Florida Talent Emerges

NEW YORK – Those who watch Florida kids on a daily basis have started to call Renaldo Balkman the Sunshine State's best prep prospect in the Class of 2003. And know what? They might be right.

The 6-7 SF from Bradenton (FL) Pendleton School – IMG's Basketball Academy – showed off a world of continued improvement this weekend up here at Fordham during the Rumble in the Bronx.

He was good for 20-plus points every game in helping coach John Adkins' Tallahassee Wildcats whip through their pool and make it to the semifinals. He was active on the glass, too, especially on the offensive end.

"I didn't know much about him," Adkins said after the loss in the semis. "He just started playing with us. But he's very good. He's really good."

Balkman is long and sturdy already. But his body is the type of frame that's just aching to put on 15 to 20 more pounds of muscle with the aid of a Division I training table and weight regimen.

He said Saturday afternoon that he's hearing from the Florida schools – UF, FSU, USF and Miami – but that he wants to eventually end up in the Northeast. Somewhere, he said, like Temple, UConn or St. John's.

"My mom and dad live in Florida," he explained, "but my whole family, really, lives up here – my grandparents, aunts, uncles, all of my mom's side of the family."

Michael Kruse writes for Basketball America and BasketballAmerica.com.

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