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Pinellas boys basketball preview

Power forward Okaro White, left, makes up part of an imposing frontcourt for Clearwater with teammate Julien Sargent.

JOSEPH GARNETT JR. | (2007)

Power forward Okaro White, left, makes up part of an imposing frontcourt for Clearwater with teammate Julien Sargent.

Outlook Teams
Class 6A, District 7
The Gryphons, with North Carolina recruit John Henson, will be tough to beat. The Green Devils will be a contender with a good mix of veterans and newcomers. Alonso, Countryside, Gaither, Mitchell, St. Petersburg, Sickles
Class 5A, District 9
The Tornadoes return three starters — Okaro White, Julien Sargent and Regan O'Rourke. Throw in point guard Cory Carden, who transferred from Pinellas Park, and Clearwater has the talent to win the district. The biggest challenge could come from the Eagles and the Packers, who have plenty of returning players. Pinellas Park, under new coach Jon Cabino, and Palm Harbor University could be in the mix as well. Clearwater, Dunedin, East Lake, Largo, Palm Harbor University, Pinellas Park, Tarpon Springs
Class 5A, District 11
The Spartans, the defending state finalist, lost several key players, including Mike Morrison, the Times player of the year last season. But do not cue the violins. Lakewood still has talent with Shamon Cox and other sharpshooters. The Pirates, with playmaker Myron Dempsey, could provide a challenge, along with the Rebels. Boca Ciega, Dixie Hollins, Gibbs, Lakewood, Northeast, Osceola, Seminole
Class 3A, District 11
The Marauders lost Eric Segert, who transferred to Oldsmar Christian. The Barons lost Tracy Parks, who graduated. That will be tough for those teams to compete with Berkeley Prep and Tampa Catholic. Berkeley Prep, Clearwater Central Catholic, Lennard, St. Petersburg Catholic, Tampa Catholic
Class 2A, District 9
The Warriors, who made the region final last season, lose some talent, most significantly Christian bibi Ndongo, who graduated. But they have some talent for new coach Mark Carter to work with. Tampa Prep and Indian Rocks Christian also will be tough. Bishop McLaughlin, Calvary Christian, Indian Rocks Christian, Tampa Prep
Class 2A, District 11
A three-team race with Admiral Farragut, Keswick and Northside. All three teams have a strong nucleus returning. Admiral Farragut, Bradenton St. Stephen's, Keswick Christian, Northside Christian, Shorecrest
Class A, District 11
Canterbury made a nice run last season but will have to replace several starters. Academy at the Lakes, Canterbury, Citrus Park Christian, Lakeside Christian
Outlook Teams
Class 6A, District 7
The Gryphons, with North Carolina recruit John Henson, will be tough to beat. The Green Devils will be a contender with a good mix of veterans and newcomers. Alonso, Countryside, Gaither, Mitchell, St. Petersburg, Sickles
Class 5A, District 9
The Tornadoes return three starters — Okaro White, Julien Sargent and Regan O'Rourke. Throw in point guard Cory Carden, who transferred from Pinellas Park, and Clearwater has the talent to win the district. The biggest challenge could come from the Eagles and the Packers, who have plenty of returning players. Pinellas Park, under new coach Jon Cabino, and Palm Harbor University could be in the mix as well. Clearwater, Dunedin, East Lake, Largo, Palm Harbor University, Pinellas Park, Tarpon Springs
Class 5A, District 11
The Spartans, the defending state finalist, lost several key players, including Mike Morrison, the Times player of the year last season. But do not cue the violins. Lakewood still has talent with Shamon Cox and other sharpshooters. The Pirates, with playmaker Myron Dempsey, could provide a challenge, along with the Rebels. Boca Ciega, Dixie Hollins, Gibbs, Lakewood, Northeast, Osceola, Seminole
Class 3A, District 11
The Marauders lost Eric Segert, who transferred to Oldsmar Christian. The Barons lost Tracy Parks, who graduated. That will be tough for those teams to compete with Berkeley Prep and Tampa Catholic. Berkeley Prep, Clearwater Central Catholic, Lennard, St. Petersburg Catholic, Tampa Catholic
Class 2A, District 9
The Warriors, who made the region final last season, lose some talent, most significantly Christian bibi Ndongo, who graduated. But they have some talent for new coach Mark Carter to work with. Tampa Prep and Indian Rocks Christian also will be tough. Bishop McLaughlin, Calvary Christian, Indian Rocks Christian, Tampa Prep
Class 2A, District 11
A three-team race with Admiral Farragut, Keswick and Northside. All three teams have a strong nucleus returning. Admiral Farragut, Bradenton St. Stephen's, Keswick Christian, Northside Christian, Shorecrest
Class A, District 11
Canterbury made a nice run last season but will have to replace several starters. Academy at the Lakes, Canterbury, Citrus Park Christian, Lakeside Christian


Super seven

1. Clearwater

The Tornadoes have the county's most imposing frontcourt with Okaro White and Julien Sargent and solid shooters with Regan O'Rourke and Cory Carden.

2. Lakewood

Despite several key losses, the Spartans are still among the elite with a better shooting team, led by Shamon Cox.

3. East Lake

The Eagles have size after getting two transfers from Clearwater.

4. Largo

The Packers will be athletic but lose a key shooter in Ben Patrick, who transferred to Dunedin.

5. Boca Ciega

The Pirates, led by Myron Dempsey, should rebound after missing the playoffs last season.

6. St. Petersburg

The Green Devils have a solid group returning that should contend with Lakewood and Boca Ciega for south county supremacy.

7. Palm Harbor University

The Hurricanes lost playmakers Chaz Green and Jordan Jones, who transferred to Tampa Catholic. But they have enough to contend.

Players to watch

Cory Carden, Clearwater: The Pinellas Park transfer fills the void left by the departure of Luke Loucks.

Myron Dempsey, Boca Ciega: The Pirates' best playmaker teams up with Julius Forte for a solid 1-2 punch.

Micah Lacy, Dixie Hollins: The Rebels will count on the guard to provide points.

Eric Moody, Countryside: Solid playmaker who will be a go-to guy for the Cougars.

Kendall O'Neill, East Lake: Lanky forward specializes in getting key rebounds.

Dominic Lane, Lakewood: Developed into a reliable scorer in the Spartans' stretch run last season.

Chris Perez, Oldsmar Christian: Highly recruited guard was the team's leading scorer last season.

Julien Sargent, Clearwater: Forward gives the Tornadoes muscle underneath the boards.

Eric Segert, Oldsmar Christian: The Idaho State recruit scored more than 20 points a game last season at CCC.

Tyler Stephenson, Palm Harbor: The team's leader last season is coming off an ACL injury.

Okaro White, Clearwater: Rated the 13th-best power forward in the nation by Scout.com.

Tanner Wozniak, Keswick Christian: Made a name for himself at elite Adidas camp this summer.

FAST FACTS

For the fans

Admission: Most schools charge $4 for regular-season games. District games are $5, regions $6 and state tournament games $7.

Regular season: Schools play 25 games maximum, including all regular-season tournament games.

Playoffs: District champions and runnersup advance to regions.

Classifications: Schools are divided into six classes based on enrollment, ranging from 6A to A.

Pinellas boys basketball preview 11/23/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 12:29pm]
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