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Travel Team Preview: Florida Vipers 17U

By Rick Staudt, 04/18/17, 8:30PM CDT

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The Florida Vipers come under our travel team microscope in this preview.  The team has been very successful on the Under Armor circuit and Program Director Brandon McThay doesn’t see that changing anytime in the future.

“This team, as both individuals and as a whole, has a great deal of potential”, he said.  “I think we have a real chance to have a lot of success on the Under Armor circuit in April and take the championship of the Under Armor finals in July.  Our goal is to put these kids in front of as many college coaches as possible and get them into the best collegiate situation for them.”

A trio of players will combine to patrol the interior and while that isn’t a large quantity, the quality is extremely high as 6’9 Silvio De Sousa of IMG, 6’8 Darius Days of Gainesville The Rock School, and 6’8 Robert Allen of Orlando Edgewater are all high-major caliber players.

“De Sousa is a top ten player in the country for the 2018 Class”, said McThay.  “He’s a tremendous athlete, skilled in the post, and an improving scorer when facing he basket.  Days has an excellent feel for the game.  He’s a guy that can play either forward spot, excels in pick-and-pop situations, and is a tremendous athlete, rebounder and post defender.  Allen plays with great energy.  He’ll surprise with his ability to put the ball on the floor as well as knock down open looks on the perimeter and he’s an excellent rebounder and defender.”

On the perimeter, McThay feels he has a group of guys that can match-up with any team in the country.  The rotation will include 6’3 Eric Aminu from Impact Academy, 6’2 Ethan Lasko from Boca Raton Yeshiva, 6’5 Nick Bonitto from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, 6’4 Kiedron Smith from West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy, 6’1 Michael Forrest from Pompano Beach Ely, and 6’3 Bryce Oliver for Fort Lauderdale Dillard.

“Aminu is a very good floor general”, McThay said.  “He gets to the basket, makes plays, has good size for the point guard spot and defends well.  Lasko is an excellent shooter and passer that can play either guard spot.  Bonitto is a tremendous athlete and has an all-around game.  He can play the one thru three spots, defend spots one thru four, is a dynamic scorer and finishes well at the basket.  Smith is another high level athlete.  He’s a great finisher in transition but also hits open threes and is a solid rebounder and defender.  Forrest is combo guard that is quick and aggressive at both ends of the court.  He’s a very good scorer and attacks the rim at every opportunity.  Oliver is highly competitive and a tenacious defender.  He’s strong, a good passer, and a solid finisher in transition.”

In April, the Vipers will be at Under Armor events in New York and Indianapolis during the live period.

In July, the team will participate in the Under Armor finals and two events in South Florida: Elevate Hoops and Big Shots.