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Boys basketball: Country boy cleaning up
By JOE SMITH
Published December 21, 2007
VALRICO - Larry Bird lived in French Lick.
Bloomingdale junior Callum Townsend lived through fish farm ick.
The sharp-shooting country boy spent several summers sweating on his family's tropical fish farm in Balm, siphoning fish droppings from vats and cleaning tanks.
"That's why he played basketball," joked his mother, Allison. "So he wouldn't have to do that duty on Saturdays."
Janitor duty has taken a backseat to jump shots, as Townsend has emerged as one of the bay area's top shooters, averaging 25.6 points on nearly a 50 percent clip from the field (90 percent from the line).
Armwood coach Jeff Pafunda likened Townsend's game to that of Bird. The 6-foot-6 swingman isn't extremely fast or quick but "can score in every way - and shoot from anywhere."
Townsend, born in Scotland, comes from an athletic family. His parents, Tom and Allison, were standout swimmers at Arizona State. Grandfather Harold Grant was a 1,000-point scorer for Northwestern in the 1950s.
But from the moment University of Tampa coach Richard Schmidt taught Townsend how to shoot (at age 11), he has been hooked. The gym rat will shoot 400 jumpers before school at the local YMCA, then stay up late sinking shots at his own court - a half-court slab of cement with a glass backboard his grandfather built on his family's farm.
Make no mistake, however, Townsend's far from just finesse. The outdoorsman has broken his arms and wrists six times, falling out of trees or playing football. The toughness translates in the key, where Townsend is the Bulls' top post defender.
As for his post-playing days, Townsend would like to stay in the sport, as a coach or scout - forgoing the family's fish farm business.
"I'm done with that," he said with a grin. "I've had my time."
1. Berkeley Prep (6-0): Sophomore Johnathan Gray (16.8) has potential to become one of the Bucs' all-time greats.
2. Plant (9-0):Panthers are ranked No. 8 in 5A and will test their mettle in next week's Tampa Hoops Classic.
3. Brandon (8-1): Coach Mark Hermann has four starters in double figures for first time in 20-plus year career.
4. Sickles (8-2): Guard Jordan Davis is one of the bay area's top sophomores.
5. Chamberlain (8-2): Forward Matthew Kendrick's development key to Chiefs' postseason plans.
6. Middleton (8-2): Don't sleep on the athletic, press-happy Tigers.
7. Newsome (7-2):Have tough matchup with St. Petersburg tonight in Bright House Shootout.
Brandon senior forward Marcus Morrison received a scholarship offer Wednesday from the University of Tampa. ... King junior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick has received interest from Florida, Florida State, Clemson and Illinois.