Florida Prep, in its first year as a member of the FHSAA last season, reached the Class A title game before falling to Miami Northwest Christian.
Thing are different this time around. Florida Prep is no longer a part of the state association, now has a pair of talented teams and it recently found out it wouldn’t be allowed to compete against other FHSAA schools.
The prep team is led by Hamady N’Diaye, a 6-foot-11, 240-pound senior big man from Senegal who is being recruited by UConn, Baylor, Wake Forest, Rutgers and others. N’Diaye will likely start alongside South Carolina-bound forward Chadwick Gray, a big-time athlete who was once committed to Florida State for football, and Dominican Republic native Juan Pablo Montas, a 6-foot-7 small forward who has verballed to Appalachian State.
The backcourt isn’t quite as clear – but it will likely feature Herb Tanner, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard who played outside of Boston last season, along with New York native and Hofstra commit Sal Patricio, one of the few returnees to the squad.
Mamadou Diarra is a 6-foot-10 ½ senior forward from France who should see plenty of time. Other players expected to receive minutes include 6-foot-5 wing Mamud Diakite (France), 6-foot-7 small forward Jibril Thiam (Senegal) and St. Francis-bound Rainier Rickards.
The biggest name on the high school team is clearly Memphis-bound 6-foot-8, 270-pound power forward Pierre Niles.
However, the high school squad will also have former Farragut High (Ill.) standout Chris Singletary, a strong 6-foot-3, 200-pound combo guard, as well as a pair of players from Cameroon – senior point guard Erick Nsangou and 6-foot-8 junior forward Cedric Essola. Other than Niles, the most talented player on the team is arguably 7-foot, 250-pound junior Bouba Sylla (France).
Puerto Rico will also be well represented on the Steve Rodriguez’ squad with 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Carlos Figueroa and 6-foot-3 junior guard Roy Waters.
``We’re fortunate that the contacts we’ve developed overseas are very reliable and they have been extremely accurate in their assessment of the kids,” Florida Prep director of basketball operations Matt Ramker said. “We have a good amount of high major international kids.”
``We’re also happy to have some American kids who have sought refuge down here for an academic environment to get their grades in order,” he added.