Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State's Elite Gather for All-Star Game

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State's Elite Gather for All-Star Game

Article excerpt

Byline: Jason Schneider, Times-Union sports writer

One game will not transform Florida from a football state to a basketball state, but that isn't the goal of Nike Florida All-Star Game organizers. They just want the state's basketball talent to earn a greater share of attention and respect from colleges.

For them, today's boys and girls games at Jacksonville University's Swisher Gym are a step toward that goal.

"If we are going to be regarded as a basketball state, then we have to celebrate the players in this state," said Wesley Frater, one of the organizers. "This is the first step to letting the country know that we have great players."

Each game consists of two 10-player teams representing the North and the South of Florida. The women's game is scheduled for 5 p.m. The men's game is scheduled for 8 p.m.

"You never see Florida ranked real high in talent, but [the state] doesn't get a lot of publicity [for its basketball]," said Arlington Country Day guard T.J. Bannister, who has committed to Virginia. "Once we get to play against the best, we show what we can do."

Bannister is scheduled to play alongside Arlington Country Day teammate Dwan Youmans, who has committed to Auburn, and Jackson standout Danny Bell, who has committed to Ole Miss.

Among those scheduled to participate in the women's game are University Christian's Audrey Muse, who signed with Troy State, and Orange Park's Alicia Gladden, who signed with Florida State.

"The talent level continues to improve," Florida State women's coach Sue Semrau said. "The [high school] coaches in the state are doing a very good job developing the fundamentals of the game. [Florida] has always had great athletes, now we are seeing those great athletes become great basketball players."

Semrau, Jacksonville assistant coach Bobby Keenan and North Florida coach Matt Kilcullen are scheduled to speak at a free coaching clinic prior to the All-Star games.

NIKE FLORIDA ALL-STAR GAME

-- Where: Jacksonville University's Swisher Gym.

-- Schedule: 10 a.m. to noon: Clinic with 13-year NBA pro and Miami Heat scout Wali Jones; 1-4 p.m.: Free coaching clinic with FSU women's basketball coach Sue Semrau, Jacksonville University assistant Bobby Keenan and University of North Florida coach Matt Kilcullen; 5 p. …

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