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Not long ago, the FGB Elite program out of Florida was looked upon as a ring young travel club. Today, FGB Elite has become one of those “name” organizations that is a measuring stick for other programs.
FGB will be hard to catch this summer, with a long list of talented performers — and one truly remarkable team — that are returning after a stellar 2015 travel campaign.
“We feel very good about our teams this year,” said program director Kenny Kalina. “In particular, our 2017 group is probably the best class we’ve ever had on paper. That is a very talented, very hungry group, and we’re excited to see just how good they can be this summer.”
A key early challenge for FGB Elite will come in Raleigh, NC, at the Deep South Classic. One of the nation’s finest travel events, the Deep South Classic will be played for the 19th time in 2016. The Classic will run from April 21-24, and it will once again be held at the magnificent Raleigh Convention Center. The entire event will be played under one roof, with action flowing on 20 courts.
“The Deep South is always a great way to get the year really rolling,” Kalina said. “It’s a great event, and the level of competition is as strong as any you are going to see.”
In addition to his outstanding 2017 class, Kalina is also anxious to see a number of younger athletes on the court in Raleigh. That group includes Re’yanna Jones (2019, 5-7, G), Ashley Sieper (2018, 6-2, P), Shania Edgecomb (2018, 6-2, F), Ja’Miah Bland (2018, 6-1, F) and Caitlin McGee (2020, 6-0, F).
“Re’yanna is going to be one of the best guards we’ve ever had,” Kalina said. “She really is an ambidextrous player who can shoot it or handle it with either hand. She was a big reason that our middle school team won all their games last year. She is a great passer, she is very good at scoring the basketball, and her basketball IQ for her age is just unbelievable.
“Ashley is a true, fundamentally sound, four-five post player. She joined our program early last summer, and she has worked very hard to improve her game. She is a very intelligent player, and she has a good shot from the high post.
“I thought Shania was our most improved player last summer. She is a quick jumper who really rebounds and blocks shots. She is a great athlete who is developing her perimeter game, and I think she will be a ‘three’ in college.
“Ja’Miah is the best rebounder I have ever coached. She has a very strong frame, and she was the go-to player for our sophomore team. She is already great around the basket, and she is developing her perimeter skills.
“Caitlin is the next big headliner for our program. She was the only seventh grader on our eighth grade team last year. She stepped in when one of our best players was injured, and she averaged 30 points per game. She is just a great athlete with a great motor.”