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Hillsborough: Boys basketball preview
Loaded with talent, Berkeley Prep looks ready to go after a state title.
By JOE SMITH
Published November 21, 2007
TAMPA - Berkeley Prep senior guard Zak Kazanski shook his head and laughed.
The last time a Hillsborough County school won boys state basketball title (Tampa Catholic, 1995) ...
"I wasn't even living here," he said.
Kazanski, a shaggy-haired sharpshooter who has lived in Kentucky, Missouri and Georgia, hopes to bring home a piece of history this season; the Bucs, loaded with four returning starters with double-figure potential, have a legitimate shot at ending the decade-long drought.
There's Austin Suarez, a golfer who can score from inside and out. There's rising star junior Johnathan Gray, who can flat-out shoot. And there's Archie Barnes, the Bucs quarterback, who makes all the hustle plays.
"I think they can do it," said Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon, whose Terps were 2A semifinalists last season. "They're poised for a run."
Don't forget about
Dylan Fugate, Newsome, Sr. - The 6-foot-5 guard is Mr. Fundamental, averaging 17 points and seven rebounds last year.
Jordan Davis, Sickles, So. - One of the bay area's best underclassmen, Davis has found a scoring stroke to go with his passing (8 assists per game last year).
Khiry Anfield, Middleton, Sr. - The 6-3 forward (15 ppg) came up huge in leading the Tigers to district title last season.
Zak Kazanski, Berkeley Prep, Sr. - The sharp-shooting lefty (14.8 ppg) can be a zone breaker.
Times' Super Seven
Berkeley Prep; Chamberlain; Brandon; Sickles; Plant; Wharton; Tampa Prep
Monday - Plant City at Durant
Nov. 29 - Newsome at Armwood; Middleton at Chamberlain
Dec. 3 - Brandon at Wharton
Dec. 6 - King at Brandon
Dec. 7 - Gaither at Sickles
Dec. 12 - Middleton at Plant
Dec. 15, 21-22 - City of Tampa Championships at Tampa Prep
Dec. 26-29 - Tampa Classic at USF
Jan. 25 - Calvary Christian at Tampa Prep
Biggest impact freshman
Andre Smith, Blake - The playmaking guard will inject some much-needed life into the Yellow Jackets.
Defending champ Sickles will be the team to beat; with St. Petersburg losing its core, it could be Gaither and Kornilious Donnell making a playoff run. Todd Price takes over an Alonso program, led by guard Eddie Taylor.
Prediction: Sickles (champ), Gaither (runnerup)
With Lakeland losing a chunk of its roster from a district title team, don't count out Durant and Plant City, led by new coach Wardell Chambers and four starters in double figures, in making a run.
Prediction: Sarasota Riverview (champ), Durant (runnerup)
Arguably the toughest and most competitive district, defending champ Wharton may have lost its coach (Tommy Tonelli, USF) and four starters, but new coach Comer Copeland should have Wildcats contending. Brandon has one of the county's most talented teams.
Don't expect the same surprises as last season, when Middleton upset Plant and Chamberlain for district title. The Panthers and Chiefs each boast one of the area's top backcourts. Anfield and Corey Thomas could make Middleton dangerous but won't sneak up on people anymore. Jesuit, moving up in classification, will be led by high-scoring guard Jake Seymour.
Lakeland Kathleen, sparked by Division I standouts Miguel Paul (Missouri) and 6-7 Kevin Foster (George Mason), are the cream of the crop. Spoto, led by Leon Jones, is the only county team in the district.
Prediction: Kathleen (champ), Lake Wales (runnerup)
Berkeley Prep is the heavy favorite. The Bucs will get tested by St. Petersburg Catholic and shooting guard Tracy Parks (South Alabama). Tampa Catholic, having lost three 1,000-point scorers, could get a boost from 6-7 transfer Alex Doyle.
Prediction: Berkeley Prep (champ), St. Petersburg Catholic (runnerup)
Tampa Prep, a state semifinalist last year, will get challenged from Calvary Christian, a Class A final four team that moved up this season.
Prediction: Tampa Prep (champ), Calvary Christian (runnerup)
Defending champ Seffner Christian should get a challenge from Bayshore Christian; Tampa Bay Christian, Berean Academy and Cambridge round out this district.
Prediction: Seffner Christian (champ), Bayshore (runnerup)
Lakeside Christian is a contender in a district that includes improving Citrus Park Christian.
Prediction: Lakeside Chr. (champion), Canterbury (runnerup)