Traveling Team: New York Panthers

The Long Island Panthers have switched their name to the New York Panthers now. They'll also be looking for a change of identity now that they don't have the big-time superstar that has played for Gary Charles in the past.

Usually, there is no shortage of superstars on Gary Charles' New York Panthers (formerly Long Island Panthers) teams. This year will be different.

Instead of guys like Lamar Odom, Charlie Villanueva, Jason Fraser and Josh Wright entering the summer with big-time reps, someone will need to step forward and establish themselves as an elite player.

The most logical choices are Lincoln High (N.Y.) 6-6 ½, 230-pound power forward Antonio Pena or St. Mary's versatile 6-4, 190-pound junior Danny Green.

``Danny will have to take a leadership role," Charles said. "He's a little like Ron Artest in that he can play four or five different positions. He and Antonio will be the keys."

The Panthers, who will be under the Reebok umbrella after spending the past decade with adidas, will be somewhat of a question mark heading into the summer.

``This year we're good enough to beat anyone," added Charles. "But we're also good enough to lose to anyone if we don't come to play. It'll be interesting to see which guys step up."

One guy who Charles feels can be the sleeper of the group is Green's high school teammate, 6-5, 190-pound junior forward Tyshawn Johnson.

``He's got a big body and can go down low and get you rebounds and also knock down five 3's in a game," Charles said. "He might turn out to be the "X" factor on this team."

Power forward Kaheem Seawright and wing Kiwan Smith, a New York native now prepping at Laurinburg, will join scoring point guard Vic Morris in the starting lineup while 6-8 Reed Wittman and 6-10 Greg Washington give the Panthers size off the bench.

New York Panthers (New York City, N.Y.)

Coach: Gary Charles, Billy Turnage

Affiliation: Reebok

Top Prospect: BF Antonio Pena (6-6 1/2, 230, JR)

Projected Starters: G Danny Green (6-4, 190, JR); PG Vic Morris (5-11, 165, JR); BF Kaheem Seawright (6-7, 215, JR); WF Kiwan Smith (6-7, 185, JR)

Others: BF Reed Wittman (6-8, 170, JR); BF Greg Washington (6-10, 195, SR*); F Tyshawn Johnson (6-5, 190, JR); PG Marcus Cox (6-1, 170, JR); PG Malcolm Grant (6-1, 160, SOPH); BF-C Dwight Burke (6-9, 240, SR*)

Opening Tourney: Playaz Spring Fling (N.J.) – April 1-4

Famous Alum: Lamar Odom

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