Throughout this month, I will be highlighting selected teams across South Florida. This article takes me to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. The Raiders finished 9-4 a season ago under head coach Julius Sandi. It was their first winning season…
Throughout this month, I will be highlighting selected teams across South Florida. This article takes me to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. The Raiders finished 9-4 a season ago under head coach Julius Sandi. It was their first winning season since 2015-2016. 2021’s Zach Zibelli and Kyle Stathos are key departures. Zibelli was a team leader and averaged nearly ten points per game. He was tough as nails on the floor and played with a high motor. Zibelli is not an easy kid to replace. Stathos had ability to stretch a defense and knock down 3-pointers. He went 37 percent from behind the line and was an overall spark.
Can the Raiders make it back-to-back winning seasons?
I think a focal point for this team will be the production behind 2022’s Andrew Akuchie Andrew Akuchie 6'8" | PF St. Thomas Aquinas | 2022 State FL and Mathew Cadogan. The 6-foot-9 Akuchie averaged 16.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 49 percent from the floor. The 6-foot-5 Cadogan averaged 14.1 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from the field. That is roughly 30 points and 14 rebounds between the two of them. Akuchie is a Rice commit and Cadogan will play college ball somewhere once he decides. I feel secure in their production and value to this team. Both Akuchie and Cadogan are very smart kids off the court. They represent St. Thomas Aquinas quite well and have bright futures.
Markos Myrtidis Markos Myrtidis 5'10" | PG St. Thomas Aquinas | 2023 FL is a quick kid that averaged 8.6 points while shooting 41 percent from the floor. The 6-foot point guard should take on more of a role with Zibelli gone. I’d like to see Myrtidis’ shooting mark kick up a bit. 6-3 wing Samuel Smith has shown promise. 2022 Dylan Aloma gives STAQ added spark and scoring ability to the 3-point line.
6-foot-5 Zakaih Saez is a transfer from The King’s Academy. He is listed as a 3-star football recruit with offers from Florida State, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Mississippi State, among others. The defensive end will join the basketball team once his gridiron season is complete. Usually, that ends with a state championship for St. Thomas Aquinas. The 215-pound Saez will be a durable frontcourt player with power and toughness.
The unit behind Akuchie and Cadogan is where I would like to see an increase in production. I think that core could round-out St. Thomas Aquinas and allow them to have another winning season.
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