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Travel Team Preview: Nike Team Florida
Posted, 3/17/2005 7:58:08 AM

By Rick Staudt

Tom Topping's Nike Team Florida features only one holdover from last year in Jeremiah Rivers. Still, Topping believes this will be as good a team as he has had in the last few years.

"The guys on the team know their roles and should be very effective in those roles. These players may not have national recognition yet, but they soon will", says the Nike coach.

Rivers, a 6'4 combo guard from Winter Park (FL) will be joined on the perimeter by 6'5 2G Chris Baez from Kissimmee (FL) Gateway, 6'2 combo guard Martavis Key from Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, and 6'1 PG Jerome Burgos from Melbourne (FL) Florida Air Academy. Both Key and Burgos are in the class of 2007. Darren Dexter, a 6'5 swingman from Sarasota (FL) Riverview, will also see time in the backcourt.

"I think Jeremiah will be able to establish himself as a legitimate top-flight point guard during the travel season", says Topping. "He is a great defender and excellent passer. This will allow guys like Baez and Key to showcase their scoring abilities."

In the frontcourt, 6'7 sniper Evaldus Baniulis from Melbourne (FL) Florida Air Academy will be joined by 6'7 combo forward Tony Davis of Sarasota (FL) Riverview, 6'8 PF AJ Tyler of Palm Harbour (FL) University, 6'7 PF Evan Hill from Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Cypress Bay, 6'9 PF Greg Washington of Florida Air who is looking at prep schools and 6'8 PF Raynard Ziggler, also of Sarasota Riverview.

"Baniulis is an incredible shooter who made 11 3-pointers in a game this past season", Topping states. "Tyler is a multi-skilled power player who has a nice game within 15 feet of the hoop. Washington, Ziggler, and Hill are both athletic and have the ability to rebound with bigger players as well as alter shots. The breakout guy could be Tony Davis. He is very versatile, as he is athletic, can get to the basket and shoot the three."

As part of the Nike family, Team Florida will again take on a very difficult schedule. Their tentative itinerary is as follows:

  • April 1-3: Nike Team Florida Raptor Challenge, Orlando
  • April 8-10: Boo Williams event, Virginia
  • April 22-24: Next Level National Invitational event, Dallas
  • May 13-15: Travel Basketball Championships, Gainesville
  • May 20-22: Coast to Coast Invitational, Miramar, FL
  • May 28-30: Memorial Day Charlie Weber event
  • July 12-15: Peach Jam, Augusta
  • July 22-24: AAU Super Showcase, Orlando

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