Boys player of the year
G Jordan Davis, Sr., Sickles
Why we chose him: The quintessential point guard, Davis not only directed the Gryphons to unprecedented greatness, he often carried them there. Consider the Class 5A region semifinals, where he scored half his team's points, including a 4-for-4 effort from the free throw line in the last 32.9 seconds of a 42-37 win against Punta Gorda Charlotte. Also consider Davis' numbers alone (15.1 points per game, 5.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists) don't completely illustrate his poise and steely resolve that represented somewhat of a security blanket for his team. "It got to the point where the kids felt pretty comfortable that, if we had the lead with four minutes left, we were going to be fine," said Gryphons coach Renaldo Garcia, whose 29-3 team reached the Class 5A title game. "At least I felt that way."
Most impressive accomplishment: Davis averaged 18 points in five playoff games, scoring 20 or more three times. Down 31-25 entering the fourth quarter of the region quarterfinal against Manatee, Davis essentially told the Gryphons in the huddle his high school career wouldn't end that night. He moderated the tempo to get Sickles in its halfcourt sets and scored an early 3-pointer to ignite a 22-4 Gryphons run. "I think his passion really started to show down the final few weeks of the season," Garcia said.
Future plans: Davis has committed to Division I Monmouth. Hawks coach Dave Calloway attended a handful of Gryphons games, including the playoff win against Charlotte. "Personally, I think Monmouth's getting a steal at this point," Davis said moments after the state title game.
Did you know? A native of Chicago's North Side, Davis' parents are such passionate Chicago Bulls fans they named their only child after Michael Jordan. Davis even shares the same middle name — Jeffrey — as MJ and, naturally, wears No. 23. … Had Davis remained in his native city, he says he would have attended Proviso East High, whose expansive list of famous alumni include Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, current NBA stars Shannon Brown (Lakers) and Michael Finley (Celtics), and pro football Hall of Famer Ray Nitschke. … Enslaving himself to superstition, Davis wore the same shoes to school and had the same pregame meal — two Wendy's Double Stacks and a 99-cent order of chicken nuggets — the last two weeks of the season.
F Jay Bowie, Sr., Tampa Prep: Averaged a double double (15.9 ppg, 10.0 rpg) for 2A state runnerup.
F Rashawn Rembert, Jr., Sickles: Gryphons' top scorer totaled 36 points, 16 rebounds in 5A state tournament.
F Samal Shepherd, Sr., Newsome: Top scorer (17.7) and rebounder (6.3) for 5A region finalists.
G Michael Frazier, So., Plant: County's top scorer (26.7) already has eclipsed 1,000-point mark for his career.
G Andre Smith, Jr., Blake: Team's top scorer (19.2) and playmaker (5.0 assists) scored 35 in 4A region semifinals.
G Jamal Cherry, Sr., Tampa Prep
G Damian Dixon, Sr., Wharton
G Lashawn Harrison, Jr., Tampa Catholic
G Andre Nation, Jr., Durant
C Michael McFarland, Sr., Blake
Alonso: Greg Wirth; Berkeley Prep: Nelson Agholor; Blake: George Taliaferro; Bloomingdale: Tim Coffey; Cambridge: Cameron Brown, Spencer Smith; Chamberlain: Eric Storts; Durant: Jeff Thomas; Freedom: Tyler Guy; Hillsborough: Ravon Bullard, Al-von Woodard; Jesuit: Travis Johnson, Austin Schonbrun; King: Reshard Brown; Lennard: Evan Locke; Newsome: Jake Hodges, Trent Mackey; Plant: Ryan Coulter; Plant City: Chris Smith; Robinson: Tre Leonard; Seffner Christian: Steven Cunningham, Devin Paularinne; Spoto: Karl Beasley; Strawberry Crest: Reggie Burke; Tampa Bay Tech: Lacarlton Nelson; Tampa Catholic: Austin Aikens, David Gonzalez; Tampa Prep: Devontae Morgan; Wharton: AJ Astroth, Xavier Owens
Coach of the year
Renaldo Garcia, Sickles
In the span of a year, Garcia lost a 6-foot-10 North Carolina signee (John Henson) but gained newfound admiration from bay area peers. Building around point guard Jordan Davis and rangy wing player Rashawn Rembert (the only two returning starters from the 24-5 team of 2009), Garcia constructed a stifling defensive team that could grind it out in a halfcourt set or glide in transition. Sickles finished 29-3, reaching the Class 5A state title game.