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Boys Basketball

The all-Tampa Bay men’s college basketball team



Notre Dame's Juwan Durham

They can produce powerful dunks or step back to fire away from long range. There are plenty of former Tampa Bay area standouts, now in college at the Division I level, who can do it all, perhaps even lead a team on a deep run in the NCAA tournament if they all joined forces. Of course, there is no March Madness this year. That leaves many to wonder what might have been. And imagine if the area was able to put together its own squad. Well, here it is, the all-Tampa Bay Division I college basketball team.   

G Darius Banks, Jr., James Madison/St. Petersburg

Since joining the Dukes three years ago, Banks has been productive, averaging double figures in scoring in each of the past three seasons. This past season, he averaged 12.1 points per game, slightly below his career high of 12.3 as a sophomore. Earlier this month, James Madison parted ways with coach Louis Rowe, a former standout at Lakewood. That prompted Banks to move on, too. Two weeks ago, he announced on social media that he was entering the transfer portal. Banks has received interest from several schools, including USF.  

Notre Dame's Juwan Durham
Notre Dame’s Juwan Durham/Photo credit (including feature above): Fighting Irish Media

F Juwan Durham, Sr., Notre Dame/Tampa Prep

The lanky forward has gone through plenty of hardships to become a solid post player for Notre Dame. Durham endured ACL tears in each knee late in his high school career and missed the 2017-18 college basketball season after transferring from Connecticut. That season away was particularly tough for Durham, who had to regain his confidence while getting back in playing shape. Slowly, he reassembled his game. Using his 6-foot-11 frame to his advantage, Durham swats shots with regularity. This past season, he led the Irish with 66 blocks. Durham also averaged 7.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. With another year eligibility left, Durham is expected to return and take on an even bigger role. 

Oklahoma State’s Thomas Dziagwa/Photo credit: OSU Athletics

G Thomas Dziagwa, Sr., Oklahoma State/Tampa Catholic

The Cowboys were playing their best basketball at the end of the season, winning eight of their final 11 games, including an opening-round victory in the Big 12 tournament. Dziagwa, a sharpshooter, contributed heavily to the late-season surge. He finished his college career ranked fourth in Oklahoma State history in 3-pointers with 251. Dziagwa’s long-range touch got him an invitation to participate in a 3-point shooting contest at the Final Four that was ultimately cancelled because of the spread of coronavirus. During Dziagwa’s career, he endured three coaching changes, an NCAA investigation and a coaching change.

St. John's LJ Figueroa
St. John’s LJ Figueroa

G/F LJ Figueroa, Jr., St. John’s/Oldsmar Christian

After starting off at Oldsmar Christian, Figueroa finished his high school career at West Oaks. He played his freshman season at Odessa College, earning NJCAA Division I first-team honors, before transferring to St. John’s. The past two seasons, Figueroa started in 64 of the 66 games he appeared in for the Red Storm. His athleticism helped him put up big numbers. Figueroa reached double figures in scoring in 20 games this past season and averaged 14.5 points per game. He also led the Big East in steals with an average of 1.9 per game. This past weekend, Figueroa announced he was declaring for the NBA draft but has yet to hire an agent in order to still keep his amateur status.  

UCF’s Darin Green Jr./Photo credit: UCF Athletics

G Darin Green Jr., Fr., UCF/Wharton

The Hillsborough County player of the year last season had quite an impact in his debut season with the Knights. Green Jr. quickly emerged as one of UCF’s best long-range shooters and a school record for most 3-pointers made by a freshman with 68. As the season progressed, Green Jr. continued to improve, becoming one of the Knights’ most consistent scorers. He averaged double figures in scoring in seven of his final eight games, including a career-high 26 points against Tulsa in February. Green Jr. finished as the team’s second-leading scorer this season with an average of 10.1 points per game. 

Liberty’s Scottie James/Photo credit: Liberty Athletics

F Scottie James, R-Sr., Liberty/Tarpon Springs

James is used to playing for titles. A three-year captain at Tarpon Springs, he led the program to a 32-2 record and a trip to the Class 5A state semifinals as a senior during the 2014-15 season. After starting out his college career at Bradley, James transferred to Liberty and sat out the entire 2016-17 season. He has averaged double figures in scoring each of the past three seasons and helped the Flames win two straight Atlantic Sun Conference titles. This past week, James joined Tyson Ward (North Dakota State/Tampa Prep) as the only locals who were selected to the Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American team.   

North Dakota State’s Tyson Ward/Photo credit: NDSU Athletics

G Tyson Ward, Sr., North Dakota State/Tampa Prep

Last week, Ward became just the fourth player ever from North Dakota State to be selected for the Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American team, joining Ben Woodside (2009), Taylor Braun (2014) and Lawrence Alexander (2015). Judging by career stats, Ward ranks as one of the school’s all-time greats. He is the only player in Bison history with more than 1,500 points, 700 rebounds and 250 assists in his career. This past season, Ward averaged 19.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while leading North Dakota State to its second straight Summit League title. Last month, he scored a career-high 29 points on senior night, a game attended by most of his family members. Ward followed that up by being named to the Summit League all-tournament team after scoring 23 points and grabbing a career-high 13 rebounds in a championship game win over North Dakota. 

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Boys Basketball

Schedule for Kevin Durant National Hoopfest released



The Kevin Durant National Hoopfest series will make its way to the Tampa Bay area on Jan. 28-29.

The tournament, now being held at St. Petersburg High, is the last of four stops that have already been announced.

What makes the event noteworthy is that it matches teams from the area against nationally-ranked teams from across the country, giving fans a chance to root on their local school as well as check out players who will be playing for major colleges and NBA teams in the future.

Here is the schedule, which was released this weekend.

Jan. 28

AZ Compass Prep (Ariz.) vs. Ischool of Lewisville (Texas), 5

IMG Academy vs. Oldsmar Christian, 6:30

St. Pete vs. Oak Hill Academy (Va.), 8

Jan. 29

Windemere Prep vs. Wasatch Academy (Utah), 1

Orlando Christian Prep vs. Oak Hill Academy (Va.), 2:30

Oldsmar Christian vs. Ischool of Lewisville (Texas), 4

Tampa Catholic vs. AZ Compass Prep (Ariz.), 5:30

IMG Academy vs. St. Petersburg, 7

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Boys Basketball

Dillon Mitchell transfers to Montverde Academy



Dillon Mitchell, a four-star recruit who helped Bishop McLaughlin reach the state final for the first time this past season, has transferred to boys basketball powerhouse Montverde Academy. 

Mitchell, a 6-foot-7 senior small forward, made the announcement Thursday night on his Twitter account. 

In 2017, Montverde was named the nation’s top basketball program of the decade by USA Today. Several current NBA players went there, including Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and R.J. Barrett. Two more notable alumni, Oklahoma’s Cade Cunningham and and FSU’s Scottie Barnes, are expected to be among the top five picks in this year’s NBA draft. 

The ability to mold such high-profile stars prompted Mitchell to make the move. 

“They have developed great players to be successful at the next level,” Mitchell said of Montverde. “The competition is awesome,and being able to play against the best even at practice will help me become better. I believe it’s a great move.”

This is Mitchell’s third school in as many years. 

During the 2019-20 season, Mitchell played at Sickles, averaging 12.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game with the Gryphons.

He left this past season to attend Bishop McLaughlin, where he teamed with another four-star prospect, Emanuel Sharp, to form a dynamic 1-2 scoring punch. Mitchell (featured photo above by Willie Kelly) finished the season averaging 17.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game while leading the Hurricanes to the Class 3A state final. 

Mitchell is rated fourth in the state and 29th nationally in the Class of 2022 by ESPN. He has offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, FSU, Miami, Ohio State and Tennessee, among others.  . 

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Boys Basketball

FHSAA releases boys basketball class and district assignments



The Florida High School Athletic Association released the classifications, districts and regions for boys basketball this coming season. The assignments are based on student enrollment numbers from October 2020. This is a one-year cycle that the FHSAA board of directors voted on. There likely will be a two-year cycle starting with the 2022-23 calendar year. The classifications and districts for the other sports will be released at a later date. Below is the list for area teams. For the full  boys basketball list click here.  

Class 7A, District 6


East Lake

Palm Harbor University




Class 7A, District 7


Lakewood Ranch


Plant City


Class 6A, District 9


Land O’ Lakes




Pinellas Park


Class 6A, District 10



Strawberry Crest

Tampa Bay Tech


Wiregrass Ranch

Class 6A, District 11


Bradenton Manatee

Braden River

East Bay




Class 5A, District 5



Lake Weir



Ocala Vanguard


Class 5A, District 6

Cypress Creek



Pasco, River Ridge

Wesley Chapel


Class 5A, District 8









Class 5A, District 9






Class 5A, District 10

Boca Ciega

Bradenton Bayshore

Bradenton Southeast


St. Petersburg

Class 4A, District 9


Crystal River


Nature Coast

South Sumter

Weeki Wachee

Class 4A, District 10





Tarpon Springs

Class 4A, District 11




Sarasota Booker


Wauchula Hardee

Class 3A, District 5

Bell Creek

Bishop McLaughlin

Brooks DeBartolo

Carrollwood Day

Seffner Christian

Tampa Catholic

Tampa Prep

Class 3A, District 6

Admiral Farragut

Berkeley Prep

Calvary Christian

Clearwater Central Catholic


St. Petersburg Catholic

Class 2A, District 9

Academy at the Lakes

Classical Prep

Hernando Christian

Seven Rivers Christian

Zephyrhills Christian

Class 2A, District 10

Bayshore Christian

Brandon Academy

Cambridge Christian

Foundation Christian

Lakeside Christian

Universal Academy

Class 2A, District 11

Bradenton Christian

Bradenton Gulf Coast HEAT


Indian Rocks Christian

Keswick Christian

Port Charlotte Community Christian

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