“At first we didn’t have the right chemistry,” said Storm Surge basketball player Josh Conn of Key West High School. “It didn’t take long for us to start figuring it out since we are the top players in the county.”
Coaches John Ryan and Demetrius “DR” Roach, a Marathon High School coach and a Key West High School coach, volunteered their time this summer to bring the best of the best players together. “We want to get these kids better as a whole and help them get recruited,” said Ryan of the 10 Storm Surge teammates. “Our talent pools are small but when we combined the two areas, we found great talent.”
Certification as a member of the Amateur Athletic Union allows the players to compete in NCAA-sanctioned camps. “We are getting a late start,” said Ryan, “but, we already have people asking about our kids at these tournaments.”
Their goal: Get the kids playing more basketball in an organized setting to establish more growth.
“We’re trying to eliminate the bad blood and create a healthy rivalry between the schools,” said Ryan. He and coach DR have been buddies for years, always having basketball as a common denominator.
Conn, who is going into 11th grade, said the summer program has advanced his shooting and helped him develop as a player. “You see and play with some of the best players in the country in these tournaments,” he said.
The new team went 1-2 at the last tournament, but that isn’t worrying any of the players. “We could have won every game if we were in shape and played better team ball,” said Conn. “We have another tournament coming up that we plan on bringing a trophy back to the Keys.”
Their next tournament is on July 29 and the team has been practicing three nights a week, playing each other as well as a couple adult leagues locally.
“We have a powerhouse between Marathon and Key West.” — Storm Surge Coach John Ryan.