HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball players to watch
G Dakarai Allen, Sr., Largo: Known more as a standout in football, Allen is a clutch guard who carried the Packers most of last season. He will continue to be a top-notch scorer on a team that will have more depth.
F Darius Banks, Jr., St. Petersburg: After two stellar seasons, the 6-foot-4 small forward is poised for even bigger things this year. He is listed as a four-star recruit and ranked fifth in the state by ESPN.
F Bryce Beamer, Jr., Sickles: At 6-foot-5, Beamer is one of the Gryphons’ biggest starters. He led the team in scoring last season with an average of 13.1 points per game.
G Travis Bianco, Sr., St. Petersburg: Last season was Bianco’s breakthrough as a dependable scorer on a team full of stars. He had a strong offseason and played well in both preseason games.
G Terance Brown, Sr., Alonso: The 6-foot-2 guard shined on a team that struggled last season, averaging a team-leading 18.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
G Marcus Cohen, Jr., Sickles: A three-year starter, Cohen’s all-around play and leadership are big reasons the Gryphons are favored to reach the postseason in one of the toughest districts in the state (Class7A-9).
G Stevie Darst, Jr., Jesuit: The team’s top returning scorer, Darst averaged 8.4 points last season. He also is the Tigers’ best shooter from long range with 28 3-pointers, 18 more than anyone on the roster from a year ago.
F Donald Davis, Sr., Tarpon Springs: A standout in football, Davis returns to give the Spongers their best scoring threat inside. He followed up two monster preseason performances by scoring 19 points and grabbing seven rebounds in a season-opening win over Dunedin.
G Thomas Dziagwa, Sr., Tampa Catholic: The Oklahoma State signee is one of the state’s top shooters. Last season, he averaged 26.8 points and excelled from long range, hitting a state-best 119 3-pointers. He’ll team with Kevin Knox to form the area’s best 1-2 scoring punch.
G Isayah Franklin, Sr., Newsome: The Wolves had four of their top scorers graduate, so the leadership will fall to Franklin to guide a team that still has postseason aspirations.
G DJ Johnson, Sr., Gibbs: An electrifying quarterback, Johnson is just as much of a playmaker in basketball. He could lead the team in scoring any given night.
G David Jones, Sr., Leto: One of the area’s most underrated players, Jones averaged 22.9 points last season. In a season-opening win against Hillsborough, he had 13 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
F Kevin Knox, Jr., Tampa Catholic: No one had a better offseason than Knox, a 6-foot-6 power forward whose stock skyrocketed after helping USA Basketball’s under-16 national team to a title. He is now listed as a five-star recruit and ranked as the top player in the state and 16th in the nation, according to ESPN.
G Romain Minott, Sr. Clearwater: After emerging as a scoring threat last season, Minott will try to get the Tornadoes to the playoffs for the first time in Tom Shaneyfelt’s three seasons as coach. In the season opener against Sunlake, Minott scored 10.
F Jacob Mathis, Sr., Berkeley Prep: The football standout has decided to play basketball again. He averaged 17.4 points last season and scored at least 20 in five of the final six games while leading the Bucs to the region final.
F Sheldon Odunna, Sr., Freedom: On a team full of veterans, Odunna is the leader. Last season, he averaged 16.1 points. His height (6-foot-3) and range will help the Patriots stay in playoff contention.
G Jeremy Oppenheimer, Sr. Zephyrhills: A first-team Pasco County selection, Oppenheimer averaged 19.8 points last season, tops among the county’s returning players.
G David Pierce, So., Gibbs: A transfer from St. Petersburg, Pierce has become a top scoring option with Barry Brown now at Kansas State. In a season-opening win over Pinellas Park, Pierce had 20 points.
G Serrel Smith, So., St. Petersburg: A steady point guard, Smith will distribute the ball to some big-time players in an offense that can put up points. Smith can also score.
F Evan Trice, Sr., Wharton: The Wildcats will count on scoring down low from Trice, who averaged double figures last season. In a season-opening win against Strawberry Crest, Trice had 16 points.
G Tyson Ward, Tampa Prep: The Terrapins lost power forward Juwan Durham to an ACL tear so they will turn to Ward for production. Last season, he was the only other player on the team besides Durham to reach double figures in scoring (10.1).
F Derek Webster, Jr., Seffner Christian: Crusaders coach Sam Moorer said Webster is the most college-ready player on the roster. Last season, Webster averaged 13.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
F Pro Wells, Sr., Dixie Hollins: A transfer from St. Petersburg, Wells is the Rebels’ best player and will have the ball in his hands often. In two preseason games, he averaged nearly 30 points.
F Eddie Williams, Jr., Calvary Christian: Last season, Williams averaged 12.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while leading the Warriors to a district title and berth in the region semifinals.
F Rashad Williams, Sr., Lakewood: The Florida A&M recruit just returned from the playoffs in football and will be the Spartans’ most dependable scorer down low.