Last season, forward Callum Townsend was asked to carry the scoring load for Bloomingdale. And Townsend was able to fill that role well, becoming the county's top scorer as a junior. This year, the Bulls had different goals, like making a run for the school's first basketball title since 1997. The test will be difficult, especially because Bloomingdale resides in one of the most competitive districts in Hillsborough County.
"We should have a lot more balance this year," Bulls coach Josh Chapin said. "We have the potential to do some great things."
Townsend, who averaged 27 points and 9.5 rebounds a game last season, is coming off a torn ACL in his left knee sustained in a showcase event in March. But Townsend said he's a better player for it.
"I feel stronger than ever," Townsend said. "Physically I feel stronger because of all the work I've done to get back. I've done so much work on my legs and thighs. I can jump a lot better, and mentally I feel stronger having been through it. The toughest part was sitting through our summer games not being able to help our team out. I never thought I'd be that guy who blew out his knee."
Bloomingdale, 11-13 last season, also returns 6-foot-5 guard/forward Sean Rooks, who averaged 10.9 points and 6.7 rebounds, plus playmaking and sharpshooting guard Sean Hayes (10.7 points, 3.6 assists per game).
Add in Newsome transfer Joe Raga, a versatile 6-5 forward (13.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.8 bpg for the Wolves last season), and the Bulls have four returning double-digit scorers and three multidimensional players who are 6-5.
"We could score 80 points a game," Townsend said. "We can score at any position. The possibilities are endless."
Teams to watch
3. Berkeley Prep
4. Tampa Prep
On the brink
3. Tampa Catholic
|Players to watch|
|George Alexander, Alonso, Sr., F/C||Inside presence averages 14.6 points and 7.5 rebounds a game.|
|Sheldon Cooley, Plant, Sr., G, far right||Last year's Times player of the year averaged 22.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and five steals. Signed with East Tennessee State.|
|Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, King, Sr., F||Georgia Southern signee had 10 double doubles and averaged 15.5 points and 9.0 rebounds.|
|Aaron Garden, Durant, Sr., F||Cougar averaged 17 points and 5.3 rebounds last season. Scored in double figures in 18 of 20 games.|
|Johnathan Gray, Berkeley Prep, Sr., F||Versatile leading returning scorer (16.1 ppg) on a talented Berkeley team.|
|John Henson, Sickles, Sr., F||The blue-chip North Carolina signee's transfer is one of the most-anticipated arrivals in years. He is ranked the No. 3 recruit in the nation in the ESPNU 100.|
|Matt Kendrick, Chamberlain, Sr. C||The 6-8 center nearly averaged a double double (9.2 points, 9.5 rebounds).|
|Austin Suarez, Berkeley Prep, Sr., G, right||One of the county's most complete players (9.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.7 steals a game).|