.3 ppg) and Matt Dziagwa (13.4 ppg) - along with starting forward Dickie de Lama, who chipped in 6.7 points every night.
Six-foot-2 rising senior James Didden, Tampa Catholic's lone returning starter, will be counted on heavily to pick up the scoring slack. In the Crusaders' final two Tampa Bay Basketball Coaches Association summer league games Wednesday, Didden had just six points in a 54-40 loss to Berkeley Prep but rebounded with 26 points in a losing effort against Bloomingdale.
"He's the guy that's going to have to do something for us, " Tampa Catholic coach Don Dziagwa said. "He did not play well in the first game and took that to heart and had a great second game. We're going to be asking a little bit more of him this year."
Tampa Catholic also will look to 6-foot-8 rising senior Alex Doyle to put up big numbers. Doyle, who did not play his junior year and will have just one season at Tampa Catholic, transferred from Jesuit in mid-January and is getting some looks from Division-I programs, according to Dziagwa.
"He's kind of an unknown because he didn't do anything last year, " Dziagwa said. "He's left-handed and a good shooter from outside. The fact he can score inside and outside and shoot so well has drawn a lot of interest."
Doyle is playing this summer with a protective mask, a la the Detroit Pistons' Richard Hamilton, after breaking his nose over a month ago in an AAU game. The injury kept him sidelined three weeks and forced him to sit Tampa Catholic's first round of summer league games. On Wednesday, Doyle scored a team-high 14 against Berkeley Prep and added 20 in the Bloomingdale game.
"It's still a learning process to play with a mask and it will take some adjustment, " Dziagwa said. "We still don't know if it's something he'll have to wear permanently."
In both of Tampa Catholic's losses Wednesday, the Crusaders were playing without brothers Christian and Brandon Green and senior winger Ben Mullis, all of whom are likely starters this winter. Tampa Catholic will get Mullis back for the summer league playoffs but will be without the Green brothers and will lose Didden.
As for the aforementioned graduated players, three are continuing their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
Dziagwa will play this winter for Division III North Carolina Wesleyan, Lauteria is at Glenville State in West Virginia on a football scholarship and de Lama signed a scholarship to play quarterback at College of the Sequoias, a two-year community college in Visalia, Calif.
REGULAR SEASON OVER: Wharton's 19-point victory over Brandon on Thursday signaled the end of regular-season play in the summer league. The season-ending league championship tournament starts Monday and runs through Thursday with all games from the quarterfinal round forward played at Tampa Prep.
Wharton and Berkeley Prep, the only teams to finish the regular season undefeated, are at opposite sides of the bracket and would not face each other until the finals.
*Berkeley Prep 10-0
*Wesley Chapel 8-2
Seffner Christian 6-4
Tampa Prep 5-5
Tampa Catholic 4-6
Bayshore Christian 3-7
*These teams have first-round playoff byes
TBBCA Summer League Tournament
Gaither vs. Alonso, 7 p.m.
Wharton vs. Game 1 winner, 8 p.m.
at Seffner Christian
King vs. Cambridge, 6 p.m.
Seffner Christian vs. Robinson, 7 p.m.
Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 8 p.m.
at Tampa Prep
Tampa Prep vs. Bayshore Christian, 7 p.m. (court 1)
Wesley Chapel vs. Game 1 winner, 8 p.m. (court 1)
Blake vs. Spoto, 7 p.m. (court 2)
Plant vs. Game 1 winner, 8 p.m. (court 2)
Bloomingdale vs. Leto, 7 p.m.
Armwood vs. Game 1 winner, 8 p.m.
at Tampa Catholic
Tampa Catholic vs. Hillsborough, 7 p.m.
Chamberlain vs. Game 1 winner, 8 p.m. Tuesday's games