2016-2017 8A District 8 Preview

8A District 8

Teams:          Sickles       Wharton       Freedom      Steinbrenner        Wiregrass Ranch        Gaither         Leto       Plant


8A District 8 will be a epic war between 2 teams for the top spot, Sickles and Wharton. Both are loaded with talent and great coaching which has provided consistent winning programs. Gaither, a team on the rise, could make a statement and be added to the mix. Wiregrass Ranch and Plant may make some noise this year and the remainder of the teams will be searching to put it all together but have some starter pieces.

Coach Renaldo Garcia
  • Sickles – was 26-4 overall, 14-1 in district play last year. The Gryphon’s stay working to get better and Coach Renaldo Garcia has his team poised and hungry for a deep run at a state title. With a major senior presence in Marcus Cohen, Bryce Workman, Desmond Bessent and Bryce Beamer leading the way, the outlook on the 2017 playoffs look bright.

Key Returnees:

Marcus Cohen – a 6’3″ 2017 PG who should make a statement this year and project himself into 1st Team All- Hillsborough County.  He will have to be consistent and do whats needed for this team to succeed.

Bryce Workman – a 6’7 2018 F should be a walking double-double guy.  He’s on the rise and will be effective in Garcia’s offense.

Bryce Beamer – a 6’5″ 2017 G/F will bring a perimeter threat to the line-up.

Desmond Bessent (x-factor) – a 6’8″ 2018 F/C will cause problems for other teams in this district. Big fella should be able to dominate this year.

Denari Garrett (x-factor) a 6’5″ 2018 F is grabbing attention in the area.  A do-it-all player with a ton of energy.


  • Wharton – was 21-5 overall last year, 12-2 in district play. Coach Tommy Tonelli’s team is fundamentally sound and has high expectations from this young group.  A solid team that will run their sets exactly as scripted and take what’s given.  Looking for a big season from Tra Gildon and Dae’son Barnes.  We also like incoming 2019 G Babacar Thiam.

Key Returnees:

Darryl Henderson – a 6’5″ 2018 G can be effective at the 1 or the 2 position.  Henderson has good length and a great IQ.

Tra Gildon – a 6’1″ 2017 PG should establish himself as a facilitator with this young core and should be able to get the most out of those players.

Dae’son Barnes (x-factor) – a 6’2″ 2017 G as a smooth game that can open up this season.  Hopefully this is his breakout year!

Isaiah Thomas (x-factor) – a 6’3″ 2018 G is an athletic player that can be a game changer.

Darin Green – a 6’3″ 2019 G that can be effective on the ball and in transition.


  • Freedom – was 23-6 overall last year, 11-3 in district play. The Patriots were a senior laden team that made it to the regional s. With all the key losses that Coach Cedric Smith, he still has some upcoming talent to watch out for.

Key Returnees:

Alek Rojas – 6’8′ 2018 F will have to be a factor on the glass and against the other big’s in this district.

Nick Butler – a 5’9 2019 PG who’s a crafty lefty and aggressive which will be needed to compete.

Chase Creasy – a 6’4 2017 G can show flashes of scoring but will have to do it regularly.

Gerald Fleming – a  6’4″ 2018 F also will have to contribute offensively.


  • Steinbrenner – was 12-14 overall last year, 6-8 in district play. The Warriors were up and down throughout the year. Coach Allen will be looking to build onto the high points from a season ago.  Like what 2019 Angelo Sardegna brings as a PG.  However, we are looking for that impact player over there.

Key Returnees:

Trey Williams – a 6’0 2017 PG average 4.6 ppg and 3.4 rpg


  • Wiregrass Ranch – was 12-15 overall last year, 6-8 in district play. Coach Jeremy Calzone only loss 1 player, this means the team grew and gained a lot of experience. Can they turn that growth into more wins? Can they compete at the top? We can’t wait to see what transpires this season with that youth.  Coach mentioned “I feel good about what we have this year. We have everyone back and a few new additions. Devin Wilson is back and he averaged 18.4ppg last season and led the team in all major stats. We also have our starting point guard back elijah howell. We got some new transfer that we hope will give us a boost.

Key Returnees:

Devin Wilson – a 6’3 2017 SG, he’s a tough hard nose defender who won’t be out worked. Along with his tough “D,” Wilson can score with the best. He averaged 18.4pts, 3 steals, and 4 rebounds per contest

Jordan Minor – a 6’1″ 2018 G who plays with energy and plays both ends.  He will bring a lot to this team.


  • Gaither – was 9-15 overall last season, 5-9 in district play.  Loses a few pieces but gained a few crucial transfers such as 6’8″ Forward James Pursley.

Key Players to watch:

James Pursley – the 6’8″ 2019 F will make a huge difference in their line up.  The lefty big is versatile and will run the floor.

Jomoiri Dagou – 2017 G

Demoii Dagou 2017 G

Mario Lovett – 2019 F is getting better and can help this team.


  • Leto – was 6-17 overall last season, 2-12 in district play. Losing PG/ Mr. Do it All David Jones to graduation and DJ Mercer to transfer will have the Falcons searching for answers. With the toughness this district provides, it won’t be easy.

Key Returnees:

Bricen Williams – a 2017 6’1″ PG who will have to be really good at times.  Williams has a motor and a drive to compete.

Markus Adams – 6’5″ 2019 F will have to focused defensively and work in the paint.


  • Plant – was 4-22 overall, 1-14 in district play.  The Panthers will have to be better this year.  They have some good pieces but need to show experience and cohesion.

Key Returnees:

Dylan Wilson – the 2018 6’4″ has the tools to be really good.  Big frame guard who can play with a passion at times.  Let’s see what will happen.

Ronald Boyd – a 2018 PG who will have to stay aggressive and be part of that 1-2 punch with Wilson.


District Predictions:

  1. Sickles
  2. Wharton
  3. Gaither
  4. Wiregrass Ranch
  5. Plant
  6. Freedom
  7. Leto
  8. Steinbrenner


Add a Comment