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Travel Team Preview: Tallahassee Wildcats - Red (17/U)
Posted, 3/18/2005 8:02:02 PM

By Rick Staudt

The 2004 version of the Tallahassee Wildcats was very successful. Winners of the Charlie Webber in Virginia and the inaugural Adidas Showtime in Georgia, the Wildcats featured a tall and athletic lineup that included 8 Division 1 signees. John Adkins and Matt Ramker, the leaders of Adidas' flagship program in Florida, believe the 2005 edition will be just as successful.

"I feel we have a good mix of size and athleticism, even better than last year, though not as big", states Ramker. "Last year we had 3 guys 6'10 and another at 6'8. This year is switched, with 3 guys at 6'8 and one guy at 6'10."

The four big guys will be 6'8 combo forward Chadwick Gray from Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy, 6'10 center Marreese Speights from St. Petersburg (FL) Admiral Farragut Academy, 6'8 combo forward Stanley Robinson of Birmingham (AL) Huffman and Kyle Marks, a 6'8 jumping jack PF from Palm Beach Gardens (FL) Dwyer who played with the team last year and is going the prep school route. Cedric Essola is 6'8 and will be playing at Florida Prep next season.

"Gray is an athletic combo forward that is a very good shooter", says Ramker. "Speights is a low post player and will be as good as any center that heads to college in the fall of 2006. Marks is a long and rangy athlete who will benefit from a year of prep school. Stanley Robinson is a possible top 20 player nationally. He has all the tools to be very special. Cedric Essola played very well for Cameroon in last summer's Africa games."

On the perimeter, the Wildcats will have 3 returnees in 6'5 WF Aaron Holmes from St. Petersburg (FL) Catholic, 6'4 2G Gary Clark from Sarasota (FL) Booker and 6'0 Darryl Merthie from Lake Mary, FL who is heading to prep school. Two new faces will share the point guard duties. Joey Rodriguez is a 6'0 sophomore from Winter Park (FL) Lake Howell and Eric Nsango is a 6'0 junior at Lake Suzy (FL) Florida Prep. Nsango did not play this past high school season but has played well for his native Cameroon junior national team.

"Our wing players are very explosive and we should be able to score and defend with anybody", says Ramker. "Both Clark and Rodriguez have the potential to break out this summer and distinguish themselves in the class of 2007. Holmes and Merthie are known commodities. Nsango will open a lot of eyes. He is an athletic point guard who can shoot and run the show."

The Wildcats will as usual have a difficult schedule playing in many of the country's best events. Their tentative schedule is as follows:

  • April 1-3: Nike Team Florida Raptor Challenge, Orlando
  • April 22-24: Next Level Ballers, Dallas
  • May 13-15: Travel Basketball Championships, Gainesville
  • May 27-29: Adidas Memorial Day event, Washington DC
  • July 12-15: Adidas Showtime event, Suwannee, GA
  • July 22-26: Adidas Super 64, Las Vegas
  • July 27-31: Double Pump Best of Summer, Los Angeles

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