One is a basketball player who recently hit an important scoring milestone and has signed to play in college next season.
Another is the area’s reigning baseball player of the year and has signed with the University of South Florida for next season.
Then there’s the cousin that ended 2017 as the No. 1-ranked junior girls tennis player in the world, and the cousin who plays college basketball.
Let’s not forget the father who played professional baseball or the uncle who played professional tennis.
“It’s really exciting for us knowing that we all have a chance to do something great for our family,” Lakewood Ranch High senior basketball player Damien Gordon said.
Gordon scored his 1,000 career point this season.
But neither Gordon nor head coach Jeremy Schiller knew which bucket got him the coveted high school milestone.
It came in the prestigious City of Palms tournament in December in Fort Myers. Gordon scored it against John Marshall (Richmond, Va.) High, but it wasn’t until the team was in Ocala for the Kingdom of the Sun tournament in late December that Schiller realized Gordon hit the mark.
So the Mustangs honored Gordon with a plaque before the Jan. 3 home game against Venice.
Gordon said his mom, Jackie, kept asking him how close he was to the 1,000-point barrier, but he wasn’t sure.
“You have to be pretty consistent as a player to score 1,000 points in your career,” Schiller said.
Lakewood Ranch’s all-time leading scorer is Sam Hester, who capped his career last season with 1,258 points.
After scoring 27 points against Sarasota Booker in Wednesday’s game featuring state-ranked teams, Gordon, who is signed with Eckerd College, is up to 1,124 career points.
“There is a fire and intensity to him,” Schiller said of the usually calm and laid-back Gordon. “Especially in big moments. Scoring 14 points in the regional final (last season) being in foul trouble, I know he only played 12 minutes and scored 14 points. ... And then in the state semifinal, he scored 20. Then in the John Marshall game when we needed him to win the game, he has a fire and intensity about him. He’s just not outward with it.”
Gordon isn’t the only successful athlete in his family.
His step brother Pablo Garabitos, who is signed with USF and was selected for the MLB/USA Baseball Breakthrough Series last June, also attends Lakewood Ranch.
Gordon’s stepfather, Vianney, played professional baseball in the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds’ organizations.
Gordon and Pablo are close and push each other through their competitiveness.
“It could be something little like a video game,” Gordon said.
He also has a bond with cousin DeAndre Osuigwe, who plays college basketball at Nyack College in New York after playing high school basketball at IMG Academy.
Recognize the Osuigwe last name?
DeAndre’s younger sister, 15-year-old Whitney, torched the junior tennis scene in 2017. She captured the French Open junior singles title. She also turned pro and ended the 2017 season as the No. 1-ranked junior girls player after winning the Eddie Herr tournament at IMG Academy and the Orange Bowl in South Florida.
“Being No. 1 in the world for her age is ridiculous,” Gordon said. “She’s been sponsored by NIKE since, maybe, eighth grade. And it’s just crazy to think my family member, of all the people in the world, has that ability.”
Desmond Osuigwe played professional tennis and he’s the father of DeAndre, Whitney and Victoria, who is the youngest.
Jeffrey Payne is another uncle who played sports, playing high school basketball at Venice High.
“Every Christmas we’d go outside at my grandma’s house and play a game of basketball, because that’s the main sport in our family,” Gordon said. “We’ll have a big family game and we’ll do that every year.”