TAMPA — If the fortunes of his two oldest sons hold out, Steve Channer will know the Lakeland Center like his living room by week’s end.
Half-brothers Brandon and Malik Channer are headed for prep basketball’s biggest stage, albeit with two different local acts.
Brandon, a 6-foot-4 junior swingman, will journey to Polk County with Class 4A semifinalist Blake. Malik, a 5-9 freshman backup point guard, will go with 2A qualifier Tampa Prep.
“I tell you, I’m beside myself," said Steve Channer, who likely will travel to the tournament with Malik’s mom, Fateema, with whom he remains close despite their recent divorce. “I’m still numb; I’m still pinching myself.”
It’s not the lone sibling story line of this tournament — Blake point guard Andre Smith and Yellow Jackets assistant Charles Smith are brothers — but it may be the unlikeliest.
The two, after all, live under the same Temple Terrace roof.
They just learn under different ones.
Steve’s dream at one point was for his three sons, including eighth-grader Isaiah, to play on the same high school team. But Malik performed well on a Tampa Prep entrance exam and received some financial aid to attend the school.
As a freshman averaging 2.2 points, Malik likely will play a limited role for the Terps, who face Orlando First Academy in Wednesday’s semifinals. By contrast, Brandon enters as the No. 2 scorer (14.7 ppg) and rebounder (6.5 rpg) for Blake, which meets Leesburg on Friday afternoon.
“He takes a lot more shots than I do, but I think I make better passes,” Malik said.
And what does his more seasoned sibling do better?
“Everything overall,” Brandon said.