The honors keep coming for the Lakewood Ranch boys basketball program.
The Mustangs beat every Manatee County opponent they played this past season and had the highest GPA among all the public high school boys basketball teams in the state.
The Mustangs finished 21-7, setting a program record for most victories in a season and were 10-1 against Manatee County opponents with a 9.73-point average margin of victory.
In the classroom, these Mustangs compiled a 3.512 grade-point accumulative to rank first in Class 7A. The changes started coming when the Jeremy Schiller took over the program four years ago.
Only sophomore Sam Hester (10.1 points per game) averaged double figures, but the Mustangs could have a budding star in 6-foot freshman guard Damien Gordon (7.9 ppg).
Gordon plans to play for the highly touted Each 1 Teach 1 15-U travel team. It's the same organization Antonio Blakeney played for before he transferred out of Cardinal Mooney.
Schiller says he is not worried about Gilbert leaving.
NBADraft.net projects Blakeney, an LSU commit, as the 15th pick in the 2016 draft, going to the Brooklyn Nets.
Offers piling up for Williams
Lakewood Ranch 6-3 sophomore LaDazhia Williams should have more Division I offers than any female basketball player who has played in this area by the time she graduates.
Head coach Tina Hadley said Williams has offers from South Carolina, Ohio State, Louisville, Miami and USF, among others. Other elite programs recruiting her include Tennessee, LSU, North Carolina and Rutgers.
Hadley's girls made it to the program's first region final last season and were second in the Class 7A academic state rankings for their sport with a 3.568 cumulative GPA after finishing first last year.
In the overall academic rankings though winter sports, only two county schools are in the top five: Lakewood Ranch is first in 7A, and Saint Stephen's is third in 3A.
In the not-too-distant future, we might have to call the USF softball team the Manatee County All-Stars.
Four of the county's top players have committed to the Bulls and one is already there.
The list includes Bayshore sophomore pitching ace Miriam Schmoll, who is striking out more than two batters per inning and hasn't allowed an earned run all season.
Her batterymate, junior LaShara James, who is hitting .632 and runs like a track star, also committed to the Bulls.
Braden River junior first baseman Bethaney Keen and sophomore shortstop Kinsey Goelz have also told Ken Eriksen, the winningest coach in USF history, they want to play for him.
Keen sports a .595 batting average and has slugged three homers and 13 RBIs. Goelz is batting .390 with five doubles, two triples, a homer and 12 ribbies.
They would join Braden River grad Kenya Yancy, who is a freshman on the Bulls softball team.
Bruins 15th in nation
Bayshore moved up to 15th in the recent MaxPreps top 25 national rankings and is third in the state. The Bruins won nine of their first 11 games.
Southeast's Smith chooses school
Southeast receiver/defensive back Dimtry Smith, a Bradenton Herald All-Area first team selection, has signed with Wyoming Seminary Prep in Pennsylvania. He plans to play for Football Championship Series school Lafayette College of the Patriot League in 2016.
Bryant does it his way
There are various ways to earn your way onto a Division I basketball team and then there is Tre' Bryant's method.
Braden River's career 3-point scoring leader, Bryant was added to the USF men's' basketball roster for its AAC tournament opening-round game Thursday night against Connecticut.
Bryant had been scrimmaging against the USF women's team (26-7), which is the 26th highest-vote getter in the AP and Coaches Poll. Bulls men's coach Orlando Antigua spotted him and was so impressed he offered Bryant a spot on his roster as a walk-on.