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Admiral Farragut’s Max Eaton and Boca Ciega’s Dallas Moore, the two local players on the Florida Rams travel basketball team that was banned from this month's NCAA-certified tournaments, have found a new team.
Florida Elite director Conrad Foss said Tuesday that the NCAA has agreed to allow former Rams players in the 16- and 17-under divisions to stay together and play for his program during the three live evaluation periods, which start Wednesday in Indianapolis. Florida Elite, based in Tampa, did not field 16 and 17 teams this year.
“It was unfortunate that this ruling came down for the kids, especially the timing of it,” Foss said. “We wanted to still give them an opportunity to play.”
Foss said he was granted an appeal by the NCAA on July 7 to allow the current Florida Rams coaching staff to remain intact. The staff includes Jeff Simmons of Lake County and Dexter Moore, whose son is Dallas. Boca Ciega assistant coach David White will not be coaching during the evaluation periods in part because his son, DJ White, still is recovering from knee surgery, Foss said.
“We felt it was in the best interest for the players who came over to stay with the coaches they have been with the last seven to eight years,” Foss said.
Florida Rams founder Matt Ramker, though, will no longer be involved with the players from the now-defunct program. The NCAA ruled Ramker, a Clearwater graduate, can no longer have contact with the Rams in any capacity after it was discovered that he was one of four AAU travel team directors to have ties with sports agent Andy Miller of the ASM Sports Agency.
The NCAA did not punish the players of the program and allowed them to join other teams. This is a crucial time for many of these players to get noticed by colleges before their senior season. This month the Florida Elite will play in tournaments in Indianapolis, Atlanta and Las Vegas.
“For a lot of these guys this is their last shot,” Foss said. “Most of them will be signed by November. So it was important that we give them an opportunity to play.”
Photo: Max Eaton