Florida Bayhawks: Middle School Tryouts Roundup

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Florida Bayhawks: Middle School Tryouts Roundup

"We're looking to tell the Bayhawk story."

These words from co-directors Byron Batchelor & Carlos Brito, who lead the charge for the Florida Bayhawks Travel Basketball Program, set the tone as they held a three-hour tryout for their new Middle School Basketball Program in Land o' Lakes, Florida on Sunday, November 22nd.

The Bayhawks were established in 2014, and started specifically with high school hoops. There are over 30 Bayhawk players who are currently playing, or have played, in college. They have secured over $850,000 in scholarship dollars throughout the Program's history.

The Middle School Basketball Program has secured a corporate sponsorship, and will be playing nationally and internationally in Dominican Republic. The opportunity to get on college coach's radar early with maximum exposure has never been greater for middle school players.

The intense, skill-development-focused audition, led by former Louisville Men's Hoops Assistant & current Oldsmar Christian Head Coach Jordan Fair, tested the abilities & endurance of nearly 40 middle school ballers looking to make a leap in their basketball journeys.

Sunday started off with a brief warm-up, followed by a three-station "combine" course designed to touch on agility and cardio. From there, the skill work began. Full-court ball-handling, change-of-direction, and ball-screen use were all points of emphasis for the group.

Next up? Teaching the motion offense, working on pick & rolls, scoring off handoffs, and a bevy of other skills that the younger generation NEEDS to know, early.

And the parents definitely appreciate the detail.

"We've been to a lot of tryouts we've never experienced anything like this," one parent said.

"Most organized and professional tryout we've ever been to," said another. "You guys really made a great impression on us today."

After ending the day with a couple of five-on-five matchups, check out the 11 hoopers who made a name for themselves.

The R.A.W.E. Five.

Elijah Davis: Davis’ outside shooting ability is in a good place, right now. He can stroke the deep three. His transition passing is solid. On defense, Davis can strip the rock from over-dribblers, as well.

Chasion Wilson: Without question one of the tallest kids on the court, Wilson pushed the ball well in-transition and showed his ball-handling prowess. He knows how to convert his offensive rebounds into quick putbacks, and can fight through traffic to hit tough layups. Wilson definitely has a lot of potential to be great.

Derrick Doe Jr: D.J.’s top attribute for the day was undoubtedly his shooting. He can hit the deep three from the wing. Doe also has a handle on his one-dribble pull-up jumper.

Alberto Maldanado: The bank was open for Maldanado as he knocked a few from long range. He’s also speedy enough to blow past his defender from the perimeter, and lay it up at the rim.

Henry Thomas: This young gun showed himself as a floor general in the making on Sunday. He did a great job of helping players get into the proper spots, and is a solid passer—especially into the paint. Excited for the future that lies ahead for Henry.

On The Radar.

D.J. Howard: One of Howard’s best attributes, right now, is his on-ball defensive skills. He is a hard guy to try and shake. Howard has quick hands and is able to poke away steals, with ease. His hands stay up on the shooter, resulting in good contests and blocks. Howard ended the day with a game-winning three, as well. Love his energy.

Ashton Peterson: Really was impressed at his ability to hesitate before bursting to the rim for layups. Peterson can also hit the midrange jumper, when needed. On defense, he’s another guy with quick enough hands to force steals.

Sean Storr: Another solid outside shooter, Storr showed his ability to hit three deep-ball from various spots around the perimeter. He also possesses a solid crossover that leads well into midrange jumpers.

Honorable Mention.

Seth Hogan: Current best attribute: his passing ability.

Vynsynt Vann: Current best attribute: his three-point shooting.

Brandon Mars: Current best attribute: blocking shots.