1996-97 RECORD: 17-13, Co-Suncoast Conference champions.
COACH: Bill Payne (sixth season, 91-53).
KEY RETURNERS: Eric Draper (6-2, G, 25 ppg); Kareem Preston (6-0, G, 14 ppg, 8 assists); Bernard Evans (6-5, F, 8 ppg, 5 rebounds).
KEY NEWCOMERS: Chris Turner (6-0, G, transfer from Seminole Community College); Yorick Williams (6-4, F/G); Reginald Rusk (6-5, C).
OUTLOOK: Payne calls this team his smallest yet. There is no shortage of talent at guard, but finding a center is a priority. The Trojans have won the conference championship three of the five years Payne has been at the school, but he thinks the team will be hard-pressed to win it this season. "I think Pasco-Hernando is head and shoulders above everyone else," Payne said. "But we should be competitive with the rest of the teams."
1996-97 RECORD: 15-14.
COACH: William "Hammer" Smith (4th season, 39-49).
KEY RETURNERS: Katy Cole (5-9, G); Kimberly Miller (5-11, C); Kimberly Coleman (5-3, G); Demetris Crump (5-6, G).
KEY NEWCOMERS: Amanda Pointelin (5-10, C); Shanitria Horton (5-10, C); Sonya Daszkiewicz (5-9, G); Robyn Gregory (5-7, F).
OUTLOOK: The Trojans won the Suncoast Conference championship last season, and Smith thinks there's enough talent to do the same this year. The strength of the team is at guard, where Smith has five capable players but only two spots on the floor. The weakness is at center. No player is over 5-11, so expect the Trojans to work the perimeter. The biggest competition should come from Hillsborough Community College and Manatee Community College. "I don't know what we're going to look like until we hit the floor," Smith said. "I know there's a lot of talent, but we have to see how the chemistry is."
_ RODNEY PAGE