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Dade County Boys Basketball Preview

November 25, 2016
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Zack Dawson wasn’t satisfied with the finish of his junior year.

Dawson and his South Miami basketball teammates battled through three overtime thrillers before falling short at the state final four.

“We got so close last year, but almost isn’t in my vocabulary,” Dawson said. “That wasn’t enough for me. I came back the next week [after state] and started to go to work again. I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything yet because I have to finish school and get the job done this season with my teammates.”

Dawson recently signed with Oklahoma State University, as did teammate Latravian Glover.

But before he suits up in Stillwater next season, Dawson is hoping to end the Cobras’ long state championship drought.

South Miami, one of the more tradition-rich boys’ basketball programs in Miami-Dade County, has been to the state tournament five times since 1996 and three times in the past four seasons.

But a championship has eluded the Cobras.

That could change this season for South Miami, which moved up to the new Class 9A bracket along with plenty of familiar foes.

Dawson, a 6-4 point guard, averaged 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game last season. He was highly recruited by several Division I schools including Louisville, Arizona, Florida Gulf Coast, FIU and UCF.

Dawson leads a talented backcourt along with returning senior point guard Miguel Arnold and senior guard Keavon Tyler, who transferred from SLAM Academy.

But Glover could be what separates the Cobras from the rest of the pack.

A 6-7 senior center that projects to play small forward in college, Glover returns to the lineup this season after missing part of last season with a torn meniscus.

Glover should bolster South Miami in the paint along with 6-5 junior Antoine Wright and 6-5 senior Michael Ferguson.

“Last year was awful because I had to just sit there and watch my teammates,” Glover said. “I’m grateful to have a chance to be back and help us get that ring. You can see the chemistry on this team and how much we all want to do better.”

South Miami will have to navigate through a tough region and district that includes Coral Reef, a team led by prolific scoring forward Brent Holcombe, and a much-improved Palmetto squad now coached by Marcus Molina, who led Hialeah Gardens to a state title in 2012.

TITLE CONTENDERS

▪ Miami Christian, a three-time state champion that won its most recent one in 2015, fields a loaded squad poised to secure another this season in Class 2A.

Senior 6-0 guard Eduardo Camacho, who recently signed with Central Connecticut State, and 6-10 senior center Felipe Haase, a South Carolina signee, lead the Victors, who open the season ranked No. 1 overall in Miami-Dade.

▪ Legendary coach Marcos “Shakey” Rodriguez enters his first season as the head coach at Mater Academy and has a squad capable of contending with perennial powerhouse Blanche Ely for a championship in Class 8A.

▪ Miami Norland’s string of four consecutive state championships was snapped last season by Dillard, and graduated McDonald’s All-American Dewan Huell, now a freshman at the University of Miami. But the Vikings return a young squad that still ranks among the county’s best.

Season overview

KEY DATES

Nov. 25-26: Thanksgiving Classics; Dec. 8: Hoophall Classic at AmericanAirlines Arena; Dec. 8-10: A-Rod Classic at Columbus; Dec. 9-10: Hoop Exchange South Florida Shootout; Dec. 16-20: Kreul Classic; Dec. 16-21: City of Palms Classic; Dec. 26-31: Kingdom of the Sun Classic; other holiday tournaments; Dec. 28-30: Junior Orange Bowl Classic; Jan. 13-14, 16: TOC MLK Classic; Jan. 26-28: GMAC championship; Feb. 6-8, 10-11: Districts; Feb. 16: Regional quarterfinals (Classes 9A-5A); Semifinals (Class 4A-1A); Feb. 21: Regional semifinals (Classes 9A-5A); Feb. 24: Regional finals (Class 9A-2A); Feb. 28-Mar. 4: State final four at The Lakeland Center.

2015-16 STATE CHAMPIONS

Class 8A: Coral Springs; 7A: Blanche Ely; 6A: Dillard; 5A: Kissimmee Poinciana; 4A: Jacksonville Bolles; 3A: Windermere Prep; 2A: Boca Raton Grandview Prep; 1A: Chipley.

TOP TEAMS

1. Miami Christian; 2. South Miami; 3. Mater Academy; 4. Norland; 5. Archbishop Carroll; 6. Palmetto; 7. Coral Reef; 8. Miami Country Day; 9. Florida Christian; 10. Gulliver. On the rise: Coral Gables, Champagnat Catholic, North Miami, Central, Doral, Columbus, Ferguson, Krop, Miami High, Westwood Christian.

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS

Guards: Miguel Arnold, South Miami, 5-11, Sr.; Eduardo Camacho, Miami Christian, 6-0, Sr.; Michael Cooper, Central, 6-0, Sr.; Luis Cortijo, Champagnat Catholic, 6-0, Sr.; Zack Dawson, South Miami, 6-3, Sr.; Kelvin Morley, Coral Gables, 6-7, Sr.; Malcolm Nicholas, Mater Academy, 6-6, Sr.; Kennith Rolle, Norland, 5-11, Sr.; Josh Rosario, Miami Christian, 6-3, Sr.; Christian Silva, Archbishop Carroll, 6-3, Sr.; Keavon Tyler, South Miami, 6-2, Sr.; Forwards: Miguel Diaz, Miami Christian, 6-5, Jr.; Ibrahim Doumbia, Miami Country Day, 6-8, Sr.; Brent Holcombe, Coral Reef, 6-8, Sr.; Centers: Zach Brown, Calusa Prep, 7-0, Sr.; Emmanuel Dowuona, Westwood Christian, 6-10, Jr.; Latravian Glover, South Miami, 6-8, Sr.; Felipe Haase, Miami Christian, 6-10, Sr.

Season outlooks

CLASS 9A

1. SOUTH MIAMI (Coach Robert Doctor, 12th year, 226-88). Last year: 21-9 (State semifinalist). Top players: PG Ezacuras Dawson III, 6-3, Sr.; PG Miguel Arnold, 5-11, Sr.; C Latravian Glover, 6-8, Sr.; G Keavon Tyler, 6-2, Sr.; F Antoine Wright, 6-5, Jr.; F Michael Ferguson, 6-5, Sr.

2. CORAL GABLES (Coach Humberto Govea, 1st year at CG, 6th overall, 53-33). Last year: 21-7 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: F Kelvin Morley, Jr., 6-7, Sr.; F William Blet, 6-8, Sr.; G Jovan Guerrero, 6-5, Sr.; G Tristan Huebner, 6-6, Sr.; PG Joshua Dawkins, 5-10, So.; PG Jesus Alfonso, 5-10, Sr.

3. PALMETTO (Coach Marcos Molina, 1st year at PAL, 8th overall, 78-39). Last year: 21-6. Top players: SF Yosmel Martinez, 6-6, So.; SG Jordan Hamburger, 5-9, So.; G Mike Starks, 5-10, Jr.; F Alexander Rodriguez, 6-5, So.; F Chris Menendez, 6-6, Jr.; G Danilo Castellano, 5-10, Jr.

4. CORAL REEF (Coach Adam Graham, 6th year at CR, 7th overall, 64-38). Last year: 18-8 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: F Brent Holcombe, 6-8, Sr.; G Matt Perez, 6-0, Jr.; F Noah Louis, 6-5, Jr.

5. MIAMI HIGH (Coach Javorie Wilson, 3rd year at MHS, 8th overall, 119-51). Last year: 18-7 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: G Anthony Mera, 6-2, Sr.; G Stephon Jean-Jacques, 6-2, Jr.; PG Kevin Reyes, 5-7, Jr.; PG Gamalier Garcia, 5-8, Jr.; F Gabriel Francisco, 6-4, Jr.; F Eddison Nicolas, 6-7, So.

6. DR. KROP (Coach Chris Garcia, 3rd year, 35-15). Last year: 17-7. Top players: F T.J. O’Conner, 6-1, Sr.; G Troy-Trevon McCalla, 6-0, Sr.; F Gregory Barber, 6-4, Sr.; C Martin Rauschmir, 6-7, Sr.; G Devin Lee, 6-1, Sr.; G Juan Vega, 5-7, Sr.

7. COLUMBUS (Coach Henry Lorenzo, 8th year at COL, 21st overall, 391-186). Last year: 12-14. Top players: G Dante Pace, 6-1, Jr.; F Manny Rodriguez, 6-2, Sr.; F Gary Cooper, 6-3, So.; PG Hector Mata, 5-9, Sr.; F Jose Valdez, 6-0, Sr.; C Nycel Brooks, 6-8, Jr.

8. FERGUSON (Coach Tom Jicha, 4th year at FER, 22nd overall). Last year: N/A. Top players: Charlie Osceola, Jr.; Shaka Smith, Sr.; Yohamid Rodriguez, Jr.; Salomon Navarra, Sr.; Zachary Gayoso, Sr.

9. AMERICAN (Coach Kelvin Farrington, 8th year, 112-59). Last year: 16-7. Top players: W Shaq Harris, 6-5, Sr.; PG Brian Diaz, 5-10, Jr.; W Jacob Narvaez, 6-3, Jr.; W Jonathan Vilchez, 6-3, Jr.

10. SOUTHWEST (Coach Roberto Fatjo, 3rd year, 19-25). Last year: 13-10. Top players: F Christopher Murray, 6-5, Jr.; G Albert Hernandez, 5-10, Jr.; G Justin Pratt, 5-7, Jr.; F Orlando Fletcher, 6-2, Sr.; G Andre Abreu, 5-7, Sr.; Dayn Lopez, 5-11, Sr.

11. KILLIAN (Coach Austin Perez, 1st year). Last year: 4-19. Top players: PG Rashad Butler, 5-11, Sr.; SF Elton Walker, 6-5, Jr.; SG Jomar Mondestin, 6-2, Jr.; G Brandon Anthony, 6-1, Sr.; PF Devin Moultrie, 6-5, Sr.; G Tremari Smith, 6-0, Sr.

12. BRADDOCK (Coach Willie Diaz, 21st year, 371-425). Last year: 8-14. Top players: F Steve Hernandez, 6-3, So.; PG Esteban Penalver, 5-9, Jr.; C Alex Daniel, 6-2, Sr.; G-F Aaron Simon, 6-0, Jr.; G Gabrielle Garcia, 5-11, Sr.; G Jeff Dupont, 6-1, Sr.

13. HOMESTEAD (Coach Connie Moore III, 5th year, 53-39). Last year: 16-8. Top players: PG Gary LaCount, Jr., 6-1, Sr.; SG Julius Outten, Jr., 6-0, Sr.; PG-SG Kevin Butler, 6-0, So.; F-C Damon Warren, 6-7, So.; G Medash Benoit, 6-0, So.; G-F Rahmond Smith, 6-4, So.

14. CORAL PARK (Coach Mario Martinez, 4th year at CP, 11th overall, 44-44). Last year: 4-18. Top players: SG Erwing Hernandez, 6-0, Sr.; SG Cristian Sanchez, 6-0, Sr.; C Joseph Davila, 6-3, Sr.; F Anthony Fiore, 6-1, Sr.; PG Carlos Jara, 5-10, Jr.; F Romero Perkins, 6-1, Sr.

CLASS 8A

1. MATER ACADEMY (Coach Shakey Rodriguez). Last year: 24-5 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: G Malcolm Nicholas, 6-6, Sr.; G Terrel Turner, 6-3, Sr.; G Matt Tanis, 5-10, Sr.; G Monsanto DeMarre, 6-4, So.; F Jesus Duquesne, 6-7, Jr.

2. REAGAN (Coach Alan Fernandez, 1st year at RR, 185-25). Last year: 5-16. Top players: G Alan Fernandez, 5-11, Sr.; G Virgil Sweet, 5-11, Sr.; F Victor Burgos, 6-3, Jr.; G Drew Marvil, 6-0, Jr.; PG Santi Cortes, 5-10, Sr.; F Jon Colon, 6-0, Jr.

CLASS 7A

1. NORLAND (Coach Lawton Williams III). Last year: 21-5 (Regional finalist). Top players: G Kennith Rolle, 5-11, Sr.

2. CENTRAL (Coach Maurice Troupe, 4th year, 53-18). Last year: 21-7 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: G Michael Cooper, 6-0, Sr.; C Keondre Jackson, 6-7, Jr.; F Xavier Willies, 6-5, Jr.; G Joshua Nichols, 5-10, Sr.; PG James Gibson, 5-8, Sr.; G Isaac Wagnac, 5-10, Sr.

3. DORAL ACADEMY (Coach Jorge Fernandez). Last year: 18-7. Top players: G Jonathan Nunez, 6-0, So.; G Kenneth Santos, 6-1, Sr.; C-F Yosnier Cobas, 6-4, Sr.; G Reggie Perez, 5-11, Jr.; G Kobbie Perez, 5-11, Jr.; G Miguel Ayesa, 6-4, Jr.

4. BELEN JESUIT (Coach Chachi Rodriguez, 1st year at BEL, 28th overall). Last year: 21-4. Top players: G Marcos Dejar, 6-3, Jr.; G Alec Rodriguez, 5-10, So.; G Javier Torres De Navarra, 6-0, Sr.; F-C Juan Carrillo, 6-5, Sr.; F Michael Sueiro, 6-1, Sr.; F-C Alejandro Barnola, 6-6, Sr.

5. MIAMI SPRINGS (Coach Delmar Wilson, 9th year). Last year: 22-7 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: G Eddy Castro, 5-10, Sr.; G Brandon Lavernia, 5-11, So.

6. SUNSET (Coach Erick Martinez, 5th year at SUN, 9th overall). Last year: 17-7 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: G Ty Pierre, 6-2, Sr.; PF Anthony Pellerano, 6-3, So.; SG Luis Diaz, 5-8, Jr.; SG Leo Martinez, 6-0, So.

7. NORTH MIAMI BEACH (Coach Joseph Masselle, 8th year at NMB, 11th overall, 53-68). Last year: 6-16. Top players: F Richard Nunez, 6-7, Jr.; G Darius Wright, 6-0, Sr.; G Richsmith Leferve, 5-10, Sr.; Luckenson Dacius, 5-9, Sr.; G Joaquin Porter, 6-1, Sr.; F Shmael Alomonr, 6-5, Sr.

8. CAROL CITY (Coach Charles Hankerson, 2nd year at CC, 175-50). Last year: 4-13. Top players: G Marlon Smith, 6-3, Jr.; F Deandre Pinkney, 6-7, Jr.; G Zaequan Wilson, 6-2, Jr.; G Brian Thomas, 6-4, Jr.; G Avoree Wilson, 6-5, So.; G Demond Duncan, 5-10, Jr.

9. ST. BRENDAN (Coach Kevin Esteban, 3rd year, 25-27). Last year: 10-15. Top players: G Kevin Valledor, 5-10, Sr.; F Edmund Iglesias, 6-1, Sr.

CLASS 5A

1. GULLIVER (Coach Manny Bloom, 5th year at GP, 14th overall, 216-159). Last year: 15-14 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: SG-PG Jamal Mashburn, Jr., 6-0, Fr.; PG Barry Robinson II, 5-11, Sr.; SG Tony Sanders, 6-4, Fr.; F Diego Lamonica, 6-4, Fr.

2. WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN (Coach P.J. Brown, 6th year, 92-40). Last year: 23-8 (State semifinalist). Top players: F John Square, 6-5, Fr.; G Marcus Montalvo, 5-11, So.; G Toby Brigham, 6-0, Sr.; G Jake Wright, 5-10, Sr.; G Daniel Verdeja, 6-1, Sr.; G Jose Lopez, 6-0, Jr.

3. MONSIGNOR PACE (Coach Anthony Serro, 5th year, 62-56). Last year: 11-15. Top players: G Raul Paula, 5-11, Sr.; G Marc Rodriguez, 5-11, Jr.; G Dominic Shaw, 6-1, Fr.; C Shaun Stridiron, 5-8, Jr.; F Nick Pereda, 5-10, Sr.

CLASS 4A

1. ARCHBISHOP CARROLL (Coach Juan Hernandez, 6th year at AC, 11th overall, 191-61). Last year: 26-5 (State semifinalist). Top players: G Christian Silva, 6-3, Sr.; G Carlos Villamil, 5-10, Sr.; G Daniel Cordero, 6-0, Sr.; G John Aarestrup, 6-2, Sr.; F Joseph Gomez, 6-4, Sr.; G Gus Deribeaux, 5-11, Jr.

2. MIAMI COUNTRY DAY (Coach Hugo De La Rosa, 3rd year). Last year: 17-11 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: G-F Ibrahim Doumbia, 6-8, Sr.; SG Anthony Cambo, 6-3, Sr.; PG Mick Lynott, 6-2, Jr.; SG Tristen Escalante, 6-1, Jr.; F-C Harrison Stier, 6-9, Jr.; PG-SG Julius Delgado, 5-10, Jr..

3. FLORIDA CHRISTIAN (Coach Jason Doan, 3rd year at FC, 7th overall, 81-74). Last year: 12-11. Top players: G James Keller, 6-0, Sr.; G Kristian Valdes, 6-0, Sr.; F Dorien Pericles, 6-5, Jr.; G Joey Sosa, 6-2, Sr.; G Jose Rocha, 5-10, Sr.; G Michael Cabanas, 6-1, Sr.

4. SLAM ACADEMY (Coach Thomas Roque, 1st year). Last year: 22-5 (Regional finalist). Top players: F Kentron Poitier, 6-4, Fr.; G Jacorey Brooks, 6-3, 8th; G Dominick Garcia, 6-2, Jr.; G Anthony Hundley, 6-3, 7th; C Richard Fisher, 6-7, Jr.

5. ARCHBISHOP CURLEY (Coach Charlie Funk). Last year: 15-7. Top players: G Jesse Fields, 5-10, Sr.; W Steve Stma, 6-6, Sr.; C Stanley Muriset, 6-5; C Yami Fernandez, 6-5; G Michael Deshommes, 5-8.

6. SCHECK HILLEL (Coach Craig Mankoff, 3rd year at SH, 6th overall, 59-55). Top players: F Jacky Klainbaum, 6-2, Sr.; G Ethan Ayache, 6-0, Sr.; G Steven Beda, 5-9, Sr.

7. PALMER TRINITY (Coach Andre Smith, 1st year). Last year: Regional quarterfinalist. Top players: F Sebastian Diaz, 6-0, Jr.; Gary Bess, Jr., 6-3, So.; G David Cuellar, 5-10, Jr.; G Zach Friedland, 5-8, So.

CLASS 3A

CHAMPAGNAT CATHOLIC (Coach Daniel Serrano, 7th year at CCS, 12th overall, 226-78). Last year: 15-10 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: G Melvin Millet, 6-4, Sr.; G Luis Cortijo, 6-0, Sr.; F Braithe Ferguson, 6-5, Sr.; G Joshua Brennen, 6-0, Sr.; F Esteban Bermudez, 6-5, Jr.; G-F Shadiel Oquendo, 6-1, Sr.

CLASS 2A

1. MIAMI CHRISTIAN (Coach Juan Cardona, 1st year). Last year: 20-5 (Regional finalist). Top players: PG Eduardo Camacho, 6-0, Sr.; C Felipe Haase, 6-10, Sr.; G Neftali Alvarez, 6-2, Jr.; F Miguel Diaz, 6-5, Jr.; G Josh Rosario, 6-3, Sr.; PG Diego Rivera, 6-1, So.

2. WESTWOOD CHRISTIAN (Coach Jose Amat, 12th year, 176-92). Last year: 17-7 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: C Emmanuel Dowuona, 6-10, Jr.; G Adrian Farnades, 5-10, Sr.; F Sebastian Guitian, 6-8, Jr.; G Jordan Shorter, 6-2, 8th.

3. NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN (Coach Jonathan Sapp, 3rd year, 19-22). Last year: 14-10 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: G Chamberlain St. Jean, 6-3, Jr.; G Tennyson Morriset, 5-9, Sr.; F Brian Valcour, 6-1, Jr.; F Deon Curtis, 6-3, Jr.; G Odley Bonhomme, 5-9, Sr.; G Kendrick Smith, 6-3, So.

 

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