No one gave them a chance this year, but a Bay Area basketball team is on the cusp of another state championship.
- Tampa Catholic in 3rd straight regional final
- Star player Kevin Knox graduated after last year, now at Kentucky
- Knox's brother Kobe team leader in scoring
Tampa Catholic just advanced to their third straight regional final, despite losing star Kevin Knox, one of the best players to ever come out of the Tampa area, to graduation last year.
“Everybody thought we were going to have a downfall when we lost a few players. Yet here we are today,” said senior Tim Carter.
No one is happier to be back in a regional final than head coach Don Dziagwa, especially without one of the best players he ever had.
“When you lose a guy as good as Kevin was, you know there’s going to be a little bit of a drop,” Dziagwa said.
Knox was the team’s leading scorer a year ago. He is now at the University of Kentucky and is projected to be a first round NBA draft pick this summer.
The team ending up winning a lot this season, however, and the coach says it’s not just because of any one star player.
“This group has really embellished the 'team' aspect of things,” Dziagwa said. “Which is really great from a coaching standpoint. It hasn’t been one guy. They’re sharing the load.”
Leading that group is, of course, another Knox: Kobe Knox, Kevin’s younger brother.
“I do look up to him," Kobe said, referring to his brother. "But I know that I have to work to get where he is now."
Though just a sophomore, Kobe Knox leads this year's team in scoring.
“He’s really following in Kevin’s footsteps in terms of how hard he works," Dziagwa said. "He’s in the gym on the weekends, before and after practice working on his game."
Now, Kobe hopes to do what his older brother didn’t last year: go on to win it all in the 5A State Championship.
“We just have to keep playing hard, playing like we have been all year,” Kobe said.
Tampa Catholic takes on Oxbridge Academy this weekend in the region final. It’s the third year in a row they’ve faced that team.