Traveling Team: Miami Tropics

The Miami Tropics aren't a well-known team on the national circuit - yet. Art Alvarez and his talented squad should be able to change that in a hurry.

The team will have eight players headed to the Nike All-American Camp in July. They will play with two, alternating sets of five rather than constant substitutions because its coach feels the second five can more than hold its own against almost anyone.

The Miami Tropics are clearly a team to watch this summer.

``We're going to pick teams up right away in the frontcourt and press them," Tropics coach Art Alvarez said. "We're so good that we go 10 players deep."

With 6-4 junior sharpshooter David Huertas leading the way and sophomore floor leader Josue Soto running the show, Alvarez may just be right in his assessment. The Tropics also boast speedy junior guard Denis Clemente and undersized, relentless 6-6 junior power forward Sammy Hernandez. Miami High (Fla.) 6-8 junior big man Dwayne Collins and Huertas' teammate at Arlington Country Day, 7-2 sophomore Jason Bennett, will likely battle to see who gets the nod in the middle of the starting unit.

``Collins is long, has a great vertical and is a tremendous athlete," Alvarez said. "We're working with him so he can play some at the three. He can shoot it, but if he's anywhere near the basket, he'll dunk in your face."

The group coming in off the bench will be led by freshman point guard Edwin Rios.

Last year Alvarez' team won a trio of tournaments and only lost four games the entire summer.

``You might think I'm crazy," Alvarez added. "But we don't have any weaknesses. My main problem will be to get all these guys playing time. The weakness is that we have 10 superstars that need to adapt to bring role players."

``This is the best group I've ever played with," Clemente said. "We are so loaded and so deep that we'll be surprised if we lose any games at all."

Miami Tropics (Miami, Fla.)

Coaches: Art Alvarez, Ed Auricchio

Affiliation: Nike

Top Prospect: WG David Huertas (6-4, 180, JR)

Projected Starters: PG Josue Soto (6-0, SOPH); WG Denis Clemente (6-1, 170, JR); BF Sammy Hernandez (6-6, 220, JR); BF-C Dwayne Collins (6-8, JR)

Others: C Jason Bennett (7-2, SOPH); PG Edwin Rios (6-0, FR); WG Eduardo Bermudez (6-5, JR); WF Brian Hoff (6-4, JR); C Luis Colon (6-10, 270, SOPH)

Opening Tourney: Boo Williams (Va.) – April 9-11

Famous Alum: Guillermo Diaz


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